Wanted: The Next Interpol

DJ Rita Gennawey, host of KUCI-FM's The Sound Session, may be the perfect composite of the college station's broadcast philosophy: she started as a UCI student four years ago and has continued with her indie rock and electronic-centric radio show two years after graduating. Gennawey promotes local musicians and shows, doesn't have aspirations to break into commercial radio, and plans to continue the show as long as it's fun.

Is there a vision for your show?

I try to play new music, so anything that's new, different and not being played anywhere else because that's our station motto. So, anything within those boundaries.

Do you find the boundaries restrictive at all?

We have our philosophy, which is to find new music and support these smaller artists and be ahead of the curve. I don't think that's really a rule, I think that's a way of saying you can pretty much play anything, which we can. No one's telling us what to play; we play whatever we want to play as long as it's not within commercial radio, so I don't really think it's restrictive. I would say other people at our station would agree with me.

What's kept you at KUCI after graduating?

I love the people there. That's one thing. I love being able to have my own time and play some music and find out about new bands, new artists.

How do you find out about new bands?

KUCI gets a lot of music, so I go and I pick random things before my show. If it looks interesting, I'll randomly pick it up and if I like it I'll play it. It's random.

Ever grab stuff you hate?

Yeah, a couple of times. Sometimes I'll play it just to see. Maybe someone out there will like it and it's not my taste.

Do you listen to commercial radio at all?

I used to, and then I got bored with it. I have more at my disposal that keeps me happy versus anything that I could hear on commercial radio. But a lot of the bands that are on commercial radio now started off as bands we would play at KUCI. Death Cab for Cutie, Interpol, those are bands we played for a while, and now they've gotten their due, they're doing well on commercial radio, MTV and other outlets like that. We've had to move on and find the next Death Cab, the next Interpol.

Do you have any favorite local bands?

I do like the band Satisfaction. They're one of my favorites. Any time they're around, I promote them. Another one of my favorites is Matt Costa. He's a singer/songwriter who at one point in time actually contacted me because he found out I was playing his music on my show. So, that's the nice local element to having a community radio station and a local show. These bands will find out that you're playing them, and they get pleasure knowing that someone out there is listening to their music and likes what they're doing.

How do you see your time at KUCI ending?

I'm going to do it for as long as I can. I still enjoy it. When I stop enjoying it, then I'll stop doing the show, but I don't see that happening any time soon.


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