For the past ten years, Jon Williams was a voice known for his sign off at the Zone 91.3 radio station in Victoria.
“Look after yourself, have fun, and for goodness sake, smile,” he said during his sign off.
The slogan helped him raise $10,000 for mental health supports for Foundry, previously known as the Victoria Youth Centre, in Victoria back in November.
Now, he is taking his famous phrase elsewhere, starting his own online radio show, called, ‘What Was That?’
It was named so “because from one song to the next, it might be like “what was that?” explained Williams.
He recently called it quits at the Zone, and with the help of his family back in England, he is about to hit play on a new chapter.
“My grandfather passed away six months ago,” said the England-born host. “When I was back there for Christmas, he pulled me aside and said, ‘maybe you need to get out of where you’re at right now, in order to get out and to truly do your own thing, don’t be afraid.'”
So, he did.
From his Harry-Potter-like studio set up under the stairs in his bachelor pad, he will be hosting the show to help local artists and those struggling with mental health.
“This is all about how can I throw as much energy into helping these people grow and get money into their pockets,” said the radio personality.
But going from a large corporation to a one-man operation might be a tricky and risky transfer.
“In commercial radio, if you’re a broadcaster you’re in the studio,” said Vancouver radio broadcaster Drex, who has known Williams for years. “There’s someone writing commercials, doing this that and the other, Jon has to do all of this himself, so he’s gone from working in a business structure with all that resource structure around him, to doing it all himself which will be fascinating.”
A move Drex says is risky.
“Launching an online business, especially a solely online radio station business is a risky move, but I think Jon’s the type of guy who has the know-how and ambition to make it work,” said Drex.
What Was That? launches this year on Sept. 1. It’s completely free to listen to online, but if you choose to subscribe for $7 a month, half of that money goes to the station and the other 50 per cent to the community.
It’s a new choice for music lovers led by the man the South Island knows well, and a slogan that won’t be going anywhere.
“Please look after yourself, have fun, and for goodness sake, smile,” said Williams.