Vivien in Conversation with Jay Cruz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Cruz Sound Engineer for HealthyLife.Net 

Inspire, Entertain, Educate!

Listen to the audio  here of Part One

 

Listen to the audio  here of Part Two

 

Listen to the entire show here on HealthyLife.net

Vivien: Hello and welcome to The Schapera Show where Viv and Neil explore this big adventure called Life. Our guest today is none other than Jay Cruz, lifetime broadcaster, current program director and audio engineer for Healthylife.net radio. Yes, that’s right, today we’re speaking to the power behind all the voices that we hear here on HealthyLife!!! Jay, thank you so much for coming on the show and giving us some behind the scenes insights into both you and HealthyLife.net.

 

Jay: Thank you for having me.

 

Vivien: There’s so much here, that it’s hard to know where to begin. You know, when I was in high school, I used to look at all the people in my class and think: “These people are real. They’re not cardboard cutouts here for my entertainment – they’re people with lives and families and emotions and thoughts just like me … and I always try to remember that about everyone I meet. So here we are, we greet and say “hello” on a very regular basis, but we’re doing a job – namely, getting the show recorded – so, we don’t really have time to interact with you much. It’s great to have this opportunity to get to know you better. Jay, in addition to being the sound engineer for all of us, you have your own shows on HealthyLife.net – what are they called?

Jay: Yes, actually I have two shows: Backbeat Radio Show, which is mainly music, but sometimes I might use the Rolling Stone magazine approach. For example, recently I interviewed someone about cannabis, because I thought that would be interesting.

My other show is Fantasy Sports Friday – fantasy sports and what’s going on. I’ve been talking sports and music my whole life, and I participate in some fantasy leagues – it’s a fun pastime, so I find myself doing the show with very few notes – I can just let it all flow. Probably, because when I was a kid, I would follow the game on the radio by lining up all my baseball cards and moving them around in accordance with the commentary.

 

Vivien: Interactive listening! It sounds like you were being groomed for your career from an early age!

Jay: Yes, I was a big fan of all radio shows both music and sports broadcasts. At some point my voice developed into the tone that made radio a viable career to pursue. I also played sports when I was younger and I’m a musician (bass and guitar) currently

Vivien: So, then, when and how did you join HealthyLife.net?

 

Jay: Well, I moved to LA in 2001, and it was the following year.

In December of 2000, I was managing a retail sporting goods store. I certainly made more money but I didn’t enjoy it because it wasn’t about the sports but about retail. It was a corporate job and I had to dress accordingly. At Christmas, I didn’t feel good. In fact, I got sick. I looked so bad that people were saying to me: “You look gray. You don’t look well.” On my day off, I went to the hospital, and it turned out that I had a fever and pneumonia, and I had lost weight from burning my muscles. Of course, I got the usual prescriptions and drugs, but I realized this wasn’t a good way to live, so, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t continue in the job, and I decided to move to LA. I didn’t want to give up my earned vacation, so first I took that and then came back and gave notice.

I then took a job at another sporting goods place, which was less corporate and somewhat more casual. Linda, the founder of HealthyLife.net came into the sporting goods shop, and was looking at golf clubs, and she said to me: “I’m just interested in your voice – have you ever done any radio?” She said that she was starting the internet radio station and we set up a meeting – and I got hired on the spot!

The funny thing is, when I needed to take the drugs for pneumonia, I realized I needed to make some changes, because, for example I was eating horribly. I needed to bring God back into my life, restore my health and find a new hobby. I was attracted to golf, because it seemed relaxing.

To sum it up, I needed: God, good health and golf, and that’s how I ended up

looking at golf clubs and HealthyLife.net.

Vivien: So, when Linda asked you about radio, was this a completely new field for you?

Jay: No, it wasn’t a new field for me. I had worked professionally in the San Francisco Bay Area as Air Talent and Promotions, and I was a counselor at Columbia School of Broadcasting

Vivien: Hmm, so it wasn’t just your voice – I think perhaps Linda must be psychic – she sniffed out your background too! Tell us, then, tell us some more about how your childhood predilections fit in with your career – because this is something we all need to perceive about our lives – what I call the “everyday magic” – how seemingly random aspects of childhood pan out over a lifetime.

Jay: In childhood I was a good reader and good public speaker. The classroom would have 30 kids and 30 copies of Willie Wonka. We’d each take a chance to read and I was one of the better readers and that’s what got me into broadcasting.

I was tongue tied when I was young – “tongue tied “means there is extra webbing joining the tongue to the floor of the mouth – and I was developing a bit of a lisp and speech awkwardness. They cut the web, and I had to relearn how to manage my tongue and how to swallow. This prevented a lot of issues that would have affected me later. If you’re tongue tied, every time you swallow, your tongue is bumping incorrectly against your teeth and your adult teeth can’t come in correctly. This affects speech, and whether we like it or not, people do judge you by the way that you speak.

Vivien: Yes, that’s for sure. And we also judge ourselves by the way we speak. I was always down on my voice – I mumbled and spoke in a monotone and swallowed my words because my mother’s voice was particularly loud and invasive and I needed to avoid being like her at all costs. I was also extremely self-conscious about my accent because I thought it was unattractive – like inferior or something – and then lo and behold, I come to the US and my voice is suddenly “educated” and “exotic.” But, what else, Jay, what were your other childhood explorations that led to radio?

Jay: Well of course, it was the age of tape recorders, so as a kid, we had endless amusement using a microphone and a tape recorder. We used to make up skits, and we would interview each other, and without really knowing what we were doing, we taught ourselves to improvise – lots of fun. Having access to this equipment was a great tool – such a stimulant to the imagination. Now the phone does so much of the work for us – it isn’t the same as in the “old days” when we just had the basics. We’d play back our recordings and laugh, and enjoy ourselves tremendously.

We even made newscasts and commentated “pretend” baseball games. I mustn’t forget comedy albums – that was a big thing too. My favorite was George Carlin – he had some bits where he was doing radio jokes and I thought: “This is the greatest thing,” the comedy he was making out of radio. Very, very inspiring for me.

The truth is that I was naturally shy, but radio helped me get over that.

Vivien: I’ve got 2 O-M-G reactions to what you’re saying – first, OMG from “tongue tied” too radio show host, that’s everyday magic right there: the thing and its opposite in the same space; and second, OMG, comedy! That’s one of my favorites too. My parents and their friends used to listen to comedy records – I mean vinyl records – and that always felt like the best time for me – a group of people laughing together, really enjoying themselves. And I have to say, when we first came to this country, one of the comedians that most struck me was George Carlin. I’m a big fan of stand-up comedy. Another time, we need to compare notes, Jay, because I would love some recommendations.

But I’m also struck by the role of imagination that you’re highlighting. For example, I love reading, and I have a policy of not watching movies of books that I’ve read – because, with one exception, a movie can’t hold a candle to the imagery that a well written book conjures up in my mind. Theater vs cinema was not exactly the same, but certainly parallel – there’s a magic to theater that can’t be found in cinema. Although, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big, big fan of cinema too. I’m just saying it’s a different art form.

Jay: Yes, live theater compared with cinema – in a nutshell, that’s raw vs edited and redone.

Our favorite arts are live music and live theater – there’s no choice but to live in the moment. Also, they are interactive. One can’t just keep talking. You need to wait, you need to be responsive, you have to allow everything to happen. It’s the same with playing music – you have to be in the present moment. This takes discipline. You can’t do anything until the cue happens.

I have a younger sister, 6 years younger, so as a teenager, I got used to doing my own thing – and that was listening to the radio. I listened to a lot of baseball – and there was a lot, because we had 2 teams — San Francisco and Oakland – and if a game wasn’t on, I would find a song to listen to. We had 35 broadcast stations. Some of the top 40 DJ’s did creative things and this kept me captivated. It all gave me a lot of stuff that would now be considered “trivia.” I was a sponge for everything.

Then, as I said, before, my voice dropped deeper and radio became an option for me.

Vivien: Was there anything else in your younger years that set you up for a career in radio?

Jay: Yes, I took a class in high school – Police Science. We had a fascinating teacher who had his hand broken. He blocked a kick with his hand and it shattered all the bones. When he couldn’t work in the field, as a police officer, he became a teacher. He talked about so much that no other teacher would have spoken about so freely. As a police officer, he needed to be able to read a situation and the people within 5-10 seconds. This taught me quickly about reading the energy of the room. From developing that, it helped me to take the next steps – I became good at reading situations and people, and my intuition developed from that. But that teacher, planted the seed.

When I met Linda the first time I was fascinated by the idea of the station. I had been lucky to work at rock ‘n roll radio stations and I enjoyed this. It was definitely beneficial. But now I became interested to learn about something new, namely talk radio and story-telling. In talk radio, most guests and hosts are still rooted in just wanting to make this a better planet – an honest heart and soul – and those kinds of topics. I had a good life – I got paid to go to concerts and interview rock stars. But at one point I figured there’s more, I didn’t want to be just a DJ forever. It was still fun, but seemed to have run its course.

Linda intrigued me and got me interested in talk radio. You know, you can’t replicate a story-teller, it takes a long time to get there.

Vivien: So, essentially, you’ve dedicated your life to radio. Why do you think radio is important?

Jay: From my perspective, radio is the quickest way to communicate without censoring or editing. People are able to speak freely, off the cuff, think on their feet. These conversations are happening in real time. Some people are good on radio and some people aren’t. Good storytelling impacts people in a powerful way – a good anecdote, story or message – these have a lot of power to support people in their lives.

Spontaneity is also a key element. People that are involved have to know their stuff; they need a well of info on the topic at hand. Talk show host needs a wide range of knowledge at their disposal – and they need to know how to research, and how to listen, and be able to extract from the conversation what’s happening. If someone goes off the cuff be able to follow and explore – add surprise to the conversation. “Unprepared” and “unrehearsed” can be a magical dynamic on both ends, with the participants responding in real time.

We try to leave a space in interviews for what is unplanned, for what just shows up. There’s a chemistry – two different people come from different walks of life and they can have a great show. Listening is just as important as knowing what to say and when to say it. You can miss a cue if you’re just paying attention to your list of questions. It’s all in the spontaneous adjustments – that’s where the magic and fun can happen. 

Vivien: Jay, you’re absolutely right — this is so much fun talking to you! Now what if people want to contact the radio network, what emails do you recommend?

Jay: It’s really easy, really. To just contact the network, you can write to info@HealthyLife.net. To contact Linda, Linda@HealthyLife.net and for me, Jay@HealthyLife.net

Vivien: Well, let’s take a break now and when we come back, I do want to ask you some more questions about radio, you and HealthyLife.net. Everyone, our guest today is a very, very important person in HealthyLife.net, we are talking to Jay Cruz, sound engineer, who is also the radio show host of two shows: Backbeat and Fantasy Sports Friday.

Commercial Break

Vivien: Hello and welcome back to The Schapera Show, where Viv and Neil explore this big adventure called Life. Today we are talking to someone who has become one of the favorite people in my life, HealthyLife.net’s audio engineer and radio host, Jay Cruz.

Jay, thank you again for coming on our show to share some behind the scenes insights, as well as sharing your personal stories and viewpoint. Shall we continue?

Jay: Yes, let’s continue.

Vivien: Yeah, let’s talk a little more about internet radio and also the development of HealthyLife.net. When did internet radio first become a thing and what are some of the differences between internet radio and broadcast radio?

Jay: Internet radio began in the late 90’s early 2000’s, and HealthyLife.net is one of the first stations to get established. I have really enjoyed the differences between internet and broadcast radio. Commercial radio stations tell you what to say, and they have to focus on their numbers. It’s also a big contrast to what I experienced in college radio where there was a snooty attitude and I felt semi-rejected. That taught me “everyone deserves a chance” if they are trying – and actually, like college radio, in internet radio there’s also a lot of range.

Internet possibilities have changed the landscape – we also have podcasts now and people can create their own style. For example, we have peer to peer conversations – like the Kelce brothers, where two brothers have a podcast and share their conversations with whomever wants to listen in.

When HealthyLife.net began we were just doing a few shows a few hours per week. That was like the days when I lived in Hong Kong and there were only a few hours of English radio per day. The internet was so new that people’s eyes would glaze over trying to understand what I was saying. We only had a few thousand listeners back them.

Then we got software that allowed us to broadcast 24 hours, and we can’t even keep track of how many syndications and how many listeners. I think we’re currently at approximately 3.2 million listeners per month worldwide, with maybe 75 syndications. There are so many different ways to find us, and it’s a good thing – we had a listener in Iran who did medical research and we got blocked there, so she couldn’t hear us, but Linda found another source via the syndications, so she could get around the block.

From time to time, you may hear from a listener that you inspired, but not as often as people think.

Vivien: Well, I can certainly relate to limited hours of access to the media – that’s how it was for us in South Africa. We only got TV in the 1970’s and that was also only for 2 hours per day in English, and 2 hours per day in Afrikaans. That’s another whole avenue of discussion … let’s rather go back to you and HealthyLife.net, because I am curious about this: considering how many radio shows you end up listening to, and it’s just you and your sound engineering equipment, do you have a way to tell when a show is a good one that will reach the audience?

Jay: Yes, it’s an instinctual thing – from doing so many shows. There’s the energy of the host, and the energy of the guest. There are clues in there. For me, at this stage of the game, I’ve heard 95% of the content in the shows before. For example, at one time it seemed that every third show was about “human design.” I’ll be listening and if it grabs my interest then I know it’s going to be a good show – like an interesting question you wouldn’t have thought of, or if I feel an inner reaction to the people participating. It could also be an entirely new subject that hasn’t been talked about before, that will grab me.

Vivien: Hmmm, sounds like you get to see the truth of “there’s nothing new under the sun?”

Jay: Yes and No. And I say “yes” and “no” because there are different perspectives to take on this so-called “repetition.” Overall, 21 years of listening, saved me from buying books, and going to lectures. I get to hear in real time so many different things – psychic perspectives, numerology, astrology, healthy ways to live, all aspects of life.

I also get this confirmation when I’m thinking of an idea/subject and then later that day I will hear a word or phrase that was maybe what I was thinking about. For me, that’s

confirmation of the collective unconscious. I studied a little psychology in college, read some Carl Jung – Man and His Symbols. I’ve always been into symbology – you know, interested in Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings.

Vivien: And there we have it! Lord of the Rings – the one and only cinematic rendition that surpassed the books for me. The books got on my nerves because they seemed repetitive. I remember complaining that if I had to read the words “then suddenly” again I would have a fit. But the movies were so great, and really showed me how no individual could ever create what a team of people can create. Thank you for giving me the segue to squeeze that in!

Jay, you seem like such a great radio host, because you’ve got me wanting to say more than usual. This conversation about the art of radio vs TV and the art of theater vs cinema, has set me thinking … Actually, you have stimulated so many thoughts, but I’ll narrow it down to one: I’m thinking now about the role of “voice only” in our lives. When we’re in the womb, we can’t see the world, but we can hear voices, and so that’s really our introduction to life on Earth, isn’t it?

Jay: Yes, that’s right. There’s the role of voice, and then also: the role of story-telling.

That was the big step for me – not to move away from sports and music because I will always love those, but to add talk radio to my list of interests and methods. We are in essence story tellers. We must all remember to share stories with our circle of friends, family or others and ask them to share their stories with us as well.

Vivien: Aha! Storytelling! That’s exactly what we’re doing here on HealthyLife.net, isn’t it? We’re sharing our stories. Is there anything else you want to share with our listeners?

Jay: Yes, Listeners, please continue to support radio shows, radio hosts, and
radio stations that inspire you. Maybe contact a host that you have enjoyed listening to and let them know how they have inspired, entertained, or educated you.

Vivien: So, Jay, if someone wanted to email HealthyLife.net to give feedback, what email would they use?

 

Jay: It’s really easy , info@HealthyLife.net, Linda@HealthyLife.net

Jay@HealthyLife.net

Vivien: Jay, I feel so thankful that you came on our show and shared these stories and insights with us and I feel like it’s a fantastic compliment to us, so thank you very, very much for your time, and your voice and your knowledge and thank you especially for being such a stable energy – so necessary when we are experiencing our performance anxiety and then we hear your calm voice and feel so reassured that we are in the hands of such a good and competent person. Everyone, we have been listening to the voice and words of Jay Cruz show host and audio engineer here at HealthyLife.net. Thank you for joining us. When we come back after the break, Neil will be giving his report from the Spirit Realm.