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Spotlight on Amanda Hernandez
host of Belly of the Beat
by: Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

How did you find your way to KUCI?
I heard about the training class through a friend some time into my freshman year. My friend didn’t finish the class because it wasn’t something she wanted to go through with but that only motivated me to check it out for myself. I joined at the start of my second year so it’s been a whole year since I’ve joined and have had a radio show. Being around people with a similar musical tastes as me pushed me to join KUCI, especially since I was still searching for where I fit in at UCI.

What do you play on your show?
I like playing anything and everything. My show, Belly of the Beat, is eclectic but I’ve definitely leaned towards indie rock, hip hop, chillwave, R&B, funk, and Spanish music. Lately I love playing disco/nu disco. From underground tracks from the ‘70s/’80s to new up and coming artists, disco is my favorite right now.

Do you take requests?
Yes. I always try to emphasize that I take requests but I don’t get too many calls, and especially didn’t when I had my show in the 2am-6am range. Crickets. No calls.

If so, what has been your most memorable request?
Out of the requests I’ve receoved. I really liked when someone put me on to Metronomy. That was groovy.

What do you listen to when you're not at the station?
I listen to a lot of music from the past. I think my show is the one way I make myself listen to new music because otherwise I’m time traveling to the ‘60s to ‘90s. I guess I’ll call it digital crate digging, aka listening to an artist I know of and then searching up related artists and listening to those artists. It’s like winding down a rabbit hole after a while. I’ve been doing this with older iconic artists to get a feel for the decades. I love being a viejita.

And hands down, I’m just always listening to Mariah Carey. I’ve listened to her whole discography a million times and it never gets old. I’ve seen her in concert twice and I’d give up a kidney to take my mom and me to see her again with front row tickets.

You help with live sound for band performances. Any bands you've discovered this way?
Definitely. Over this past summer, I began helping out a lot, learning the ropes, and working with our lead live band engineer Tom. I found all these cool bands that appeared on Indie Gladiator, like Moon Ensemble (from my hometown La Puente, whoop whoop), Precious Kid, The Sugar, and tons more just to name a few. For the most part, I try to listen to them beforehand so I can fangirl a bit while I’m helping out, and when I don’t, I often get blown away by liking them after all.

What's the one thing you wish bands would remember to do when they play live at KUCI?
Bring stickers! If you take a look in our lobby, the shelves and tables are littered with stickers from bands that have come through and sometimes they forget to bring stickers to leave their mark, literally, in our station.

What do you do when you're not at the station?
Representing Latinas in computer science at UCI. Half of my heart is in music and KUCI and the other half is in coding and technology. I’m usually busy with my school work and just recently, programming side projects with the Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE)’s Tech Committee. As a committee chair for this club, I’m trying to make sure we create an inclusive and supportive environment for Latinx interested in computer science. My focus is always on developing my coding skills so I can land one of these nice software engineering internships. It’s important to me that I can represent Latinas that have so long been underrepresented in spaces like these. One day I’d liked to combine all my passions and work for Spotify, just to speak that into existence.

And to take it down a notch, I like eating vegetables, going to swap meets, and hanging out with my KUCI friends.

You're also KUCI marketing assistant under Miguel Ochoa. What does that job entail?
As assistant, I’m helping with our new website, updating social media, and designing flyers/graphics/logos for the station. A lot of my free time goes to sketching new logos here and there and then finding time to turn them into actual digital graphics. It also entails planning events and socials for the station, which I’d like to make sure happens more often in the near future.

Do you sleep?
Like a baby. Catch me knocked out, getting my eight hours, because sleep is a priority to keep me going!

What would listeners be surprised to learn about you?
I guess a random fun fact would be that I was prom queen in high school. I forget that that happened, haha.

Anything I didn't ask but should have?
That’s good enough for me…

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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