Behind the Mic: The Flow w/ De Leon

Mikel De Leon

In this segment of Behind the Mic, we examine the wild life of thrill-seeker / adventurer / local lunatic, Mikel De Leon!

A gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) has been bestowed upon Mikel De Leon: the need to always be doing something that increases his heart rate. It drove him to pick up soccer when he was 4 years old. Then surfing. Then, in November of last year, he bought a motorcycle.

Two months later, his body was lying in the middle of the freeway after being struck by a car.

“All I could think of was ‘Get up, get back on your bike, go home. Tell your dad you’re sorry. Everything’s ok,’ ” De Leon said about the incident that sent him to the hospital. He couldn’t get up, though. He didn’t have the physical strength to collect himself despite not feeling any pain, because his body had already gone into shock. Miraculously, to his (and his doctor’s) disbelief, he didn’t break any bones or even damage his brain. He did, however, injure his ankles, knees, shoulders, left wrist and lower back. Now, he’s grateful to be recovering at a relatively quick pace, but in all honestly, he just wants to surf again.

“I’m just like ‘Come on, I want to get back in the water. Let’s go!’”

Mikel De Leon

Mikel (MEE-kehl) De Leon is the host of “The Flow with De Leon,” which airs Thursdays at 8 a.m.

Although De Leon won’t be getting back on a motorcycle any time soon (or hopefully ever considering he’d like to be alive as long as possible and healthy enough to one day teach his future children how to surf), he’s still finding ways to scratch his adrenaline-seeking itch. At first, soccer scratched it for a while, but he began to lose interest in it after over a decade of playing. He wanted to replace it with something equally athletic to keep the weight off. The activity would also need to be peaceful and leave him in a serene mental state.

Mikel De Leon being the coolest cat around.
Photo by Monica Vigil. Coolness by Mikel De Leon

Surfing fit the bill.

“Surfing was just like, dude, everyone loves a surfer. Of course I’m going to get into it. It turns out, it’s not like that. But it’s ok. As long as I’m out there with my friends surfing, that’s all I care about. As long as I catch at least three good waves per day, I’m good.”

Mikel De Leon

Since the accident, De Leon hasn’t been able to surf and as a result, he’s been growing impatient to return to the ocean. He currently lives in Imperial Beach, a sandy, laid-back beach city in southern San Diego, just a hop and a skip away from the sea. Beforehand, De Leon would wake up every morning and make his way to the water with a surfboard in hand to catch a few waves before school or work.

“Sometimes I wouldn’t even shower because the waves were that good. I’d go straight to work and they’d know. They’d be like ‘Dude, there’s sand in your ear.’”

Mikel De Leon

His life appears to come in seasons, packaged up in different themes depending on the chapter. Sometimes he’s a chill surfer, a passionate soccer player, or even a temporary motorcyclist.

Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.
Photos by Monica Vigil. Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.

And now? He’s a radio host.

His brother attended Georgetown University and had a late night radio show at his college station. De Leon remembers listening to it and deciding he wanted to do that one day. One day after he transferred to San Diego State University from Southwestern College, he saw a sign promoting KCR and the rest has been a joyful, musical ride. His show heavily features groovy indie sounds like Homeshakeand Yellow Days, peppered in with bedroom pop. Want to tune in and listen to a combination of Beach Goons, Temporex, Minor Gems and Oak Palace? Do it! He’s plays them all.

What’s unique about “The Flow with De Leon” is that many episodes are themed (kind of like his life). One episode was full of music he would play if he owned a low-rider, featuring oldies, cholo goth, cumbia and the iconic Selena Quintanilla. He’s also had some dirty rock and reggae days, amongst many others.

An avid consumer of music, De Leon has even begun singing and creating his own tunes.

“I started off doing stupid, little, fun projects where I wasn’t taking it seriously,” he said. His friends, however, told him that he was good. He began to experiment with genres and searched for his sound in pursuit of turning the fun hobby into something more serious. Influenced heavily by Tame Impala, he plans on releasing an EP sometime in the summer. De Leon is implementing a deadline on himself or else he’ll “never release it.” He watched a short documentary about the singer of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker, and how he also had to give himself deadlines or else he would never publish his music, always trying to perfect it. It inspired De Leon to try the same approach.

“I need to set a date because if not, this is going to be a never ending cycle.”

Mikel De Leon

Be sure to listen to his shows and start your Thursday mornings right. You never know what theme you’ll stumble upon. Also, come summertime, remind him that he’s got an EP to release.

His favorite modern band?

Tame Impala (duh.)

Feel free to follow Mikel De Leon on Instagram. You can listen to his Spotify playlists here and here.

Written by: Monica Vigil

Behind The Mic: Alejandro Villasenor and Brandon Ofiana

Brandon Ofiana standing in the Aztec Prebys Student Union.

Brandon Ofiana finds a medium to express his passion for soccer through KCR. Photo by Sumner Shorey.

Soccer fans rejoice! KCR’s very own Alejandro Villasenor and Brandon Ofiana have a show dedicated to what you love. “Footy Aztec” is the soccer focused radio show hosted by Alejandro and Brandon every Sunday at 6 p.m.

According to Alejandro, the two focus on Aztec soccer during its season: the fall. Brandon added that European soccer is extensively covered on air as well, more so in the spring when the Aztecs aren’t playing. Last semester, the show featured an on-air interview with SDSU men’s soccer captain Sergio Enriquez.

Alejandro, a communications major, has covered soccer on his show since he joined KCR at the beginning of his freshman year, three semesters ago. He said that from a young age, he had his sights set on a sports broadcasting career. He dreams of one day covering a World Cup. “KCR is a good stepping stone,” said Alejandro when discussing sportscasting opportunities. 

Alejandro Villasenor behind the mic in the KCR studio.

Alejandro Villasenor has been an active member of KCR for four semesters now. Photo by Alejandro Villasenor.

Brandon, a journalism major, expressed a similar interest in sports broadcasting. Having played soccer all his life, his passion drove him to the potential career route. While co-hosting the show, Brandon plays soccer through SDSU’s on-campus intramural league.

Brandon told me that the UEFA Champions League is a major focus of “Footy Aztec.” Alejandro added that it takes up over half of the hour. The two discuss their predictions, analyze teams, cover past matches, report injuries and give the low-down on team news during the show.

I asked the hosts if they had any plans or goals for their program and I got some ambitious answers. Alejandro hopes to get in contact with Aztec soccer to set up broadcasts for home games, similar to KCR’s coverage of Aztec baseball games. Expanding KCR’s sports broadcasting lineup would likely be welcomed by many. Adding to their goals, Brandon and Alejandro expressed interest in airing “Footy Aztec” on another medium: either Facebook Live or YouTube. A weekly edition of the show uploaded to a YouTube channel also seems like an option.

Brandon noted that he enjoys being able to talk soccer for an hour every week with a friend. Alejandro added that he gets a similar kick out of hosting the show and being able to share and hear opinions.

If you want to listen to Brandon’s and Alejandro’s show, “Footy Aztec,” tune into KCR College Radio on Sundays from 6 to 7 p.m.

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

The Sounds of State-Jacey Darrah and Kevin Le

Two Thursdays ago, I sat down with Jacey Darrah and Kevin Le at the Student Union outside of Starbucks. It was a warm early November evening and the sun had already set, but it was comfortable outside. Jacey was one of the first responders when I had asked for DJ’s to sit down and be interviewed for the KCR Blog, so I was excited to sit down with her. She brought along her cohost Kevin, and it became immediately apparent that we knew each other. We realized that their show followed up my noon to one slot on Fridays. In the hustle to move in and out of the studio we always had spoken and exchanged greetings, but we never got to know each other well. It’s a bit difficult to get to know somebody in those short minutes, when I’m trying to wrap up my show and they are moving into begin theirs. We laughed it off and got down to the real interview where we finally got to properly learn about each other.

I found them to be a very agreeable duo, not just because they echoed each others statements with a complimentary “yeah.” They both appear to enjoy being on air a great deal and they have a great laid back take on sports, which can be rather high energy for many DJ’s. You’ll learn more about them from the interview, so let’s get to it!

Cameron Satterlee: Okay I am sitting here with Jacey and Kevin.

Kevin Le: Yes.

CS: Yes. Okay so could you please tell me your show and when it’s on?

Jacey Darrah: Okay, it’s called Out of Bounds with Jacey D and Kevin Le and it’s on Fridays from one to two.

CS: Alright alright. So, how long have the two of you been with KCR?

JD: This is our first year.

KL: First year.

JD: Yeah.

CS: Welcome.

KL: (Laughs)

CS: So your first semester?

KL: Yeah first semester.

CS: Alright. So you’ve only had about seven or eight shows. So what kind of show is it? What do you talk about or play?

JD: Well we do sports but we try and focus on mostly football and basketball and then the really little sports that no one would usually talk about, like rugby or lacrosse or something like that.

KL: Yeah like club sports, you know what I mean?

JD: Yeah.

KL: Swimming—not as popular as the other sports—but we try to cover everything SDSU related, so there’s that.

JD: Yeah.

CS: Yeah I was about to ask if you do pro or college. I mean when you get into those smaller sports I guess you can kind of cover a lot of ground huh?

KL: We do, but as we said earlier, we like to keep things Aztec related, you know what I mean? So we focus mainly on our teams most of the time on the show so yeah.

CS: Well that’s great because, so we learned that my show goes directly into yours. I’m twelve to one on Fridays and we do (supposedly) Aztec sports but we dive in a lot to pro sports so it’s good to know that you guys are doing it.

KL: Yeah I’ve seen you guys do pro and stuff.

CS: Yeah yeah cause we lead in with Aztec sports but we end NBA and all that kind of thing. So you’re not in the sports block—the noon to one—but you’re still doing Aztec sports mostly. What made you want to do Aztec sports?

JD: I just wanted to do sports and that’s kind of what he told me, so I don’t know, school spirit.

KL: She kind of wants to be a broadcaster.

JD: Yeah.

KL: Like for ESPN. So we would feel that talking about sports would definitely help fit that resume you know? And both of us are really, how would I say it, not athletic, but we love sports in general.

JD: Yeah.

KL: And we could talk about it for days. So that’s why we chose sports.

CS: Yeah you’re fans, I mean we’re all fans at the KCR Sports Department. I want to follow up with that, that you want to do broadcasting, what made you want to do that?

JD: I’m really good at public speaking in front of an audience, and I really like to do it. So, speaking for ESPN maybe, I’m not sure yet. But I’d definitely like to maybe be a broadcast journalist definitely.

CS: Well that’s a great goal to pursue at any rate. And public speaking, to know you’re good at it, that’s a great talent, it’s an asset. And what about you Kevin? You’re just doing it to do it?

KL: I’m more here to support her. I like sports and again just mainly to support her. I’m not as good at public speaking as her, per se, but she asked me to do it so I was like “sure why not, it sounds fun.”

JD: He’s a good friend.

KL: So here we are, in that afternoon block, which is awesome.

CS: You could say you’re being a good sport about it.

JD and KL: (weak laughter)

CS: I’m sorry, I had the opportunity. So could you please describe to me how and ideal show would go?

JD: We start off with football, and we talk about the last game and the next game coming up. And then we go into—usually soccer—right after, men’s and women’s. And then we go to either swimming or lacrosse or baseball or anything like that and all the club sports. And we always end with basketball cause basketball is both of our favorites.

CS: Yeah and the basketball season is starting pretty soon, are you going to be at the game tomorrow?

JD: Yes.

KL: Did you get your ticket? I had class.

JD: I had to buy it.

KL: You had to buy your ticket?

JD: Yeah they were all sold out.

KL: I had class when they were distributing the Point Loma and Northridge (tickets).

CS: Oh no.

KL: I was kind of pissed, because I woke up late and then I was late to my first class any ways. And so people were trying to sell it to me for like thirty or fifty and I’m like “nah dude, I’m good. Watch out.”

CS: It’s an exhibition game, you probably don’t need to pay that much.

KL: I’m looking forward, towards UNLV and New Mexico. I can’t wait for those games, they’re gonna be awesome man.

CS: You’ll have to set your alarm for those.

KL: (Laughs)

CS: I have to say, I mean—what year are you?

KL: We’re both freshmen.

CS: Alright yeah I’ve had to get up at like six in the morning for Arizona and UNLV yeah.

KL: Seriously? Why? Ah [edited].

CS: I think they’re changing how they’re doing that. Don’t quote me on that, it might not be true.

KL: What we read is that you can only line up an hour before.

JD: Before ten. But there were people when I went there at nine-thirty.

KL: Wow.

CS: Yeah they still show up. You gotta get there early man, I tell ya. Well this is pretty interesting, so I was actually caught kind of off guard since I didn’t know you from sports. I’ve got all these music questions I’m not going to ask.

JD: Well we play a lot of music actually. About twenty minutes of music.

CS: Oh awesome! So you’ve got some kind of hybrid going on.

JD: Yeah we mostly like to do sports warm up songs and rap.

KL: Hype songs.

JD: Yeah we like to get you hyper.

CS: That’s great. It sounds like you two have a pretty solid vision for your show.

KL: Yeah.

JD: Yeah.

KL: I’d say we have a pretty good blueprint going. We just don’t want to bore the listeners with too much talking so I think a good balance of both music and sports talking seems like the right equation for success.

JD: Yeah.

CS: That’s great. How would you describe your chemistry as cohosts?

KL: I think, at first since this is our first semester, our first show was a little shaky.

JD: Yeah.

CS: We’ve all been there.

KL: Making sure we filled those fifty-eight minutes, you know, fluidly. But I think now at this point we’re pretty good. I mean first show we needed a script to understand what we should be saying, but now I feel like we don’t need it. We can freestyle, if I may.

JD: Yeah mostly I do the main thing and he always backs me up. He’s really good at backing me up.

KL: So chemistry-wise I think we’re pretty good now.

JD: Yeah.

KL: We make the whole circle work, if I could use that as an example.

JD: (Laughs)

CS: That’s awesome. Thanks for sitting down to talk with me, it was great interviewing you two.

KL: Alright, no problem.

I snapped a picture of them for the blog and we parted ways. I look forward to seeing Jacey and Kevin at future sports meetings. It’s great to see the newer students getting in and throwing themselves into KCR. Many of the people I’ve interviewed have been older students like myself, so it’s encouraging knowing that KCR will be passed on to these dedicated DJ’s sometime down the road.