KhonKaen Gets A Hot New DJ!

As you recall folks, we were at a cool cookout at Tamarind Residences, hosted by our good friend Tammy (seen to my right in this photo).  Tammy had invited some of her friends to the cookout.  I had never met these particular folks before.  The gentleman wearing the cap (and talking on his mobile phone) is a local police officer.

The party that started it all…

The gentleman standing, who is taking my picture, works for the local hot radio station, More  90.5 FM (“more” is all about giving the listening audience more of what they want to hear).  So, naturally, I was going in and out of my “dj voice” all evening, doing so much as saying catchphrases using their station name and frequency (all the while consuming copious amounts of Sang Som Thai rum).  I was just talking trash, basically, as one does when drinking and having fun.

Perhaps I should stop for a second and mention that I used to do national talk radio in the USA, and that I’ve been on the air for years.  I’ve had my own shows, co-hosted other shows; I love radio and I often joke about wanting to do a local talk show in Asia.  I said “man, I would love to do an hour on the air at your station!”, and then downed like my 16th drink of the evening.

Be careful what you wish for!

They said “let’s go!”  Calling me on my bragging, I found myself in the recording booth literally 10 minutes after I shot off my big mouth!  Here we see Tammy and I talking about the copy they want me to read.  Sebastian is watching the production engineer and checking levels.  Notice that the engineer is holding my bottle of Sang Som rum.  The production engineer at More 90.5 FM is also in charge of pouring the booze for the “talent” (and I use that term loosely).

I am reading some of the copy they want, while Dick, a professional recording engineer from the Netherlands, looks on.  Dick’s experienced viewpoints were quite helpful throughout the session.

These More 90.5 FM guys had whipped up an entire sheet of “bumpers” for me to read!  Bumpers are the little bytes that radio stations play between songs and they had me saying things like “More Weekend!” and “More Music” plus other things according to their “more” identity.  I had a blast, doing the “Power Voice” that I seldom have an opportunity to use in real life.

After about 30 minutes of reading, and re-reading, they asked me if I would like to go on the air.  I asked Tammy “how to you say ‘are you kidding me’ in Thai?”

I got a brief introduction to the station’s on-air music system from Sebastian, and then they turned me loose on the public!  I have said countless times that I could walk into just about any radio station and go right on the air.  I proved that this is a true statement!  This system is very similar to others that I have used, and even software that I own.

The on-air guy got out of his seat for me, stood up beside me and gave me a very warm introduction to the listening audience, in Thai.  In this shot, Sebastian and I are chatting on-air, talking about some of my experiences in Thailand, and especially in KhonKaen.  For me personally, this was a very rewarding experience, because I do genuinely love the Thai people and their country.  This was an opportunity for me to tell them that directly.  Sebastian’s English skills are brilliant, and he was very helpful with translations to the Thai audience.

After a few minutes, the station staff left me on my own, to do whatever I wanted!  Wow, I had their station in my hands!

Here I’m taking calls while the music is going out on the air.  I was playing all of the old school stuff, KC & The Sunshine Band, Queen, Bryan Adams – you name it!  I told Sebastian that I was going to take the station back to 1978 (with a few exceptions).  The phone calls started to pour in, and the SMS messages requesting more retro songs did too.  Although I cannot speak Thai, we put these callers on the air, and Sebastian translated both ways!  That was way too cool man.

Sebastian asked me if I wanted to try playing my guitar live on the air.  Why the hell not?  lol

Here, I am playing “More Than I Can Say” and a caller is actually singing along with me, on the air!  It was great!  People everywhere in the world know that song.

Hand on fader, MJ demonstrates his mixing prowess, with a carefully “ducked” voice over a song intro.

With Dick and Tammy flanking us on either side, the staff wanted to pose with me for a parting shot.

I would like to say that I haven’t had this much fun in years, or felt as welcome anywhere as I have in KohnKaen recently.   I won’t forget this experience.  Sebastian has invited me back to do my own show, and a song list of my own choosing, upon my return to Thailand.  I promise you that next time I will get you some video footage that we can put up on Youtube.

KhonKaen got a hot new DJ for one evening, but I got one of those rare experiences that makes life worth living.

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