He started as a DJ in local clubs. His ability to find the right mix of music to keep those in the clubs attentive and on the dance floor helped him take those talents regionally to clubs in cities like New Orleans, Mobile, Tampa and Atlanta and build a business. That right mix of music helped him land a gig at Hot 107.9 (KHXT-FM) in Lafayette, La., eventually becoming the brand manager and morning show co-host for one of the highest rated radio stations in the market. But for Brandon Journet — DJ Digital, there was more out there. And he needed to find it.
Life changed for Digital when he was named as one of Lafayette’s Top 20 under the age of 40. “Not too many people in my profession get recognized,” Digital said. But to those who know him, he’s always been more than a guy behind a microphone. “To be recognized was great, but what do you do with something like that? For me, it was a chance to do some networking and get to know more people in the city, I learned a lot just by talking to people.”
That experience encouraged Digital to apply for the Leadership Lafayette program.
“There were a lot of people who encouraged me to apply. (Former co-worker) Simone Ancelet probably encouraged me the most. But I wondered, ‘when am I going to have time for this.’ Then I said I’d just find a way to figure it out.”
But not long after, the pandemic hit. And suddenly Digital had more time on his hands. “I had DJ gigs booked months in advance. I lost $30,000 worth of bookings that were already lined up. I was able to compensate, but the bright side was it enabled me to concentrate even more in the Leadership Lafayette program.”
Because of the pandemic, much of the class was conducted on a virtual basis. Digital credits executive director Ashley Mudd for keeping the class momentum going via Zoom. There were classes on local government, community needs, education, and health and wellness, among others. “It made me ask a lot of questions about myself. How can I use this for good, given my age, my ethnicity, and my career? This experience was important to me because it was about people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to learn more about the community where we live, work and play,” he said. “As a DJ, I’ve helped provide a lot of the “play” for people at clubs and weddings, so Leadership was an opportunity for me to put some work in and learn how I can make an impact. This community helped me build my business, I will always want it to be the best it can be.”
Meanwhile, it also wasn’t long before Digital got another opportunity. Townsquare Media, Hot 107.9’s parent company, bought “XXL,” a hip-hop lifestyle magazine that they turned into an online service. “The switch was the brainchild of Bill Wilson (Townsquare CEO) and (Vice President) Jared Willig. We talked and wanted to build a syndicated radio show that was cool…that was NOW. They launched the show a little over a year ago. But I was bummed when I didn’t get the gig. I felt it was my fault because I didn’t go for it enough. But six months later, the opportunity arose again, and I went after it.” The show runs five hours each evening, Monday through Friday, taking Digital about two hours each day to put together.
When he talks about the future, Digital’s eyes brighten, and his enthusiasm shows. “I’m on the board for the Acadiana Center for the Arts. ACA helps community be better through youth. Getting on the board was a big step. I can bring awareness of arts and culture with programs for youth,” he said. Hey, at one time, I was that kid. We also need to educate people of how important it is to vote. And I can find a way to inform people what is in their community before, not after, the fact.” Where his future takes him is unknown — but you can bet Brandon Journet won’t be sitting on the sidelines.