February 16, 2012

Carlos De Jesus, New York Legendary DJ at Disco 92 WKTU, has passed

Carlos De Jesus, disco era legend, rap pioneer in New York City, and TV host, has died

DeJesus, who eventually became program director, was apart of a hip, cool, and diverse on-air staff that took the New York City airwaves by storm when it became the number one station in the Big Apple with a disco-based rhythmic top 40 format known as "Disco 92." After being one of the worst rated stations until the format change in the late 70's; Disco 92 became the station to listen to almost immediately as disco music was at its peak and hip hop music was being introduced to the mainstream culture via radio.

DeJesus along with fellow DJ Paco became so popular that the station unseated the ratings giant Musicradio 77 WABC. In a sense the rise of WKTU, along with the popularity of Urban Contemporary formatted stations like WBLS, had effectively killed off the music format on AM radio as more and more listeners turned to FM. Soon after mainstream Top 40 radio stations Z-100 and WPLJ came about on the heels of KTU's success. The station also afforded DeJesus the opportunity to become the host of the nationally syndicated video show New York Hot Tracks.

The station was a source of irritation for PD Frankie Crocker of WBLS as well as many African American listeners were gravitating towards the station as their music source.  Carlos DeJesus is also credited as one of the first DJs to play rap music on a commercial station, spinning the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” on WKTU.

As fate would have it 92KTU as it was later know as, had lost its appeal and burned itself out as a format. By 1984 its success was over. During KTU's run, Hip Hop station 98.7 Kiss FM had arrived in NYC and soon after WKTU's demise, Hot 103 (now Hot 97) debuted. In 1996, WKTU was relaunched at 103.5 FM as a Dance music station "The Beat of New York 103.5 KTU."

More on the death of Carlos DeJesus from the New York Daily News.

Check out some interviews from the New York Hot Tracks TV show with Carlos DeJesus...Unfortunately the audio with Madonna is low quality.

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