by: Barbara DeMarco-Barrett
An indie music/radio advocate, Rita Gennawey has been a part of the Orange County music scene for years. Her passion is exposing her community to underground sounds. As a DIY tastemaker, she's always a step ahead and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: Tell me about your show, Rita.
Rita Gennawey: The Sound Session, is a hand-picked mix of indie rock music and its historical influences such as post-punk, shoegaze, '77 punk, etc. I also host live local band performances and interviews almost every week.
BDB: What inspired you to create it?
RG: I was tired of mainstream radio (c'mon, who wants to hear the same song all the time!), and I was desperate to seek out an alternative.
BDB: What did you know of KUCI prior to training?
RG: My brother used to listen to The Ska Parade and Technodrome back when we were in high school. When I came to UCI as an undergraduate, I saw a KUCI booth on campus and the DJs were shocked that I knew what KUCI was. I was immediately recruited for training, and the rest is history.
BDB: How long have you been at the station?
RG: I will be celebrating my 10th anniversary in December.
BDB: Talk about your volunteer work at KUCI, other than the show.
RG: I help with Marketing and Promotions. I do a lot of networking—I love connecting with people and telling them about how great we are and why they need to listen. The best part is that, now with social networking, we reach way more people in a smaller amount of time. And we love when they tell all of their friends.
BDB: What place in the community do you think KUCI should hold?
RG: KUCI should be the OC resource for music and talk. No other OC radio station compares.
BDB: How has KUCI changed since you joined?
RG: We've gone from "what's KUCI?" to "KUCI—I love that station!" People embrace us now because indie music has become much more accessible, thanks to bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, and Bright Eyes. I used to play those bands a lot, and took a risk that people may not like them since they weren't well-known.
BDB: Any shows at KUCI you particularly like, and why?
RG: I love Things that are Square with Kyle. He always puts me in a good music mood before I jump on the air. And I try to catch Play It As It Lays with Sean Boy when I can. Also, my show wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for some early 00s shows: Dialed In, betweenthelines and ZM Radio. I got involved with bands thanks to Keith, James and Ziba!
BDB: What stations are cued on your car radio (other than KUCI)?
RG: I really like The Sound 100.3FM. They're a newer LA station that plays classic rock bands, but they're different because they play deeper cuts, not just hit singles. And of course KCRW 89.9FM.
BDB: If you could only describe the station in three words or less, what would you say?
RG: My second family!
BDB: Any advice or tips for someone who might want a KUCI show?
RG: KUCI is a great place to meet creative folks. We all make this experience what we want it to be. KUCI has given me some great opportunities (not to mention some amazing friends), and I'm still happy to be a part of it.
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett's son was four when she started "Writers on Writing." He's now 16. She's Orange Coast Magazine's new literary critic, author of Pen on Fire, and has a story in the newish collection, Orange County Noir (Akashic). More at Pen on Fire .