Behind the Mic: Alicia Hoole, Caitlin Catalina Cardenas and Nick Lograsso

Caitlin, Nick and Alicia sitting in a courtyard at SDSU.

Tried-and-true radio shows usually have a history. Or, in other words, they’ve been around for a while; this includes the DJs and hosts themselves. KCR’s “In the Red” is an indie-alternative music show hosted by Alicia Hoole, Caitlin Catalina Cardenas and Nick Lograsso, who are currently in their fourth semester together as hosts. Curious about how they’ve stayed together for so long, I reached out for an interview for this edition of Behind the Mic.

Alicia, Caitlin and Nick began hosting at KCR together during their first semester at SDSU. Alicia told me that there is a certain chemistry between the three of them that they play off. Despite being a music show, discussion does pop up occasionally, and when it does that chemistry makes for an obvious sense of familiarity between the three. Alicia added, though, “It all comes back to the music.”

Each of the hosts indicated to me that they have unique tastes in music, which makes for a good mix on-air. That mix includes indie, alternative, classic rock, pop rock and punk rock. Regular listeners will know that every show ends with a pop song, whether it be Lady Gaga or the Jonas Brothers. Interestingly enough, Nick’s favorite Jonas brother is in fact Nick.

Nick said that his music taste started with ’90s alternative, and that he still revisits the genre through his contributions to the show’s playlist. He did say, however, that he’s been influenced by both Caitlin’s and Alicia’s music taste – through genres such as classic rock, pop and 2000s alternative. Alicia added that Nick often plays unknown, but important and relevant, songs from well known artists and albums.

Caitlin’s contributions to the show range from mid-2000s punk, such as Panic! and Fall Out Boy, to classic rock like The Beatles. Caitlin is a criminal justice major here at SDSU.

Between songs, the trio chimes in with some music history about the songs they’re playing, as well as why the music made that week’s playlist. On a recent show, the hosts discussed The Doors and the 50th anniversary of the group’s debut album.

In addition to history and importance of songs, the three bring up venues and shows they’ve recently attended or will attend. They’ll give a short review of the attended shows.

Music for each episode of “In the Red” features separate playlists that Alicia, Caitlin and Nick compile themselves. Alicia told me playlists “reflect what each of us have been listening to during the week.” Listeners can expect to hear a new variety every show.

When he isn’t a DJ, Nick is studying – he’s a computer science major. He also has a leadership role in Gates to Success, an on-campus organization that strives to help underrepresented and first-generation college students. The organization points students in the right direction for services like scholarships and tutoring. Nick is also a part of AITP @ SDSU, an organization of information, technology, business professionals.

Alicia, a communications major, is the Music Submissions Director for KCR. She is also a member of Aztec Music Group, the on-campus organization focused on combining business and music interests. Last semester, Alicia interned at Topshelf Records in San Diego. She hopes to pursue a career in the music business.

If you want to experience “In the Red” for yourself, tune in to KCR College Radio every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image: The three hope to add a segment to “In the Red” which focuses on a specific band, sometime in the future. Photo by Sumner Shorey. 

Behind the Mic: Talia Raoufpur

Talia standing on the bridge at the Turtle Pond with foliage in the background.

The telling of stories and uncovering of truths are key principles of news. Morning news shows can update listeners with local, national and global stories, while providing proper entertainment through featured guests and interviews. KCR’s Talia Raoufpur hosts a show that does just that every Wednesday from 8-9 a.m. “Hit The News, Not The Snooze,” was way too catchy a title for me to pass on an interview. So, I sat down with Talia for another edition of Behind the Mic.

Talia first explained that the purpose of her show is to share people’s stories, while being news oriented. These stories often come from people who couldn’t have shared their perspective without the on-air opportunity. Talia gave me examples of people who have been featured on her show, including a Holocaust survivor and various Associated Students election candidates. “It’s an opportunity for people to share their story,” said Talia.

The invited guests are brought on to discuss subjects pertaining to San Diego State students, according to Talia. Within those conversations, guests share their stories that connect to the featured discussion topic.

Every episode of “Hit The News, Not The Snooze,” starts with Talia addressing the news headlines from Tuesday. She discusses local, national and any other important stories. Talia told me that she began a segment this semester, called “On This Day,” in which she describes a significant event, not necessarily historically-significant, but one that “[puts] our current times in perspective.” Talia said this segment allows her listeners to see how far we’ve come as a society.

With such an already well-produced show, I asked Talia if she plans on adding anything new to her routine. She told me she’s got a switch in style in-mind for next semester – specifically a shift towards a variety show. A more “spontaneous and relaxed” show seems to be what Talia hopes to move towards in the future. However, she indicated that she would still keep the name “Hit The News, Not The Snooze.”

What makes Talia’s show special? Talia expressed that the ways her personality shines through make for a unique morning hour. For one, the music breaks include a range of artists, from Adele to Biggie Smalls. Additionally, Talia adds diversity to the airwaves with her Jewish voice, and gives the Jewish students at San Diego State a voice, when necessary.

When she isn’t preparing for her show, Talia is a staff columnist at The Daily Aztec, where she writes opinion columns. Her writing focuses on any subject that she values, such as antisemitism or being a Republican on a college campus. Talia currently works as a project assistant and receptionist at a law firm in downtown San Diego. She is also an active member of Hillel, a global Jewish organization that brings students together.

Despite being a Psychology major, Talia told me she may want to pursue a future career in journalism, with the hope of making media “true” again.

If you would rather “Hit the News, Not the Snooze,” tune in to KCR College Radio every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image by Sumner Shorey. Talia Raoufpur, a junior at SDSU, brings pressing matters from campus and society for discussion onto the airwaves.

Behind the Mic: Bri Marquez and Julianna Ress

Bri and Julianna in front of Student Services West.

The entertainment industry is made up of a variety of productions and artists that viewers eagerly enjoy. For fans, the fun also comes with breaking down the most recent episode of their favorite show, or last night’s concert. Bri Marquez and Julianna Ress host the show “Lights, Camera, Aztecs” every Monday night. And, it is all about what’s on TV. I met with both Bri and Julianna to see what kind of dynamic they bring to the air for another edition of Behind the Mic.

Bri, a communications major, told me their show opens up with a discussion about the most recent episodes of TV shows that they follow. The two cover reality TV heavily, with shows such as “The Bachelor” and “Survivor” making their way on air for opinions, break downs and predictions. Julianna added that the duo’s show is not so much a recap of what happened, but a thought-based conversation about what is to come in each show, as well as criticism. With shows such as “Survivor,” who is going to be eliminated next and why are consistent talking points on “Lights, Camera, Aztecs.” “We know its ridiculous, but we still indulge in it,” said Bri.

Julianna expanded, saying reality TV is culturally significant and because of that, says something about society.

“It’s almost more of a podcast,” said Julianna when talking about how opinionated the conversations can be on the show. The two had the band “Wussy” on their show a few weeks back and hope to bring more artists onto KCR. Bri mentioned that there is an appropriate amount of disagreement between her and Julianna, which makes for interesting debates on air.

Despite it being a show focused on television and other entertainment, politics can make its way into the conversations on Monday nights. “We’re not afraid to bring that into our show,” Julianna said. She said that, for example, they discussed the Academy Awards and how  politics affected what movie won best picture, “Moonlight” or “La La Land.”

“Its fun to think about why these things [reality television] are so important to us,” Julianna stated when talking about her favorite aspect of the show. The two hosts mentioned they both have revelations during their conversations that lead to new ways of thinking about characters and other aspects of shows.

Julianna, a journalism and media studies major, is a Senior Staff Writer at The Daily Aztec, SDSU’s campus newspaper. You can find her writing under the “Art & Culture” section, where she has covered student musicians and concerts, and conducted a Sage The Gemini interview.

Bri, minoring in counseling and social change, works with Best Buddies, an organization which is aimed at helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Bri is paired up with a girl who she visits a few times every month. Bri told me that currently, she has been working on reading and writing with her partner.

You can tune into “Lights, Camera, Aztecs” every Monday night at 8 p.m. on KCR College Radio.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image: Bri and Julianna’s friendship outside of the show complements their on air conversations. Photo by Sumner Shorey. 

Behind The Mic: Brett Michel and Mackee Dimick

Brett and Mackee pose in the KCR Studio in front of their banner.

Morning talk shows can be the pinnacle of a radio station, as they coincide with commutes to work and school. KCR’s Brett Michel and Mackee Dimick have a morning show of their own, “Brett & Mackee In the Morning,” every Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. To see what the program brings to the air, I conducted a live, on air interview of the hosts for another edition of Behind The Mic.

Since its premiere this spring semester, Brett and Mackee’s show has been different every week. Mackee mentioned that the two start with a couple ideas for the show, but branch out into other topics throughout the two hours.

When talking about the design of the program, Brett said, “Both of us want it to be as honest as possible — if you prepare too much, it just sounds scripted.” I then asked if he had any inspirations for the show or based the program on anything. Brett mentioned that he is an avid listener of “The Jason Ellis Show” on Sirius XM, and he finds some inspiration through it.

Brett also mentioned that Mackee and a guest recently played the Newlywed Game with an NBA trivia twist on air. In the Newlywed Game, two people are asked a question and write down their answers on separate papers. Both players lift their answers up at the same time to see if they match.

In a previous week, Brett, Mackee and a guest did a segment titled “Lakeside Lowdown.” Country music fans beware, this segment, though similar to a top 40 country playlist, was essentially a roast of the country genre.

Although primarily a talk show, music is still an element of “Brett & Mackee In The Morning.” At the top of the second hour, the two hosts each play a song. Mackee may pick something along the lines of hip-hop or electronic, while Brett usually sticks with punk rock. Additionally, the two compile a 10-song playlist every week, titled “Bangers.” The weekly playlist is shared on the hosts’ social media.

Brett, a television, film, and new media production major, uses his production insight to make the most of the morning show. If you haven’t set foot in the studio during the program, you may not realize the scope of production behind it. Every show is broadcast on Facebook Live using two cameras: one that focuses on Brett operating the board, and the other that shows Mackee and a guest. The second camera also captures the background of the studio, which features a banner of the show’s logo that Brett hopes to fill with guests’ signatures. Brett also has a soundboard on his laptop with individual intros, outros and sweepers: elements that are featured on many professional radio shows. According to Brett, the two have “the best intro on KCR.” I heard it, and it’s pretty darn good. Listen to Brett and Mackee’s intros from Feb. 16th and March 9th, respectively, below. 

 

I then asked the two if they had any big plans for the show in the future. Brett expressed his desire for a third voice to be featured on the morning program. The two also talked of doing a Family Feud segment, and possibly incorporating it into Music on the Mesa (KCR’s weekly event during the farmer’s market). On top of that, Brett mentioned hosting a dog race, similar to the “weiner” dog races seen on TV, and covering that through KCR. Interesting ambitions to say the least, but I (and many others, I’m sure) would like to see them happen.

Brett, the KCR Graphics Director, also mentioned his new video series, “Overdressed.” The comedic videos are featured on KCR’s YouTube page and the video page of this blog. Brett is a second year junior at San Diego State University. He said that his favorite aspect of hosting the show is “taking something and making it professional to say, ‘Hey look at what we did.’”

Mackee, an international business major, told me that his favorite part about the show is the creative freedom he has when talking on air for two hours. He said that during the show, he is able to have a good time.

If you’re up early enough, you can catch “Brett & Mackee In The Morning” every Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. on KCR College Radio. If you’re not, you can listen to full shows and show highlights on their YouTube page. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook, too. 

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image: Brett and Mackee focus on production value for their weekly talk show. Photo by Sumner Shorey.