Northshore Magazine

May / June 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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191 Carolyn Morrell is a longtime member of the station's nine-host lineup. Opposite, The station's River Music Hall hosts intimate performances for a select few. you can occasionally hear them sneeze and cough. With the station's 20th anniversary coming up on August 1, The River has proven that radio stations can thrive by being genuine, by being part of the lives of the people that listen, and by giving them something more than background music. Marshall's Friday morning playlist meanders from The Beatles and Stevie Nicks to Mumford & Sons and The Head and the Heart, with "Freeform Facebook Friday" listener requests filling some of the gaps. In industry parlance, The River is a triple-A format station; in everyday terms, it plays singer-songwriter- based music for the grown-up children of the '80s and '90s. Every 15 minutes or so, Marshall warmly interjects, relaying news bites, a forecast for more snow on the first day of spring, and yesterday's March Madness scores like she's telling dinner guests what the entrée is. At 10 a.m., she passes the mic to Carolyn Morrell, another of the music junkies that comprise the station's nine-host lineup. "To go to work each day and dance cra- zily and unabashedly to the music you're playing—that's a pretty great job," Morrell says. That music—which reaches ra- dio dials from the New Hampshire seacoast to below Metro Boston (the "river" has equal claim to the Merrimack, the Charles, and the Piscataqua)—emanates from an art deco building on How Street with solar panels on the roof. Back in the 1940s, before vinyl 45s, big bands used to play live in a studio on the station's top floor with granite floors and rubber-rimmed doors. In 1995, the year that 92.5 FM became The River after a half century of changes at the station, the space became the River Music Hall. Ever since, the walls have been covered in Sharpie scribbles from Jack Johnson, The Lumineers, and more than 1,000 other artists who have performed for pint-sized audiences. In 2008, Donald St. Sauveur had been mulling over whether or not to take a job as the station's general manager. When he saw Ingrid Mi - chaelson play in the River Music Hall, he made up his mind. "It was just so intimate and so magical," he says. "I'd been working in corporate radio for almost 10 years, and I hadn't seen a performance at a radio station in almost 15 years. Radio stations looked like insurance companies." In the wake of the Telecommu- nications Act of 1996, commercial radio went through upheaval and consolidation, with a handful of corporate owners like iHeartMedia

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