This week’s DJ Spotlight is on Daniel Rayzel, host of The Progressive Torch and Twang and journalist student. When he’s not busy scouring the corners of the music industry for new Americana music, he takes on the duties as Impact’s News Director.
1. What made you decide to join Impact and become a DJ?
I was at the station’s open house two years ago when I met Alex Ruff, the host of our Americana specialty show. He described the music as being similar to Mumford & Sons, but never having to play them.
I had my application in by the end of the week, and I’ve hosted Progressive Torch and Twang ever since.
2. What has been your best on-air experience?
I was at bar for a local concert when I bumped into a listener. She recognized me because I was wearing one of our station’s shirts, and started talking to me about the show. I distinctly remember her saying, “I can tell you really love what you’re doing.”
Not exactly an on-air experience, but that’s something that really stuck with me.
3. How do you think working in radio will affect your future career and life experience?
It already has, honestly. Volunteering and working at our station led me to applying for the MSU School of Journalism, and that’s been an incredible experience on its own. I’m interested in audio storytelling and tour documentary, so there’s really no better place to hone my skills and build connections before graduating.
4. What is your favorite part of the station?
The people, no doubt. It’s kicking open the studio door to scare the DJ inside. It’s eating pasta-covered cheesecake with our Program Director. It’s gifting your favorite poetry books to a friend. It just feels good to be there.
5. If you could play an artist non-stop on the air, which would it be?
I would create a radio station that supports all of the “Small Town, U.S.A.” artists of the world. I’m worried that we’re losing talent because they can’t grow in a community that suppresses their identities and visions. If we can help brighten the light at the end of the tunnel, we should.
6. What is the best concert experience you have had? Why?
The answer to this question is always changing for me, but there’s one on my mind right now: Langhorne Slim & The Law in Newport, Rhode Island. I went to the Newport Folk Festival earlier this year, and came in a day early to catch Slim at a pre-festival kickoff show. I traveled by myself and had no plans to meet anyone there.
I don’t have any close friends that love the same artists as I do. I gave up a long time ago in trying to bring people to shows with me.
But being able to travel across the country and land in a bar with hundreds of strangers who feel the same way I do about “my” music was one of the most comforting things I’ve ever experienced. And I have to thank Slim for helping to pull that together.
One of the last songs performed that night was “Bluebird,” and it has this lyric that’s been tattooed into my brain: “And there’s a bluebird on my windowsill / What a gift it is just to be still.”
And what a gift that show was.
Our next DJ Spotlight of the Week will be out on Monday, 10/3.