VENOM combines the personal interaction and shared musical community of traditional radio with the customization and efficiency of streaming services to provide a unique platform for listeners, broadcasters, and artists to connect. We host a variety of live streams showcasing genres from mainstream hits to film scores, and the content is controlled by our listeners. When listeners haven’t selected any music, our innovative algorithms design playlists from our hand-cultivated library for each stream. In addition, several members of our team host podcasts and write blogs. We thrive on interaction!
We have combined some of the most talented, innovative, and entertaining people to form VENOM. Each member brings a unique skill set to the table and is an integral part of the VENOM family.
Shane Lowe: Founder
I am the Swiss army knife of VENOM. I’ve served in various technical and administrative roles since I was 13 years old, but it’s been my dream to run a network like VENOM since I was certified to broadcast on terrestrial radio at age 10. I got my start reviewing underground gangsta rap at a small station run by one of our local schools, but after I let 2 or 300 curse words slide, they fired me to avoid repercussions from the FCC.
With my radio career in Jeopardy, I started podcasting at age 11. My first ever episode was an interactive review of a game that had come out seven years prior, and during the show I admitted that I couldn’t actually play the game without cheat codes. I’d like to think I’ve come a long way since then, with nearly ten years of radio experience under my belt and more than half that in radio management. I’ve co-directed stations based out of New York City and the United Kingdom, and worked on numerous audio engineering projects outside of those.
Beyond your speakers, I’ve served as a delegate on the International Congress of Youth Voices, co-authored the anthology We Can Hear You Just Fine, and represented the young people of my state as an advisor to Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education. VENOM is the culmination of all of this. It is my opportunity to work with the most ideal team imaginable to present a product we all believe in.
When I’m not driving myself into the ground, I build trains with my three-year-old son, the most charismatic person I know. You’ll probably hear him around several of our streams. I also enjoy reading, attending concerts, and playing percussion.
Emily Pennington: General Manager
I’m basically a grandmother trapped in the body of a millennial. I like staying home, going to bed early, and I have a huge vinyl collection. That being said, I love music from all over the spectrum, even if I gravitate toward older stuff. I’m always interested in broadening my horizons because I can find something I enjoy within any genre. I am excited to be such an integral part of VENOM and have my own show because I’ve spent years making my own playlists from scratch, helping my DJ friends with their own shows, and spouting random music trivia that 90% of people probably don’t want to hear.
When I’m not working on VENOM stuff or decompressing, I’m an aspiring lawyer. At the time of writing, I recently graduated from law school and am juggling bar exam prep with applying for jobs. That being said, if Hollywood ever decides to make a Joni Mitchell biopic or Pentatonix has an opening for a female singer, I have no qualms about quitting my day job!
Simon Jaeger: Network Administrator
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
I’m a tech and audio enthusiast, sporadic bookworm, audio producer and very casual musician. These interests have persisted since my early childhood, during which I could often be found taking apart answering machines, making radio edits from radio edits I recorded to tape, playing with terrible toy keyboards until I discovered every single feature, dialing random 1-800 numbers, or reading the numerous talking books my mother found at our tiny local library.
For my 10th Christmas, she gave me a cheap radio transmitter that broadcasted on just one frequency, mixing together the output from its built-in microphone and tape player as well as whatever I decided to plug into it. After the novelty wore off, I realized I was pretty bad at broadcasting. When I got a computers, I realized I was pretty good at making other broadcasters and their content sound more professional, and my steadily increasing knowledge of audio equipment has caused me to become a frequent adviser for aspiring DJ’s. Additionally, I’m in charge of setting up and maintaining VENOM’s servers, e-mail service, and associated software, and it’s been very satisfying to watch the technical side of this project come together and pick up new tricks along the way.
I was originally approached as an external consultant, but I enjoyed working with the rest of the team and learning the necessary technical skills so much that I convinced them all to let me stay.
Outside of VENOM, I work as an accessibility tester and own a website that hosts voice chat servers. In my spare time, I can often be found tinkering with some obscure hardware and software combination, yelling at Linux, or making terrible concept demos of mashup ideas. My musical preferences vary quite a bit from day to day, but I quite enjoy the direction mainstream EDM is taking, and often listen to piano music at night or in the background.
Precious Perez: Marketing Director
I am a classically trained pop R&B vocalist/songwriter currently pursuing a double major in music education and vocal performance at the Berklee College of Music. I am the founder and front woman for my band called Precious Moments, and I have an album titled Hummingbird out on all streaming services. My goal as an artist is to make a difference through doing what I love and showing the world that blind people are as capable as everyone else. I want to inspire future generations to pursue their dreams and be successful in the same way that I have, and to embrace diversity along with the intersection of their various identities that makes them who they are. As a proud Puerto Rican, I want to spread love, passion, and music across cultures. I am honored and proud to serve as VENOM’s Marketing Director, because this network combines everything I dream of: passion, teamwork, originality, and musical diversity.
Malik Wilson: Programming Director
I am an artist/producer specializing in Rap, pop and R&B. I release music daily on my YouTube channel Question Official, and have one over 15 beat battles throughout the US. Music was a big part of my life even before I could speak. I was a talented drummer by age 5, and in the same year recorded my first song. My goal is to connect a wide number of different people through the universal language of music. I have always enjoyed broadcasting, and would study FM radio air checks and morning shows as a kid. I’ve previously worked in broadcasting and management on another network, and am excited and proud to assist in bringing you VENOM!
Brian Ford: Programming Specialist
I love music thanks in part to my late granddad (affectionately called “Papa”) who introduced me to rock and roll stars from the 50’s and 60’s such as Little Richard, Fats Domino, Elvis, and the Rolling Stones, just to name a few. My Grandmother listened to music from the same era such as Frankie Vaughan, Pat Boon, Adam Faith and a lot of the Scottish music scene such as Andy Stuart and Jimmy Shand who performed traditional Scottish dance music with accordions, snare drums, piano, bass, fiddle and the occasional bagpipe appearance.
My mum listened to all the big ballad stars like Celine Dion, Lena Martell and more. It’s painful for me to think of because I hated them. My father was a part-time DJ where he worked at local clubs, and I think that’s why I took up radio broadcasting.
In school, I studied music technology as one of my exam subjects and managed to complete a 2 year course in 1 year. I then went to residential college in Hereford where I continued my studies for another 2 years.
I took my first steps into radio broadcasting at the conclusion of my college course in 2006. I worked for a community FM station part-time and ended up broadcasting and producing my own show where I interviewed local figures who were publicizing events around the city. This led to interviewing unsigned bands and unveiling new tracks for the people in the city of Edinburgh. This continued for 18 months until I decided to look into how I could get involved in internet radio broadcasting. A few months later, I found a station willing to give me my first big break on the net. My debut show aired later on that year and I don’t mind saying it was terrible.
These days, country is my passion but I still love and listen to rock, metal, and the occasional pop stuff from today. If I don’t like it, I’ll let you know I don’t like it.
Away from music and Broadcasting, my interests include: reading, sports, watching TV, meeting people, and cats.
Some of the things I’m proud of in my life are:
- Meeting Princess Anne when I was a child and having my photograph in the national newspaper.
- Working with a Thai student from Edinburgh University and helping her to write a traditional piece of music which we performed with authentic instruments at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.
- Managing to stay on air for 24 hours straight as part of a 48 hour radiothon for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I was pleased to do it and put myself through the ringer, but what spurred me on was knowing that I was doing my bit to help to give less fortunate children a smile.
I love what I love musically and can’t wait to show you what I’m in to. If I can introduce someone to any musical style in the hopes that they might discover a new passion, then I’ve done my job.
Drew Mochak: Contributor
Mountain View, CA
I am a 30-something tech worker in the bay area with years of experience broadcasting crap to my friends. When not ruining your life (sorry!) I can occasionally be found playing games on Twitch.tv/Object_InSpace or (somewhat less occasionally) spewing my garbage opinions on Twitter. I enjoy progressive rock music, which is another term for pretentious rock, as well as symphonic rock which means even-more-pretentious rock. I like burgers, spending time with my friends, and blowing stuff up.
Emily Paton: Contributor
Whether I was alone in my bedroom, hanging out with family or in the car listening to the radio, music has always been a huge part of my life. Whenever I hear a new song or artist, it feels like a gift from the person or place who showed it to me. These have included my family, the radio and my streaming service that I use. I would now like to pass this gift of music on to listeners the world over.
Before starting at Venom, I’ve produced content for my college radio station. This is a terrestrial radio station that broadcasts throughout the town I live in. In my spare time, you’ll find me listening to music, occasionally singing songs with my mom and making playlists on Apple Music. I have a public profile on Apple Music; please feel free to follow me there, if you would like. In this profile, you will find playlists that divide songs up based on the key they are written in or distinct elements of the songs. Last summer, I did a Playlist about songs that represent other cultures, even though they are from contemporary artists who mainly play alternative music. The artists in question may speak a different language or have instruments in their songs that originate from different cultures. Also, playlists from previous broadcasts are archived on this profile and available for your addition to the library and perusal. If you would like to follow me on Apple Music, you may do so by searching for @emsplaylists.
I look forward to giving listeners new songs to listen to and make memories with, as well as teaching them an interesting fact or two about the songs and artists they are hearing. I believe that every song and every artist is different in many special ways.
Jimmy Steel: Contributor
Hi, my name is Jimmy. I’m 26 years old and I live in Alabama. I’m probably one of the few here without a fancy title. Just a guy who really loves music of all kinds, and loves to share that love of music with others. When I’m not in front of my computer, nine times out of 10 with a stream of some kind up somewhere, I’m outside working with my plants. I’ve got a 120 sq foot greenhouse, which is currently undergoing expansion to a little bit less than 240 sq feet. I think the plants I grow also reflect my eclectic nature. I’m pretty well known to most of the local nurseries as the sort who walks in and spends the next 30 to 45 minutes engaging them about any interesting plants they have. This usually results in money spent and a new plant to add to my budding collection. That’s pretty much all there is to me honestly. Music and plants… and before I end up digressing on to some tangent about musical plants, I’ll say goodbye. I hope to see you on my show!
John Dowling: Contributor
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
I’m a semi-professional musician who enjoys the beauty of country music. I started in radio broadcasting when I was 16, with a run-down MacBook Air, and a pretty cheap interface. When I’m not sitting behind the mic humoring y’all, I’m usually in school. I’m currently a Junior in high school, where I enjoy playing in the band and choir. I began my music journey back in 2004, when I received one of my first keyboards, some sort of Yamaha, which I instantly fell in love with. Currently, the instruments in my arsenal are a midi keyboard, a few drums, a guitar, my beloved Mandolin, and a harmonica. The next instruments I would like to check out are a 4-string bass, and a pedal steel, even though my dream isn’t very realistic since those things are pretty expensive.
Joseph King: Contributor
Richland Hills, Texas
Greetings. My name is Joseph. I’m a lover of music, particularly classical and baroque peaces, with some jazz, 80’s/90’s country and some contemporary Christian artists such as Point of Grace and Sandi Paddy. I also enjoy a good bit of comedy, especially Southern comedians like Jeff Foxworthy and Ron White.
I’ve been on the Internet radio scene for about a year now, and so far I have enjoyed every bit of it. I definitely enjoy broadcasting to the masses and love to interact with listeners! I fully intend to keep doing this for as long as I am able, because let’s face it…broadcasting is fun, and fun stuff is good. So therefore, broadcasting must be good.
In my spare time, I enjoy playing piano, drum kit and guitar as well as doing a bit of singing on the side (okay, more than a bit of singing.) Next to piano, my voice is my instrument of choice, with drums and guitar to follow. I also enjoy a good bit of reading, especially fiction and Western novels.
Justin Heard: Contributor
I am Young Grandpa Justin, also known as Justin Heard. When I was a little kid, I carried around a tape recorder, and would record songs on the radio and pretend I was a DJ. I roped my family into playing the roles of news reporter, weather man, and traffic reporter. I began my career in underground online broadcasting when I was 14 (in 2012) on Crash Coin Radio, and later became a manager of Grenade Radio. I hosted The Random Basement for nearly 7 years, creating enough incriminating evidence to bar me from public office.
After Grenade Radio exploded (not in a good way) my life changed completely, which is not related to the end of Grenade at all. I converted from being a nominal Christian to an Orthodox Christian, and at the time of writing, am completing a religion major at the University of Georgia. Lord willing, I will soon begin the Master of Theological Studies program at Holy Cross Greek orthodox School of Theology, and hope to transfer into their Master of Divinity program. I have served as Vice President for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at UGA and Georgia College & State University. I also help teach Sunday School at St. Philothea Orthodox Church.
Outside of my studies and ministry, I served as president of the Georgia Association of Blind Students for 6 years, and served one term on the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia board. In 2018, I became a NFB scholarship winner, and in 2019, went to Tanzania to work with students with disabilities and their communities. I am currently one of the creators of a podcast called the Underground Brailleroad, which seeks to educate both the blind and nonblind about legislation, assistive technology, fitness, and other topics related to the blind community.
When I have free time, I enjoy reading Fantasy and Christian literature, watching various shows, and spending time with friends. I am honored that Venom asked me to host Grandpa’s Good Time Gospel Hour, and hope it will edify this community, and glorify God.
Michael Johann: Contributor
I have had an interest in radio ever since I was fifteen, and always loved listening to the local morning shows. If I started in radio as a profession, my goal was to feature on a morning show! However, after looking at several colleges, and realizing there are few options for broadcasting degrees, I decided to major in music instead. However, my love for radio never died, and I tried getting a job at my colleges radio station, but I quickly turned it down when I was told I would be limited in what I could say. After that I started looking in to online radio. I even tried starting my own internet radio station, and after several failed attempts to get something going, I found venom!
Other than radio, my passion is music. As of this writing I am currently pursuing a degree in vocal music education. I also play many instruments and produce my own music, which I upload to my YouTube channel.
I also stream live on Twitch
I don’t have much at the moment, but you can follow me on twitter for updates.