In November’s edition of On the Air, I shared with you the wonderfully educational Community Science Radio, a science-themed podcast program. After a holiday hiatus in December, I investigated a slightly different kind of show for January. The Late Late Show with Bella and Craig is KXSU’s first, and one of our only, talk shows, and they do a great job of making it fun, engaging, and decently informative. Hosted by Craig Jaffe, Bella Pham, and a weekly guest or two, you can hear The Late Late Show on Monday nights from 10-11 p.m. on KXSU 102.1 FM or online at kxsu.org.
If the name The Late Late Show sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because James Corden hosts a TV show of the same name. For Bella and Craig, though, a feeling of familiarity is the best part of their show. The impression starts with Craig and Bella themselves: long-time friends and participants at the station, who share common interests and a similar love for Parks and Recreation (hence, this article’s banner photo). Craig is a fourth-year student at Seattle University, and the editor for the editorial staff (that’s me and everyone else who publishes on the blog, and we’re eternally grateful for him). His co-host, Bella, graduated from Seattle University last year after being a DJ, Music Reporter, and Media Manager during her time at the station. She now works as a marketing manager. Their on-air rapport as close friends helps make them not only entertaining to listen to, but both confident and welcoming to new listeners (and their years of combined radio experience don’t hurt either).
Each week, the dynamic duo welcomes a guest or two to join them, usually chosen from a handful of their favorites, who are mostly close friends. To add even more familiarity to this week’s episode, the guests happened to be Megan Castillo and Marcus Shriver, two of Bella and Craig’s best friends and most experienced guests. Meg and Marcus used to be part of the KXSU radio and editorial team as well, before they graduated last year. This meant that when I visited the studio to see the show live on Monday, January 23rd, it was like experiencing a sort of family reunion. Except, instead of your weird Aunt Norma, there was Meg experimenting with ways to say “anus” under FCC guidelines (while off the air, of course), and Craig likening me to Li’l Sebastian (may he rest in peace), in the best ways possible. How much more like family can you be?
The format of the show is conducive to such discussions, though, so those comments didn’t come out of nowhere. After introducing themselves, Bella and Craig moved to some icebreaker questions to bring in their guests, asking things like, “If you could have any artist perform at your funeral, who would it be?” or “Pancakes or waffles?” Answers relating to Three Doors Down and the 2015 Minions movie were popular throughout the show, to provide some sense of the atmosphere in the studio.
The next segment of the show dealt with current events and news from the past week, through a slightly more serious lens. According to Craig, the show originally did not have a political news section, in order to focus on entertainment and keep politics out of their space. They soon realized, however, that there is privilege involved with ignoring news (especially when talking about the past election during which the now-President spoke ill of, or proposed policies that would hurt, everyone but the most Christian, able, cis-straight, rich, white males). He says they also realized how fortunate they are as young, politically aware people, to have their own public platform to voice their opinions. Bella and Craig continue to discuss the news for a few minutes each week; this time including some juicy gossip about the new president, Sean Spicer and Dippin’ Dots, and, again, Three Doors Down.
After a brief musical break, consisting of what other than Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” the hosts played a game of, ah, “‘Fudge,’ Marry, Kill” (Craig chose to finally let Three Doors Down die) and administered a specially-curated quiz relating to the 2015 Minions film as part of their exclusive way of catering games to the interests of their guests. In this case, both Megan and Marcus are heavily infatuated by the film and the characters. The hour ran out after that, but they sometimes they take questions from listeners via their official show social media pages on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter.
If there was anything that impressed me about The Late Late Show, it was how comfortable and practiced Bella and Craig were. After starting the show last March and running it all through the summer (which is very impressive), they’re now coming up on their 50th broadcast. They’ve refined their process along the way, cutting down the format from two hours to one, as well as getting a feel for the people who make the best guests. Creating the show is a weekly process for both of them, and involves tracking down guests, compiling news, and writing unique questions for each episode. For both hosts, though, despite the large commitment they make to the show (emotional and otherwise), they love every second of producing, branding, and sticker-printing that comes with it.
For Bella and Craig, the show is a welcome break from their busy lives. They love entertainment, and the show is a safe place for them to explore their passions (not to mention a great career-building exercise, too). Bella says that, on many occasions, she’s “seen shy, quiet people go into the studio who later blossom with confidence,” like she did herself after starting her first show as a first-year. For them, their broadcast is more than just an after-school club, extracurricular activity, or weekly hangout; The Late Late Show is a long-term, dedicated commitment that Bella and Craig make together—both for themselves and their audience—and I don’t suspect they’ll give it up any time soon. My many thanks to Bella and Craig for the opportunity to experience what you’ve both created, and I cannot wait to hear where you’ll take the show in the future.
Be sure to tune in to KXSU 102.1FM every week on Monday nights from 10-11 p.m. to hear The Late Late Show with Bella and Craig. Until next time!
JOSH GEST | Still not half as cool as Li’l Sebastian | KXSU Radio Reporter
*Banner photo courtesy of Creative Commons