Behind The Mic: HogPod: The Show About Nothing

In a world where everything is at our fingertips, sometimes nothing is all you need. HogPod: The Show About Nothing is here to give you everything that you need

HogPod is hosted by freshmen Kameron Grant and Samantha Blanchard along with sophomore Connor Trees. Connor is the eldest, but the Television, Film and New Media Major shares an equally youthful exuberance with the rest of the group. The free-flowing, sometimes awkward, always enthusiastic hosts of the show have made improvements in every episode to date, but what is HogPod really about? 

Now, what does a radio show and podcast that is about nothing encompass?

Well, radio shows usually play music and speak on specific topics. You will be sure to hear some music on this program, but the hosts do not really know what music is just yet. Want to know for yourself? Check them out on Fridays at 4 pm and you can hear them shouting at each other, “I still don’t know what music is!”.

You don’t have to know much about something to enjoy it. They are learning as they go. Learning what music is, and also what their show is all about. The show’s name states it is about nothing, however, it is everything you need to enjoy yourself. 

In a time where our President is acting like a child in the public eye, it’s fun to take our mind off of things. HogPod is the perfect show for you to wind down your long work week with, and start the weekend off on a high note. 

Surely, a group of people this funny and witty would have a good story for how their show came to fruition. The funny thing is, that none of this was planned.

Each semester KCR hosts a new member meeting to allow students to join the station. These three met at said meeting, feeling a connection over their choice to join KCR’s video department. Confirmed as part of the video team, a veteran member asked Kameron if they were interested in having a radio show. Kameron hesitated at first, but upon realizing that there would be no harm, he decided to ask Connor and Samantha if they could do one together. 

The three Aztecs who were still basically strangers began the start of HogPod. Their first episode was their first real opportunity to sit down, learn each other’s names, and talk with each other void of distractions. Connor jokingly said, “During the first show I was just sitting there waiting for one of them to say the other person’s name for a bit.” It all worked out well for them though. Kameron said, “It was a cool experiment to stick these three people in a room, and you know it worked.” After a few rookie mistakes, things have become gradually easier for the group, allowing them to play less music and speak on more topics.

The team is more than the sum of its parts, yet these parts come together perfectly.

Samantha began her journalism career early when she had her own Instagram page where she took portraits and interviewed people before moving to SDSU. Kameron has a fascination with Edgar Wright films and hopes to achieve similar success. Swiss Army Man featuring Daniel Radcliffe encompasses the cinematic vision that Connor has. Connor and Kameron have both done their fair share of Youtube videos, and the three are all working together to create more quality content on-air and on camera. This show has only just begun, but the future is looking bright for these three. 

So, what do they talk about on the show about nothing? For starters, with Kameron and Connor both majoring in Television, Film and New Media, the three discuss cinema in various ways. Whether it be your favorite animated movie you forgot about, Over The Hedge, or Samantha confusing Jamie Foxx’s character from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with George Lopez’s character from Shark Boy and Lava Girl, you’ll be sure to get a laugh out of the conversation. 

Joker just released in theaters and Connor was lucky enough to see it prior to their fourth episode on October 4th. Choosing to avoid spoilers but still keep the topic of conversation, the HogPod team created Guacin Phoenix, the critically acclaimed actor that is your favorite dips for your chips. Not getting exactly how they got there? Well, you need to check out their next show to see if he comes back into the conversation. 

Samantha is majoring in Journalism and Media Studies, and though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the number one news topics over the last decade, she is not a fan. Stating her disdain for the man who plays Spider-Man. “I don’t like Tom Holland he looks funny.” Kameron and Connor were so dumbfounded by her lack of MCU knowledge that they decided to explain all of the movies using none of the names of the actual superheroes. They certainly were not able to get all the way through the timeline, but it was something to hear them try.

They also have a reoccurring, invisible guest named Daniel. You can’t see him, nor can you hear him. He’s been very shy so far, but there is hope he’ll speak up one of these days. 

BIG NEWS BIG NEWS BIG NEWS!!!! HogPod is just getting started!

If you’re lucky enough to be tuned in for some Big News you’ll be happy you heard it here first. Each episode they let the listeners know of what big news is going on in the HogPod world, once even contemplating purchasing Kurt Cobain’s home. Unfortunately, it was out of their budget. 

Now with a quarter of a season under their belt, getting comfortable with their new school and show, this team is a family. They’re just like your favorite sitcom; you may not know what is going on all the time, but you know that you are going to enjoy whatever happens next. With the whole world in front of them, where to next? 

HogPod: The Show About Nothing
Photo by Alexis Camel
Written by: Alexis Camel
All photos, shot and edited by Alexis Camel.

Behind The Mic: Kyle Saunders

Unafraid to break the status quo, Kyle Saunders has made a name for himself as a family man, with his brothers, and as KCR’s Sports Director.

At first glance, a stranger may see KCR Sports Director Kyle Saunders’ flip flops and Pike fraternity polo and write him off to be like every other stereotypical white frat boy we’ve seen in movies like Animal House and Neighbors, but that could not be farther from the truth. 

Born and raised in Sacramento, California along with his young sister, Kyle spent a majority of his youth with his mother’s huge immediate family. Family values are the basis of the loving, caring, radiating aura that Saunders gives off wherever he roams. If you happen to see Saunders at any time on campus, you can feel the positive energy emitting from his being. 

With his father in and out of the picture, Saunders has always been grateful for the bonds he shares with his family.

He even goes so far as to say that he does not have friends, only family. This sentiment is something many people think they believe in, but it is the only truth Saunders knows. 

Growing up without much of a father figure, Saunders chose to fill that role himself and be that for his younger sister. Being overprotective at times, it caused some tension in their relationship during their teens. However, it paid off well as they now have a solid relationship that is as budding as ever. 

So, why would someone whose family means so much to them decide to leave their hometown and go to a school on the opposite end of the state? Simply for a fresh start and to add more people into his family. 

Saunders was on a recruiting trip to play basketball at UCSD and had some free time during his trip, so he decided to check out SDSU’s campus. Now, he was unsure if his academics were good enough to get him into the school, but after receiving an acceptance letter that doubt was gone forever. He found a new home and was excited to start a new family. 

Saunders played football, basketball, and golf throughout his high school career. Those teams gave him many of the friends he still has to this day, while also fostering a sense of community for him. You could say sports are a passion for Saunders, but a better assessment would be that the familial aspect of sports was something he always admired. 

Sports tend to instill a work ethic into athletes that often translates into other aspects of life. One thing very evident about Saunders is that he is not afraid to try new things and he will persist until he is successful. He even picked up surfing last May to start off his first summer in San Diego. With nothing but a goal and a foam board, Saunders kept trying and can now say, “I’m pretty nice.”

Now, even with the best work ethic, doubts still arise. Living hours away from your friends and family can be difficult when you’re a freshman that’s used to knowing everybody, that now does not really know anybody. On top of that, one of his closest high school instructors passed away from a surprising heart attack only a couple of weeks into the school year. However, that frustration and those doubts all went away one afternoon, in Chipotle. 

Sitting by himself, weeks out from KCR’s first meeting, Saunders was approached by two young men who were also rushing at the time and wanting to befriend Saunders. Austin Lemak was one of the two young men that approached him and they ended up becoming pledge brothers for SDSU’s Pike fraternity. Unfortunately, Lemak passed away this past February from Oral Cancer. Though their relationship was short-lived they felt like lifelong brothers. Lemak’s impact on Saunders is a testament to how meaningful any relationship can be no matter how long it lasts. It also helped him gain a whole new family through his fraternity brothers.

We all know the stigma behind fraternities, but Saunders proves that there’s more than what you see in the media.

Choosing to prioritize his individuality and not compromise his pride, Pike was the place for him. Working around his schedule played a big part, but the Miracle League of San Diego that the frat volunteers for made the final sale. Saturdays during the semester, members of Pike go out and assist children who are disabled in their own baseball league. They help the players hit and field the ball and hold their hands while running around the bases. Growing up with a cousin with autism, this meant a lot to Saunders. 

Photo Credit: Alexis Camel

Their charitable work sold Saunders, but he was also enamored in the foundation he was able to build. The fall of 2016 was his freshman year at state and his pledge class was the first to have an actual house on campus. Saunders had a vision and along with his brothers, brought it to fruition. This meant that he could and would play an integral part in creating a legacy for the fairly young fraternity.

Serving as Director of Programming while also having the top GPA of his house during his sophomore and junior year, Saunders found ways to make the most out of the money they had without having members pay exponential dues. His favorite memory of serving that position was PikeStock, a homemade, makeshift festival that opened its doors to SDSU students that were not even in the fraternity. Complete with LED lights, CO2 spray, it was one for the ages, to say the least.

Now frats are fun and all, but Saunders says, “There’s so much more to me and what I do than drinking plastic vodka on a Tuesday.”

KCR is one facet of his identity that he takes a lot of pride in. With his sports career now over he already knew he wanted to continue in the industry of sports through our own KCR after being sold during freshman orientation.

His first show was KT Sportstalk with Tony Zarate and it actually garnered him a Top Sports Show award in its first season. Shadowing the Sports Director at the time, Saunders wanted each and every opportunity to immerse himself in the Aztec world of sports. He has covered every sport on campus from Women’s Water Polo to Men’s Baseball. Writing, announcing, and whatever else the sports department offered the opportunity to do. The most interesting coverage he did was a women’s water polo game which he had never watched before but was utterly impressed by their competitiveness. “Head Coach Sydney Crawford is awesome, and it was intense man. They’re pulling hair, grabbing each other, scratching each other under the water, talking shit, it was super fun,” said Saunders.

After a full year in KCR, Saunders believed he was ready for the Sports Director position, but the new management at the time believed otherwise. Without the position, he had worked so hard for, he decided to take a step back and venture into sportswriting for The Daily Aztec. He enjoyed his time covering football on the sidelines as a beat reporter, but he figured out that writing was not as fun for him as what he had done with KCR. He came back the following semester and did his own sports talk show yet again.

This past January, Saunders finally got his shot at the Sports Director position. When handed the reins he was left with more problems than benefits. However, the networking king that is Kyle Saunders was able to use the connections he made before to reconnect relationships and gain the trust of the sports teams on campus. After only a semester on the job, he believes the department is doing well. “It’s a lot better. I think it’s a lot more transparent,” said Saunders.

Where does Saunders want to go next?

He’s discussed opportunities with the San Diego Padres and he dreams of being on Sportscenter, but all he wants to do is be happy and surround himself with good people. “I’d love to be crafting up highlights all day and interviewing athletes, that’d be so cool. Traveling with a team would be really cool. I won’t say no to anything at this point,” he goes on to say, “I’m just doing what makes me happy and surrounding myself with good people.”

Saunders is an example of what having strong values and a good work ethic can do to your life and to the lives of those you interact with. He will acquire his Bachelor’s in Journalism and Media Studies in May 2020, but he’s already found success in his own right. Saunders said, “Success would be, a happy group of people around me.” If you see him on campus you can see just how successful he is. A lifelong fan of the Sacramento Kings, Saunders, and his hometown team are both on the rise to the top.

Photo Credit: Alexis Camel
Written by: Alexis Camel

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: Scarlett Letter

Fluttering between three jobs, classrooms, the KCR studio and the rave scene, Scarlett Santamaria of “Scarlett Letter” is a social butterfly always on the move.

Scarlett, a 4th year communications major, is the host of the aptly named “Scarlett Letter,” an underground electronic music show that brings in guests to share their music and their stories. The show is now on its second season and airs Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Scarlett Letter brings in DJs, producers and experience creators every week to play their music mixes and discuss their own personal experiences, as well as contribute to the larger dialogue about the EDM world. The topic of the show is not a casual interest of Scarlett’s – it’s pretty much her life. It all began when Scarlett was 16 and attended her first rave, Scream, at the Worldbeat Center in Balboa Park, San Diego.

I remember going in and everyone was really happy and really nice, and all these lights and the music and I thought, ‘Wow. This is amazing,’” she recalled.

Born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Scarlett moved to San Diego when she was 12 years old. Despite her bubbly nature and willingness to talk to anyone, she said she always felt like an outsider. That feeling could have left her defeated and stripped of passion, but she discovered the rave scene and found her home.

“I used to be a scene kid, like I used to dress up crazy. I’ve always been a weirdo,” she said. “I’ve always been an outcast, and I’ve been able to just embrace it and not be ashamed of the weirdo that I am. I feel like I was able to find that outlet through going to raves and just being myself. I think that’s what is beautiful about it and why I’m so passionate about it.

Photo courtesy of Scarlett Santamaria

The goal of Scarlett’s show is to allow listeners to get to know the guests on a deeper and more personal level, uncover electronic music they might not have heard before, stay up to date with upcoming EDM events and learn about the music scene from people living it, not from stereotypes.

“I think that some people have the negative notion that electronic music is just noise and that all DJs do is press play, and that people that go to these events are young and do drugs. I want to change that,” Scarlett said. “The scene is very welcoming and is full of amazing, creative, friendly and talented individuals.”

Last semester, her show was structured in a way that allotted more time to playing the guests’ music than interviewing them. This is something Scarlett wants to change this season.

She wants to make sure the people she brings to the studio have sufficient time to talk about their journey, passion and the obstacles they have had to overcome in order to get to their current status.

“I want people to know that these artists work hard and to hear the challenges they’ve had to face to get where they are,” she said. “We all have a story and you’d be surprised how much you can relate to them.”

Scarlett’s own story has its origins in DJing.

Her father was a popular DJ in Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California. When she was born, he shifted his focus to parenting and leading a more conventional adult life in order to provide for her. “Of course, I happened and he stopped,” Scarlett laughed.

Eight years ago, he began to DJ again and this time, he taught Scarlett everything he knew. The two had a mobile DJing business together but after feeling like she was ready to branch out, Scarlett started her own business entity separate from her father’s.

She has played many gigs from private birthday parties to Petco Park, the San Diego Padres’ baseball stadium. She said she has enjoyed the experience, both the technical and social aspects.

“I was still under 21 and I felt super cool being a DJ,” Scarlett said. “It was a really great experience getting to know people, being in the event and being part of the production.”

Despite calling the experience “really fun,” Scarlett has shifted gears and no longer focuses on her DJ business. She is turning her attention to new ventures such as Scarlett Letter and getting involved in event production.

With so many interests and projects, Scarlett pays extra attention to detail to make sure she is producing work of the highest caliber.

“I am not the type of person that will half-ass anything,” she said. “I will give you my hundred percent. I want to create something good.”

Scarlett Letter has grown into something beyond her imagination. What she thought would just be a fun show to act as a platform for her friends’ art has turned into a partnership with sponsors.

Photo courtesy of Scarlett Santamaria

Techniche is one of Scarlett’s partnerships and describes itself on its website as “a Southern California underground dance institution with global reach and universal aspirations representing Tech-House and Techno…” DJ and Producer Myxzlplix headed the Techniche team that helped Scarlett with her show’s logo, banner and promotional pictures, to name a few things. She said she’s incredibly grateful to them for believing in her and helping her turn her show into what it has become.

Be sure to tune into her show on Thursdays at 8 p.m. She’ll save a spot for you on the dance floor. Also, be sure to check out her YouTube channel.

Is she a pineapple on pizza gal?

“Yes! Sometimes I love a combination of sweet and salty. People that don’t like pineapple on pizza are basic.”

Written by: Monica Vigil