Ryan Stern

“Reggae Niceness”


Thursdays 8:00PM – 10:00PM

I was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended Pomona College as an undergrad. In May of 1996, at the end of my freshman year, I started now what is the “Reggae Niceness” show. 

I got into reggae through another genre of music; rap. I really wasn’t exposed to any reggae as a kid, but I listened to a lot of rap. I found that some of my favorite songs were those where the artists would incorporate some reggae. The funny thing is, my understanding of “reggae” was so far off at the time, that when I picked up Bob Marley’s (or Ziggy’s father, as I knew him) Legend album, I was initially disappointed. However, by the second listen it started to grow on me, and before long I was addicted to roots reggae. I’ve been exploring the nooks and crannies of the genre ever since.

I have been hosting a reggae show on KSPC for half my life. The station, staff, and listeners have become like a second family to me. In fact, when I proposed to my wife, I did it live on my show with her in the studio and all of my listeners sharing the surprise. 

By day, I’m an electrical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Claremont has always provided a rich musical experience to those who visit. Besides hosting and funding the amazing radio station that is KSPC, the Claremont Colleges have contributed greatly to this by drawing all sorts of incredible artists to the campuses. That the tiny Claremont Village is home to a comprehensive record shop, a folk music shop, and several live music venues, illustrates just how important music is to the people and town of Claremont.

People often ask why I use the name “Culture Drew”. It’s fairly simple, Andrew is my middle name and I’ve always preferred the more positive “cultural” reggae music.

- Ryan Stern

Photography by Althea Sachs