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Feature
Spotlight on Athena Matsudo
host of Couch Boat Connection, Fridays 10 a.m. to noon
by: Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

First, Athena, tell me about the title to your show. Where did it come from?
The term “Couch Boat” was created my freshman year of college with my roommate in the dorms. We had numerous conversations about stealing the couches from the living room of our dorm hall and fastening them together with wheels to essentially make a vessel in which we could maneuver ourselves around campus. We were never able to make our idea come to life, but the name definitely lives on in the title of my show.

What's the theme of your show?
Electronic music and its various subgenres. In the time I have held a show at KUCI, there has been an emergence of so many different electronic subgenres and I love being able to have the opportunity to showcase them.

Talk a little more about how you decided on the theme.
I’d been really interested in electronic music for many years prior to receiving a show on KUCI. When I was younger, I was exposed to a huge amount of music that spanned several decades and it led me to discover music on my own frequently. Throughout my adolescence, and now through my early adulthood, I’ve enjoyed the energy of electronic music and how differently some of it sounds. Not all electronic music sounds like beeps and boops or crazy bass drops, I promise!

You play bands no one's ever heard of—until your show—and songs by household names, like Mariah Carey and Ed Sheeran. How do you choose songs by the household name artists?
Although the artist who originally created the song is a household name, usually the people who tend to remix their songs bring such a different and creative spin that sometimes these songs are unrecognizable to the original. These artists can take samples from very popular songs and construct something completely different and fresh in my opinion.

Let's back up a bit. How did you come to have a show at KUCI?
Before I even attended my first class at UC Irvine I knew that KUCI had a radio station on campus by stumbling upon their website. It was always one of my goals to become a part of KUCI before I graduated, and eventually host my own show. It wasn’t until my second year where I had found a stack of flyers promoting KUCI in the community center of the apartment complex that told me when training classes start. I had the flyer taped onto my desk until I passed the training class and was able to see my goal come to life when I was put on the program schedule for the first time.

What do you hear from listeners?
I hear a lot of positive things from my listeners. It’s always great to know that people are tuned in and enjoying the music I’m playing over the air.

Do you like taking requests?
I love taking requests. It’s so much fun to be able to talk to listeners and to know someone is tuned into my show. It definitely perks up my day. Often listeners will request something I’ve never heard of, so it benefits the quality of my show as well.

What's the strangest request you've ever received?
The strangest request I’ve ever received was the same song to be played every time I had my show for nearly a month. Other than that, there has never been a requested song that is too strange to play at some point during my show.

Here at KUCI, you've been Program Director. Has anything surprising come out of this role?
The Program Director has to be prepared for anything. So nothing extraordinarily surprising has come out of this role so far. I’ve really been enjoying being able to get to know everyone on the program schedule and the music that they play, so that’s been a lot of fun.

Will you continue on for another term as Program Director?
Unfortunately I will not be taking on another term as Program Director. I thoroughly enjoyed the role and opportunity of PD, but I will be living off campus next year and I do not want to risk shutting down the station in the middle of the night if I can’t make it over there for some sort of emergency. I will however be (hopefully) trying out my hand in a different position on the management board where distance will not be a problem.

Any shows here at KUCI you're compelled to listen to?
I love listening to all the shows on KUCI. Our staff members who are on air bring forward so many different personalities that it’s an absolute blast listening in, regardless if it is a music or public affairs show, or whatever the theme may be.

What do you do when you're not at the station?
I mainly just do school stuff when I’m not at the station. I’m a bit of a homebody during the week and tend do go out more on the weekends.

In one sentence, tell our readers why they should consider hosting a show, music or PA, here at KUCI.
Hosting a show on KUCI will benefit you in such a way that it will carry on through different aspects of your life while leaving a positive impact on the community.


Barbara DeMarco-Barrett is host of Writers on Writing, Wednesdays at 9 a.m., and a contributor to USA Noir: Best of the Akashic Noir Series (Akashic, 2013). Watch the book trailer at penonfire.com.
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