KUCI Hosts A House Party

Love the music on your favorite indie radio station but need a convenient venue to dance to the tunes? Come party with the KUCI family this Saturday, April 4 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Cross-Cultural Center.

The casual dance party was the brainchild of veteran KUCI disk jockey and UC Irvine Alum Kyle Olson, who’s been spinning records on the radio station since Summer 2002.

“I just wanted to have an event that was fun and informal … I wanted it to be a party and give people at UCI something to do,” Olson said.

Mike Kaspar, general manager of KUCI confirmed the dance party’s informal atmosphere.

“It’s a socially relaxed situation to introduce ourselves to UCI students,” Kaspar said.

The night will feature four KUCI DJs playing music similar to their respective shows, including Emily Hsiao of “Sweater Weather,” Rita Gennawey of “The Sound Session,” Jeremy Giovanazzo of “Disco, For Your Health” and Olson of “Things That Are Square.”

The dance night is meant to be more of an event than a fundraiser: the entry price is a suggested $5 donation, but “we won’t turn anyone away if they only have three bucks on them,” Olson said.

Kaspar agreed with Olson in focusing on improving the experience rather than fundraising.

“Fundraising is secondary to getting people involved in KUCI,” Kaspar said. “It’s more important that people are introduced to the station in a new way.”

Kaspar cited KUCI’s autonomy as the reason personal projects like Olson’s dance party are able to proceed.

“None of the projects have to be a home run in raising a lot of money. If it does make money, that’s great,” Kaspar said. “But the station is always looking to make more recognition. We look at all these things as building more recognition.”

The idea, planning and organization of the dance party has been in Olson’s hands for almost a year.

“I got the idea last summer,” Olson said. “The idea came and went until our program director [Beth Hughes] said, ‘Why don’t you organize it already?’ I started [planning] in January but it really picked up last month.”

Olson began promoting the dance party with a Facebook invitation to his close friends, who told other friends. The event appeared on the KUCI Web site and began promotion on the radio station itself at the end of spring break.

“Even if only 100 people show up, that’s 500 dollars,” Olsen said. “We just want people to show up – it’s a modest goal.”

Olson also cited KUCI’s unique musical flavor that set it apart from other local stations.

“There’s all kinds of stuff up in L.A. that won’t be specifically dance music, but are [similar to the dance party]. There’s just nothing like that around here,” Olson said, “and coming to the party would be supporting the last remaining independent radio station in Orange County.”

With the demise of popular local radio station Indie 103.1, KUCI has seen increased attention as the only radio station that supplies similar music, according to Kaspar.

“Now that Indie 103 has gone away … we’ve been approached by a lot of different clubs and bands,” Kaspar said.

But Kaspar sees Indie 103.1 as a passing influence compared to the history of independent music on KUCI.

“We’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for 40 years,” Kaspar said. “Without us, there’d be a lot less opportunity for new music. We want to be playing stuff that hasn’t been heard before.”

Kaspar has left the decision to do another dance party up to Olson.

“If it’s a success, then we’ll definitely [do it again],” Olson said. “Quarterly, maybe, but who knows? Now that I’ve done [all the organization once], it’ll be a lot easier to do it again.”