Why does lovastatin require that I take it with a meal while other cholesterol medications don't?

Better absorption. Lovastatin is a relatively week and short-acting medication compared to some of the other drugs in its class. Certain measures can improve its efficacy including taking in it the evening (so that it is working during the time that our body manufactures cholesterol) and taking it with a low fiber meal (to enhance absorption and serum levels of the drug).