We theoretically study the propagation and storage of a classical field in a Λ-type atomic medium using coherent population oscillations (CPOs). We show that the propagation eigenmodes strongly relate to the different CPO modes of the system. Light storage in such modes is discussed by introducing a "populariton" quantity, a mixture of populations and field, by analogy to the dark state polariton used in the context of electromagnetically induced transparency light storage protocol. As experimentally shown, this memory relies on populations and is then - by contrast with usual Raman coherence optical storage protocols - robust to dephasing effects. © 2017 American Physical Society.