J.B. Cloud is one of the most popular disc jockeys of KBCY Radio in Abilene Texas. He recently received the 2010 TMA Disc Jockey of the Year Award. The contributions of this disc jockey are out of this world and deserved an interview. Here is the result of the interview with one of the living legends in Texas.
1. How did you get started as a Disc Jockey?
I wanted to be on the radio since I was very young. I would listen to my AM Radio and be fascinated by these people who got to talk with the stars and play their music. As I got a little older, I listened to FM stations in Austin. After meeting a few of them I was hooked. They seemed to have so much fun. I ended up in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1989. I would talk to Radio guys every chance I could get and get advice on how to get into the business. After working in the bars down in Corpus for a while, we had a radio station that came out once a week to broadcast live. I was the DJ of the club at the time and wanted to make the switch so I bugged them until they gave me the chance to work part-time for them. It worked out, 9 weeks later I was offered the full time overnight position.
2. How long have you been with KBCY?
I started at KBCY in April of 1998. I was hired as the Afternoon DJ and then moved to the Midday portion after we hired three Heavy Hitters. After our afternoon guy left for financially greener pastures, I moved back up to Afternoons where I have been for 2 years now.
3. Which other stations have you worked with?
The first station I worked for was KOUL in Corpus Christi, Texas. I part-timed for 9 weeks and then was the Overnight DJ. It was also a milestone in my life as it was the first job I ever held for a year. I could not hold a job for a long time because I would get bored with it and move on to something else. In April of 1995 I took the Night DJ job at KBST in Big Spring, Texas. I moved up to Afternoons and then Morning Drive and Program Director. Got the chance to grow and spread my wings out there while learning the music business. Was even honored by being nominated Small Market Station and Music Director of the Year in Gavin Magazine. We didn’t win either but it was an honor being nominated for a National Award.
4. What was your reaction when you received the news that you were the nominee and the recipient of the 2010 Texas Music Award for Disc Jockey of the Year?
Anytime you hear that you are nominated it is very exciting. Being part of the top 5 people in the state with the most nominations is pretty cool and humbling. Winning the award brings back memories of all the people who have helped me over the years, folks that I’ve looked up to and of course the other DJs in the State that are doing the same thing that I am. I said at the TMAs that every radio DJ deserved this award just as much as I did and I meant it. Lots of folks don’t realize the hard work and time away from our families that is involved. I’m very thankful for both of the DJ awards.
5. What is your reaction to news that people in other states and countries listen to you and KBCY?
I think it is awesome. There are lots of folks that grew up around Abilene and moved away. With online streaming, they can still listen to their favorite music and share it with folks that have never heard it before. A man from a little village in Holland found our radio station’s by accident one day and started listening to us. He loved what he heard so much that he and his wife flew from Holland to Abilene for a 22 day vacation. Now he is wanting me to come to Holland and has even talked with a Dutch radio station that wants to give me an hour on their radio station to play Texas Music while I’m there. How cool is that?
6. What was your reaction when you received the Palmwood Award in 2009?
I was blown away when Jinelle and Lucky announced our names. Dave Wheaton and I both were presented with that award in 2009. I knew that Ryan from The Wolf would probably win the DJ Award because The Wolf had much more name recognition than the rest of us. That award is very special to me because it’s a real big pat on the back for all the little things you have done to make a difference in Texas Music. I do it because I love it. Going to shows, festivals, meeting artists, listening to artists and other stations on the internet in hopes of finding more great music that fits what you are doing, the time away I spend away from my wife, children and friends
7. What is the secret behind the world wide popularity of Texas Music?
I believe that Texas Music is popular because it is relatable. Mainstream Country has lost the feel for the folks who listen to it, they forgot where they came from. Folks in Texas don’t live the fairytale that Mainstream sings about. Not everybody is madly in love like Tim & Faith. Not everybody can take a year off and to on their own island in the Bahamas like Chesney. Texas Country brings back the old days of Street festivals, downtown concerts and DANCING. Real life stories are played out through Texas Country without having it run over by polishing rag or censor. People are smart and can see through the smoke screen. Nashville Music is a business. They make music that will make money. Texas makes music for the people regardless of the financial outcome. Plus, it’s fun. People love to have fun and be around the ones who are causing the fun.
8. What is the typical day for a disc jockey?
It really depends on the day you are talking about. I have different tasks for the different days of the week. I wake up and take care of my young daughter until I take her to the sitter around 9am. I head to work, say howdy to everybody, check e-mails, print things that I need for my show, take phone calls from folks wanting me to play their records, set up interviews, schedule music for the next day, work on the websites for all four of our radio stations, fill out online compliance forms for commercials that our station has played, lots of facebook time, talk to listeners on the phone, work on many of the events that are happening in the Abilene area, plan and implement upcoming promotions with our sales department and on-air staff. There is more to being in radio than just talking on the air. I really love being on the air because all the other stuff slows down. I am a major multi-tasker so it helps. And, the day doesn’t stop when you get off of your air shift. After I get off the air, I prepare things for the next day and am usually off to a meeting somewhere with the Masons, Shriners, committee meeting for an upcoming event, concert, artist visit and other stuff.
9. What are your recommendations for those who want to be a DJ?
I would first say, try something else in the industry first. I hate to turn anyone away from wanting to be a DJ. The reason why is because you really have to have it in you. You have to have the drive and the “I will do whatever it takes” attitude. This isn’t hard work but it does take long hours, some fair amounts of stress and not the best pay. There are many other jobs in the entertainment industry that pay much better, including the people in Sales. My real advice for someone that really wants to be a DJ……talk to as many DJs as you can and get all the advice you can soak up. Keep learning every day and use all of those bits and pieces of advice to form what is right for you. If you want to be a DJ, call up your favorite station and ask if you can sit in with them. I let people do that all of the time. I love it. Offer to help these people and intern, that just means work for free. You will know if you have got it in your blood and we will know before you do.
10. Do you have any words for your audience?
Wow. Thank you. Folks that listen to you while you are on the radio include you in every aspect of their lives. Whether they are at work, driving to or from somewhere, at home, in the garage, taking a shower, tanning, everywhere. Thank you very much. I try and have as much fun and be as real as I can get away with on the radio and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives for as long as I have. I have made a gazillion friends in the process. Thank you for the recent awards, too. Those awards were given out based 100% on your vote. And regardless of who you voted for, you voted for someone. All of us in radio work hard at having fun and I hope you enjoy it. I would really like to see me doing this for a long time. And to the people that are in radio, Thank you for what you do. It doesn’t matter if you have been in radio 2 years or 32 years. Everyone of us are like family. And with the economy and introduction of computers into radio station, there are fewer of us doing this job. Break some rules and do what is right. Play that great Texas Music until the day you die.
I would like to thank JB Cloud for taking the time to do this interview. My best wishes for you and KBCY Radio in Abilene, Texas from Florida. Roberto Alvarez-Galloso