9 Things You Didn’t Know About KXLU

KXLU | In honor of World Radio Day, LMU is celebrating KXLU, the university’s independent, student-run radio station, and Los Angeles’ only truly independent radio station, with a list of facts listeners may not know about its history, programs and more.

1. KXLU debuted on air in 1957, but its history can be traced as far back as 1935.

KXLU’s reputation for excellence began early. In September 1935, a group of Loyola University students formed a club known as the “Radio Players” that began producing radio programs that would air over commercial stations. After only its fourth year in existence, the Radio Players were rated Most Outstanding Radio Club in the United States. The Radio Players went on to form the Radio Department at Loyola University and the rest is history.

2. The station has hosted a plethora of influential artists.

Artists who have recorded or have been interviewed at KXLU include: Nirvana, Beck, Jane’s Addiction, the Beastie Boys, Slayer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Black Flag.

3. In 1985, the Beastie Boys came to KXLU for an interview and live session of “Beastie Groove.”

Afterwards, world-renowned photographer Glen E. Friedman took this now-famous picture in front of LMU’s Foley Pond.

4. Nirvana premiered “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at the station!

KXLU received the track a day before other radio stations. Nirvana did their first on-air interview for Nevermind that day and invited listeners to come to the video set for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” the next day and be part of the filming. It was here that he (Kurt Cobain) drew the infamous cover for Nevermind on a makeshift record sleeve in KXLU. On it he scribbled the words, “wow, neat new innovative cover.”

5. The station has been committed to those not represented in the mainstream since its creation in 1957.

The station, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017, was created to offer students practical experiences in all aspects of radio broadcasting. KXLU is committed to representing artists and musicians who do not have a voice on the traditional mainstream circuit as an alternative and supportive forum in which to showcase their talent.

6. KXLU’s Alma del Barrio show is considered “the granddaddy of all Latin music programs in Los Angeles.”

Alma del Barrio has been going strong on KXLU’s airwaves since the fall of 1973, when it was started by then-LMU students Enrique “Kiki” Soto and Raul Villa. Alma del Barrio started off as an hour-long show and as the program grew in popularity, it expanded to 12 hours. Now it’s 24 hours, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

7. Last year more than 2,000 people attended KXLU’s Salsa Music Festival.

KXLU’s annual Salsa Music Festival celebrates two long-running programs on the radio station: the “Alma del Barrio” show and “The Brazilian Hour.” The festival has been instrumental as a gathering place for Latin music lovers of all ages, and keeps growing every year. In 2019, more than 2,000 people attended. With live music, dance, food trucks and pop-up shops, there is an undeniable connection over Latin culture that happens each summer at Sunken Garden.

8. KXLU has a history of long-running shows, including Stray Pop and Alien Air Music!

Stella, the DJ from Stray Pop, has been on the air since 1977, when she wandered into the station during her orientation at LMU. She was given a daytime show and was getting in trouble for the edgy punk rock music she was playing, seeing as KXLU was primarily playing rock at that time. The program director finally gave her a specialty show late Tuesday nights and it was then that Stray Pop was born. 

Alien Air Music has run on KXLU since 1984 featuring international melodic electronic- based music. Host Pat Murphy showcases unknown internet artists, known as ‘netsicians,’ alongside more established names to reflect KXLU’s mission: provide equal footing to talented start up artists.

KXLU Studios

9. Forgot to listen live?

The station has a total of 13 live compilations featuring artists who have performed in the studio ranging from the mid 1990’s until 2019. Volumes 1-10 are CDs and volumes 11-13 are vinyl. You can donate for the live compilations on KXLU.com/donate.