If you are lucky enough to be on InterFM’s weekday morning program "Good Morning Garage" hosted by DJ George Williams, Mike Rogers and Taro Furukawa, you’re in for a fun time. You can expect a lot of bantering and edgy comedy in Japanese and English, interspersed with some great music during the 7 a.m.-10 a.m. program
Now in its 3rd year, "Good Morning Garage" (GMG) is a big change from the bland variety shows on Japanese radio. It is InterFM’s highest rated program and consistently beats rivals J-Wave and Tokyo FM for the No. 1 rated morning slot, and though it is a local program, "GMG" has a huge number of fans throughout all of Japan on the Mixi Social Network.
“What we are doing is pretty unique in Japan,” says Williams, 37. “It’s not what we are saying but the way we present it. We’re making something we ourselves really want to listen to. The title word ‘garage’ sums it up. What’s in a garage? A whole bunch of things, sometimes including items that tend to be forgotten, but are still great.”
Williams, who is half British, half-Japanese, spent his first five years in Japan, then went to the UK, before returning to finish his high school education in Tokyo. He says he always wanted to do radio. “I grew up listening to FEN and used to hear Casey Casem all the time. In junior high school, I started working for a cable radio station in Harajuku. One thing led to another and I did TV jobs and more radio work.”
Since then, Williams has also worked for MTV Japan, is currently doing three programs for NHK -- "100 Go De Start Eikaiwa" on NHK Ch 3, "Digital Stadium" (an art program) on NHK BS-2 and "Your Japanese Kitchen" on NHK World, as well as a music show called "George’s Garage TV" on SKY PerfecTV Channel 731 . He does narration work and voices TV commercials for companies such as Bridgestone, Canon and Kirin. Soon, Williams will even be appearing in a Nintendo Wii game, his name being rendered as Wiilliams, naturally.
Williams says "GMG" gets a lot of feedback from listeners. “Our core audience tends to be Japanese blue collar workers and self-employed people, but I meet lots of doctors, creative people and musicians who listen to our show. I think what draws a lot of listeners is that we don’t take the easy road. We tend to be more opinionated, and listeners appreciate it and enjoy it.”
Radio faces a big challenge to stay relevant in this era of Internet radio and digital music downloads. Williams, however, thinks radio will survive. “First of all, radio is free. Also, I think radio will always be a place where you can discover new songs or songs you haven’t heard before.” Record companies often send him music to trial. “I’ve got maybe 5,000 CDs here at InterFM and 2,000 at home. They almost fill up a room,” he says. At home, Williams says he prefers listening to Mozart, Beethoven and instrumental music. “I download stuff from iTunes, too. My work involves playing a lot of music, not just here, but also on TV, so when I get home, I want to listen to something different.”
Williams starts his day early, getting up around 5 a.m. He is at the InterFM studio in Kamiyacho by 6. “I generally prepare the night before at home, so between 6 and 7, I check the latest news, sports and look for topical or bizarre stories that we can chat about on 'GMG.'” After the show is done, he may be off to NHK or on rare occasions, he is finished for the day, giving him a chance to spend some time with his two young children and walk his dogs. “I’m having a great time. The best thing about this job is we get to laugh, we get to give listeners a sense of nostalgia and we sometimes get them to say ‘What the hell?’ And we’re done at 10,” he says.© Japan Today