Who are Oz & Jay?
To be honest, we don’t even know who we are! What we do know is we’ve been together (professionally) for longer than most first marriages. Oz & Jay are simply two radio jocks who tell it like it is and who really want people to laugh more at everything… even the stuff some people won’t find funny.
How had your duo come about?
The duo first came about in 2005 on The Drive Home on XFM. We had worked together on Island Sound from late 1995. In fact, the original Oz & Jay experience was heard and seen on Sunday afternoons at Havana, where we hosted a four hour live transmission every week for two or three winters. Oz then quit radio in 2007 and returned three years later to team up again on The Big Drive Home. But by the start of 2012, Oz and Jay were no more. A chance meeting in the summer of 2014 led to the all new XFM 100.2, complete with Oz & Jay on The Big Breakfast this time. I think it was a good decision.
You’re renowned for your good banter coupled by an excellent selection of tunes. Is there a method behind the madness?
Believe it or not there is! The music is something Jay works closely on with our resident Music Guru, Mr. Steve Meli. So it’s all ready every morning for us. The banter comes totally natural. A result of twenty-two years of partying together! Due to the fact that that we know each other so well, we just turn up at 6.30am, put up the microphones and off we go. Joking aside, we always do have prep, topics and audio clips ready to roll from the night before. After so long working together we can almost complete each other’s sentences, we understand each other’s way of thinking and what buttons to push and which ones perhaps to avoid. We also know which way to lead each other during on-air conversations.
How did you get into radio?
Jay: My dad used to host a show in Canada on a multicultural FM Station in Maltese! I used to tag along, and although I didn’t understand most of what he was saying at the time, I thought it was very cool indeed. When we moved to Malta in the early 90s, I remember voicing an advert for the new Pepsi Max for a fellow Maltese-Canadian in a farmhouse somewhere in Għarb. Not too long after hearing it on the airwaves, I felt pretty damn smug. It wasn’t until Calypso 102.3FM opened in Gozo that I got a foot in the radio door in 1993. It was a Saturday night jukebox-style show playing only 50s and 60s hits. I was twenty.
Oz: It was a long time ago, but I really have to thank a bunch of friends I had when I arrived in Malta in 1992. One of them is a certain Gianni Zammit who I met when were both studying Architecture at university. It was Gianni who was already working at Island Sound Radio who identified the potential in me to work in radio. I’m going to be completely honest; it never occurred to me. It was the G man and other friends like Colin Fitz and Matthew Calamatta who also encouraged me to get involved. After that, I did a couple of months training under the tutelage of Terry Farrugia and after a short while, he threw me into action. The rest is history.
Your audience only gets to hear you, but if you had to allow them a fly-on-the-wall sneak peek into the studio, what would they find?
We’ve always said if people could hear what goes on off the mic, the show would be ten times funnier! We’d also get a thousand more complaints and fines, but it would be most entertaining! The stuff we discuss off the air is certainly not for general consumption, and it would be an 18+ experience. We’re always joking around throughout those four hours. We both have a somewhat warped and dirty sense of humour, so I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
What has so far been your most challenging moment when on the job?
Jay: There have been a few. Interviews or competitions gone wrong spring to mind. But I think it was when things weren’t going well both in my private life and also with past employers in radio. You have to keep sounding like you’re having a great time and that you’re enthusiastic about what you’re doing. It’s harder than most people would think. Oh, and living through Oz’s daily bowel movements; that’s very challenging indeed.
Oz: It would have to be my first ever two or three shows back in 1995 when I was extremely nervous and made a bucket load of mistakes. This was by far my most challenging time in radio… After a few months, it pretty much seemed to come natural to me. Don’t get me wrong, there have been challenging situations along the way, but when you enjoy what you do and can do it with a certain amount of confidence, then it becomes far less challenging.