Tucson DJ Randy Williams, known as R Dub on his syndicated Slow Jams radio program, was the subject of some added scrutiny by the Border Patrol, thanks to a video he recorded late last year.
R Dub is not suffering from a lack of things to do. In addition to Slow Jams, which is syndicated in 40 markets (and airs locally from 8 p.m. to midnight Sunday, and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday-Thursday on KOHT FM 98.3), he has released a book on how to get syndicated and produces a television segment called the Taco Inspector (www.thetacoreview.com). As the title suggests, he travels the country in search of, well, quality taco fare. His vignettes are available for viewing on Cox Cable Channel 7.
One of those video segments did not go down well with the Border Patrol. R Dub discovered this telling piece of information during the face-to-face interview process to receive SENTRI and Global Entry cards, which are designed to help frequent travelers more efficiently navigate the border-crossing process.
"I'm there in Nogales early, wearing khakis and a button-up shirt, shower, shaved, like it's a job interview. I'm going to impress these folks," R Dub said. "I was ushered into the office for a 1:30 (p.m.) appointment, and the questions began. The officer that interviewed me was very nice, asked me what I did. I'm not the kind of person who says, 'Yeah, I'm R Dub. I'm on the radio.' But she asked what I went by on the radio. I told her R Dub, and she was so excited, because she's listened to KRQ all her life."
R Dub launched Slow Jams during his evening shift at KRQ a decade ago.
"She had a million questions about the radio business, and now this interview turns into less about my travel intentions and more about how (KRQQ FM 93.7 morning hosts) Johnjay and Rich are in real life. What happened to (former KRQ DJ) Shannon Black? Where's former KRQ morning show co-host Betsy (Bruce)? Do you still talk to (former KRQ morning co-host) Mojo? ... We had an amazing time. The next half hour flew by. We joked. It was like a couple of friends hanging out in between all the official stuff, like fingerprints and taking the photo."
R Dub says he was treated like the prom king during this stage of the interview; he was the famous celebrity being introduced to fans throughout the complex.
But that didn't last.
"(The agent) comes back and says she'd like to introduce me to another agent. I shook his hand, made a joke, and the first thing he asked me was, 'You passed (through) the Nogales border entry recently, haven't you?' It's been a while, but I have. And at that moment, with the accusatory tone he was using, my mind started racing. I knew something was up," R Dub recalled.
"The next question he asked turned my world upside down. He asked if I had filmed one of his border agents. You won't believe how off-guard that caught me. I instantly remembered the Five-Sombrero Taco review I taped in December 2008. It involved great tacos, but it also involved rolling tape on a hidden camera while I was crossing back into the States, including capturing the Border Patrol agent on tape.
"I couldn't do anything else but absolutely admit it was me. The video is out there, and I put it online. I told him yes, and he proceeded to read me the riot act for the next 10 minutes."
In short, the interviewer suggested that the hidden-camera video could have put the Border Patrol agent's safety in jeopardy.
R Dub has since pulled the video off of his Web site.
"I totally respect our law-enforcement agents. They have a tough job to do," R Dub said. "He noted some examples of some pretty bad stuff that had happened to their employees. Once he started talking about officer safety, it made me feel so small. What an idiot I am for putting someone in jeopardy for a taco video."
Fortunately, after a phone interview with a third agent, R Dub's apologies were received as sincere, and he was granted the travel cards.
In the meantime, the Taco Inspector concept keeps gaining steam. The idea germinated during his stint as the program director at a Top 40 station in Los Angeles.
"As a new resident of Los Angeles, I found out the Mexican food in L.A. is horrible by comparison to Tucson," R Dub said. "How hard is it to make a good taco? Go to L.A., and you can't find one. I was looking for the perfect taco every week, took a camera along (and) documented the entire event with pictures, which turned into videos, which turned into elaborate reviews. And six months later, I had restaurants in L.A. calling me asking to try their tacos and quesadillas, and fans across the country telling me different places, from Connecticut to Chicago to Texas. The adventures I've had since have been, for the most part wonderful."
Reporter/weekend anchor David Marino is leaving KVOA Channel 4.
"After working at KVOA for more than four years, I've decided it's time to move on," said Marino via e-mail. "The news industry is going through some major changes, and I believe this is the time for me to make a change. I'm currently pursuing other career opportunities out of the business, and for now, I plan to move to California.
"I will miss my KVOA family so much. I've had the opportunity to work with some of the best in the business and make some life-long friends in the process. I want to thank the Tucson community for watching me grow over the past four years, and I wish nothing but the best for KVOA as they move forward."