KRTU host Orlando Torres (left) with David Gedge of The Wedding Present.
Orlando Torres is the co-host of Music for Listeners alongside Michael Thomas. Their show airs every Friday night from midnight to 3am. Orlando loves to travel, collect vinyl records, art prints from concerts, and Star Wars items. He first started attending heavy metal concerts when he was 13 which influenced his music taste until he was in high school. Then he saw U2 in Houston on the first night of their Joshua tree tour. His “mind was blown that night.” His friends in high school introduced him to indie British bands through cassette tapes. He wanted to keep learning and found he had a passion for listening to and discovering new music. He always had a Rolling Stone magazine in hand then later on an NME paper. His taste is influenced by British music and the first Manchester explosion of the early 90s though the Britpop Era (Blur and Oasis).
“Music means everything to me, it’s my life really and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been blessed to have met or seen just about all of my rock n roll heroes over the past thirty years.”
He has been involved in making music more accessible for much of his life. In the 1990s he produced a music television show called Indievision on Public Access TV in San Antonio in the 1990s. Some of the well-known guests on the show included Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Lush, James, The Verve, Superchunk, Suede Sugarcubes and many more during the 5 years it ran.
He first started working with KRTU in 2004 when Michael asked him to be the co-host of Music For Listeners. He brought in some great ideas for the show including the inclusion of opening and closing songs, guest artists, and guest programmers. He wanted their show to be an inspiration to listeners similar to the way early BBC radio inspired him. He uses music blogs, record stores, and indie charts to help curate the music for the show. Michael and Orlando split the content of the show in half and build each set based on the bands they have been listening to that week. The show is modeled after BBC DJ, John Peel’s style – bands of every genre have a platform to get their first radio spin in the world. Orlando believes it is important to allow new bands to have a place to be heard. This is why their show “can go in any direction in the blink of an eye” from indie to pop to techno, country, shoegaze.
“I am very blessed that Michael and I co-pilot this great rock and roll adventure. I’m massively proud of the unofficial day parties we have been curating over the past ten years in Austin during SXSW week. I hope we can return to doing that in the future when things are back to normal. We have hopes of starting our own record label as well. The freedom KRTU provides programmers really allows us to make the show our own. This has allowed us to grow the MFL brand to where we have a reputation as one of the best college radio specialty shows in the world.”
Orlando is currently listening to Slow Pulp from Chicago and Sweeping Promises from Boston. They both dropped debut albums this year and they “have been glued to the MFL rotation for weeks.” He has created this playlist on Spotify with some of his favorite singles of last year to share with you.
"Orlando and I have been friends since 1991, and at that time Orlando was producing a public access music video show called "Indievision". He featured up and coming artists of the time, and I was always amazed at how talented he was at finding great music before anyone else. Music For Listeners started in 1999, and back when I hosted the show myself, Orlando would be a frequent guest and programmer during the first six years. He then became the backbone of the show's success as a permanent co-host and co-programmer in 2005. At least 70% (or more) of each week's show is programmed and researched by Orlando. At least 90% of the artists selected for our unofficial day parties in Austin are hand picked by him. MFL wouldn't be anywhere near as good of a program without him. It wouldn't be anywhere near as fun for me. There is no one else that I would want to host and produce Music For Listeners with." - Michael Thomas