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Hawaiian, reggae and blues part of KUNV’s surprising Sunday schedule

Updated September 24, 2021 - 12:20 pm

“The Lyons Den Radio Show” caps off a daylong slate of eclectic programming on KUNV-FM that also features shows devoted to blues, Hawaiian and reggae music, all hosted by passionate volunteers.

Ashton Ridley, KUNV-FM, 91.5’s general manager, said the shows — which also can be heard via streaming at kunv.org/listen — bring to the station an audience beyond the regular listeners who tune in for the public radio station’s usual jazz format.

“That’s the details we don’t get from ratings,” he says. “It comes up at membership drives when people call in to say, ‘I want to become a member to keep that program on.’ That’s when you see the big impact.”

Blues

Brian Spencer, 51, has hosted “Nothin’ but the Blues” for 23 years. The show runs Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. Spencer remembers being intrigued by a B.B. King documentary he was 12.

“Then, when I moved to Las Vegas (in 1995), a friend of mine was really big on it and turned me on to it. I started reading books and listening to it. I’m self-taught.”

The appeal of blues? “It’s the base of all music,” Spencer says. “And it’s America’s music, and the history of it is so mind-bending.”

Hawaiian

Emory Nihipali has been hosting “Little Grass Shack,” a mix of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music, for 22 years. The show airs Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

Nihipali, 49, grew up in Las Vegas, left, then moved back in 1991. During the late ’90s, “there were several Hawaiian shows” on the radio here, says Nihipali, who began appearing on an AM show in 1998 and then moved to KUNV in 1999.

“I’ve always loved the islands, and I saw the growth of the Hawaiian people here, moving to Las Vegas, and said it’d be awesome to cater to that,” he says.

“A lot of people who come from the islands have been saying I create that vacation feel, which was my purpose.”

Reggae

Stan Rankin T. — real name Stanley Tyrell — has released several reggae records as a performer. Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m. he brings his encyclopedic knowledge of the music to “Reggae Happenings” on KUNV.

He started hosting the show in 1982. At the time, it was one of three reggae programs he hosted on local radio. According to Ridley, the program now is the world’s longest consistently running reggae show.

It is “a labor of love,” says Tyrell, who was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2006.

“On the radio show I talk about the culture of reggae music and the artists and the roots of reggae.

“I get a lot of requests for certain artists. People tell me they love the words the reggae artists put out — very cultural, very spiritual, very uplifting,” he says. “And when reggae music plays, you’ve got to move.”

Contact John Przybys at jprzybys @reviewjournal.com. Follow

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