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Rolling in Pork

It's official: As of Jan. 11, the long, squiggly tale of KPIG reaches all the way down to San Luis Obispo, where the radio station formerly known as KOTR now pipes the sounds of KPIG--or, KPYG to San Luis listeners--through the airwaves down yonder. Turns out KOTR owner Bruce Howard sold the station to Mapleton Communications--the same corporation that owns KPIG--about a year and a half ago. KPIG program director Laura Ellen says that KOTR, through no fault of their own, was in bad financial shape.

"I had suggested in the past that KPIG actually move down there and broadcast from here. And guess what? Finally I did it!" says Ellen.

But as excited as she and the rest of the station are to be expanding, Ellen is sympathetic to KOTR's loyal listeners. "Some people will be disappointed to lose their radio station, and I would expect nothing less from passionate listeners," she says. "But I ask them to give us a chance; I think they'll like it."

So how is all this going to affect KPIG listeners up here? Not much, except that they'll also be getting the scoop on San Luis traffic, events and other miscellanea. But most of the content will flow downstream and not the other way around--a situation which Ellen says may change a bit in the future, if they can work out the technical kinks.

Then of course there's sure to be the corresponding upswing in local piggy pride, which already seems to beam from the back of every Santa Cruz County bumper.

As Ellen herself proudly points out, KPIG is one of the few 24/7 live stations in existence, and certainly under the Mapleton umbrella. "We're it--we're the throwbacks," says Ellen. "Automation is a dirty word at KPIG."

With this affirmative nod from Mapleton for live radio, Ellen is optimistic, if not about the industry in general, at least about the way things are going with KPIG.

"I really would like to say that Mapleton is the first ownership KPIG has ever really had that has allowed us to grow in this way and to believe in us and take the chance, which I think is really cool," says Ellen. "We ought to give them some credit, because they really like the station and they've given us a chance to prove ourselves. They appreciate the--I don't wanna say intelligent, because sometimes we're damn stupid, but people want that because we're real. This kind of broadcasting around the country, it can work. I don't want to get on a soapbox, but it can work."


Dollar Night Returns

It's not easy to drag people out of the house on Wednesday nights, but the Catalyst owners are trying their damnedest with the return of "Dollar Night." The idea: bring in excellent bands from around the region and charge only $1 for a thirsty 21-and-over crowd. The hope: That people flock to the Catalyst in droves and drink up a storm, creating a winning, drunken and profitable situation that's fun for the whole (21 and over) family. Even beer and pizza are only a buck until 11pm. The turnout to last Wednesday's Dubwize show was a bit disappointing, even if the music was excellent. The eight-piece Salinas-based reggae band has an impressively huge sound, with multiple percussionists, guitar and bass, a horn section and three keyboards coming together to form an authentic, rootsy sound. Ten seconds of dancehall freestyling from the London-born Mr. English was worth more than the admission price, which means that the rest of their energetic set was absolutely free! What a deal.


Little Wings performs at the Actors' Theater on Jan. 19. And don't forget about the Songwriters' Showcase at Zelda's on Tuesday night 7pm-10pm. Seems like Zelda's is packed for every edition of the MARS Recording-sponsored contest now, as the showcase moves toward the ultimate showdown between past winners. Don't miss it.

Mike Connor

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From the January 14-21, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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