Deep Ellum On Air's Jantzen Ray Is a Jedi
Jantzen Ray, a one-time a producer for Jagger's radio show on 105.3 The Fan, now resides at Deep Ellum On Air, where he maintains his own Internet broadcast facility in the neighborhood by Murray Street Coffee. Ray sunk everything he could muster in to the facility, including 100% of himself, and seems to be in the operator's chair about 99% of the time. For fun, they occasionally move class outside and broadcast live from the party deck on the roof of thei building, amidst a spectacular view of downtown. We hear that soon, DEOA will look to roll 24/7, and expand their hip-hop and EDM playlists.
So, was the niche in local hip-hop and dance intentional?
Our niche in hip-hop and EDM comes from the shows that go on here during the week. Our hosts really pour their love for the music into these shows and the viewer can feel it. When you love something and give it proper nourishment, then it has no choice but to grow.
You and I have something in common: Working alongside Jagger for a number of years. Pretty cool guy in sea of prima donna morning jocks.
I was on mornings with him for four years. It changed my life in so many magical ways. I look up to Jagger big time. I still run everything by him. In fact, if I'm ever about to release anything new, It has to always pass the "Jagger test." He is one of my best friends and a true mentor. Plus you never know what will happen in the future. I will always be a part of the Jagger mafia. Working in the business, I came across a few haters but I guess that's in every business. I quickly learned one must have thick skin to be in our business.
I assume working on the radio show inspired you to start your own station?
The one thing that inspired me most about doing terrestrial radio was the fact that there is zero job security. Everyday you feel like it could be your last day on air. And frankly, that sucks. Who wants to work in the kind of environment? So that's why I created DEOA, for job security. Here, you have a show as long as you choose to. It's been hard getting it going with it being financed out of pocket, but honestly it's been like the field of dreams: "If you build it, they will come." DEOA is a community of people. No way did I do this alone. It's a family of us that got this baby running.
Since you brought up the word "community," I have to ask: Ever thought about joining forces with Deep Ellum Radio?
I actually tried a couple times to team up with them when we first started, but was told, "Oh, we have already been doing it for awhile," and then told no on our next attempt. So, really the ball is out of our court at this point. However, community is the name of the game. If we are to really show the world that DFW has some awesome talent, then people like us must join forces.
It seems that no matter what show is on the air here, at whatever time of the day or week, you're the guy behind the glass. Do you live there or what?
I'm here way too much. Sometimes I do feel like it's JediJantzen on air. That's why I try to stay out of the broadcasts as much as possible. The good news is we have such a great team that we have recently trained a few people to run shows, so it's easier for me. I also work for the TV show Cheaters and late nights with those guys tend to wipe me out, so it's nice having a few people that can pick up the load a bit.
Were there specific local musicians or artists you loved and really wanted to provide an outlet for?
The entire DFW music scene inspired me to help get its music heard. But honestly it was organizations like Art Love Magic, Space Camp, S.L.A.P and Poor Vida that I saw really representing the local scene. Dallas has so many amazing acts that to just list one or two wouldn't be fair. However, shout out to the DFW Cypher and all the artists/musicians making those videos and tracks fire hot.
I assume you had family-style support?
DEOA is a family. All of us. From Stanton Brasher and Bonnie Bonita, who helped me start it, to Veronica Navarro's addictive, energetic on-air personality plus all her behind the scene work. Along with our new webmasters Cordell and Dare with Alomedia. Brent Dow, Austin Young, Jimmy Ryan, Catherine Chensky and really every single person who comes in creates with us. Besides the people already mentioned, two words: Howard Stern. Stern got me through my adolescence.
Especially since you don't take much liberty to speak on your own station, take a minute to jump up on the local music community soapbox. What do we all need to do to make the community more sound?
We in the local music scene need to come together and support one another. People need to slowly back away from the corporate crap and discover that DFW has some amazing local acts. There is nothing better than becoming a fan of local music. Because when you do, you get the chance to to hang out and meet whoever it is that you've been jammin' to. That's a good feeling, to be able to like an artist, then go drink a beer with them. That's the essence of Deep Ellum.