Telling Our Story
Telling Our Story: Michael James

By Michael James 
Host of Floored
Friday, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Listening to music on the radio has been a part of all my life. From my childhood years to now, there was always a time when I would listen to music and songs on the radio. My dad loved listening to rock and roll and country western. My mom would enjoy hearing top 40 that included a lot of disco and rhythm and blues. These and other genres were bored into my brain–and that is a good thing! The hard rock, metal, and club music that I especially love came a bit later in my life–my own way of rebelling against my parents, who always preferred calmer music in the house.

Life is filled with ups and downs, and my life is no different. But no matter what my mood may be or the hardships I face, when I turn on the radio at home or in my car, I am immersed in the song being played. The bad, the stress—it all goes away. Music, no matter what genre, becomes therapeutic.   

Years ago, I was fiddling around the radio and I came across a radio station unlike any other. It was 88.1 KDHX that got both my ears’ attention. I enjoyed rock music, of course, but now I was listening to blues music, global-inspired music, bayou music, and reggae music. These are genres I was not familiar with, but I began to appreciate them. Being a curious and greedy person, I wanted to hear more. I wanted to know, who was that artist and what was the name of that song? Music is not about gender or race to me, but about sound. If the music sounds good, I am hooked.  

I wanted to share my love for music the same way these KDHX disc jockeys were. I had the collection. I just needed the outlet. Playing music very loud may have got my neighbors' attention but I wanted to reach a wider audience. About twenty years ago, an opportunity came. I was a DJ at a local radio station. The format was varied. DJs would produce their own shows. The types of music varied, but the passion was equal. I was elated! I was sharing the music I love with listeners. I would tell family, friends, and people I had just met to listen to this station because we were playing music you could not hear anywhere else. Unfortunately, after about two years, the station shut down. Although disappointed, I always knew that someday I would return to the airwaves. Several years went by, and I was still waiting for my chance. The lesson here is to never give up.

That brings me to the present. I am now a volunteer DJ at KDHX. I never stopped listening to KDHX, and now I am a part of this irreplaceable institution in St. Louis. It still feels like a dream, not a reality.

My love for sharing music has never wavered. My family still cannot stand the music I listen to. Okay, I let that slide. But when a family member tells me what type of music they do enjoy, be it old-time country western or 1960s R&B, I will remind them to listen to Mid-Day Jamboree and Dangerous Curves on KDHX. Then I tell my family to tell their friends and colleagues about KDHX (although I hope they already know).

Reaching out to the community is crucial. The community–the listeners are the pulse that keeps KDHX pumping. It is the community that inspires me, pushes me, and gives me my second, third, and fourth wind to continue doing what I love. KDHX truly is community-engaged and listener-supported and has been for 36 years. I can not predict how long I will be on the air. I take life one day at a time. But I do know that I want KDHX to thrive long after I am gone. I want KDHX to remain an irreplaceable institution. When you show your love and support for KDHX, you are all-in on KDHX’s mission to always be community-driven and listener-supported. 

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