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WUNH brings in local bands for new live show

By Cole Caviston, staff writer

A new program launched at WUNH, Seacoast Live! , offers a place for local musicians to perform live on Fridays from 8 to 9 p.m.

Seacoast Live! is hosted by seniors Devon George, the WUNH events director, and Katie McAuliffe, the news director, who were motivated to bring in musical flavor from close-by.

“We mostly like to bring in local bands, half because they’re easy to book and half because it’s nice to support local bands,” George said. “It’s also an easy way for them to boost their listenership.”

However, there was another critical factor for Seacoast Live!: having a show that would play on Friday nights when hockey wasn’t broadcast. It was a predicament that George thought she had a solution for. 

“As events director, I came up with this idea as a response to hockey because a lot of the time we would have a DJ on Friday nights, their show would keep being traded out for hockey,” George said.

About a year and a half ago, the WUNH studio underwent remodeling, gaining a new on-air studio and a live-performance studio. Since then, both WUNH and the MUB have been pushing for more live bands to come in.

“There’s an intimacy to hearing a live show through the radio that’s different from seeing it live,” McAuliffe said.

George and McAuliffe are getting used to the new setup, which is exacerbated by the lack of permanent sound engineer. So far, fellow DJ Greg Marinaccio filled in for their first broadcast, hosting Gretchen and the Pickpockets on January 23, and later relying on a friend who works in the MUB for their second show.

There have also been technical hiccups. During their first broadcast, just as Gretchen and the Pickpockets were about to receive their cue to begin, none of the audio feed came through, causing George and McAuliffe to scramble and make ‘emphatic hand gestures” to their sound engineer in the other room.

“It’s the excitement and peril of live radio, these things will happen and that’s kind of why I love this medium; you really don’t know what might happen,” McAuliffe said.

But they also agree that co-hosting is a mutual satisfying, fun experience they both enjoy undertaking.   

“I think it’s great to have a show that’s just not you all the time, it brings a dynamic to it and color that you wouldn’t have with just one DJ,” McAuliffe said.

In comparing live performances to being treated to their own private show, both hosts admit to shamelessly cheering on their guests from behind the glass and even dancing to the music.

“That’s how you get a good radio show with two co-host, by having a fluidity to your communication and making sure that each other’s needs are being met and each other’s visions in the show format are being acknowledged,” McAuliffe said.

McAulliffe is responsible for audio revision after the broadcast, taking out any on-air errors, and then uploading the recording onto an audio streaming format, like Soundcloud or Mixcloud.

Booking the bands is something we both take on in conjuncture,” McAuliffe said. “That’s why it works well, we have different tastes we bring to it.”

For instance, George likes bluegrass bands while McAullife prefers alternative rock, jazz groups, and indie rock outfits.

In addition to hosting Gretchen and the Pickpockets and People Like You, their second guest, on January 30, the band Todo Bien will perform on February 20 as part of a release party for their album “Here We Go.”

They’ve also reached out to Aly Spaltro and her band Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, an indie group which originated in Portland. McAulliffe admits that this does go against their idea of booking entirely local groups.

“It kind of counter-intuitive to our line in Seacoast Live!, which is that ‘if you eat local, why not listen local?’,” McAullife said, “but sometimes we deviate out of those lines to bring you something exciting.”

After weeks of negotiation with the band’s press agent and band manager, they successfully booked an appearance of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper to promote their new album “After” on March 6.

Following that, on March 20, Harsh Armadillo, a UNH-based jazz-funk group, will perform. As for this April, however, George and McAuliffe are tight-lipped on their plans.

As they both prepare to graduate this semester, George and McAuliffe are enthusiastic for any students to try out radio and experience it for themselves.

“There’s a real need for more radio-yarded, music-minded people, whether you want to edit news, produce a good interview, or you want to do music, either a specialty show or a general music show,” McAuliffe said. “The best thing about the station is learning.”

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