10 Questions with ... Cory "DJ 901" Owens
September 6, 2016
1) How did you get into radio?
The radio blessings started my junior year at Tougaloo College. I was one of the on-campus deejays and during parties I would do a nice slow jam set! I started making slow jam mixtapes and passing them out around the school. It got to the point to where my mixtapes were being played in our cafeteria during lunch hours (I had the female teachers/admins jamming ... LOL). During that time (2009) Twitter was hot! Once I finished a mix, I would post it online and have all of the ladies I took class with post the links, too. A good friend of mine suggested that I get on the radio. I thought about it and two days later, set up a meeting with our PD. A week later, I was the host of "Whispers In The Dark."
2) What is it that you like so much about being in radio?
My love for music is unreal. Anyone who knows me can tell you I'm the type of person to research a song and figure out the brains behind it. I'm also blessed that I have the opportunity for thousands of people to listen to me weekly. I get a natural high off of helping listeners get through their work shifts. When people hear certain songs, it makes them bring up old memories. Knowing that I had something to do with it is a marvelous feeling. With radio, there's so much to learn and it changes all of the time. I love being challenged and learning new things. Most importantly, I love conversing with people.
3) How do you combine your other job with being on the radio?
Once I graduated I went straight into my career field. I ended up getting a graphic design/social media job with a company here in Jackson. I will be getting my Masters in December. Right now, I am Communications Director at Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center. Here, I handle communications and all of our online initiatives; from marketing and graphic design to social media. The tools that I've gained on the job have tremendously helped me with radio. Social media can tell you exactly what people want. It's crazy. I am a firm believer that personalities and mixers should have a strong online presence. Those same tools help me to develop fresh content. It doesn't matter if it's me designing a flier for my show or an upcoming event. People grasp things different when they see it with their own eyes.
4) Do you help with your stations interactive and social media initiatives?
Yes! Our online presence is very strong and I'm proud of it. I love being able to go out on certain assignments and take pictures and get testimonials on how they love to listen to our station. Our promotions coordinator does an outstanding job of making sure the listeners walk away with a smile. Those same tools I learned in school and on the job came in handy!
5) Would you share the names of your influences and mentors?
That's a lot of people to name ... Forgive me in advance if I forget someone but they know who they are.
- My current PD, Kwasi Kwa has been very instrumental. I've learned so much from him. From learning Selector to learning how to properly do a live interview. I thank him for that!
- Devin Steel - I grew up listening to him and still admire his style of programming.
- George Cook
- Bill Black
- Scrap Dirty! Violator's DJ's Captain!
- Hurricane Dave
- Derrick Baker
- Stacy Cunningham
- Greg Street
- Brian Wallace
- Chris Michaels
- The Sam Weaver!
- Ebro Darden
- DJ Jonasty
- Reggie Rouse
- Jay Stevens
- Dewight Stone
- Kris Kelly
- Ryan Seacrest
6) What is your ultimate goal in this business?
One of my ultimate goals is to be a program director in a top-10 market. Once I accomplish that, then I would love to own a radio station. I believe that the steps I am taking now are only setting me up for this. It's going to happen. I'm confident at that.
7) What new challenges are you looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to learning more about programming with social media. There is so much to learn about programming and I know that it will be a long journey, but I'm in for the ride!
8) What is it that you like so much about being in radio?
My love for music is unreal. Anyone who knows me can tell you I'm the type of person to research a song and figure out the brains behind it. I'm also blessed that I have the opportunity for thousands of people to listen to me weekly. I get a natural high off of helping listeners get through their work shifts. When people hear certain songs, it makes them bring up old memories. Knowing that I had something to do with it is marvelous feeling. With radio, it's so much to learn and it changes all of the time. I love being challenged and learning new things. Most importantly, I love conversing with people.
9) How do you and your PD communicate when it comes to music you find out about on social media? Can you give us a sample of how you two work it?
Social media has a big impact on new music for our station. I can log on any of our social platforms right now and I guarantee that one of our listeners will put up a post/screenshot of a new song that we don't know about. When I see this, I immediately check it out. After that, I let him know and it goes straight into mix shows. Once the song generates a buzz, my PD puts it in rotation. This is very important because social media will tell you exactly what the people want to hear. With technology today, listeners are getting songs before DJs and it shows online. Smartphone apps such as Shazam can tell you the hottest songs people are searching for in your area. ... Best of all ... the top social media sites are free 99!
10) Could you please share some of the most important lessons you have learned along your career path so far?
I've learned a lot of lessons on this journey. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that you have to know how to communicate properly when something is going wrong. If you don't communicate, how will the other person know? This can be used in not only radio, but also life. As my grandmother used to say, "Closed mouths don't get fed." Another lesson that I've learned is that you have to be humble and put your pride aside.
What things about you would surprise people?
People would be surprised to know that I'm a huge '90s R&B connoisseur. For me to be 24 years old, I'm very knowledgeable about this era. I know the artist, the year they released something, what label they were on, who produced it, where they were from and even those that influenced them ... This youngster knows his history!