Ryan Weber is the host of The Dig. This show is a “weekly one-hour exploration of the less-traveled paths” of jazz. “It is an exhortation to discover new favorites (“Dig!”)”, accompanied by a question (“You Dig?”).
Ryan Weber is a former student DJ and a former KRTU Operations Manager and KRTU Station Manager. In 2002 Ryan played a role in transitioning KRTU to a full-time Jazz format. After the studio renovations in 2008, Ryan left for graduate school. His current career includes writing grants and financially managing a DC-based environmental think tank. He spends his free time with his 3 kids (ages 4-9), curating his radio show, and going to the “occasional MLS soccer game (#DCUnited).”
Ryan started listening to KRTU when he was a student DJ and intern. He really enjoyed the opportunity to “explore new artists and craft playlists for an audience”. His first dedicated jazz program was titled Evolve. He created this show in 2004. While he hosted this show he also occasionally was a guest host on Lunch Features, Birthday Broadcast, and other specialty shows.
Swing dance introduced Ryan to Jazz. He initially had a strong bias towards ‘danceable’ music, but “expanded his ears to the greatness of bebop, hard bop, free jazz, and fusion” through the curated recommendations of fellow KRTU DJs and staff. He still enjoys music that swings, but nowadays finds himself mostly listening to exploratory music that expands or subverts the listener's rhythmic, harmonic, or melodic expectations.
In 2013 Ryan returned to San Antonio and picked up The Live Set. He enjoyed this challenge to “find and examine exceptional live jazz recordings.” However, through searching for live music he often found studio sessions he wanted to feature, so he converted the show to what we now know as The Dig. He enjoys letting curiosity and storytelling dictate his programming, rather than the venue. “Due to his earlier tenure on Evolve, he happens to be familiar with almost every jazz album released from 2004-2008. Not that anyone should care about that micro-era, but when time’s running out & he doesn't know what he’s playing next” you might hear “some cutting-edge early ‘aught jazz.” This includes Chris Potters’ Follow the Red Line, Ben Allison’s Cowboy Justice, and Thrasher Big Band at Luna. He also plays “hard-driving 70s cuts” like an authentic Duke, Monk, or Mingus recording. He usually allows birthdays or chronology to determine song order, but the story line is important to him as well. When he is speaking on the show he covers the song, players, and the recording’s context.
After 20+ fund-drives, it’s easy to fall back into scripted pitches, but I still earnestly and fervently believe in the impact of the station. KRTU is an astonishing enterprise, dedicated to a mission of community engagement and enhancement that radically exceeds even the superlative execution of its more straight-forward mandate as an independent jazz radio station. It is forward-looking while being respectful of the tradition; innovative and vintage; inclusive and open to all but retaining a clear sense of its own character. It is, frankly, what we were told wasn’t possible when we started this chapter, and has become the absolute zenith of what any of us even dared hope for at the time. That today’s staff, students, and community volunteers can drive this mission even farther is all the reason I need to keep supporting their efforts.