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WRUU Spotlight: Emanuela Curtale 

Community radio is a ‘passion project’

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WE’RE KICKING OFF a new series profiling show hosts on WRUU "Savannah Soundings," Savannah’s nonprofit community radio station.

Leading off the series is Emanuela Curtale, host of the ‘Strange Folk’ show and head of Media & Marketing at WRUU, which you can find at 107.5 FM or streaming at wruu.org.

What in your background or interests led you to wanting to curate a radio show? Have you worked in radio before? 

In college I was a student DJ for WPCZ in North Georgia. I’ve always loved radio, and wanted to continue being part of it once I moved to Savannah.

Tell us about your shows at WRUU. What are you trying to accomplish with the content -- what are your goals each week, both for yourself and for the listeners?

My first show, Shadowlines, was an exploration of music from the 1980s. I started with post-punk and new wave, eventually delving into 80s experimental music—DIY, noise, early industrial. The goal was to explore the decade’s darker, more political underbelly, playing artists who rejected and deconstructed mainstream genres and notions of music production.

At the same time, following artists like Alexander Tucker, and radio shows like Psych Out on WXNA, I realized there was a very similar spirit of experimentation and reinvention in contemporary psychedelic folk.

I decided to put Shadowlines on hiatus until the fall, and in June I started Strange Folk. While the show revolves predominantly around folk and psychedelic music, from the 60s to today, I’d like to explore the fluidity of those genres.

My approach to curating a radio show, in both cases, is about exploring traditions and the artists who reinvent it. With freeform radio stations like WRUU, I prefer to use that freedom to play artists who don’t get airtime, and invite listeners to explore weird or forgotten music with me.

 How specifically did you get involved with WRUU and what has it been like working there? 

I first found out about WRUU when I came across Nervous Energy, which was a punk show that aired on Friday nights. I became curious about WRUU because it was playing the kind of music that I couldn’t find on any other station in Savannah. I joined as a music host in 2019, and this year I’ve been leading the Media and Marketing team.

In both roles, the atmosphere is open and collaborative. People who follow or support WRUU all love the spirit of the station, which is rooted in teamwork: the station volunteers, with all their different interests or backgrounds, somehow all coexist and appreciate each other’s contributions.

As Media and Marketing team leader, I have the chance to witness the outpouring of support from around Savannah—from listeners, the art community, to local businesses—who are always willing to collaborate, join us on the air, or help us out in any way.

What have you learned so far doing the show that you didn’t expect to?

I’ve developed a much deeper appreciation for independent record labels, and the work they do. Like music DJs, their aim is to give an artist’s work a home, and provide exposure.

You have labels like Mississippi Records and Death Is Not The End, with the aim of saving and preserving music that would otherwise be forgotten or lost.

With Shadowlines, I explored 80s and 90s labels like Nettwerk, 4AD, and Trance Syndicate, understanding how record labels can influence or contribute to the development of musical genres.

Mostly what I learned since joining WRUU is the importance of freeform and community radio. When radio is driven by service to the community, rather than commercial profit, the goal is to celebrate individuality, rather than stifle it.

In a way, every music show on WRUU is a passion project, and the host’s relationship with the music they share is always deeply personal.

In turn, when listeners are not treated as consumers, this allows music hosts to develop a relationship with their audience that is honest and intimate.

cs

WRUU Savannah Soundings radio focus is on celebrating Savannah's creative depth and diversity, and providing programming to unserved or underserved community groups. WRUU is an all-volunteer station. Stream them at wruu.org

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About The Author

Jim Morekis

Jim Morekis

Bio:
A native Savannahian, Jim has been editor-in-chief of Connect Savannah for 15 years. The University of Georgia graduate is also a travel writer, authoring regional guides in the Moon handbook series... more

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