article written about Johnnie J. from December 2007
I was born in Denver, 1959, and am from a family of seven. At that time I had 20/20 vision up until I was six years old.
I used to think as a kid that life was going to be a piece of cake, because when I had 20/20 vision I could read very well, draw faces and people very close to the way they looked and if I could see how you did something I could copy you!
I lost my sight after doctors gave me some medication that I was allergic to. This was after I had some kind of breathing spell one night as I was sleeping. After this medication destroyed my tear ducts I had many eye operations and ended up loosing an eye because of all the experimental operations.
I have what is called
Steven Johnson Syndrome.
My parents believe:
If the doctor can mess you up, they can fix you up!I now know that is not so. And yes, we sued Colorado General Hospital, but at that time doctors would say,
They signed the paper saying we could treat himand doctors could get away with murder!
During this time I noticed that I could hear a song on the radio and know that it was going to be number one! It was like I was there when the song was being written. All through school I wondered,
How could I use this God-given gift?So I decided to become a radio DJ. I would call radio stations and talk on talk-shows. I would record myself on tape, some of which I still have today. The only talk show host you might know was Allen Burg; members of the KKK killed him back on June 18 of 1986. In high school I would take classes that had something to do with broadcasting.
At that time there was this place called the CEC (Career Education Center) and that is where I hosted my first show called,
Youth Scene Radio Magazine. From there I went to KCFR public radio where I was under the direction of John Hendlemen. He taught me how to edit reel-to-reel tape, without looking at it, to write copy and how to interview.
From there I went to many other public radio stations in Denver, Boulder and even Greeley, Colorado.
At the age of 25 I was ready for the big time. So I went to California and landed a job with a cable radio station. It was called DSA radio. My boss was the owner, Jerry Delauney. It took me eight months to find this job and I never lost hope that I would find something in LA! Jerry was visually impaired and his cameraman was in a wheelchair. They showed me that physically challenged people could do whatever they want in the media. They were doing it very well and so was I!
When I got back to Denver I wanted to follow in their footsteps, so I started my own cable talk show called
Innervision. I wanted to talk about what we, as physically challenged people, were doing as a positive part of this community.
But that wasn't enough. I started another show called
Power in Victory; it was about Christian videos and local Christian artists. That still wasn't enough. I got involved with a Physically Challenged theater group called Phamaly, and for the next five years I was very busy with theater and my two cable shows!
In the back of my mind I still wanted to do something with my God-given gift. So I got with Wayne, an old junior high school friend, and we combined his gift for writing music and my gift for hearing a number one song. We got a lawyer who was willing to put together a non-profit company for us so we could work with low-income and physically challenged artists while charging less. In the year of 1995 we became
My job is to find artists for to work with, oversee the recording process and come up with marketing ideas for our artists.
In 1997, after finishing college at Metro and the Community College of Denver with a BA and AA degree in Broadcast Communication, I started working as a DJ at a place I would never go to as a young person because I could not hear if the person I was approaching to ask for a dance was a woman or man.
Yes, I was very shy as a young man.
I heard about a job at a country dance club on Colfax called the
Gold Nugget Disco, and in the back of my mind I knew I could find singers for Innervision Productions and I could play our artists in this club as well! From there I got a job at The Supreme Court Nightclub, Bottom's Up, Pinkes, JC Christian Lounge, Rock and Roll Grill, KGNU Public Radio, KUVO Jazz Radio, interned at KHOW, KOA, KDKO 1510 AM and ACB Interactive.
Now I am married to Nataliya, the manager of several groups and keeping it real!
And I am still finding artists to record as well as interview them on Innervision's KGNU.ORG radio DenverOpenMedia.org.
I also contract out, so if you are looking for a DJ, look no more! Listen to my air check here.