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Media • June 2022 • “Janda’s Journey To The Drive”

| May 31, 2022

The Drive’s Janda Lane

Janda Lane’s journey to becoming the afternoon co-host at the Drive (WDRV-Chicago) has taken her from North Carolina (her home state) to Charleston, South Carolina, to Seattle, and through Los Angeles since the radio bug bit her in high school.

And Janda polished her rock and roll credentials along the way. For instance, her experience in Seattle was one for the ages.

“I was working at Sub Pop Records, in addition to the radio station,” she explains. “Jonathan Poneman, who founded Sub Pop records (Nirvana’s original label), was moving the company to a different building. Upstairs in the original building was the tiny little office Poneman and Bruce Pavitt, his partner, shared. That was their first office. On the wall, Kurt Cobain had written his name (Kurt was spelled Kurdt) and address in Olympia, Washington. They kept that on the wall since he scribbled it there all those years before. So, when they were moving to a new building, Poneman asked me to help remove it from the wall to bring along. We went up there, and he got an Exacto knife, and we cut around it and peeled the plaster off the wall, and he framed it. For some reason, he asked me to help him, and that whole day I thought, what a piece of music history. That was a moment I couldn’t have asked for. You never know what’s going to happen in the world of rock and roll.”

There were also some pretty heady experiences in LA.

“In 1999, I got a call from Mark Goodman, the old MTV VJ, and he was putting together a new internet project in LA called, and he wanted me to come down to LA and do the midday slot, so I did. That was a great experience. It was an on-camera radio station, but it was in the early days of broadband, so the audience was limited. But we knew we were pioneers. We were proud to be Soundbreakers.”

That project led to other memorable opportunities for Janda.

“I ended up working for John Silva, who was the manager for Foo Fighters, Beck, the Beastie Boys (at the time), and Sonic Youth. He was Nirvana’s manager. I worked for him for three years while I [also] worked at the flagship NPR station in LA. I did a show called Broadband. This was something I had never experienced. It was wide open and not formatted. You picked your records, and you played them. That’s how KCRW is still run today. It’s an amazing station.”

But before coming to Chicago, her radio career also took a little detour into the video world.

“I was working at Fender Guitars doing video production,” she explains. “I had stepped away from radio, but I was recommended for this job at the Drive, and I wanted to come to Chicago. My husband Christian is from here. He had been in a Chicago band called Loud Lucy, and they had been signed to a record contract in LA, but we came back to Chicago all the time to visit his family. Every time I was here, I listened to the Drive, so I knew immediately that I wanted to work here. Luckily, it all worked out, and we packed up and moved.”

In another stroke of luck, Janda developed immediate chemistry with her new co-host.

“I absolutely love Steve Seaver. You meet people sometimes and think, ‘well, I suppose this person will grow on me,’ but that didn’t happen at all with Seaver. I just seemed to get him right away, and I feel like he gets me too. We are opposites in a lot of ways. I’m pretty persnickety, and he’s not like that at all, but there’s definitely a kinship there. I personally get a huge kick out of Seaver, and I love to wind him up. He has great radio chops. Plus, when I have a quirky or odd idea, he’s always up for it. He loves the eccentric too. I just love to listen to him on the radio. No one is better.”

Shortly after arriving at the Drive, Janda also created a podcast called Behind the Song.

“The podcast infrastructure at Hubbard is great, so that was there already. I wanted to do a podcast, and I had this thought of doing something with music. But it’s difficult to do a music podcast because you can’t use the music without getting the rights. My secret weapon is my husband, Christian. He’s a musical genius and can reproduce any song he hears. It’s not 100% like the song, but it has the right sound or feel. As for the subject of the podcast, every song tells a story—especially through its lyrics. So, that’s the basis of this podcast. Telling the stories of timeless and impactful classic rock songs. My goal is to entertain for ten or fifteen minutes, but also to do service to the song and the songwriter because I’m truly a fan, and I’m in awe of every single song I tackle.”

With her background, knowledge, and track record, it’s little wonder that Behind the Song has proven to be a popular podcast destination.

Listen to Janda weekday afternoons on WDRV, 97.1 FM. The podcast is available on various outlets and can be viewed on YouTube.

-Rick Kaempfer

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