© 2024 WHRO Public Media
5200 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk VA 23508
757.889.9400 | info@whro.org
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Paul Shugrue Celebrates 20 Years at WHRO Public Media

“Studies have shown that 90 percent of the music we listen to every day, we’ve heard before,” said WHRV Host Paul Shugrue. For the last 20 years, he’s been on a mission to change that. WHRO Public Media is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Paul being on the station’s airwaves—and of his incredibly popular program Out of the Box.

Paul said he has been working in radio “since the prehistoric era of vinyl records when you had to worry about the song you’re playing skipping or getting stuck in one groove. Ah, those were the days!” His first gig was at WUVT, the student radio station at Virginia Tech.

He has listened to music all of his life, but he said he was a teenager when one particular genre caught his attention. “I discovered the so-called progressive rock stations. They were so cool I wanted to be like them,” he explained.

He hasn’t looked back since those early days at Tech’s student radio station. And it has been an exciting ride, though it has also been hard work.

“Radio was a very competitive field when I first started,” he said. “I worked my way up from small markets in Virginia to where I am now. Today it is, in some ways, more competitive because many of those jobs have been automated. I feel fortunate to be in my position and to play what I want to play on the air. That’s always been very important to me.”

He has also enjoyed some very exhilarating opportunities while on the job. “I had the thrill of hosting a couple of morning show broadcasts from Abbey Road Studios in London back in the ‘80s and I also did radio reports from Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985,” he recalled. He has also enjoyed interviewing local artists as well as national acts, like hometown hero Clarence Clemons, Eliza Gilkyson, Over the Rhine, The Wood Brothers and Jason Isbell. “Most of them played live in studio which was the ultimate for me,” Paul said.

But hosting Out of the Box has been his overarching achievement to date.

“The biggest accomplishment of my career so far has been the ongoing success of Out of the Box for 20 years now,” he said. “It’s a unique show that fills a void of music that had been missing from the radio, and I get to do it in the style of those oh-so-cool progressive rock jocks.“

The program promises to keep listeners up to date on all the great new music that's being released but rarely played on the radio anywhere else. The show features alternative, Americana, blues, reggae and more.

“I’ve been really encouraged by the consistent support the show has gotten in terms of membership donations,” Paul said. “Whodathunk it?” he joked. “People seem to like hearing something new on the radio!”

It turns out people also enjoy live performances from many of the same local bands that Paul features on his program. Ten years ago he began the ‘Out of the Box Emerging Artists Concert Series’ in partnership with the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach. Each winter, he hosts free weekly concerts with new artists, and they have become quite popular with local music fans.

The concert series for 2024 begins Jan. 11. “The Out of the Box Series is going on all winter long,“ Paul said. ”Thursday nights we’ll have some of Hampton Road’s best artists putting on live, free shows at the Sandler Center.“

And, of course, Paul will be there too. He’d never miss an opportunity to support local artists and share great music!

Congratulations, Paul, on an incredible 20 years of Out of the Box and 10 years of bringing great concerts to our community. We look forward to many more!

Check out the lineup for this year’s Out of the Box Emerging Artists Concert Series.

Hear Out of the Box Monday through Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m., or stream it online.