Media Watch

R Dub's Slow Jam to Brazil

Randy Williams, better known to Tucson radio listeners as R Dub, is not your typical white boy trying to act cool by co-opting another culture. This is not some adolescent phase, adopting his look to fit awkwardly into the Latino way of life.

R Dub lives this lifestyle. Literally. And to prove it, he's moving to Brazil next month.

"I think everybody always has a crazy dream they want to do and never get to that dream," R Dub said. "I started looking into possibly working and living in Brazil. The thing that got the ball rolling was looking at apartments in Brazil. The price of living in Brazil is absolutely nuts: It is so cheap. I even e-mailed some of the complexes asking if the prices were weekly or nightly. They were monthly. The past eight months, I've been doing research, and every time a problem has come up, I've been able to find a solution, and here I am, ready to go."

Technology is what's largely responsible for making the move possible. R Dub syndicates his Sunday Nite Slow Jams program in 45 markets--and, for now, he's on the air in Tucson five nights a week on KOHT, Hot 98.3 FM. As long as he has a powerful Internet connection, he can upload content for his syndicated show anywhere in the world.

The flagship is moving south.

"I have to send my show to the distributor, who sends the show to a bunch of different radio stations," R Dub said. "I'll just be doing the show in Brazil instead of my house in Tucson."

R Dub credits his love of the lifestyle to his upbringing, and his passion to a class in high school that changed his outlook.

"I've always been intrigued with the Latin culture in general," R Dub said. "I grew up in L.A. and Florida. I had a lot of friends from Mexico and Puerto Rico. It was different: the music, the food, the family events. It was a Spanish class I took in high school 15 years ago; I had the best teacher ever, and I remember she told me about her trip to Brazil. My mind took a note to go there some day.

"I went to Brazil a few years ago for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it. I had the best time of my life there. I came back and missed it; I felt like I belonged there. I went a second time a couple of years later and had even a better time. I took a Portuguese class, learned a little bit, and the experience was 10 times richer."

R Dub has a two-year visa to go along with his high-rise apartment in a metro area of more than 3 million that most people in America have never even heard of.

"It's funny talking to some of the folks who don't know their geography. Some people think Brazil is this little piss-ant South American country," R Dub said. "Brazil is about the size of the continental U.S. Sao Paulo is one of the biggest cities, population-wise, in the world. I'm living in one of the top 10 biggest cities in the country, Recife; it's in the northeast, near the equator. ... It's on the beach. It's about a three-hour plane ride from Rio."

It's not as if R Dub is just hopping a plane, taking his laptop and making the move. This transition has involved a lot of legwork.

"Finding an apartment in Brazil--when you're an American who doesn't know much Portuguese, when you don't have a bank account in Brazil, or references in Brazil, or a credit score in Brazil, or a Brazilian social security number--was tough, but it was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I've ever had," R Dub said. "This was going to be my last chance, and I found the most amazing place: 25th floor, top of the building, a block from the beach, view of the city; the only thing above me is the pool. It's absolutely amazing."

Despite the dream existence, R Dub claims he has more in mind than bikini-clad Brazilian babes basking on the beach.

"Five years ago, it was all about meeting the hot chicks," R Dub said. "Now I've really grown to love and appreciate the country. I've gained such an appreciation for the culture, for the music, for the language, for the people and values of the country. Every time I leave, I feel something die inside me. I can't wait to get back in February."

R Dub leaves just short of his 10th year with what is now Clear Channel. It also marks an end to a physical 15-year run in Tucson radio that spanned at least four different ownership entities.

That said, he'll remain a presence in the market.

"I'm still going to do a lot with the station. I'll be voice-tracking some Slow Jam shows on weeknights, and they'll be carrying my Sunday show," R Dub said. "I want to learn. I'm not going to be a beach bum. I'm working full-time on my syndicated show. I want to double my affiliates by 2008. We've got some other things in the works."

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