Matt Pham // Radio Personality
Matt Pham is a friend and neighbor currently residing in Irvine, California. Matt hosts the radio show, Constant Coolin, on KUCI 88.9 FM as a platform to expand his curiosities beyond the typical interview style. Fusing music and conversation outside of conventional boundaries, Matt reaches deeply concentrated audiences of students and music enthusiasts throughout the community. We interview Matt about his passion for broadcast radio and the culture surrounding his creative tastes.
Please tell us about yourself and what you do in the community.
I’m Matt Pham, better known as Phamma on the air. I host a weekly radio show, Constant Coolin, at KUCI 88.9 FM. Aside from my show, I’m a huge fashion enthusiast and I love connecting with others.
What inspired your career as a radio personality?
I’ve always been an avid music fan growing up. In high school, I was introduced to an artist named Shlohmo, and that was really the tipping point for me. I began to love all forms of music, even experimental genres that make no sense. To me, experimental music shows that you can curate a good vibe through anything. After falling in love with music and meeting friends who had shows on KUCI radio, I decided to follow suit. My goal with Constant Coolin is to curate good music and broadcast my love for music with others.
Do you see a correlation between your personal style and the music you listen to?
Definitely. Fashion and music are two outlets that allow me to creatively express myself in spaces where words aren’t enough. I’ll have to admit, Kanye [West] plays a large role in influencing the way I dress. Musically though, I’m open to everything. Right now, I love listening to Shlohmo, Sango, and Future. Coincidentally, these artists are also into fashion. It’s nice seeing the two worlds, music and fashion, collide.
What differentiates your radio show from other shows?
It’s different because I’m fortunate to have guests every week to split the two hour show with. Most of my friends share similar, yet different, music tastes. These variances allow me to explore new sounds, artists, and genres. I’m able to consistently elevate my show through adding a unique flavor that displays my progression as a radio host. Constant Coolin will always be about chill vibes, however, the word vibe in itself is so ambiguous. On a week-to-week basis, I have a different friend feeling a different vibe which allows me to regularly curate unique sounds. Cooking up new playlists each week with my friends makes the show unpredictable.
Did you grow up in Irvine?
I was born and raised in Irvine. I’ve lived in Orange County my whole life. I’ve definitely tried to leave many times, but at the end of the day, Orange County always draws me back. As of now, I feel a need to contribute to the Orange County community — I guess you could say it’s unfinished business.
How do you see yourself connecting people within the community?
I’m constantly striving to get more involved. Having weekly guests on my radio show is one way I like to connect people together. This opportunity allows me to broaden my music tastes and bring friends together through a mutual love for music. This show would not be possible if it weren’t for these connections.
How has living in Irvine shaped your perception of Orange County?
Living here [Irvine] my whole life, and graduating from UC Irvine, I can say that I feel sheltered. Because of this, my perception of Orange County is really skewed. I’ve been fortunate to live in a privileged area where my worries and struggles are just first world problems. Instead of embracing the “perfect” life that Orange County seems to present, I try meeting others in my community who are different from myself. My work enables me to grow in the community and connect with people from different walks of life. Life isn’t beautiful for everyone; I think it’s important to understand and appreciate what life is like for others in your community.