DJ Red Alert, a pioneering radio icon responsible for helping launch the careers of dozens of hip hop artists, broadcast for the last time from New York’s KISS-FM, his radio home during the early days of hip hop and thorughout the years. The station, WRKS (98.7), announced a change in format on April, 26, 2012, shocking KISS-FM listeners who had been tuning in for decades.
ESPN has now taken over the frequency while former station rival WBLS (107.5) will “absorb” the KISS-FM branding. It is unclear how much of 98.7′s KISS staff will also move down the dial.
“Kool” DJ Red Alert, along with his WBLS counterparts Mr. Magic and Marley Marl, helped usher in what is often considered hip hop’s “Golden Era,” bringing rap music to New York’s airwaves in a groundbreaking way. Besides being a DJ for artists and groups such as Afrika Bambaata and KRS-One, Red Alert was also personally responsible for managing and breaking artists like the Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and Queen Latifah.
The Bronx Hall of Fame member became emotional during his final 49 minute-long mix, thanking staff at Kiss-FM. “Lord gave me the best. I respect y’all. I thank y’all. Y’all don’t understand how I feel. I love y’all.” Red Alert said, his voice breaking down. He then ended his long broadcasting career at 98.7, speaking to his listening audience, many who have grown up listening to Red’s familiar voice, distinctive style and custom catchphrases, telling them, “Once again, I’m signing off. 98.7, Kiss-FM. God bless each and every one of y’all. I’m outta here.”
Shoutouts to Glen “G-Man” Holt for sharing this recording via Facebook, and Soundcloud user “sugatreats” for the upload.
Red Alert’s Thank You Mix – Part One
Red Alert’s Thank You Mix – Part Two