KVRX and TSTV’S Local Live stays true to local bands while expanding its media outlets


Marisa Vasquez

Once Per Axis band members Pierce Saxon, Joe Layton, Allie Gonino, and Jack Pearl will be performing in the Local Live studio this Sunday October 28th. Local Live is a live music program that is broadcast by both KVRX and TSTV.

Hannah Smothers

The sprawling lines that were once a common occurrence in the College of Communication’s plaza have disappeared since “Austin City Limits” moved its taping facility to a bigger venue downtown. But students with KVRX and TSTV are aiming to change that.

Local Live” is a live music program that is broadcast by both KVRX and TSTV. Local and up-and-coming bands are invited to the small studio on the top floor of the William Randolph Hearst Building on Sunday evenings to play before a squadron of camera- and soundboard-wielding students.

“‘Local Live’ started in August 1993, so it’s coming up on its 20th anniversary,” Becca Rushworth, TSTV station manager, said. “‘Local Live’ is one of our few staple shows that gets many volunteers not only from the TV side, but also the radio side.”

The collaboration between KVRX and TSTV has been prevalent throughout the history of the program, but “Local Live” only started airing live this semester. Ivan Brave, “Local Live” executive producer, has tightened the bond between radio and television through his involvement with KVRX and TSTV.

“It was always kind of scattered,” Brave said. “Audio and video were super separated. One of the first things I did was make it a live TV broadcast.”

Brave has also introduced in-studio audiences to Local Live, a concept that was tested and debuted Oct. 7 with Eric & Olivia’s session. The second in-studio audience date is this Sunday and will feature local folk-rock band Once Per Axis.

“I like the fact that it’s a captive audience,” Pierce Saxon of Once Per Axis said. “As a gigging musician in Austin, most of the time you’re playing to a noisy bar. It’s going to be a huge change to have 30 or so people sitting in a room and for the show to be the only thing going on.”

The small studio in which “Local Live” takes place helps establish the intimate connection between artist and audience Saxon is referring to.

“We’ll have 40 chairs set up,” Brave said. “But the wristbands, we just give them out. Anyone can get a wristband. That’s why we really encourage the first-come-first-served idea.”

This method of overextending wristband giveaways is reminiscent of the old ACL tapings that took place in KLRU’s Studio 6A, which became infamous for its long lines and extreme exclusivity. “Local Live” could be following in the legendary television program’s mighty footsteps.

“I hate to say this, but I’ve never been to an ACL taping,” Rushworth said. “I’ve seen the lines for them, of course, and that’s what I would love to happen to ‘Local Live.’ Lines out the door of the HSM because TSTV and KVRX is something to be proud of.”

One of the most prominent differences between the ACL tapings and “Local Live” is the selection of bands that are invited to perform.

“Although the basic concept is similar, our approach is more for the benefit of the local and independent artists and supporting their work,” Clay Downham, “Local Live” audio media supervisor and audio assistant, said. “By expanding our audience, we create avenues for the artists’ audience to grow.”

The term “local” is a central concept to “Local Live,” drawing from the program’s focus and title; however, Brave hopes to bring in bigger bands with time.

“Something we take pride in is we take bands before they get big,” Brave said. “We had Death Cab [for Cutie] in 2000, we had My Morning Jacket in 2001, we had Dr. Dog before they released that album that track was on. Do we have plans to book bigger bands? Yes. Absolutely.”

“Local Live” is in the process of establishing itself as a more professional music program. With the absence of ACL tapings on the UT campus, the program has big shoes to fill.

“‘Local Live’ is like an ACL, not a mini ACL,” Brave said. “Some of the beauty of that is it’s back on campus now.”

Students who wish to be in the audience for the “Local Live” taping of Once Per Axis can pick up wristbands from the business office located on the ground floor of the HSM at 1 p.m. Friday.

Printed on Thursday, October 25, 2012 as: Local Live jams on in Hearst