5 Questions with Jody Denberg

photo by Theresa DiMenno

Jody Denberg has been on Austin Radio Airwaves for over 30 years, but when he’s not jamming to The Beatles or spending time with his wife, you can find him preparing playlist for his his Monday – Thursday evening shows, Eklektikos on Friday, or Sunday Mornings.

1. What artist/album/musical experience most set you on a career in radio?

My seminal musical experience was seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show in 1964; the next day I went down to our neighborhood record store in The Bronx to buy the 45 RPM single for “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The Beatles set me on my musical course; radio was something I accidentally fell into because of my love of music!

2. What’s your favorite Austin music experience so far? (this could be a concert, in-studio performance, interview, local music venue, etc.)

Sorry but I just can’t pick ONE favorite Austin musical experience. Here’s a few: Helping to raise $2 million for the SIMS Foundation…going to the Cactus Café and Austin City Limits tapings for more than 30 years…singing onstage with some of my musical heroes (including Pete Townshend, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane, Billy Bragg, Loudon Wainwright, Shelby Lynne, Doug Sahm, Alejandro Escovedo, Steve Forbert and others)…Interviewing Yoko Ono at SXSW in 2011…and live on-air interviews and/or performances with the likes of Brian Wilson, Patti Smith, R.E.M., Willie Nelson, The Band and and and…

3. Most prized artist in your personal music collection and why?

The Beatles – solo or as a group. Their music brings me happiness every day.

4. Why public rather than commercial radio?

I spent 29 years in commercial radio in Austin; my path has now led me to public radio and KUT. It almost seemed pre-ordained as I graduated UT in 1981 and 30 years later, voila!, I am on public radio. Following the deregulation of ownership at commercial radio budgets shrank and the need for revenue and ratings eclipsed any mission for sharing a wide variety of music with a listening community. Public radio seems the last bastion for broadcasting to a higher target than the lowest common denominator. I am so blessed I found a place where I can serve our community.

5. What do you like to do when you’re not spinning records on the air?

When I am not spinning on air I love to hang out with my wife Barbara, our cats, family and friends, read books and watch movies, water the garden, run on the treadmill and in the park, go out on the lake, eat good food – and still listen to plenty of great music, live or on shuffle.

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