By Dina Al-Ziab
Photo by Kate Worley
It could be considered a serendipitous twist of fate that Kelsey Hanrahan became the host of ‘Rocket Shop.’ Rocket Shop, a weekly radio program that broadcasts on 105.9 FM WOMM-LP The Radiator, plays old and new music from the Vermont Music Library collection. What started out as an internship in 2008 turned into Kelsey promoting some of the sickest Vermont musicians. In her experience on Rocket Shop, working side by side with the director of Big Heavy World, Jim Lockridge, she has met a multitude of amazing musicians, poets, comics and more.
At first, Kelsey only did weekly updates on the show until Jim recognized that she was a natural behind the mic. “He just kind of ushered me into the host spot,” says Hanrahan. “I never thought I’d do a radio show but when he said it, I was like, why not.” Now you can tune in every Wednesday from 8-9pm and listen to live bands playing from the studio, or music from one of Kelsey’s own Vermont music playlists.
Kelsey plays music that ranges from folk, to jam, to funk, and back around, ensuring there is always something for everyone. Her own music tastes are just as diverse (although she is really into the jam scene), but nothing is out of her range. Whether it’s the metal her boyfriend is listening to or the mellow melodies of Jack Johnson, Kelsey appreciates all styles of music. In the summer, she enjoys attending music festivals, avidly listening for new sounds and names to talk about on Rocket Shop.
With such positive reception to music from all backgrounds, Kelsey was an obvious candidate to host Rocket Shop. Before entering into the world of radio hosting, she was taking classes as a Public Relations major before a friend suggested she take the Music and Business course taught by Jim Lockridge. It was a small class, just a handful of students, which allowed Kelsey and Jim to connect on a personal level. “He brought us on some really cool field trips to places like Higher Ground,” says Kelsey. “We got to check out Pure Pop and learn how they run the store. It was totally my thing.”
For Kelsey, it is always a treat having someone play live in the studio. Recently she hosted CrowfeatheR, Guides for the Future, and John Tubbs, amongst other local artists. She makes it easy for people to want to talk to her and even the shyest of musicians can rock out in their own style in her presence. She is a natural; even interviewing her was like speaking with an old friend.
The great thing about Kelsey is that she works hard for the musicians who appear or will be appearing on her show. She goes to shows at Nectar’s, Radio Bean and other local venues, scoping out new sounds to promote on the show. Kelsey is always open to suggestions and to people who seek her out who want to be on the show. Rocket Shop is a creative outlet for artists to project their original pieces, and Kelsey is a supportive host who welcomes them into her studio. This certainly explains why Rocket Shop has been going strong for the last three years.
Kelsey is hoping to continue with Rocket Shop even after she graduates from Champlain College in the winter. There is no denying she loves her job by the enthusiasm in her voice as she speaks about the guests she’s had in the studio or the new band she checked out over the weekend. Simply put, it’s Kelsey’s passion. “I’d love to stay at The Radiator for as long as I can,” says Kelsey. “I love doing it, it’s worth it.”