Not many people know this, but Billboard covers more than “America’s top 100.” Radio stations play more than just current pop, rap or country music; music is not limited to songs composed in English. Immy knows, though.
“Daebak K-Pop” is a radio program stationed on WCUW radio in Massachusetts; it is run by a young radio DJ named Immy, who focuses on letting her listeners interact with her every Sunday from 4-6 p.m. EST during her show. Upon request, an interview was conducted with Immy in order to gain more insight to her views on music and love of her show.
Kaylee: I have to say, it’s extremely cool being able to interact with you during the show. Not a lot of broadcasters pay attention to the people who try and involve them on social media; how did you decide to set yourself apart from the others in that way?
Immy: That’s why I made the show. It was never really for myself, in all honesty — it was to interact with fans and be their friend via radio. Everyone does the “YouTube thing,” and I’m not saying that’s bad at all, but what’s one thing you don’t see much of in the U.S. (or the world for that matter)? A K-pop international fan radio station that gets all listeners involved and feeling like the 2 hours of the show is just for them. It’s better than listening to your AUX cord in your car. Yes, I might play the same songs that you have in your playlist, but it’s a different feeling to be able to hear it on live radio. Radio used to mean something to its artists … more than just 3 or 5 minutes of commercials. The show is very new, and I’m working on building content, but that content will have listener input as well because they’re the ones who know what they like and will keep coming back.
Kaylee: That’s very true, and I think it was made apparent by how much response you got during your show last night that fans of K-pop are very pleased with the work you’re doing. Do you think there’s a chance you will ever move to YouTube, especially with the potential growth of new listeners?
Immy: Yes, eventually. Seeing that I target all audiences no matter age, style, race or location. I’m trying to find a way to podcast or re-upload shows on my YouTube because people in different time zones are staying up in the wee hours of the night just to hear my show! I also thought of recording myself in the studio live and posting it on YT; for example, I did a Snack Fever unboxing live on air and tasted snacks and uploaded it. I have a YouTube channel, but I want to focus on more than reactions. I want to globalize radio with the help of YT and maybe pursue live streaming. Right now I’m thinking out loud, but the production company I write for also manages YouTubers and other entertainment, so I would definitely consider it.
Kaylee: That would be very interesting if you moved to YT eventually, and I think the fact that you do work so hard to appeal to all audiences is what would draw people to you in the first place. With that sense of inclusion, though, do you see yourself sticking only with K-pop or including other genres of music as well?
Immy: Seeing that I’m a newbie to K-pop (2015), I’m finding the culture and other musical influences as I go along. Listeners have requested Japanese songs and Mandarin songs before (usually by a Korean artist), but I am definitely not opposed to it, seeing that I’ve been an anime fan since I was a young child. Asian music has always intrigued me and sounded beautiful. As for genre content, Zion.T, John Park, Jungiggo, Kisum, Suran, G.Soul, Heize and even a new R&B group named Big Brain have had multiple plays on my show. On another note, that’s where my listener requests come into play as well, where they’ll request something I’ve never heard of and I research the artists when I like what I hear. I’ve learned so much about music from my listeners. Right now I’m enjoying the experience I’m having with K-pop. I’ve met friends, acquired great opportunities and found something I can turn into a career. But my outlook on expanding is that if K-pop is worldwide, then I should be too. Who knows where it’ll take me, or what I can do. Host events around the world, become a worldwide-known radio show, radio DJ in Korea?! Who knows?
Kaylee: You certainly are open-minded, and that is such a great quality to find in a person! So one last question: for those out there who are maybe not quite as open-minded as you and would not consider branching into a music genre such as K-pop (or judge people who do branch into that genre), would you have any words or advice for them?
Immy: Well, I never like to call people small-minded at first. It’s just that ignorance is bliss and you need perfect timing for such a genre. My mom was such an avid watcher of Asian dramas and music groups back when DBSK, BoA and F4 were huge. Even though I loved anime, I was that ignorant child who never gave Korean music a fighting chance. It’s not something I will ever try to hide from my listeners because it made me who I am today and they have to understand both sides of it. There’s a side that loves Asian culture and the music and understands they go hand in hand. There’s another side of misconceptions and conclusion-jumping attitudes. I feel like I have an advantage to show those who are not as open-minded to music sung in different languages. Timing is everything: Maybe they haven’t seen or heard the right thing yet, but they will! Or maybe it takes another approach … like radio. So advice to you non-kpoppers … LISTEN TO “DAEBAK K-POP”! I’ll get you boppin’ to a song or two!