By Tiffany Razzano
Local radio DJ Jason Levine, known to his listeners as “The J,” had finally found a home that allowed him to effectively champion the local music scene, but now it’s been taken away from him.
After stints at 1440 AM, WLIR, WNYG, the BONE and WALK, where Levine found that even those stations that had local music segments were often unwilling to consider playing bands he would bring to them, he found his niche with Radio X. But after a year-and-a-half on the air, the station, known for an alternative rock format that can no longer be heard on many stations in our area, will be going off the air forever. As of April 1, 2007, the frequencies that Radio X could be heard on, 94.7, 94.9 and 104.5, will move to a Christian music format.
Levine has been with Radio X since October 2005, when he was brought in as the local music director, which had him hosting RadioXposed every Friday night at 7:00 pm, where he got to celebrate the great music from the local music scene. “A lot of people don’t listen to the radio anymore,” Levine said. “[Radio X] gave people a reason to turn on the FM dial again. We play[ed] stuff that a lot of stations won’t play.”
A fan of alternative rock, indie rock and metal, Levine said through RadioXposed he has been able to achieve a lot for the local scene. “The local scene itself needs a lot of help,” he said. “[I] play[ed] the bands that people were overlooking, bands that really need the help. There’s not a lot of people who are willing to help these new bands. What I’m trying to do is make sure these bands that sound amazing, these good up-and-coming bands, are getting the exposure and they love it because people are listening to them. If there’s a local band out there that wants exposure, I’m the guy.”
Levine also says that he tends to not play favorites with bands and is willing to give any band, of any style of music, a chance to get its music heard by a wider audience. “I try to give everyone a fair shot,” he said. “I’m trying to do my best to get as many bands as I can on the show.”
Calling the end of Radio X unfortunate, Levine said he hasn’t given up on his quest for a great radio station for the local music scene. He said he somehow plans on continuing his show, under a different name, likely as an Internet radio station. He also said he plans on booking and promoting local shows. “I’ll still be doing my thing,” he said. “I came this far, I’m not stopping now.”
He also has many opinions about improvements that need to be made to the local scene, which is why he works so hard to publicize local bands on his show. He feels that not only do bands need to be more supportive of each other, but fans need to be more open to new bands and clubs need to treat bands with more respect. “The local scene is tough,” he said. “Sometimes, it sucks, but you have to play the game, especially with the local clubs. Not to mention any names, but I don’t like the way clubs deal with local music all the time. To me, it should be about the music, but a lot of times it’s about the business and that stinks.”
He thinks fans would check out other bands more often if bands supported each other more often. But sometimes, he says, egos and self-centeredness get in the way. “If you’re in a band, this is a local scene,” he said. “It’s not just for one person. It’s ridiculous when bands support other bands and it isn’t reciprocated.”
A passionate advocate of local music, he hates to see the bands taken advantage of. “These guys bust their asses day after day, spending their own money just to go out there and put on a great show, just hoping someone notices them, hoping to get enough money to get a tour,” he said. “It all needs to stop. Bands need to get their acts in gear and stand together.”