July 6, 2022

Sylvia Alvarado: What Happens on the Air in Vegas...

A lot of radio personalities are initially attracted to the medium because of the music. But some hosts, like Sylvia Alvarado, go far beyond a passing interest. As the midday host on KOMP 92.3 in Vegas, she's had incredible interviews with some of the biggest stars in rock music: Slash, Pat Carney from The Black Keys, Zakk Wylde, and Matt Schultz from Cage The Elephant, just to name a few.


She's also a musician herself- She's sung the national anthem at games for the Vegas Aviators and the Golden Knights. Sadly, there isn't much footage out there, but when you consider that you only here about anthem singers when they mess up - this may be a good thing. (We do have a clip on our episode page)

In this episode, Sylvia and I run through her history with music and radio, from her beginnings as a student at UNLV and a humble intern at KOMP all the way to her current position as the midday host. Even if it seems like she's a natural fit for radio, she had her fair share of struggles. We go over how she finally gained confidence in herself after 2 years (!) on the air, and how she tackled a few broadcasts in Spanish. We also go over the fierceness of creating and running promotions in Vegas, which is pretty much the global capital of promoting things.

If you're listening from Vegas, you can hear Sylvia from 10am to 3pm on 92.3 KOMP. If you're not, you can also listen live on their website. (Yes even you Canada)

To connect with Sylvia and learn more about her, you can follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Click Here for a Transcript of the show.

Also a thanks to our latest sponsor, The CHR Prep Service. Click to get a free trial.

Transcript

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:00:01
The Sound Off Podcast. The Podcast about Broadcast with Matt Cundill - starts now.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:10
This week. I'm speaking with Sylvia Alvarado from KOMP 92.3 in Vegas. She does the midday show from ten to three. She's largely Vegas raised outside of the first eleven months of her life, which were spent in Santa Monica. To get ready for this episode, we log into squad cast, we set up the cameras to see one another, and our first minute chatting is an audio HR incident.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:00:34
Thank you for having me. I actually was pretty nervous leading up to this interview because usually I'm the one interviewing.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:41
It's going to feel a little bit different, I guess, in this sense.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:00:43
Oh, for sure. Are the boobies distracting?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:47
My apologies, the what?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:00:49
The boobies. Can you see them?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:50
Yeah, come to think of it, now that you point them out, there are yes. So what you can't see in this podcast is the retro 2000 marketing poster in the top corner above Sylvia's head. It's featuring predominant under cleavage. That form of rock station marketing hasn't completely disappeared from the radio landscape, but indeed, it was a different era. I put a picture of the poster, by the way, up on the web page at soundoffpodcast.com. Sylvia Alvarado joins me from the.com studios at Lotus Broadcasting in Las Vegas, where it turns out Sylvia once wanted to become a nun.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:01:23
First off, I wanted to be a nun, and I think based on the look on your face, it seems random. But yeah, I was about seven or eight and we had to do this activity where it's like, draw what you wanted to be when you grow up. And I said I wanted to be a nun. I don't know why. I think it's because of the Catholic upbringing and because I was at a Catholic elementary school. But yeah, anytime when somebody asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a nun. That didn't work out.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:53
Is your pathway into media sort of your way of rebelling and you're still going through the rebellion phase?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:01:59
No, I don't think I was cut out for it. I say too much bad words, I got dirty jokes. I think rock radio was kind of like my calling, but even then afterward, like, I wanted to be a singer. So I'm such a shy, introverted person that radio and just public speaking never seemed to be something that I thought I would see myself in. Even when I interned here, I never saw myself on air because I was like, there's no way that it could happen.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:29
Do you consider yourself some sort of introvert extrovert where you live both lives?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:02:33
I think so. I think that actually exists where it's like you have extrovert qualities, but you're really an introvert. When I'm around a lot of people, I get super exhausted. I need to recharge my batteries a little bit afterwards, but I think it's also functioning introversion or something. I don't know.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:52
How many journalism and media degrees do you have?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:02:55
I have an associate's degree in journalism, media studies and a bachelor's.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:01
So that's like two.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:03:02
That's like two. And then I have an honor society and I can't remember off the top of my head, but it was like Alpha Counsel something, so there's that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:12
So you knew you were going to go into media in some capacity, but what were you thinking while you were studying for these degrees?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:03:18
Well, actually, first I went into college for psychology, realized I don't think I want to be a doctor, and then I changed my major to music, realized I don't think I want to be a teacher, and then this is kind of where my mom plays in, where she's like, you love to write, you should go into journalism. And I went into it and I really liked it, but then we had to take an internship and I was like, well, I don't want to go into TV. I want to be into a place where music is involved because I love music. And how cool would it be to just be surrounded by music all the time? So that's kind of how I got into radio.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:54
What sort of music did you grow up around?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:03:56
Well, I'm a millennial, so the Britney Spears, the Instincts, Backstreet Boys and all that, but when I was about 1011, my brother introduced me to Korn, so he had me listen to a song called Twist. And I don't know if you or anyone out there is familiar with the song Twist, but it's basically the singer scouting, and it's very, like, chaotic and I think it was meant to scare me, but it got me so excited for some reason. I was like, oh, this is freaking cool. And then from there it was Korn, it went to Alice In Chains, it went into Nirvana, it went into Metallica. So, yeah, I kind of left Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera kind of in the dust.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:40
That was a great time in the 90s. That was a lot of fantastic rock bands. So what was your first rock concert?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:04:45
My Chemical Romance. I was 16 and I got caught in and it was my first concert and my first mosh pit. And as a 16 year old, that was not fun for me because I kind of didn't expect it. And I remember a Gerard Way saying, make that much, make it as big as the hole in my effing heart. And I'm like, Oh, no. And so everybody just, like, rushed to the stage and made this big moshta.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:13
I was like, Oh my God, when was the first time you set foot into a radio station and what did you do?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:05:19
That was back in winter of 2009, and I was an intern, so I basically just had to file a lot of papers and because, again, going back into being an introvert, I was a little bit scared to work on my brakes. So the internship coordinator at the time, who also later became a mentor and my best friend, he was always like, you need to do your breaks. You need to work on your voice. And that was the biggest thing he always wanted me to do, was develop your voice, develop who you want to be on air. But I mostly stayed in filing and helping out in promotions, but eventually one day, I was just like, okay, I'm going to start working on my breaks. And that was tough. It sucks hearing your voice for the first time.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:03
So that's amazing because you admit that you're an introvert, you're filing, you've already mentioned I didn't imagine that I would ever be on the air doing what I do. So when's that moment when you find.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:06:15
Your voice, it happened probably where I was content with it, probably two years into my radio career, but I kind of just was like, I'm open with my friends. Like, pretend that you're talking to a friend on air, and that's kind of how you start to develop, and you listen to other jocks, and you kind of, like, take pieces and kind of make it your own. So I think when I was really happy with it was about two years in.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:42
And was it confidence more than anything, or have you just done it, killed it, and you knew you were in?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:06:48
No, I think it was confidence, to be perfectly honest. It was definitely confidence because, again, I just thought that, well, I don't think I sound good. I don't think I sound it was always in my head a lot. So there was one day where I was just like, I'm tired of feeling like I'm shy on the mic. I'm tired of feeling like hiding who I am. So it just came to a point where I was like, no, I'm talking to my friends. I'm always open with my friends. I'm very sarcastic, and I have dark humor, and I love this music, and I want to share with the audience that I love this music with them. So, yeah, I gained that confidence.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:07:27
And you've been on the air in Spanish, too?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:07:29
Yeah, for, like, a hot minute. And actually, it turned out to be, like, two years, but I was doing KOMP on weekends, and then I was on air on La Buena for about two years, and I did, like, a 1 hour, two hour show, and it was like a countdown, and that was actually really tough for me, and that was kind of going all the way back of, like, finding my voice, because at the time, my Spanish wasn't great. I spoke Spanish, but you could still hear an accent, and a lot of people could hear that and any time when I had to and I wrote out all my breaks because I just didn't have the confidence in myself. To go and talk like I'm talking right now, so I write out all my breaks, but I always had a little bit of trouble reading some words, so I stumbled a lot, and luckily the audience was pretty forgiving. Like, they could understand that I was a Mexican American, but mostly spoke English. So I had a lot of calls saying, like, Oh, you know, they would call me Bocha, which is basically a Mexican American, like, Oh, Bocha Bochita, you're doing good, you're out there, we understand. I'm like, that's really nice. I don't know if this is good for me.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:39
So I'm from Montreal, where we have English and French radio, french being the predominant language in that city. You're doing English radio and where English is obviously predominant. But how are the two markets different between Spanish radio and English radio? And we'll speak specifically to where you are in Vegas.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:08:57
The main thing that I've seen, and this is just from our Spanish station, is the Mexican audience or the Latino audience just seems to be, like, super passionate about radio and about the promotions and about the jocks. And I'm not saying that the accompl listeners or the English audience, they don't have that same passion, but it's just a different there's a difference. There's just more enthusiasm or passion or they're just more connected, I guess.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:25
Community.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:09:26
Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:28
So you started doing some filing back in 2009. You're on the air during the middays and in the in between time. You've probably done every job in radio to date that has to do with being on the air, because I know you've done some promotions as well. So tell me about your skill set. What's in the bag?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:09:45
If someone needs to cover the front desk on that girl, if our promotions guy who does the other stations, if he's out, I'm in. I'll cover. I think I covered our sister station three times in my career, so our classic rock station, I've been there, so I can do I think that's about it. I'm pretty sure there's more. Oh, I can upload stuff on the website. I do social media.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:12
All right, so you do mid days, and all we hear about radio in today's day and age, is just how busy everybody is. So give everybody an idea about what your work day is like, when does it start, when does it end, and how much do you have to do?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:10:25
It starts at ten. I'm here at the station from about ten to one, and then the rest is voice tracked from one to about four, sometimes five, just depending on how busy the day is. I go into my office and I just work on promotions. If there's proposals, if there's rules needed, if I need to put together some remote prize packs, that's pretty much it. Meetings, conference calls, all that sort of stuff. So scheduling for promotions, voice tracking for weekends, that sort of stuff.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:57
Promotions in vegas has got to be a daunting task because Las Vegas is just one big giant entertainment promotion as it is.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:11:06
Oh, yeah. And especially with our professional teams that are here. So we have Las Vegas Golden Knights, we have the Las Vegas Raiders, we have the Las Vegas Aces, we have our AAA baseball teams, we have the Vegas Triple A football teams, hockey. So, yeah, we're a busy, entertaining city.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:24
So tell me about the arrival of both the Raiders and the Golden Knights. And I mentioned both, especially like the Golden Knights. Canadians know all about that because they look at their crappy hockey team from Edmonton or Vancouver or Winnipeg and will go, hey, let's go to Vegas for the weekend. Or you might be a Buffalo Bills fan and you say, Hey, look, they're playing the Raiders and let's go there for the weekend. So how are those two teams in the arrival of professional sports in Vegas really changed the work that you do?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:11:51
Well, it got busy and when the Vegas hockey came here, I was at a different station. So Lotus Broadcasting is sort of like the flex ship station for Vegas Golden Knights. So when all that happened, I wasn't in this building, but I remember hearing a lot of people saying a little bit of naysaying where they were like, hockey, it's not going to be popular, it's not going to do well, there's not going to be any people at the games and all this stuff, but, oh my God, I can't drive down the street without seeing like a Vegas Golden Ice flag or the license plates. It grew. And there are fans, and they are hardcore fans out here.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:30
How did everybody whiff on that? Because everybody's thinking, oh, there's too much to do in Vegas that's never going to take off. And these are some of the more popular teams and some of the more popular events in Vegas.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:12:42
Oh, yeah. And I think what happens is, and maybe this might not be the case, but it just seems like there's community around it because everybody is coming together and they are cheering on. And especially, I think hockey has a special place in the Las Vegas community's heart because everything happened when 1 October happened. So it was a way for us to come together and root for something as a community. So I think that's kind of where it kind of bumped up. The popularity, in my opinion, is that it's kind of like what I saw. But maybe there are a lot of closet hockey fans as well. And the people, of course, are happy that there is a professional team in Las Vegas. We didn't think that it would ever happen. We've heard like rumors and everything like that, but it's finally here and then you have on top of the Raiders and that's football.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:13:27
Oh my God, what makes a great radio promotion and what's maybe one of the more memorable ones that you've done.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:13:34
I remember we used to do well. We have what's called KOMP bingo. So that's one of KOMP's biggest promotions, where it's basically bingo, but it's rock and roll bingo. There are drinks, people are having a blast, or great prizes. But we also had musical chairs, and this was like years when I was an intern. We had musical chairs, so people would play musical chairs for concert tickets. We had the KOMP kegger, which was a big party that we would throw, and we would invite bands like chevelle or adelaide's way that I can remember that sort of stuff. When I was over on la buena, we had, like, a little pageant for girls who are turning 15. For me, that was a memorable promotion because it was basically like, girls wanting to have the 15th birthday of their lifetime. And that was cool that we were able to make it happen for one lucky girl.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:25
What does the visitor to las vegas not know about living and working in las vegas?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:14:31
I think people have this perception that we're always on the strip and we're always partying, and that's not true. And I think just in general, people have like, we live in casinos. I don't really go to the strip all that much unless it's for a concert, unless it's for a friend who's in town. But we have our national park, red rock. We have our art district. It's a lot more than just casinos and gambling and everything. It's the community. It's a little bit more artsy than people like to give it credit for. And we don't live in casinos. We live far away from them.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:06
Have you ever played a casino game in vegas?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:15:10
Yes, and I didn't understand it, and I lost money. I was like, this sucks. It was like a slot machine. And I was like someone was trying to show me. He's like, okay, you just press this button. You just press this button. I'm like, I lost $10. It doesn't seem like it's my game.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:26
So did you look at the strip as being some sort of freak show? The way I looked at the strip when I went there.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:15:30
Well, how did you see it?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:32
A lot of visitors doing a lot of weird stuff. People passed out in their breakfast. There was a woman who passed out at the casino table while hitting on my wife. This all happened in three days.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:15:43
I think what happens is people who can't handle vegas, a lot of amateurs. I've seen this meme where it's like, oh, vegas. Like, guys going into vegas, and they're like, yeah, let's go to vegas. And two days later, they're just, like, destroyed. They just can't handle vegas. And this is a bunch of amateurs.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:59
KOMP 92.3, the rock station. In just a moment, we're going to talk about social media strategies, the perils of singing the national anthem while the TV cameras are rolling and that era of marketing with the KOMP girls, the calendars and the tattoos. We'll find out what they're doing these days. There's more with Sylvia, including some of those performances and a transcription of this episode on our website at soundoffpodcast.com, 

Sarah (Voiceover) 00:16:27
Transcriptio for the.The Sound Off podcast powered by Poddin. Your podcast is an SEO goldmine. We help you to dig out, start your free trial now at poddin.io 

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:16:36
The Sound Off podcast with Matt Cundill 

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:16:36
You're into Korn. You're listening to Twist, and then you're going to take this time machine and you're going to move into 2022 and you're going to look at rock radio today. And what do you think your observations would be as far as, like, I can't believe we're still playing Korn?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:16:59
We are playing Korn. We just played Korn today.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:17:05
Do you play Got The Life?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:17:06
Yeah, Got the Life. We played Freak on a Leash. We got the new one because they have a new album out. So, I mean, I would be very excited as like a nine year old Sylvia saying, like, oh, great god, the Life is still being played. Freak on. Alicia is still being played. Oh, they have new music. But it's like with Metallica, I don't think that's ever going to go out of style. Like, we played Limp Bizkit Sprinkled in. So I think those bands and those songs, they're really not going to go out of style because a lot of people like to listen to songs that they used to rock out two years ago when they were younger. I think that's why it seems like there's a resurgence kind of going along with the late 90s, early 2000s coming back. I think that's getting a lot of popularity again.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:17:52
So what's the strategy for new music? Like, how much would you play in an hour? And you're going to add the record of the playlist, but how are you going to take it upon yourselves to get this new artist and new song out to your listeners?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:18:04
Well, what I've noticed is that it kind of creeps in. So it starts at night and then it kind of creeps into the afternoon and then to middays. And I noticed that with new music, it's always a stopset before or not stop set, but like a break before the new music. So you're able to get music news and talk about it for however many seconds you have.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:25
Is that 12 seconds or longer?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:18:27
Depends on the song. Because normally, like, newer bands and newer songs that I've noticed, they're not like Metallica anymore, man. They don't give us a minute. And 32nd intro, it's very like with that flower. It's a seven second intro. So as much as I try not to stop the playlist to talk, sometimes you have to because you only have like five to 7 seconds and you want to talk about a station promotion or you want to talk about the new song, you want to talk about the band, if they're going to have a show, that sort of stuff.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:58
Which brings us, really, to sort of getting your listeners to connect to the artist, whether it's an older one or a newer one or a band that's heading out on tour. And then you're going to be tasked with interviewing the band. And so now how do you get the interview out? How would you look at your social media assets and how would you bust it all up to make sure that the interview got out there?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:19:17
So what I would do is, aside from airing it, I would make a little video, put the interview and the artist photo. I'll post it on Instagram, I'll post it on our Facebook page. I tried to post it on our web, and I'll link, I'll tag the artist, I'll tag the venue. And that's kind of just what I've been doing as far as trying to get, hey, this person has new music going on tour, that sort of stuff. Just get all the info out to the listeners.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:19:45
I guess the pandemic has sort of made it that you have to do your interviews like the way we're doing our interview right now.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:19:51
Yeah. And it's such a bummer, especially because sometimes we may not have the luxury of doing a video interview, so you have to solely rely on the voice. And what I've tried to do was kind of talk to the person before I hit record because you only have 15 minutes, but you have to make it sound like, hey, we're buddies, but we know each other. We're like, we're cool with each other. We're trying to create a chemistry out of talking for 15 minutes. So that's been, like, the tough thing that I've come across.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:20:26
I think you're talking on a cell phone to me right now through your iPhone, so you're not going to be able to reach for this answer. But what rock stars do you have their text number right now in your contacts?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:20:38
I had Ivan Moody's number for a second, actually. It's more so on Instagram that I'm friends with or like, I'll follow and they'll follow me and we'll talk every once in a while very rarely, but yeah, but I remember I had been Moody from Five Finger Death Punch. He was like, Call me, call me. I'm like, I'm 22, man, I'm so shy. Oh, my God. And it's not to say, like, anything like he was being a creep or anything. I think he was just being a guy who, I don't know, wanted to.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:07
Talk more, was lonely on the road.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:10
It is.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:11
Remember, this is a band that covered Bad Company.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:13
I'm not afraid to say that I'm not mad at my fingertips, but they got some good songs.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:19
I'm a fan. Okay, so this brings up the question, most memorable interview.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:23
Oh, my God. Well, memorable because this wasn't good. Memorable in the positive would be slash I've interviewed him twice. He's always been super nice. He's always been a sweetheart and very talkative and very chatty. Brent Smith have shined down. He was awesome. I had a 30 minutes interview with him, which I didn't expect memorable and like the sense that it was awful and doesn't leave my mind was Maynard from Tool? He's a tough one, that guy.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:53
Yeah. I think he puts a deliberately difficult and standoffish answers.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:58
Oh, yeah. And I remember one thing that I love about interviewing people, and this is why it was a little bit tough to kind of be on the other side. I love researching. I love reading about the artists that I'm going to interview. So I spent like a good two days researching and trying to like, find everything that I could about Maynard. And the interview went like this, super quick. I went through my questions like 2 seconds because he didn't really give me a whole lot. So that was probably the most memorable as far as like it just was so crappy. I never saw the light of day. I refused, really. I know, because actually I'm really hard on myself too. So I'm like, no one is going to hear this.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:41
So was this for Tool or was this for a perfect circle or pussyfoot?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:22:45
This is for pussy four. And I don't know if I should say that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:49
I mean, if you mentioned Tool during the pussyfare interview, you're going to get something odd.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:22:54
Well, here's the thing. So when I did mention Tool, it was very, like, quick. And then I was told, oh, he loves talking about his winery. And I didn't know that he had a restaurant in Arizona. And I was like, this is great. I could do this. We can talk about his stuff. And yeah, he just sounded very bored, very nice to be there.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:14
But if you went back and started to talk about him being a farmer and growing grapes, do you think he would have had a different reaction?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:23:21
No, that was in there too. I'm telling you, because the PR lady was like, oh, he loves talking about that's his favorite thing to talk about, his restaurant and his winery and farming. And I remember looking at YouTube videos and there was one video. I don't know if anyone is familiar with this, but there's this little girl. I think it's like rockstar interview kids or whatever, something like that. It's like these little girls interviewing musicians. And I remember he was still a little bit standoffish with the little girl. I'm like, oh my god, if he's standoffish and like really short with his answers to an eight year old, what is he going to do to a 33 year old? Oh my God.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:00
And I have the same experience, by the way, with Brent Smith. He's the nicest guy and he stays as long as you'll have him. And it's incredible. And he shakes everyone's hand. He remembers everybody's name. I wish every rock star were like that. And I'm quite convinced that rock radio would be in a much better position if everybody did what he did, which is straight out of the Country Music Handbook, actually.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:24:21
Yeah. I guess having access to the musicians, like more access to artists.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:28
Yeah, but thanking radio and being thankful for radio and really putting out the thanks and meeting the listeners and not every rock band does that.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:24:37
No, actually, no. It's very rare. I mean, Slash has done it. He's been super nice. Brandon Boyd, he was a sweetheart. I think if artists or musicians in the rock scene gave more of an experience, I guess, to say I think it would be a lot more fun.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:53
Yeah, but when was the last time that a rock star thanked rock radio? At the MTV Music Awards or anything like that?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:24:59
I couldn't tell you.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:01
It's been a while.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:02
It's been a while. And also because I haven't seen a music MTV Music Award show in a long time, nothing pops to mind. And I'm pretty sure there is one, and I can't think of that person right now because I'm pretty sure I've seen it. Carl Aron Jones, probably, if you've ever heard of him. He's a Seattle musician. I think he's pretty good at that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:21
What are your listeners listen to when they're not listening to you?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:24
More KOMP? We have some pretty dedicated listeners.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:29
Yeah. I get the feeling there's not much where else to go on the dial for what you're offering.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:36
There's another station, but I don't think it has the maybe this is throwing shade.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:41
No, we've got the ratings. We have the ratings.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:43
We do. But there's another radio station that I don't think has the locality. I think it's mostly all voice tracked, it's all satellite. Whereas with our station, we kind of pride ourselves in being local. We have our morning show Be US in the Morning. We have myself and we have our afternoon show, Guy Gooch. So, yeah, I think that's kind of what we can parade about. Like we're local. We can talk about if something happened on the Strip or if there's a concert we can kind of like, celebrate or come together with the community. We get each other.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:19
You're really good at Instagram, by the way.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:26:21
Am I really?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:22
Yeah, I think so.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:26:23
Thanks.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:24
So what is your social media strategy with your particular audience?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:26:27
With me? I just try to post anything. Well, aside from radio stuff in the interviews, I just try to post things that are happy, that are dumb enough to make you laugh. I have this thing where I will say really horrible dad jokes, but in a pumpkin filter, which is dumb, but it makes me laugh. And if it makes anybody else laugh, or at least crack a smile, I've done my job. And that's kind of like what I've tried to have. My Instagram mostly it's just something that you can just look at and crack a smile and stuff.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:02
You were talking about how you were a singer and you talked about how it was such in your distant past and you don't do it anymore, but I know that that's not true.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:27:09
No, I sing here and there. I sing mostly our national anthem.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:13
You're at the Aviators Game? Yeah. You sang the anthem. Tell me about that experience.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:27:18
Yeah, well, here's the thing. I've done the anthem, I want to say, for about 13 years for that organization. So it used to be Las Vegas 51, and I was introduced back in 2009 to the person kind of in charge of that. So he's asked me to come saying maybe once a year, every single year, and every single year, I am dying. I'm so nervous. I'm stress, buddy, because I get so nervous because I'm like, Oh, my God, this could be it. This could be the year that I forget the words. And that is my biggest fear. Not that I'll mess up a note, because I'm like, no, I'm pretty confident in that. It's the lyrics, because the lyrics everybody knows the lyrics to the national anthem in that arena, in that stadium. Everybody knows. I can't do another lyric to fill in. I can't do that because everybody knows. And that's one of my biggest fears. But after it's done, I'm on cloud nine and I just want to do it again.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:11
Yeah, well, you don't want to become a sports center highlight, but it's not the worst thing in the world. But it has happened.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:28:16
I know, and that's my fear, because this happened, like, years ago, but for some reason I was like, well, it could be worse. Let me see how worse it can be. And so I looked at how bad there was that one lady who was at a hockey game and she sang, but then messed up the lyrics. They went back, then came out, but she fell on the ice. Oh, my God.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:37
Oh, I remember that.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:28:38
Yeah. That's probably not what you want to see before you go out and sing the national anthem. That doesn't calm the nerves.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:44
We have had Josie Die from Indy 88 on the show, and she did sing the national anthem and she did mess it up.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:28:50
No.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:52
And you know what? I've completely forgotten about the incident. And she brought it up on this podcast and I said, Oh, that's right.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:29:01
Oh, my God. It's such a crummy feeling to just even know that you could be forgetting it, which has happened to me. But then I don't I think it's like muscle memory.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:09
What is next level for you in the radio business? It's such a dumb question, but where do you see yourself in two years?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:29:16
Hopefully? And it's not a dumb question, because my goal when I first started was, okay, can I be on air? And I went on air, like, on weekends. And I was like, okay, well, what's the next thing I can do? And so the opportunity presented itself to be on a morning show. So I was like, Okay, I'll do that. I came back and I'm like, okay, well, I'm back on weekends, but what can I do? What opportunities are there? And then I did midday. So I think just for the next two years, if I can just be on middays and be the best that I can possibly be, as far as maybe being a little bit better on my Instagram or putting out more content into my breaks, that sort of thing, I think that's kind of where I see myself still being on mid days, hopefully, because radio is a little bit it can be challenging and it can be unpredictable and can be unstable. So my goal is just to be here two years midday and be like, the best personality that I can be.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:11
I love that.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:30:12
Now it's just evolving. So now I'm on middays, which I wanted to be on weekdays. When I started to do weekends, I wanted to be on weekdays, so now I'm on weekdays. Well, how can I evolve from that?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:25
Did the texture of your show change during the pandemic? Did mid days evolve a little bit because people sort of changed their lives, especially Las Vegas. Everything changed for people in Las Vegas. But did the texture of your show change where you had different listeners listening at different times? And was it noticeable to you?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:30:41
I think because what I noticed when we first started going on air, when I first started midday, and that was like June 2020, I think a lot of it was just trying to give news about the pandemic, but also still trying to be uplifting. And I think right now the goal is to talk about stuff that is positive or funny or informative, maybe not so much of the heavier stuff, because people have a lot around that anyway. You open up Facebook, you open up Twitter. Sadly, there's a shooting or there's monkeypox. So I think for me now, it's just trying to give content that'll kind of like, take away the worries or the anxiety.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:27
So behind you is a marketing piece from the station's past. It features under boob.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:31:33
Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:34
Is that still part of the plan for Rock Radio these days? Or as Rock Radio moved on from that, are we still doing that?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:31:40
This was done. And just to paint a picture, it's the under boobs. It has the KOMPlogo. I think that started, I want to say early 2000s. So that's kind of really when Rock Radio was like the tattoos and the girls and the drink beer and super bro. I think we've kind of gotten away with it or away from it a little bit. I mean, it's still there. I still have posters from, I think, 2001 of our KOMP rock girls. We don't have those anymore. And I think it just kind of went away where we kind of like grew away from it. It's still part of our past. It will present it, obviously, because we're never going to let go. These are great boobs, but I don't think it's like the main thing. And we still have the strip club commercials and all that, which, by the way, I have voiced two strip club commercials. I don't think it's going to go away, but we just kind of like it's not as prominent.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:32:33
I think rock radio has backed off it a little bit. I mean, you're talking about that era in the early two thousands when we're going to get a website up on the website. What are we going to put? We're going to put up pictures of.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:32:42
Girls, the hot girl of the day.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:32:44
Yeah. And then at the end of the year, there's a calendar and then there's the calendar launch party where you can come meet the girls at one point. And maybe you still have them. You probably have the KOMP girls who are going to be out at the remotes.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:32:55
Yeah. I never got to see those days. Unfortunately, by the time I came to intern, I think they had stopped that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:03
I was like, man, you missed it.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:06
I missed it. I missed the glamor.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:09
We had Bob Willett and I ran into Bob Willett, who had a great quote on this podcast. And it was like, oh, you just started working here. You missed the best era of the radio station. All the good stuff has already happened. Dang Sylvia, what did I miss?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:23
I think I covered it. What did you miss for me?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:26
Well, probably a station tour. The next time I come to Vegas.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:29
I would love to because we have a brand new board, too.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:32
Great. I love to come see it.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:34
Well, thank you so much for having me. It was a Blast! 

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:33:34
The the Sound Off podcast, written and hosted by Matt Cundill, produced by Evan Surminski, social media by Courtney Krebsbach. Another great creation from the the Soundoff Media Company. They're there's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:00:01
The Sound Off Podcast. The Podcast about Broadcast with Matt Cundill - starts now.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:10
This week. I'm speaking with Sylvia Alvarado from KOMP 92.3 in Vegas. She does the midday show from ten to three. She's largely Vegas raised outside of the first eleven months of her life, which were spent in Santa Monica. To get ready for this episode, we log into squad cast, we set up the cameras to see one another, and our first minute chatting is an audio HR incident.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:00:34
Thank you for having me. I actually was pretty nervous leading up to this interview because usually I'm the one interviewing.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:41
It's going to feel a little bit different, I guess, in this sense.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:00:43
Oh, for sure. Are the boobies distracting?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:47
My apologies, the what?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:00:49
The boobies. Can you see them?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:50
Yeah, come to think of it, now that you point them out, there are yes. So what you can't see in this podcast is the retro 2000 marketing poster in the top corner above Sylvia's head. It's featuring predominant under cleavage. That form of rock station marketing hasn't completely disappeared from the radio landscape, but indeed, it was a different era. I put a picture of the poster, by the way, up on the web page at soundoffpodcast.com. Sylvia Alvarado joins me from the.com studios at Lotus Broadcasting in Las Vegas, where it turns out Sylvia once wanted to become a nun.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:01:23
First off, I wanted to be a nun, and I think based on the look on your face, it seems random. But yeah, I was about seven or eight and we had to do this activity where it's like, draw what you wanted to be when you grow up. And I said I wanted to be a nun. I don't know why. I think it's because of the Catholic upbringing and because I was at a Catholic elementary school. But yeah, anytime when somebody asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a nun. That didn't work out.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:53
Is your pathway into media sort of your way of rebelling and you're still going through the rebellion phase?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:01:59
No, I don't think I was cut out for it. I say too much bad words, I got dirty jokes. I think rock radio was kind of like my calling, but even then afterward, like, I wanted to be a singer. So I'm such a shy, introverted person that radio and just public speaking never seemed to be something that I thought I would see myself in. Even when I interned here, I never saw myself on air because I was like, there's no way that it could happen.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:29
Do you consider yourself some sort of introvert extrovert where you live both lives?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:02:33
I think so. I think that actually exists where it's like you have extrovert qualities, but you're really an introvert. When I'm around a lot of people, I get super exhausted. I need to recharge my batteries a little bit afterwards, but I think it's also functioning introversion or something. I don't know.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:52
How many journalism and media degrees do you have?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:02:55
I have an associate's degree in journalism, media studies and a bachelor's.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:01
So that's like two.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:03:02
That's like two. And then I have an honor society and I can't remember off the top of my head, but it was like Alpha Counsel something, so there's that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:12
So you knew you were going to go into media in some capacity, but what were you thinking while you were studying for these degrees?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:03:18
Well, actually, first I went into college for psychology, realized I don't think I want to be a doctor, and then I changed my major to music, realized I don't think I want to be a teacher, and then this is kind of where my mom plays in, where she's like, you love to write, you should go into journalism. And I went into it and I really liked it, but then we had to take an internship and I was like, well, I don't want to go into TV. I want to be into a place where music is involved because I love music. And how cool would it be to just be surrounded by music all the time? So that's kind of how I got into radio.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:54
What sort of music did you grow up around?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:03:56
Well, I'm a millennial, so the Britney Spears, the Instincts, Backstreet Boys and all that, but when I was about 1011, my brother introduced me to Korn, so he had me listen to a song called Twist. And I don't know if you or anyone out there is familiar with the song Twist, but it's basically the singer scouting, and it's very, like, chaotic and I think it was meant to scare me, but it got me so excited for some reason. I was like, oh, this is freaking cool. And then from there it was Korn, it went to Alice In Chains, it went into Nirvana, it went into Metallica. So, yeah, I kind of left Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera kind of in the dust.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:40
That was a great time in the 90s. That was a lot of fantastic rock bands. So what was your first rock concert?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:04:45
My Chemical Romance. I was 16 and I got caught in and it was my first concert and my first mosh pit. And as a 16 year old, that was not fun for me because I kind of didn't expect it. And I remember a Gerard Way saying, make that much, make it as big as the hole in my effing heart. And I'm like, Oh, no. And so everybody just, like, rushed to the stage and made this big moshta.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:13
I was like, Oh my God, when was the first time you set foot into a radio station and what did you do?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:05:19
That was back in winter of 2009, and I was an intern, so I basically just had to file a lot of papers and because, again, going back into being an introvert, I was a little bit scared to work on my brakes. So the internship coordinator at the time, who also later became a mentor and my best friend, he was always like, you need to do your breaks. You need to work on your voice. And that was the biggest thing he always wanted me to do, was develop your voice, develop who you want to be on air. But I mostly stayed in filing and helping out in promotions, but eventually one day, I was just like, okay, I'm going to start working on my breaks. And that was tough. It sucks hearing your voice for the first time.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:03
So that's amazing because you admit that you're an introvert, you're filing, you've already mentioned I didn't imagine that I would ever be on the air doing what I do. So when's that moment when you find.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:06:15
Your voice, it happened probably where I was content with it, probably two years into my radio career, but I kind of just was like, I'm open with my friends. Like, pretend that you're talking to a friend on air, and that's kind of how you start to develop, and you listen to other jocks, and you kind of, like, take pieces and kind of make it your own. So I think when I was really happy with it was about two years in.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:42
And was it confidence more than anything, or have you just done it, killed it, and you knew you were in?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:06:48
No, I think it was confidence, to be perfectly honest. It was definitely confidence because, again, I just thought that, well, I don't think I sound good. I don't think I sound it was always in my head a lot. So there was one day where I was just like, I'm tired of feeling like I'm shy on the mic. I'm tired of feeling like hiding who I am. So it just came to a point where I was like, no, I'm talking to my friends. I'm always open with my friends. I'm very sarcastic, and I have dark humor, and I love this music, and I want to share with the audience that I love this music with them. So, yeah, I gained that confidence.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:07:27
And you've been on the air in Spanish, too?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:07:29
Yeah, for, like, a hot minute. And actually, it turned out to be, like, two years, but I was doing KOMP on weekends, and then I was on air on La Buena for about two years, and I did, like, a 1 hour, two hour show, and it was like a countdown, and that was actually really tough for me, and that was kind of going all the way back of, like, finding my voice, because at the time, my Spanish wasn't great. I spoke Spanish, but you could still hear an accent, and a lot of people could hear that and any time when I had to and I wrote out all my breaks because I just didn't have the confidence in myself. To go and talk like I'm talking right now, so I write out all my breaks, but I always had a little bit of trouble reading some words, so I stumbled a lot, and luckily the audience was pretty forgiving. Like, they could understand that I was a Mexican American, but mostly spoke English. So I had a lot of calls saying, like, Oh, you know, they would call me Bocha, which is basically a Mexican American, like, Oh, Bocha Bochita, you're doing good, you're out there, we understand. I'm like, that's really nice. I don't know if this is good for me.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:39
So I'm from Montreal, where we have English and French radio, french being the predominant language in that city. You're doing English radio and where English is obviously predominant. But how are the two markets different between Spanish radio and English radio? And we'll speak specifically to where you are in Vegas.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:08:57
The main thing that I've seen, and this is just from our Spanish station, is the Mexican audience or the Latino audience just seems to be, like, super passionate about radio and about the promotions and about the jocks. And I'm not saying that the accompl listeners or the English audience, they don't have that same passion, but it's just a different there's a difference. There's just more enthusiasm or passion or they're just more connected, I guess.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:25
Community.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:09:26
Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:28
So you started doing some filing back in 2009. You're on the air during the middays and in the in between time. You've probably done every job in radio to date that has to do with being on the air, because I know you've done some promotions as well. So tell me about your skill set. What's in the bag?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:09:45
If someone needs to cover the front desk on that girl, if our promotions guy who does the other stations, if he's out, I'm in. I'll cover. I think I covered our sister station three times in my career, so our classic rock station, I've been there, so I can do I think that's about it. I'm pretty sure there's more. Oh, I can upload stuff on the website. I do social media.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:12
All right, so you do mid days, and all we hear about radio in today's day and age, is just how busy everybody is. So give everybody an idea about what your work day is like, when does it start, when does it end, and how much do you have to do?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:10:25
It starts at ten. I'm here at the station from about ten to one, and then the rest is voice tracked from one to about four, sometimes five, just depending on how busy the day is. I go into my office and I just work on promotions. If there's proposals, if there's rules needed, if I need to put together some remote prize packs, that's pretty much it. Meetings, conference calls, all that sort of stuff. So scheduling for promotions, voice tracking for weekends, that sort of stuff.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:57
Promotions in vegas has got to be a daunting task because Las Vegas is just one big giant entertainment promotion as it is.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:11:06
Oh, yeah. And especially with our professional teams that are here. So we have Las Vegas Golden Knights, we have the Las Vegas Raiders, we have the Las Vegas Aces, we have our AAA baseball teams, we have the Vegas Triple A football teams, hockey. So, yeah, we're a busy, entertaining city.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:24
So tell me about the arrival of both the Raiders and the Golden Knights. And I mentioned both, especially like the Golden Knights. Canadians know all about that because they look at their crappy hockey team from Edmonton or Vancouver or Winnipeg and will go, hey, let's go to Vegas for the weekend. Or you might be a Buffalo Bills fan and you say, Hey, look, they're playing the Raiders and let's go there for the weekend. So how are those two teams in the arrival of professional sports in Vegas really changed the work that you do?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:11:51
Well, it got busy and when the Vegas hockey came here, I was at a different station. So Lotus Broadcasting is sort of like the flex ship station for Vegas Golden Knights. So when all that happened, I wasn't in this building, but I remember hearing a lot of people saying a little bit of naysaying where they were like, hockey, it's not going to be popular, it's not going to do well, there's not going to be any people at the games and all this stuff, but, oh my God, I can't drive down the street without seeing like a Vegas Golden Ice flag or the license plates. It grew. And there are fans, and they are hardcore fans out here.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:30
How did everybody whiff on that? Because everybody's thinking, oh, there's too much to do in Vegas that's never going to take off. And these are some of the more popular teams and some of the more popular events in Vegas.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:12:42
Oh, yeah. And I think what happens is, and maybe this might not be the case, but it just seems like there's community around it because everybody is coming together and they are cheering on. And especially, I think hockey has a special place in the Las Vegas community's heart because everything happened when 1 October happened. So it was a way for us to come together and root for something as a community. So I think that's kind of where it kind of bumped up. The popularity, in my opinion, is that it's kind of like what I saw. But maybe there are a lot of closet hockey fans as well. And the people, of course, are happy that there is a professional team in Las Vegas. We didn't think that it would ever happen. We've heard like rumors and everything like that, but it's finally here and then you have on top of the Raiders and that's football.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:13:27
Oh my God, what makes a great radio promotion and what's maybe one of the more memorable ones that you've done.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:13:34
I remember we used to do well. We have what's called KOMP bingo. So that's one of KOMP's biggest promotions, where it's basically bingo, but it's rock and roll bingo. There are drinks, people are having a blast, or great prizes. But we also had musical chairs, and this was like years when I was an intern. We had musical chairs, so people would play musical chairs for concert tickets. We had the KOMP kegger, which was a big party that we would throw, and we would invite bands like chevelle or adelaide's way that I can remember that sort of stuff. When I was over on la buena, we had, like, a little pageant for girls who are turning 15. For me, that was a memorable promotion because it was basically like, girls wanting to have the 15th birthday of their lifetime. And that was cool that we were able to make it happen for one lucky girl.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:25
What does the visitor to las vegas not know about living and working in las vegas?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:14:31
I think people have this perception that we're always on the strip and we're always partying, and that's not true. And I think just in general, people have like, we live in casinos. I don't really go to the strip all that much unless it's for a concert, unless it's for a friend who's in town. But we have our national park, red rock. We have our art district. It's a lot more than just casinos and gambling and everything. It's the community. It's a little bit more artsy than people like to give it credit for. And we don't live in casinos. We live far away from them.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:06
Have you ever played a casino game in vegas?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:15:10
Yes, and I didn't understand it, and I lost money. I was like, this sucks. It was like a slot machine. And I was like someone was trying to show me. He's like, okay, you just press this button. You just press this button. I'm like, I lost $10. It doesn't seem like it's my game.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:26
So did you look at the strip as being some sort of freak show? The way I looked at the strip when I went there.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:15:30
Well, how did you see it?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:32
A lot of visitors doing a lot of weird stuff. People passed out in their breakfast. There was a woman who passed out at the casino table while hitting on my wife. This all happened in three days.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:15:43
I think what happens is people who can't handle vegas, a lot of amateurs. I've seen this meme where it's like, oh, vegas. Like, guys going into vegas, and they're like, yeah, let's go to vegas. And two days later, they're just, like, destroyed. They just can't handle vegas. And this is a bunch of amateurs.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:59
KOMP 92.3, the rock station. In just a moment, we're going to talk about social media strategies, the perils of singing the national anthem while the TV cameras are rolling and that era of marketing with the KOMP girls, the calendars and the tattoos. We'll find out what they're doing these days. There's more with Sylvia, including some of those performances and a transcription of this episode on our website at soundoffpodcast.com, 

Sarah (Voiceover) 00:16:27
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Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:16:36
The Sound Off podcast with Matt Cundill 

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:16:36
You're into Korn. You're listening to Twist, and then you're going to take this time machine and you're going to move into 2022 and you're going to look at rock radio today. And what do you think your observations would be as far as, like, I can't believe we're still playing Korn?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:16:59
We are playing Korn. We just played Korn today.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:17:05
Do you play Got The Life?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:17:06
Yeah, Got the Life. We played Freak on a Leash. We got the new one because they have a new album out. So, I mean, I would be very excited as like a nine year old Sylvia saying, like, oh, great god, the Life is still being played. Freak on. Alicia is still being played. Oh, they have new music. But it's like with Metallica, I don't think that's ever going to go out of style. Like, we played Limp Bizkit Sprinkled in. So I think those bands and those songs, they're really not going to go out of style because a lot of people like to listen to songs that they used to rock out two years ago when they were younger. I think that's why it seems like there's a resurgence kind of going along with the late 90s, early 2000s coming back. I think that's getting a lot of popularity again.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:17:52
So what's the strategy for new music? Like, how much would you play in an hour? And you're going to add the record of the playlist, but how are you going to take it upon yourselves to get this new artist and new song out to your listeners?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:18:04
Well, what I've noticed is that it kind of creeps in. So it starts at night and then it kind of creeps into the afternoon and then to middays. And I noticed that with new music, it's always a stopset before or not stop set, but like a break before the new music. So you're able to get music news and talk about it for however many seconds you have.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:25
Is that 12 seconds or longer?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:18:27
Depends on the song. Because normally, like, newer bands and newer songs that I've noticed, they're not like Metallica anymore, man. They don't give us a minute. And 32nd intro, it's very like with that flower. It's a seven second intro. So as much as I try not to stop the playlist to talk, sometimes you have to because you only have like five to 7 seconds and you want to talk about a station promotion or you want to talk about the new song, you want to talk about the band, if they're going to have a show, that sort of stuff.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:58
Which brings us, really, to sort of getting your listeners to connect to the artist, whether it's an older one or a newer one or a band that's heading out on tour. And then you're going to be tasked with interviewing the band. And so now how do you get the interview out? How would you look at your social media assets and how would you bust it all up to make sure that the interview got out there?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:19:17
So what I would do is, aside from airing it, I would make a little video, put the interview and the artist photo. I'll post it on Instagram, I'll post it on our Facebook page. I tried to post it on our web, and I'll link, I'll tag the artist, I'll tag the venue. And that's kind of just what I've been doing as far as trying to get, hey, this person has new music going on tour, that sort of stuff. Just get all the info out to the listeners.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:19:45
I guess the pandemic has sort of made it that you have to do your interviews like the way we're doing our interview right now.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:19:51
Yeah. And it's such a bummer, especially because sometimes we may not have the luxury of doing a video interview, so you have to solely rely on the voice. And what I've tried to do was kind of talk to the person before I hit record because you only have 15 minutes, but you have to make it sound like, hey, we're buddies, but we know each other. We're like, we're cool with each other. We're trying to create a chemistry out of talking for 15 minutes. So that's been, like, the tough thing that I've come across.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:20:26
I think you're talking on a cell phone to me right now through your iPhone, so you're not going to be able to reach for this answer. But what rock stars do you have their text number right now in your contacts?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:20:38
I had Ivan Moody's number for a second, actually. It's more so on Instagram that I'm friends with or like, I'll follow and they'll follow me and we'll talk every once in a while very rarely, but yeah, but I remember I had been Moody from Five Finger Death Punch. He was like, Call me, call me. I'm like, I'm 22, man, I'm so shy. Oh, my God. And it's not to say, like, anything like he was being a creep or anything. I think he was just being a guy who, I don't know, wanted to.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:07
Talk more, was lonely on the road.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:10
It is.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:11
Remember, this is a band that covered Bad Company.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:13
I'm not afraid to say that I'm not mad at my fingertips, but they got some good songs.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:19
I'm a fan. Okay, so this brings up the question, most memorable interview.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:23
Oh, my God. Well, memorable because this wasn't good. Memorable in the positive would be slash I've interviewed him twice. He's always been super nice. He's always been a sweetheart and very talkative and very chatty. Brent Smith have shined down. He was awesome. I had a 30 minutes interview with him, which I didn't expect memorable and like the sense that it was awful and doesn't leave my mind was Maynard from Tool? He's a tough one, that guy.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:53
Yeah. I think he puts a deliberately difficult and standoffish answers.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:21:58
Oh, yeah. And I remember one thing that I love about interviewing people, and this is why it was a little bit tough to kind of be on the other side. I love researching. I love reading about the artists that I'm going to interview. So I spent like a good two days researching and trying to like, find everything that I could about Maynard. And the interview went like this, super quick. I went through my questions like 2 seconds because he didn't really give me a whole lot. So that was probably the most memorable as far as like it just was so crappy. I never saw the light of day. I refused, really. I know, because actually I'm really hard on myself too. So I'm like, no one is going to hear this.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:41
So was this for Tool or was this for a perfect circle or pussyfoot?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:22:45
This is for pussy four. And I don't know if I should say that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:49
I mean, if you mentioned Tool during the pussyfare interview, you're going to get something odd.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:22:54
Well, here's the thing. So when I did mention Tool, it was very, like, quick. And then I was told, oh, he loves talking about his winery. And I didn't know that he had a restaurant in Arizona. And I was like, this is great. I could do this. We can talk about his stuff. And yeah, he just sounded very bored, very nice to be there.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:14
But if you went back and started to talk about him being a farmer and growing grapes, do you think he would have had a different reaction?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:23:21
No, that was in there too. I'm telling you, because the PR lady was like, oh, he loves talking about that's his favorite thing to talk about, his restaurant and his winery and farming. And I remember looking at YouTube videos and there was one video. I don't know if anyone is familiar with this, but there's this little girl. I think it's like rockstar interview kids or whatever, something like that. It's like these little girls interviewing musicians. And I remember he was still a little bit standoffish with the little girl. I'm like, oh my god, if he's standoffish and like really short with his answers to an eight year old, what is he going to do to a 33 year old? Oh my God.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:00
And I have the same experience, by the way, with Brent Smith. He's the nicest guy and he stays as long as you'll have him. And it's incredible. And he shakes everyone's hand. He remembers everybody's name. I wish every rock star were like that. And I'm quite convinced that rock radio would be in a much better position if everybody did what he did, which is straight out of the Country Music Handbook, actually.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:24:21
Yeah. I guess having access to the musicians, like more access to artists.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:28
Yeah, but thanking radio and being thankful for radio and really putting out the thanks and meeting the listeners and not every rock band does that.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:24:37
No, actually, no. It's very rare. I mean, Slash has done it. He's been super nice. Brandon Boyd, he was a sweetheart. I think if artists or musicians in the rock scene gave more of an experience, I guess, to say I think it would be a lot more fun.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:53
Yeah, but when was the last time that a rock star thanked rock radio? At the MTV Music Awards or anything like that?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:24:59
I couldn't tell you.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:01
It's been a while.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:02
It's been a while. And also because I haven't seen a music MTV Music Award show in a long time, nothing pops to mind. And I'm pretty sure there is one, and I can't think of that person right now because I'm pretty sure I've seen it. Carl Aron Jones, probably, if you've ever heard of him. He's a Seattle musician. I think he's pretty good at that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:21
What are your listeners listen to when they're not listening to you?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:24
More KOMP? We have some pretty dedicated listeners.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:29
Yeah. I get the feeling there's not much where else to go on the dial for what you're offering.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:36
There's another station, but I don't think it has the maybe this is throwing shade.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:41
No, we've got the ratings. We have the ratings.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:25:43
We do. But there's another radio station that I don't think has the locality. I think it's mostly all voice tracked, it's all satellite. Whereas with our station, we kind of pride ourselves in being local. We have our morning show Be US in the Morning. We have myself and we have our afternoon show, Guy Gooch. So, yeah, I think that's kind of what we can parade about. Like we're local. We can talk about if something happened on the Strip or if there's a concert we can kind of like, celebrate or come together with the community. We get each other.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:19
You're really good at Instagram, by the way.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:26:21
Am I really?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:22
Yeah, I think so.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:26:23
Thanks.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:24
So what is your social media strategy with your particular audience?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:26:27
With me? I just try to post anything. Well, aside from radio stuff in the interviews, I just try to post things that are happy, that are dumb enough to make you laugh. I have this thing where I will say really horrible dad jokes, but in a pumpkin filter, which is dumb, but it makes me laugh. And if it makes anybody else laugh, or at least crack a smile, I've done my job. And that's kind of like what I've tried to have. My Instagram mostly it's just something that you can just look at and crack a smile and stuff.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:02
You were talking about how you were a singer and you talked about how it was such in your distant past and you don't do it anymore, but I know that that's not true.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:27:09
No, I sing here and there. I sing mostly our national anthem.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:13
You're at the Aviators Game? Yeah. You sang the anthem. Tell me about that experience.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:27:18
Yeah, well, here's the thing. I've done the anthem, I want to say, for about 13 years for that organization. So it used to be Las Vegas 51, and I was introduced back in 2009 to the person kind of in charge of that. So he's asked me to come saying maybe once a year, every single year, and every single year, I am dying. I'm so nervous. I'm stress, buddy, because I get so nervous because I'm like, Oh, my God, this could be it. This could be the year that I forget the words. And that is my biggest fear. Not that I'll mess up a note, because I'm like, no, I'm pretty confident in that. It's the lyrics, because the lyrics everybody knows the lyrics to the national anthem in that arena, in that stadium. Everybody knows. I can't do another lyric to fill in. I can't do that because everybody knows. And that's one of my biggest fears. But after it's done, I'm on cloud nine and I just want to do it again.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:11
Yeah, well, you don't want to become a sports center highlight, but it's not the worst thing in the world. But it has happened.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:28:16
I know, and that's my fear, because this happened, like, years ago, but for some reason I was like, well, it could be worse. Let me see how worse it can be. And so I looked at how bad there was that one lady who was at a hockey game and she sang, but then messed up the lyrics. They went back, then came out, but she fell on the ice. Oh, my God.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:37
Oh, I remember that.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:28:38
Yeah. That's probably not what you want to see before you go out and sing the national anthem. That doesn't calm the nerves.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:44
We have had Josie Die from Indy 88 on the show, and she did sing the national anthem and she did mess it up.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:28:50
No.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:52
And you know what? I've completely forgotten about the incident. And she brought it up on this podcast and I said, Oh, that's right.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:29:01
Oh, my God. It's such a crummy feeling to just even know that you could be forgetting it, which has happened to me. But then I don't I think it's like muscle memory.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:09
What is next level for you in the radio business? It's such a dumb question, but where do you see yourself in two years?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:29:16
Hopefully? And it's not a dumb question, because my goal when I first started was, okay, can I be on air? And I went on air, like, on weekends. And I was like, okay, well, what's the next thing I can do? And so the opportunity presented itself to be on a morning show. So I was like, Okay, I'll do that. I came back and I'm like, okay, well, I'm back on weekends, but what can I do? What opportunities are there? And then I did midday. So I think just for the next two years, if I can just be on middays and be the best that I can possibly be, as far as maybe being a little bit better on my Instagram or putting out more content into my breaks, that sort of thing, I think that's kind of where I see myself still being on mid days, hopefully, because radio is a little bit it can be challenging and it can be unpredictable and can be unstable. So my goal is just to be here two years midday and be like, the best personality that I can be.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:11
I love that.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:30:12
Now it's just evolving. So now I'm on middays, which I wanted to be on weekdays. When I started to do weekends, I wanted to be on weekdays, so now I'm on weekdays. Well, how can I evolve from that?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:25
Did the texture of your show change during the pandemic? Did mid days evolve a little bit because people sort of changed their lives, especially Las Vegas. Everything changed for people in Las Vegas. But did the texture of your show change where you had different listeners listening at different times? And was it noticeable to you?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:30:41
I think because what I noticed when we first started going on air, when I first started midday, and that was like June 2020, I think a lot of it was just trying to give news about the pandemic, but also still trying to be uplifting. And I think right now the goal is to talk about stuff that is positive or funny or informative, maybe not so much of the heavier stuff, because people have a lot around that anyway. You open up Facebook, you open up Twitter. Sadly, there's a shooting or there's monkeypox. So I think for me now, it's just trying to give content that'll kind of like, take away the worries or the anxiety.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:27
So behind you is a marketing piece from the station's past. It features under boob.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:31:33
Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:34
Is that still part of the plan for Rock Radio these days? Or as Rock Radio moved on from that, are we still doing that?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:31:40
This was done. And just to paint a picture, it's the under boobs. It has the KOMPlogo. I think that started, I want to say early 2000s. So that's kind of really when Rock Radio was like the tattoos and the girls and the drink beer and super bro. I think we've kind of gotten away with it or away from it a little bit. I mean, it's still there. I still have posters from, I think, 2001 of our KOMP rock girls. We don't have those anymore. And I think it just kind of went away where we kind of like grew away from it. It's still part of our past. It will present it, obviously, because we're never going to let go. These are great boobs, but I don't think it's like the main thing. And we still have the strip club commercials and all that, which, by the way, I have voiced two strip club commercials. I don't think it's going to go away, but we just kind of like it's not as prominent.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:32:33
I think rock radio has backed off it a little bit. I mean, you're talking about that era in the early two thousands when we're going to get a website up on the website. What are we going to put? We're going to put up pictures of.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:32:42
Girls, the hot girl of the day.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:32:44
Yeah. And then at the end of the year, there's a calendar and then there's the calendar launch party where you can come meet the girls at one point. And maybe you still have them. You probably have the KOMP girls who are going to be out at the remotes.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:32:55
Yeah. I never got to see those days. Unfortunately, by the time I came to intern, I think they had stopped that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:03
I was like, man, you missed it.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:06
I missed it. I missed the glamor.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:09
We had Bob Willett and I ran into Bob Willett, who had a great quote on this podcast. And it was like, oh, you just started working here. You missed the best era of the radio station. All the good stuff has already happened. Dang Sylvia, what did I miss?

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:23
I think I covered it. What did you miss for me?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:26
Well, probably a station tour. The next time I come to Vegas.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:29
I would love to because we have a brand new board, too.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:32
Great. I love to come see it.

Sylvia Alvarado (Guest) 00:33:34
Well, thank you so much for having me. It was a Blast! 

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:33:34
The the Sound Off podcast, written and hosted by Matt Cundill, produced by Evan Surminski, social media by Courtney Krebsbach. Another great creation from the the Soundoff Media Company. They're there's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.