Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rechanneling Their Passion

Nice article on the rise of satellite radio deejays who play "anything they want," via The Washington Post:

There's no high-tech studio here, no sound baffling or soundboard -- just a few electronic components and a wind-socked microphone to capture [Mojo] Nixon's patter and periodic "yee-haws!" between songs.

He doesn't play concerts, not even locally; he doesn't record and he doesn't write songs any longer. "I could have turned Mojo Nixon into a cottage industry catering to 5,000 or 10,000 fans," he says. "But that doesn't sound very Mojo. I could exercise, lose weight, do all of that and continue touring, but who wants to do that? So I thought I'd get a job in radio or something."

He's not alone. Nixon is one of an ever-expanding roster of major and minor performers who are working as full- or part-time hosts of programs broadcast over the digitized airwaves of New York's Sirius and Washington's XM Radio. The advent of convenient, efficient technology and an open-arms attitude by the satellite networks have made for a new type of deejay. As much as their names are a draw, so is their deep knowledge of the formats they play.

Musician jocks for Sirius include B-52s singer Fred Schneider, New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, Ramones drummer Marky Ramone, glam rocker Joan Jett, country fiddler Charlie Daniels and area folk heroes the Kennedys, among others.

XM has icons including Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Graham Nash, pioneering producer and performer Quincy Jones, rappers Snoop Dogg and Chamillionaire, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis -- and more to come, says Lee Abrams, chief creative officer of XM.

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