KULV ‘The Rock’ switches formats

Mark Vidal
Staff Writer

KULV’s 107.9 FM “The Rock You Listen To” had its last live broadcast Wednesday after being on the air for more than a decade.

Students joined special guests, ULV alumnus PJ Butta from HOT 92.3 FM, Jessica Ortega, Miss La Verne 2008, and University of La Verne President Steve Morgan at Davenport Dining Hall at 11 a.m. to be part of the broadcast’s final hour.

“I think it is terribly sad that KULV is going off the air,” Matt White public administration major said.

Do not get too teary-eyed. ULV still has a live radio broadcast, and it is a fresh new one. KULV’s “The Rock You Listen To” morphed into Leo FM’s “Paw-pular Music” at exactly noon Wednesday.

ULV’s mascots, Leo and Leah, broke out in dance as Leo FM’s first-ever song played, “Don’t Stop the Music” by Rihanna.

Leos can expect to hear top 40 music commonly played on radio stations like 102.7 KISS-FM and 98.7 STAR FM, according to current program director Hannah Nakama.

“We realized that alternative rock isn’t everyone’s cup of tea,” said Nakama.

In addition to the format change this fall, the station will be more involved with campus events, issues and sports scores, as well as what is going on in the news in general.

Nakama, who is currently in her sixth semester on the air, explains that the goal is to bring more attention to the radio station, because many students on campus do not even know ULV has a radio station.

“I’ve honestly never listened to our radio station,” Nancy Padilla, criminology major said. “Maybe I’ve heard it somewhere around campus a few times but that is about it.”

The initial movement to change KULV’s format originated on Facebook.

Caitlin Lujan, multimedia communications major, approached Nakama about changing the station’s format to contemporary hit music in July.

Nakama made a deal in which she challenged Lujan to create a group on Facebook and acquire 200 members in support of the format change. The Facebook group “Change KULV Format” is still up and running.

The group did not take long to gain support. By August, 200 members joined the list, and the decision to make the switch was officially made.

“It was a smart move. I think more people would prefer to listen to Top 40 anyway; I’m one of them,” broadcast journalism major Charlie Neff said.

ULV is a diverse community composed of students from various backgrounds with divergent tastes in virtually everything, especially music.

With the new top 40 format, many artists not previously heard on campus radio will become prevalent and perhaps satisfy current and new listeners.

“I hope to hear artists similar to Pitbull, Chris Brown and Beyonce,” Avetis Ovakimyan, a broadcast journalism major, said.

Those who enjoyed the alternative music played on “The Rock You Listen To” do not have to kiss it goodbye just yet. After all, top 40 music does encompass a variety of genres, and alternative rock is no exception.

Program directors are open to any suggestions on reserving portions of the live broadcast to specific genres of music, as long as there are dedicated DJs to commit to the program.

This is not the first time ULV has undergone a radio format change.

Michael Laponis, KULV’s general manager, has seen the format change several times in his 25 years as adviser for radio broadcast students.

“I hope more students will listen to our radio station because it will cover information that ULV students specifically want to know,” Laponis said.

KULV used to play contemporary hit music back in the ‘90s when PJ Butta was program director. It was not until after Butta left ULV that the station’s format changed to alternative rock.

“I am very excited about the change,” Nakama said. “If you are going into radio, you have to learn to deal with changes like this anyway.”

Currently, 33 students participate in the live radio broadcast program.

Mark Vidal can be reached at mark.vidal@laverne.edu.

Mark Vidal
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