The death of the influential musician Prince prompted an outpouring of tributes Thursday, including on public media airwaves from his home state of Minnesota to the nation’s capital.
The Current, Minnesota Public Radio’s music station, quickly decided to program a chronological recap of Prince’s career, according to the Daily Beast. The marathon began at 12:09 p.m., as soon as the station verified the passing of The Purple One, with “The Beautiful Ones.” That initial marathon wrapped up at 10 p.m. Central time.
Due to “overwhelming response,” MPR worked with providers to upgrade capacity on the Current’s web stream, according to a spokesperson.
Prince programming resumes at 6 p.m. Friday with “Purple Reign,” featuring his entire catalog over approximately 26 hours. That repeats starting at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The station had a special relationship with the notoriously reclusive artist. Prince would sign off on programming blocks of his music and send ideas and albums he liked to management.
Last year, the musician tweeted during a “Prince A-to-Z” marathon. And when Prince heard about The Current’s fifth anniversary bash a few years back, he had his agent call the station for an invitation.
“And he said to me at the party, basically, ‘I’m here because of what you guys do in the community and I want to support that,’” Jim McGuinn, p.d., told Daily Beast. “And he meant that. He was a member of The Current, in that he donated money.”
Another Minnesota pubmedia neighbor, the youth-programming initiative ReWire at Twin Cities Public Television, assembled clips from Prince’s local appearances on TPT over the years, as well as from the musician’s 2009 interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS.
TPT also posted a video on its Facebook page of an impromptu Prince street party in Minneapolis.
American Public Media announced to stations that MPR had “multiple reporters” on the story at Prince’s Paisley Park studios after the news broke, and APM assembled a package of coverage and features.
In Washington, D.C., NPR made its headquarters sign purple, Prince’s trademark color.
— Maria Thomas (@pesmou) April 22, 2016