By day, Jeffery Long leads the University of Hawaiʻi System Office of Human Resources. By night, he is a radio DJ spinning his favorite tunes for UH Mānoa’s student radio station KTUH FM Honolulu.
“I don’t know of a better way to spend an evening. When I have the 3 CD players loaded, both turntables queued, and a couple of tracks in the hopper, I’m on Cloud Nine,” Long said.
Long is an alumni/community contributor for the station and his show “Infinite Pau Hana” airs on Wednesdays, 6–9 p.m. A lot of what goes into each show comes from developing a theme or vibe during the week, Long said. He then mobilizes his record collection or the KTUH vinyl vault to complete the playlist.
“Typically I do lean on older music (my joke is that my taste in music doesn’t go beyond 1976); a mix of blues, jazz, funk, soul, though I will also dip into folk and country,” Long explained. “On Infinite Pau Hana, each episode tries to present a crystallized moment in music history (for instance, the Laurel Canyon scene, artists that appeared at the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969, Bo Diddley and Oddballs of the Blues), or if not that, a cumulative vibe or feeling.”
Lifelong music lover
Long has had an affinity for music and radio since he can remember. As a child, he was constantly listening to the radio, filing away everything he heard—something he was apparently doing subconsciously.
“While driving, my dad used to quiz me about this or that particular piece of music, and I’d rattle off the title, the artist, who wrote it,” Long said. “I listened to the radio while I slept. When I was sick, the radio would make me feel better. There was magic there.”
Long and his family moved to the islands from San Francisco in 1992. After graduating from Castle High School in Kāneʻohe, Long enrolled at UH Mānoa and began working as a DJ at KTUH around 1998.
“When I was an undergraduate, I wanted an opportunity to see how the magic worked,” Long said. “I applied as a DJ at KTUH and, with active mentorship from my station colleagues, I developed deeper tastes in music and a broader palette, and this whole universe of feeling and movement opened up to me.”
Back then, he was known as “The Little Red Rooster,” in honor of his Blues show. The first couple of years he was buried in Blues songcraft and history, all while exploring the timeless KTUH vinyl vault. Since then, he has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UH Mānoa, and worked in HR positions with the UH System, UH Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine and University Health Partners of Hawaiʻi. In his current position as the interim director of the UH System Office of Human Resources, he has helped to navigate his office through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Things like Zoom have even made HR professionals more accessible to one another,” Long said. “Feedback and communication is critical for our office, and I’ve appreciated the opportunities to have more face-to-face contact with HR partners, even if it wasn’t in person.”
Long has taken some breaks in between DJ gigs at KTUH to recharge, but he values the balance being a DJ at KTUH provides with his daily work life.
“Work has its highs and lows, but it’s important to resist your work turning into a dull grind,” Long said. “Part of that resistance comes from finding purpose in what you’re doing; I believe that everyone who works at UH is doing something important for the expansion of knowledge and our community, and they should recognize that. Another part of that resistance comes from being able to successfully separate yourself from work, so that you don’t resent it, or feel it’s overwhelming you.”
—By Marc Arakaki