Host Profile: Paul Josey

Name: Paul Josey

Show: Leftover Biscuits, Saturdays 6:30 – 8 a.m.

Day Job, Volunteer Work: Landscape architect with a focus on academic, public and conservation projects. As a volunteer, I also have served on the city’s Tree Commission, PLACE Design Task Force and as a board member for a national Tree and Soil Research Fund.

How long have you been a WTJU: Since 2010.

Why did you become a WTJU host? I did a radio show in college and met a few of the rock DJs that inspired me to apply.

Why should someone tune into your show in particular?
On Leftover Biscuits, the songs of the 1920s and 30s offer a diverse collection of the earliest recordings of blue collar American music. With a range of early country, country blues, spiritual, Hawaiian and more, listeners are bound to hear something they like. As an added perk, given the size of the 78 records at the time, the songs are all 3 minutes or less so if you don’t like something, hang in there, the next song is for you. It’s a good show for today’s short attention spans and an engaging way to start your weekend.

Favorite moments in the air studio?
On March 20, 2010, I was supposed to come in to the station and a play 5 song set during Leftover Biscuits with the show’s then DJ, Emmett Boaz as a trial run for maybe filling in for him down the road. I walked into the studio at 6:20am and a spry, older man with a long beard met me and handed me the phone, “It’s for you”. Uncertain what to do, I said “Hello” and Emmett said, ‘Paul, the truck’s dead – you’ll have to do the show without me.” I quickly grabbed a few records from the library and I haven’t looked back since.

Thoughtful phone calls from regular and new listeners are always appreciated. Also, those moments when I can’t help but turn up the studio speakers to really feel the music is a great way to start my weekend.

If you could interview anyone on air, dead or alive, who would it be? Why?
It’s a tie between Ray Davis and Dick Spottswood of WAMU. Both were/are radio DJ heroes of mine. They have long histories in radio and around musicians with dozens of good stories to tell. I’d be happy just to hear them talk.

What are your guilty pleasures? (Music or otherwise)
Stopping by the Cville skate park before work when no one is there (and no one can see me act half my age).

How has it felt being a radio host during this pandemic?
Given a greater likelihood of isolation or time at home, it feels more important than ever to be present and connect with others as best we can. Ideally, as a radio host, sharing songs & stories of our triumphs, losses and common history, at best, brings us together and at worst, it gets Saturday morning off to a good start.

What are your passions outside of music?
Raising two little kids with my wife, landscape architecture, observing the plants and wildlife all around us, cooking, telling stories, talking to friends and neighbors, taking photos, hiking above timberline…it’s a big list and I could go on and on.

Why does WTJU matter?
As a non-profit, volunteer radio station with an emphasis on music and diversity, WTJU is an extension of this town and its larger community. It’s healthy to just have the music on and allow your brain a place to process your internal thoughts and listen to unexpected music, providing quiet against the storm of news and everything clawing for your attention. The non-standardized radio (and volunteer) format is just good for the soul of everyone listening and we’re fortunate that there is a great community of people that agree with this less formalized setup.

How have you seen WTJU change in your time here? How have you seen Charlottesville change?
As an alum of college radio in my undergrad, WXTJ has been my favorite addition to hopefully inspire the next generation of radio voices. DJs learn so much about presentation and music by creating their weekly playlists/planning their mic breaks and that requires air time (and deadlines).

How has Cville changed would be easier to say how it hasn’t. UVa is still the bedrock of this town, providing a constant stream of interesting jobs, ideas and people. Inequality in labor and housing and education remains an issue. On the plus side, the cold mountain streams, apple festivals, fresh food and berry patches are all still just a short drive away. Mona Lisa still makes great pasta and pizza dough, ABC Oatmeal Crunch sliced bread still rules, and the people and neighbors who live here, are still the best you could ask for.

Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with a banjo player, a bagpipes player, or an accordion player?
Despite loving a banjo, I will hold out hope that the accordion player could sing some songs as well to pass the time.

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