Most partiers in their mid-20s got their first taste of dance music through DJ Deadly Hedley Jones's shows on CFNY when they were still too young to get into the clubs. Now he's just as influential as part of djshows.com.
The Web site has grown into a major force in Internet broadcasting in Canada, and just in time -- Jones's former home, 1groove.com, just fired all its DJs and switched to automation last week, leaving a lot of local talent unemployed.
Djshows.com recently broke the million-hits-a-month mark, and has moved into a proper studio. If you've got the bandwidth, you can even control a remote camera and spy on the DJs while they play. They also host more then 150 other Web sites and handle webcasting for CKLN and 100.7, making them one of the few success stories since the tech bubble burst.
Jones was born in Jamaica, where his father was an audio engineer who built Studio One and worked on early Wailers albums.
"In 1977 David Pritchard from CHUM went to Jamaica and discovered reggae," Jones reminisces over drinks at Insomnia. (He does a gig at Red Square this Saturday. ) "He came back and asked me if I wanted to do a show with him, so we did the first and only reggae show ever on CHUM.
"He had just made a deal with this little radio station out in Brampton to come up with a brand new format, free-form radio, and he asked me if I wanted to join them."
Jones made his home at CFNY for the rest of the 80s, and as the new house and hiphop sounds started appearing, they were quickly incorporated into his sets.
"Around 85 I decided I wanted to do an all-night show again. Eventually they gave me what I wanted -- Saturday nights, from midnight to 6 am.
"Later, one of the salespeople discovered the Lizard Lounge, which wanted to host an experimental late-night show. The first night I got to the club, the lineup went around the corner. It was the first time I ever felt that star power -- people were screaming when I came in."