- Photo courtesy of Hugh Twyman
- Adam Kukic
Adam Kukic wears a lot of hats in this town: actor, writer and, perhaps most notably, host of The WYEP Coffee House on 91.3 FM. The Coffee House airs every Sunday morning from 8-11 a.m. with the final hour devoted to an on-air conversation with a chosen musician, the segment aptly named Coffee House Conversations. Kukic took over the Coffee House almost three years ago from Cindy Howes, who now co-hosts The Morning Mix with Joey Spehar.
The idea for a coffee-house radio show was to showcase the kind of music one would expect to find in the cozy confines of a coffee shop, namely the folk and singer/songwriter genres. Under Kukic's watch, the show has grown to include other genres. Shifting slightly from the show's original coffee-house vision wasn't easy at first, Kukic says, but he found his chance when programming director Mike Sauter gave him the green light to make the show his own. Kukic began including a guest DJ. Initially reserved for local artists, these guests now include national acts. Kukic chooses artists with upcoming shows or album releases, and he asks them to play songs that have been influential on their songwriting.
"So, even when we get folk artists or singer/songwriters," explains Kukic, "we get the freedom to play something a little heavier. Sometimes it's easier for artists to talk about what they like instead of their own stuff, so we get some really good conversations."
For Kukic, Coffee House Conversations is a passion piece. He volunteers his time every Sunday morning just as he has done for the past 15 years at WYEP. Recently, he has booked some recognizable names: Damien Jurado, Martin Sexton, Alejandro Rose-Garcie, Elizabeth Ziman, and Catherine Popper to name a few.
While Kukic admits that it's exciting for a national act to join him in conversation, his heart is still firmly planted in Pittsburgh, and locals will continue to be a part of Coffee House Conversations.
"My work with WYEP is about building connections for other artists in the future," he says. "Pittsburgh artists are beginning to support each other more and more without ego. This is how a scene gets national recognition."
Visit www.wyep.org for more information.