Karla Ortiz studied photojournalism so she could capture a moment. Now she finds herself on the other side of the camera as the star of a popular radio webcast. A former Southwestern College Sun staff member, Ortiz is a multi-tasking, multi-platform wonder who embodies the spirit of Internet Age journalism.
Ortiz is a DJ with her own show, Lima’s House Essentials, broadcast by an English station, powermixfmradio.com. As a reporter/blogger for DropTheBeatSD.com, she also does on-site interviews of artists from around the world that come to San Diego to perform.
“The whole radio thing wasn’t what I was planning to do,” she said. “I had worked for newspapers behind the camera just taking pictures. When Radio Spots Plus (RSP Radio) approached me about being in front of the camera, I wasn’t so sure, but I just said, ‘Hey, let’s do it.’”
Ortiz stumbled into the radio business when SWC student Antonio Reynoso, 26, producer of Radio Sports Plus Radio, convinced her to give his radio program a shot. But it was not strictly a radio show. It was streamed live through a webcam.
“RSP radio was looking for new talent,” said Reynoso. “I thought of Karla because I knew she had some experience behind the camera. She fit the description we were looking for — charismatic, nice to look at, friendly and she has talent for radio and television.”
Being in front of the camera was a new experience for Ortiz, who had studied photojournalism at SWC. But the webcam’s red light brought out the likeable personality that entertainment programs crave.
“With RSP Radio, I just sat in front of a webcam and had my own show,” she said. “RSP live mix was the name of our show. I had a co-host and we pretty much just ran a radio show.”
Ortiz caught the eye of people in the Internet radio world, so her time at RSP Radio was short.
“I wanted my own show,” said Ortiz. “Slang Radio came and told me they liked what I did and said I could have my own show with no co-host, so that’s how I ended up there.”
That is where Lima’s House Essentials was born. When Slang Radio fizzled out, her show was picked up by powermixfmradio.com. Aside from blasting electronic dance tunes for two hours, she had artists come in for live sets and interviews.
Carlos Garay, creator and editor-in-chief of DropTheBeatSD.com, brought Ortiz on to his crew after he insisted on giving her a job.
“We were doing this piece on Dutch-based DJ Chuckie,” he said. “(Ortiz) told me he liked being interviewed by women. I thought, ‘this girl just wants to weasel her way into the show’. Well, wouldn’t you know, she gives me the best interview I’ve ever had.”
Ortiz went into the interview a bit nervous and shaky, she said, but then turned on what Garay says has made her so popular in the business.
“She just brings out this bubbly personality and Chuckie is loving her,” he said. “And we’re getting this really raw side of Chuckie that not everyone gets to see and that’s what I wanted basically.”
This unexpected career path has Ortiz trying to catch her breath.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “All these radio DJs I look up to, Pete Tong, Annie Mac, all of them are interviewing the same DJs that I am. Its crazy! I never thought I would get the response I got from people who sit around to watch my show. I would just think, ‘why are you guys watching me?’ But the response has been really good so I think I’m going to stick with this for a while.”
Even though Ortiz said she loves what she is doing now, she does not want it to end there. She sees a future where she can work for a BBC radio station or out of Ibiza, interviewing the biggest DJ’s from around the world.
“The most gratifying thing for me is being able to connect with someone. I love being able to make someone feel comfortable and have other people be able to see how down to earth and humble they are.”