Acoustic Moose hits the airwaves

Local concert series is transitioning from live streaming to radio play at WVMO.

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Not many Madisonians may be familiar with Acoustic Moose, the live concert series started in September 2018 by local recording studio Audio for the Arts, but more are about to be.

That’s because beginning July 19, Acoustic Moose will be co-presented by WVMO 98.7 FM, “The Voice of Monona,” on the third Friday of each month.

It’s a boon for the original Audio for the Arts programming, and also for the local artists whose music will now be heard by a wider audience.

By partnering with WVMO, “we can increase the visibility of the Acoustic Moose series and of our work in general,” says Buzz Kemper, Audio for the Arts owner and host of a show on the radio station. “More importantly, we can give our talented artists the exposure they so deserve. Most radio stations will play only artists who are already popular; typical commercial radio stations have little or no interest in giving airtime to local talent.”

Kemper notes that WVMO and Audio for the Arts share the goal of giving these artists some well-deserved exposure, which is good both for them and for listeners who discover new music created in their own backyard. It’s an ideal collaboration for the recording studio and radio station, which have both been racking up awards lately. WVMO was recently named the 2018 Large Market Station of the Year by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and Audio for the Arts just won Studio of the Year at the Madison Area Music Awards, where Kemper also took home Live Sound Engineer of the Year honors.

Acoustic Moose, which takes its name from a stuffed animal moose head that hangs on the Audio for the Arts studio wall — not a real moose head, Kemper is quick to point out — is a unique, local live music experience. “It is truly intimate, with a maximum in-studio audience of about 20 people, and an overflow of an additional 10 or so in the control room,” Kemper explains. “This ensures that the artist and the audience will have a true listening experience (i.e., no loud conversations with the music in the background). Our audiences are there for the music, so there are no distractions for either the listener or the musicians.”

Since its start last fall, Acoustic Moose has been live streamed each month on the Audio for the Arts Facebook page, as well as its website at The program has enjoyed modest success, with 15 to 25 live views on the website each show, and between 10 and 20 on Facebook Live, according to Audio for the Arts’ Grant Blaschka. Views after a video has been published on Facebook jump to between 300 and 1,000, with some outliers being much higher, such as a performance from Bryan Drewyor (One Human Band) that has 8,300 views.

Artists featured on the series thus far include Wurk, The JeffreyJames Show, Bad Philosopher, Alison Margaret, One Human Band, Meggie Shays, Mr. Chair, and Dana Perry. On July 19, Acoustic Moose will live stream a performance by Nate Meng & the Stolen Sea, and later in the evening WVMO will rebroadcast the program’s inaugural performance from Wurk.

Kemper says the studio hasn’t had to do much reaching out to artists since the Acoustic Moose series began, noting once musicians found out Audio for the Arts was doing an intimate, live-streamed concert series, they began calling the studio asking to be on. “We have a Yamaha C6 grand piano, which most artists don’t often get in a small venue,” says Kemper. “Being a recording studio, we do a nice live mix, but we also make a multitrack recording that the artist can make use of if they wish.

“And, unlike at other venues, here the artist sets the door price and takes 100 percent of it; the studio takes no money.”

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