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Dancing to the Beat of the Sound

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Audio supervisor Sharon Cullen has a front-row seat to some of the best performances in Austin.

By Mikaila Rushing, Photos by Jonathan Jackson and Beverly Barrett

Sharon Cullen, audio supervisor for KLRU-TV’s Austin City Limits, is no stranger to 16-hour workdays. On recording days, she arrives at the Moody Theater bright and early to set up, then her day is filled with rehearsals, managerial tasks and editing. But despite her vast workload, she wouldn’t want it any other way.

“That’s kind of what makes it interesting,” Cullen says. “Every day is not the same.”

Cullen began her career at KLRU-TV in 1990 as an intern after working in radio, television and film studies at the University of Texas, and since 2000, she’s been the audio supervisor for Austin City Limits, a program showcasing live musical performances from an array of artists. While Cullen’s main focus is audio, she does quite a bit of general production work as well, including meeting with the crew on recording days and editing audio in postproduction.

In the 27 years she has worked on the program, many things have changed. Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, the program’s new venue, was built in 2011 and now nearly half of all the performances are live-streamed, which provides new challenges for Cullen and her team. This makes rehearsals that much more important and pressures during recordings even higher.

But perhaps one of the most notable changes for Cullen has been in her own music tastes. She began her career as a staunch country-music fan, but after being exposed to many genres and acts throughout the years, she finds she can no longer easily choose favorites.

In addition to learning to appreciate different genres, Cullen has also learned the importance of loving one’s occupation.

“I think it’s important for your job to be something to find joy in,” Cullen says.

As a publically funded program, Austin City Limits needs community support for its continued existence.

To learn more about KRLU-TV and Austin City Limits, visit klru.org.

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