On Thursdays at 7 p.m. and on Sundays at 10 a.m., Hector Perez-Roman slips on his headphones, switches on his soundboard, and leans into a silver mic to greet his listeners in the San Fernando Valley. As the host and executive producer of Valley Views, a radio show whose guests are people elevating the 818, Perez-Roman has one simple mission—one not much different than Viva the Valley’s: uplift the San Fernando Valley.
When he was first approached to fill a slot at KROJ 101.5, the radio station that’s home to Valley Views, his show was meant to be about education, since he’s been a high school teacher for almost 20 years. Even though he knew he had the chops and knowledge for that show, Perez-Roman felt in his bones it had to be Valley-based.
“Sometimes, you can only count on the corporate media to show up when bad things are happening in our neighborhood,” shares Perez-Roman. “But there’s good stuff happening out here, too, so I wanted to do a show that actually uplifts people in the Valley, and that’s the main show. It’s not just a soundbite or an afterthought, but the whole show.”
“I wanted to do a show that actually uplifts people in the Valley, and that’s the main show. It’s not just a soundbite or an afterthought.”Hector Perez-Roman, host and executive producer of Valley Views
Thus, Valley Views was born.
To date, Perez-Roman has interviewed more than 460 guests in 174 episodes, like Danrochelle D. Yumul, the founder and editor of a website called Meet The (818); and Diosy Reyes, owner of Vision Elevated, a photography and events services business. If Perez-Roman had to pick a favorite, though, he’ll always say he doesn’t have any (as a proud parent should!). When it comes to impact, though, one episode stands out from the rest: “Community Conversations: Facing Racism, Hate Incidents, and Paths to Unity and Healing,” which aired in February 2023.
“This show was co-hosted by Phil Leonard and special guests Patricia Roque, Jhenine Cordero, and Silvia Anguiano. It led to deep conversations about traumatizing hate incident situations and personal racism [experiences],” recalls Perez-Roman. “But, more importantly, [it was] a hopeful conversation on how to heal from such trauma and ways we can all unite.”
Below, read the highlights of our conversation with Perez-Roman. A sneak peek: we chat Valley Views origins and next steps as well as some of his controversial Valley opinions.
Valley Views: past, present, and future
One of the first things I wondered when I met Perez-Roman was, How did this super personable dude decide radio was his jam? Turns out, it wasn’t even a question for him. Like many of us born before the 2000s, Perez-Roman grew up listening to the radio, specifically community-based stations like KCRW and KPFK. The air waves’ lasting power has since resonated with him.
“Airwaves are, in many ways, ever-expanding. We’ve had different mediums come and go, but radio is still here,” he tells me. “And knowing the history of community radio stations, that they were also a place to really talk about hyperlocal events, I knew that’s where I had to be. That creates a sense of pride and community, but also of education for the community,” he adds.
What Perez-Roman and Valley Views are up to now
One of the most inspiring things about Perez-Roman—almost palpable during our conversation—is that he actively creates the future he wants to live. For instance, he’s currently brainstorming ways to continue bringing the community together in physical spaces.
“I’ve always thought about going beyond just a studio,” he says. “[I ask myself], How do we continue to build community outside, in the actual community, so that we can bridge it with our work here?”
Turns out, the in-studio community he’s fostered is the very same one that has helped him expand Valley Views beyond the green and frame-clad walls of his workspace.
In his aforementioned interview with Diosy Reyes, Perez-Roman found out she loved hiking. “I was like, ‘Hey, you’re into hiking. What if we partner up and do some community hikes? We can show folks different hikes around the Valley.’ So we did that—and we got more than 25 people to show up for our first hike,” he adds. (If you want to be notified about upcoming hikes, fill out the Community Hikes SFV Google Form.)
“I’ve always thought about going beyond just a studio.”Hector Perez-Roman, host and executive producer of Valley Views
Looking to the future
As a devotee of community radio, Perez-Roman has been a longstanding fan of National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concerts. In recent weeks, he did an homage to those musical performances from inside the KROJ studio in San Fernando. The band, of course, were San Fernando Valley natives.
Most recently, Perez-Roman put together the Valley Views newsletter—which launched in June 2023. Once a month, usually on the first of the month, the Valley Views team will round up community highlights, spotlight studio guests, and outline upcoming events in the San Fernando Valley.
If you’re interested in subscribing to the monthly newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Valley Views Monthly Newsletter Google Form. In case you want to get an idea of what’ll be hitting your inbox, check out the June 2023 Valley Views Newsletter.
To be sure, Perez-Roman knows that he couldn’t have gotten to where he is without the support of his peers. “Thank you to the KROJ Board and KROJ President Francisco Javier Verdin for giving me an opportunity to be part of the KROJ family and help grow our platform,” he says.
Hector Perez-Roman shares his controversial Valley opinions
1. In the battle of east Valley vs. west Valley, east Valley wins.
Especially for folks from Woodland Hills and West Hills, this might be a scorching-hot take. In our humble opinion, though, Perez-Roman is right on the money.
“Sometimes it’s east versus west Valley—like, which part of the Valley is better? I do a lot of my work on the east side of the Valley, but I live on the west side,” says Perez-Roman. “Even though I live on the west side, I think where it’s at is the east side…I think just, in general, that’s where this big transformation is happening.”
2. It’s important to know the history of redlining in the San Fernando Valley.
According to NPR (a source sure to make Perez-Roman smile), the practice of redlining is when banking institutions refuse to provide or insure mortgages in “poor” neighborhoods (read: ethnic hoods). Perez-Roman firmly believes it’s important for Valley residents to know that history within our own borders.
“When it comes to knowing the history of the Valley, [you should know that] the Black and brown community—or the minority communities, in general—live on the east side because of redlining,” says Perez-Roman, putting on his history teacher cap. “That’s why I think the east side is a place I hold near and dear—because that was the only place where our people could actually live in the Valley.”
3. This is native land first and foremost.
If you’re proud to be from the Valley, it’s important to know your history—and not just that of redlining. The rich cultural history of the San Fernando Valley goes back to pre-colonial times. And Perez-Roman thinks it’s crucial that we recognize that.
“Even though we could call ourselves Valley kids, I think we also have to honor the Indigenous folks [who were here before us],” he says. “This might be controversial to some because they might see Indigenous folks as past history, but native tribes are still around. [And even if they weren’t], it’s really important that we always pay homage to them as well the Tongva land that we’re on.”