Kentcore TV show highlights musicians in Northeast Ohio

Writing, reporting and photos by Abbey Marshall

If you’re in search of your next favorite Northeast Ohio musician, tune into Kentcore.

The 30-minute TV show, produced by Kent State University students and aired on the campus’ broadcast channel, experienced an explosive expansion during a time when live performance ceased to exist.

“From the start, bands we knew were telling their friends and their audiences,” says managing editor Ben Pagani. “Come fall, we were surprisingly overwhelmed with how many artists were applying to play on our show because the pandemic pressed pause on performing. There were some cool names in the area that we were surprised even knew our show existed, let alone play on it.”

What began as a short acoustic set posted by founder and now-alumnus Jordan Audia to KentWired.com, the website for Kent State’s largest student media outlet, quickly grew into a full-blown TV show, airing on TV2 every Friday night at 9 p.m. Each episode features a local Northeast Ohio musician or band performing a 20 minute set followed by an interview with hosts. Kentcore just wrapped its third season at the end of spring semester.

From the electric synthesizers of Cleveland’s two-piece Factual Brains to Akron’s indie pop Shelby Olive to The Devil Strip’s own community outreach director, hip-hop artist and rapper Floco Torres, the Kentcore team experienced a renaissance of sorts in the past season, stretching their coverage into genres they hadn’t before.

“It’s just interesting as we’ve gone further into the show how diverse these acts can be sound-wise,” says editor-in-chief Kelsey Paulus, who grew up in Canton. “I thought my whole life that this Northeast Ohio area is just some guys’ rock and roll stuff, but once you start looking and digging further, you can find really amazing people, and we’ve really prioritized exposing ourselves and our audiences to that kind of thing.”

The students were eager to expand with the success of their show. They wanted Kentcore to be a one-stop-shop for all music journalism content, from videos to written articles to photo galleries. Enter a new website, an expanded staff of designers, broadcasters and journalists and a desire to impact the music scene around them, and the team got to work building a new future for Kentcore. 

“Essentially what we’re doing here is we’re a creative workspace for independent musicians, thinkers, writers, broadcasters, anything of the sort,” Pagani says. “Kentcore is a place for musicians and journalists of every platform to have a good time, get relevant experience and exposure. We’re able to get real experience out of covering local artists, who in turn are getting real experience performing or having their stories told.

You may see several articles written by Kentcore staff members published in The Devil Strip this summer as part of our new partnership to expand our arts and music coverage in the region.

Watch previous episodes of Kentcore’s show on their YouTube channel or visit their website at www.kentcoretv2.com for more content. 

Abbey Marshall covers economic development for The Devil Strip via Report for America. Reach her at abbey@thedevilstrip.com