10 Questions with ... Don Jantzen
December 3, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
KSCB/Liberal, KS '91-'92, KWKR/Garden City, KS '92-'96; KILO/ Colorado Springs '96-'2000; KQRC/Kansas City 2000-'04; and KTBZ/Houston '04- present.
1. What stands out the most from when you first started working at The Buzz almost 10 years ago?
Biggest thing would be the changing of the musical tide; sonically we're a completely different station, than we were then, or as even as just a few years ago.
2. What do you love most about working at The Buzz?
I love this city, and this is the longest I've ever worked for a single station, next month will be 10 years. There are people I've met that have kids that I've watched them grow up, it's like family... it's also been great to watch the station evolve over time, I think that's what I love the most, it's grown along with the audience and staff.
3. How has the Alternative format's shift to more pop impacted the way The Buzz straddles the Active Rock format?
It's been a struggle at times because of where our audience was (at the time) so deeply rooted, but it's also been a pretty cool thing to watch them evolve along with the music, it's an interesting mix, but oddly enough, both can live together on the air as long as it's presented to them the right way.
4. What is most important to you when championing new music for The Buzz?
That they get it... it's frustrating at times, because it can take a lot longer for a song to click with the audience that some labels want to devote, a track will just start to really show a great reaction, and the label is on to the next one.
5. How much are you balancing gut with research when making decisions on new music?
It depends, I've had songs that I really felt strongly about, then after six weeks of bad research, start to blow up and the research shows that the initial feeling I had was correct. I feel like I've got a pretty good idea what our audience would like... most of the time. Sometimes you take a swing on something and it doesn't work, but as long as you hit the ball more times than you miss, it's ok.
6. What makes The Buzz so unique?
It's Houston; I don't care about charts or timelines that labels have... I try to work with them, but we've had songs that work here and nowhere else, to me, it's a direct reflection of the city...which is what any station should hope to achieve. I think every format's stations will play similar music, but it's the nuances of the city and its people tastes in music that make any station unique
7. I noticed the huge number of likes for 94.5 The Buzz on Facebook. How is the station using Social Media?
We've always had an incredibly active audience with it comes to digital, and we've expanded it as new platforms come out...and having some of the biggest bloggers in the company helps too. Social Media is just an extension of the station and our staff, which sounds like a generic answer, but it really is. It's not a matter of using it more, it's a matter of using it to engage the audience; a jock doesn't have to be on the air to use it, and our audience knows what shows jocks like, or things that they're passionate about and they'll go back and forth online regardless of what time it is, it makes us a part of their lives, and them ours.
8. How would you describe your afternoon show?
A hodgepodge of my psychosis... apparently that's entertaining to people... it's me, it's honest...anything else would be boring...
9. You just hosted BuzzFest 31. What were the highlights from your latest station concert and what continues to make it special?
That's tough, I seem to run around more than get to watch anymore... seeing multiple audience members crying while Blue October played would be one... I love it when people can be impacted by a band's music, to me is pretty special, or to have bands come up and be so happy by the way they felt after playing. I felt it (the show) had come into its own when I heard people say they didn't care who played, they weren't going to miss it.
10. What was your personal favorite concert of 2013 and why?
I just did two nights with Pearl Jam in Los Angeles... I can count those as one right? My weekend with Pearl Jam? I love the fact that every one of their shows is different, you never know where you're headed song to song, and their fans are family...with the band and with each other and you don't see that a lot anymore.
What music do you listen to when you're not working?
ALL OVER THE PLACE... driving in it was James Brown, there's always Pearl Jam lurking nearby, The Civil Wars, Vintage Trouble, Lamb Of God, Black Joe Lewis...it's a very wide spectrum.