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Beau Gunn ’05 doesn’t find it stressful speaking live to thousands of people. For him, hosting the afternoon drive show from the “igloo” at The Penguin, 98.3 FM, radio station is his form of release.
“Without the afternoon shift, I would kind of go insane,” he said with a laugh. “I have never been an artistic individual. This is kind of my way of releasing my creativity. Just having that release on air is my contribution to the music world: this and producing concerts.”
Gunn interned at The Penguin while earning his bachelor’s in communication studies from UNCW. He moved up the ranks to program director before becoming part owner and general manager of Hometown Wilmington Media, which owns The Penguin.
In 2013, to mark the station's 10th year on air, Gunn organized the Penguin Music Festival, a daylong celebration of music in downtown Wilmington.
“We had been producing shows at Greenfield Lake and Brooklyn Arts Center for about six years, and I wanted to create a daylong festival. It so happened that it was perfect timing as we were celebrating our 10-year anniversary,” said Gunn. “The first year we hosted the event in the Castle Street arts district. It was great because it gave that rejuvenated area some much needed press and attention. We moved it to the banks of the Cape Fear River this year.”
Gunn co-produced a short documentary of this year’s event with the UNCW Department of Communication Studies.
In addition to being the afternoon host on The Penguin, Gunn owns and operates a company that produces live concerts in established Local Voice Media markets and is president of Chords for a Cause, a local non-profit that uses music to better the lives of people in the Wilmington area.
“Music is what I breathe,” Gunn said. “This is what keeps me in touch with the community.”
Looking back on his time as a Seahawk, Gunn said “learning to network and communicate professionally helped me immensely. That and having been a product of the intern program myself at the station set me on the career path I am on today.”
When asked how he juggles so many roles, he said, “I have an incredible team of co-workers, and we all support each other in tandem. Professionally, wearing 4 or 5 ‘hats’ is all I have ever known. I believe that is just the way the professional world is these days. The payoff for me, whether it’s through the radio or through concert production, is when I get to see people smile and dance. That will always make it worth it. Not to mention, if you love what you do (and I do), then it never really feels like work.”