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UHLC’s Olivas kicks out the jams on radio 


Jan. 17, 2014 -- The whispered ambiance of one National Public Radio radio station is about to be shattered by the Who, Rolling Stones, and Wu-Tang Clan as the Law Center’s own Professor Michael A. Olivas takes to the airwaves next week with a series of three-minute segments titled “The Law of Rock and Roll.”

The program will debut Jan. 24 at 8:20 a.m. on KANW, 89.1 FM, in Albuquerque, NM, and will initially air only on that station. But Olivas is hopeful it will eventually be picked up by other NPR stations.

The broadcast is a natural outgrowth of a lifelong passion for rock and roll dating to the early ‘60s when a pre-teen Olivas snuck out of the house to catch a Little Richard concert. Each program (which he calls a “class”) combines entertainment law and musical snippets with bits of rock legend drawn from Olivas’ encyclopedic knowledge of the music industry.

The shows open and close with “Legal Matters” by the Who with a lively description of case law dealing with particular artists or issues related to music sandwiched in between. Subjects range from copyright infringement, production, performance and marketing contracts to municipal sound ordinances and the estates of dead artists, just to name a few.

Olivas, whose day job is William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law and director of the Institute of Higher Education Law & Governance at the Law Center, said the idea for the broadcast stems from two successful CLE programs on entertainment law he conducted in recent years for the Houston Bar Association and the Law Center.  He frankly admits the show is modeled after John Lienhard’s  “The Engines of Our Ingenuity,” which has run on the University of Houston’s KUHF station and others since 1988.

The legal scholar is optimistic his foray into broadcasting with its combination of legal information, new trends, and nostalgia will catch on with other stations. “After all,” his producer at KANW told him, “everybody who runs an NPR station is our age.”

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