This article was published in the El Paso Times on July 15, 2006 in the Living section..
Recognition in my home town, I LOVE IT!
Thank you Adrianna Chavez!
From left, Adrian Mena, Ernesto Porras and Omar Mena record their parts for the first all-star Alien Vine podcast available at www.alienvine.com. Former radio DJs Porras and Omar Mena host their own podcasts on the site, while Adrian Mena hosts Graveyard TV on Time Warner cable Channel 15. (Yasmin A. Aboytes / El Paso Times)
As Ernesto Porras painstakingly chose the 10 songs that make up his podcast, he described his enormous CD collection and his method for choosing songs.
"I'm constantly thinking of mixes, and I like for the songs to flow into each other for a seamless transition," Porras said, adding that he prefers bands from the Southwest and Mexico. "I'll think about two songs, and it just builds from there."
Porras hosts the "Pharmacy" podcast on www.alienvine.com, one of four podcasts on the site to feature various styles of rock and heavy metal. Porras was a disc jockey at KRUX-FM (91.5) in Las Cruces but after six years tired of the constant turnover at the station and, with the help of his friend Omar Mena, he got into podcasting.
"I have about 1,500 industrial CDs, plus records and tapes," said Porras, 25, who lives in Las Cruces. "I start off every show with KMFDM. They're my absolute favorite band."
Mena, 32, also began podcasting after a stint in radio. Mena formerly worked at HERO radio but after the station's demise, decided to explore the fairly new technology in which listeners can download MP3 files of the shows, then either transfer them onto MP3 players or burn them onto CDs. Mena said podcasting also allows him to play whatever he wants and not worry about being censored.
"The stress is off in that we're not limited to what we can do," Mena said.
Mena hosts the podcasts "Up All Night," which is devoted to '80s hair metal, "Graveyard Radio," which plays death and speed metal, and "Left of the Dial," which focuses on alternative music. Although Porras has a more organized approach to his playlists, Mena is more spur-of-the-moment, preferring to choose music based on his mood.
"I'm very unlike Ernie. He's very organized, and I'm completely disorganized," Mena said. "I'm completely mood-driven. If I'm angry, you're going to hear a lot of music."
But at the core, Mena and Porras are both obsessed with music, which drives them to record their podcasts in a tiny room in Mena's Upper Valley home. The layout is simple: shelves stacked with original and burned CDs, a desk piled with computer and recording equipment, and two microphones, along with a few chairs.
When Mena isn't busy uploading podcasts onto his Web site, he also produces "Graveyard TV" at 5:30 p.m. Mondays on Time Warner cable Channel 15. His cousin, Adrian Mena, is host.
Omar Mena said he's considering taking the show to the Internet, where viewers can download or stream episodes.
Mena said he usually gets 25 downloads a day in new visits to the site. On average, the site gets about 50 hits a day, causing Mena to look at buying more bandwidth. Mena said he often receives requests for "Up All Night," one of the more popular podcasts. All of Mena's traffic comes from word of mouth.
"The Internet is the new radio," Mena said.
Adriana M. Chávez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6117.