DJ Spotlight Series: Brian Dawson: Setting the Legacy
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The DJ Spotlight Series Week continues and next up is no other than Mr. K 97.5 The Mr. Brian Dawson! He's one of the undisputed hottest DJs in the area and beyond the NC boundaries. The impeccable swag of his brand has taken K 97.5 radio station to a household name in these streets and corporations. His listing of accomplishments stretch from his collegiate basketball triumphs to becoming a change agent in our city. Just to name a few of his projects beyond being a phenomenal Dj he uses his platform to encourage students during his annual "EOG School Tour", he's gearing up for his annual "Turkey Drive" to feed those in need, toys for kids, Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, and I told you he's a hot Dj so you know he's gonna make you dance! It's all about "Solas on Fridays" the premiere nightlife spot where the sophisticated come to party! BD Entertainment has many branches and one prime entity is Be One Sports and his driving passion is coaching young boys with Carolina Elite Basketball Team! Still, what are other dimensions of this dynamic DJ?
As you already know, this is how it all went down....
How did you start into this business working as a professional dj and becoming apart of K 97.5?
Dawson: "I've been on K 97,5 for 15 years now and I actually got my college degree in radio & tv but I got my start by going over to WXDU, Duke University's radio station. I took a test and started doing different shifts over there and at that time I made a test cassette tape that I brought over here (K 97,5) so I got a job doing overnights."
What made you decide to go into that major?
Dawson: "I always tell people to find something that goes with your personality. I'm an outgoing person so I would be this way whether I was on the radio or not. A lot of times people do things that don't connect well with them but I'm a people person, a talker, networking, mobilizing, and building partnerships so radio was a natural progression for me. Just find something you really love to do".
"I've been here 15 years but it feels like 5".
How has the transition been for you from college to mainstream radio?
Dawson: "That was a great question. When I got to WXDU, a college station, I actually came up here and got DVS and Wake Moody a few of the veteran programmers to give me copies of liners so when I did my college radio show I programmed it like it was a commercial show. That's where I think a lot of people make mistakes because like if you go into college radio and that's all you want to do you're a mixer that's fine if that's all you want to do. there's nothing wrong with that. But if you want to come to mainstream commercial radio then you have to learn how to do it. So I went into my college radio show producing it like it was a mainstream commercial radio show. So it was an easy transition for me because I went in knowing how to read liners, describing, contests, and things like that. So when I got my job at K 97.5 I was already well versed at it."
What experiences in the last 15 years has progressed you to where you are now?
Dawson: "Doing events, promotions, concerts, parties, and being in the community all goes hand-in-hand with me. The new wave of media is digital which is online, a lot of blogging, social media, and the digital platforms are so important. You can't be on the radio without being on social media. So if you're not on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or know how to put up blogs then you can't be on the radio. The final straw for me is being that community person I don't rely just on social media but I still feel like that hand in hand connection means more. I do things like tours through schools and I've had more people recognize me from coming to their schools vs. anything else. So after 12 years of going to people's schools when people see me in the mall they come up to me and speak to me because I probably went to their school and spoke."
What are the mass ventures of Brian Dawson?
Dawson: " That's a great question also. That's me, I want to do community projects, I want to do things to give back to the kids. Now I'm fortunate enough to be working with a company that endorses and supports that. So they endorse a lot of my projects such as my 10th Annual Turkey Drive to give turkeys to the Raleigh & Durham Rescue Missions. I create these projects mostly myself and bring them to the radio station then they usually get behind me with promos, giveaways of paraphernalia, or bringing the promo vehicle out."
Any words of encouragement to college students interested in this industry?
Dawson: The time is now. Being able to control your social networks is a good and bad thing. It's almost like rappers and artists, remember before they made their own cds but had to wait for a label to press out their album. But when the invention of people being able to create their own cds at home it gave them the power. But power is a gift and a curse so its like now your able to create your own brand. The gift is you can create your own brand and the curse is if you do it wrong it can go in a wrong direction. I say create your brand like your already on the radio.
"Also, a big problem is people want to be paid and trained at the same time and people are just not going to do that. My suggestion is to find some internships or places you can work for free or little of nothing. Because no one is going to train you and pay you at the same time so when they hire you they want you ready. So get your experience levels up before trying to get a big job."
What have you done to make your show here at K 97.5 unique from others?
Dawson: "I've branded myself and the things I do well with the things I do in the community as a household name. I've done several things outside of urban stuff, the projects I've been doing with my son giving him an opportunity at an early age. My legacy is going to be what I leave for the youth where they see someone like me make they can too."
Tell us about your experiences with coaching basketball.
Dawson: "Basketball is my life. Its the reason I'm sitting here having with the opportunity to be on your blog and it's how I got on the radio, and 6 years of free education. I have my Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degree all thru basketball. So I've used sports to build a strong relationship between me and my 2 boys with Chase being the first one. It's a way for me to mentor kids and lots of life lessons in playing sports because you learn how to be a star, goat, get along with people, share, and root for other people. Its great life lessons! Start my own basketball team and I'm known as Coach Brian because that is my long-term goal."
"I can't tell you all the phone calls I get for Chase to dj jigs. We are about instilling a solid foundation of earning a living at an early age and keeping his grades up as well so he's active at an early age. "
Dawson: "One of the big things I'm working on my McDonald's "Rising Star" Basketball Classic which is Jan. 15-17th in Durham, NC. Its going to be 3-Days of AAU Basketball for kids grades 2-8 boys and girls so I'm really excited about that. Its MLK Weekend so we are going to give the kids something really inspiring to do!
What do you do in your downtime?
Dawson: I hang out with my youngest son whose 5, working out, and basketball. I'm a workout fanatic so anything involved with sports I love it.
Dawons "I appreciate all the love and we need to build partnerships. I appreciate people like you allowing me to get my words out".
Ladies & Gentleman that is the run down on the Triangle's own DJ & Radio Personality Brian Dawson! Its his humility to use his platform to give back to our communities that sets him apart. Its humbling to see when the on-air sign goes off or the lights go down that's where the real work begins for him which is giving back. The past 3 years of interviewing celebrities I usually walk about with a life lesson. So thank you Brian for inspiring me to reach out even more in my community and to expand dreams to reality.
Until next time this is RDU's Premiere Blog the one & only The Lux Blog!