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MPR removes Eric Malmberg from the air at The Current

Malmberg is suddenly gone from The Current.

Less than 24 hours after Minnesota Public Radio President Duchesne Drew said he was "blindsided" by the resignation of long-time reporter Marianne Combs, Drew announced Tuesday evening that The Current on-air personality Eric Malmberg will not be returning to MPR airwaves. 

"MPR has made the decision that the audience of The Current is best served by a programmatic change. As a result, Eric Malmberg will no longer be a DJ on The Current," Drew said in an abbreviated statement. "Our hosts have to be able to attract an audience that wants to listen to them and trusts them and over the last 36 hours those conditions have changed for Malmberg."

The decision to take Malmberg off the air comes after Combs accused the news outlet of attempting to block her story alleging historic inappropriate behavior by a host at The Current.

As of this writing, Combs' story has still not been published by MPR. 

"The MPR News editors decided that the story, which deals with complex and sensitive issues, is not ready to run because it does not meet our journalistic standards. In fact, they were blindsided by Marianne’s resignation and expected that she was continuing to work on the story," Drew said in a statement Monday. 

Combs said she had been working on the story for two-and-a-half months, which comes after MPR confirmed in June it was investigating allegations made against a host at The Current, which is owned by MPR.

Drew initially claimed that the sources in Combs' story "do not allege that the subject of the story assaulted them or did anything illegal," nor were the sources "willing to be identified."

In a Twitter thread Monday morning, Combs said that her editors at MPR News described the host as a "real creep" but worried that running a story would invite a lawsuit, despite Combs saying it had been given the once-over by MPR's lawyer.

Drew responded by saying no complaints against the host have been brought forward to MPR's HR staff, and his background check came in clear.

But Combs had said the allegations against the host span a 15-year period while he was at other radio stations. She did not state that the claims of sexual manipulation and psychological abuse happened while he was working at The Current, but said the eight alleged victims she spoke to were concerned that his behavior would continue.

"While the editors have not gone so far as to cancel the story, they have shown such a complete lack of leadership that I no longer have any confidence they will handle the story appropriately," she tweeted.

"It took two weeks to get them to even look at a second draft. All this while the DJ remains employed at The Current."

Combs is not the only MPR employee to express frustration with the organization's efforts to address sexual harassment. Current host Andrea Swensson said she brought four possible stories to the attention of those in "positions of power" regarding predatory behavior within the Twin Cities media scene, but was met with roadblocks. You can read more on that here.

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