was arrested and charged with taking bribes in the “payola scandal” of 1959 and his career came to an end.One of the few black DJs to successfully crossover to the popular mainstream was Douglas “Jocko” Henderson, who for many years had popular radio shows in both New York and Philadelphia. In the 1950s and early ‘60s, Henderson broadcast at WDAS from 4-6 p.m. and then drove to New York City to host his 10 p.m. to midnight show at WOV. In time, Henderson would stop commuting and tape his shows at home. At one time, Henderson’s taped two-hour “Jocko’s Rocket Ship” shows were carried in Boston, New York, St. Louis, and Detroit in addition to his show in Philadelphia and a three-hour show broadcast from Miami. Henderson was the epitome of “rhymin’, jivin’, and jockin’” in the 1950s and ‘60s and was an important influence on both hip-hop in New York and on Jamaican music through the broadcast of his show in Miami.
In New York, Chuck Leonard and Frankie Crocker were also able to make the transition to the popular mainstream as black “personality” DJs. Chuck Leonard was hired at WABC, the flagship station of the network, in 1965 and filled the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. slot following “Cousin Brucie” Morrow for almost fifteen years. Frankie “Hollywood” Crocker started as a late night DJin Buffalo and then moved to New York City first appearing on WWRL and, later, on WBLS-FM where he eventually became the program director. Crocker was instrumental in making disco popular in the 1970s and is credited with inventing the Urban Contemporary radio format, which he described as “The Total Black Experience in Sound.” Although Crocker was an important influence on hip-hop as a DJ, he was slow to embrace hip-hop as a program director and in the 1980s WBLS-FM lost much of its audience to its hip-hop friendly rival WRKS-FM.In 1979, John “Mr. Magic” Rivas created the “Disco Showcase” for tiny WHBI-FM in New York City. Unfortunately, “Disco Showcase” came on the air in the year disco’s popularity ended and Rivas found himself looking for another musical genre to take its place. Fortunately for him, he found hip-hop and created the first rap radio show, “Rap Attack.” Rivas’ rap show became immediately popular and made WHBI-FM one of the most listened stations in New York.Following the success of “Rap Attack,” WRKS-FM (Kiss-FM) approached Afrika Bambaataa about hosting a rap/hip-hop radio show. Bambaataa suggested the Universal Zulu Nation’s DJ, Jazzy Jay, who then passed the jobto Bambaataa’s cousin, Fred Crute, better known as DJ Red Alert. WRKS-FM overcame rival WBLS-FM largely because of its hip-hop show and WBLSresponded by hiring Mr. Magic, who moved his “Rap Attack” show to the station. The “Rap Attack” and “Red Alert” hip-hop shows fought with one another for close to a decade and, in the process, dramatically increased theaudience for rap and brought hundreds of hip-hop artists to the attention of
the New York audience. Once again, black DJs proved to be a key factor in
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