Capital Hosts

By Buzz McClain
Special to the Washington Post
Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's easy to be a disc jockey, isn't it? You just blab a bit, put on the song your boss tells you to and take the occasional phone call from a clueless listener. Stardom, baby!

We kid, because we love our deejays. And we mean local deejays, not those syndicated yakkers who try to be all things to everyone and end up having nothing to say to anyone (not to mention that their playlists are computer-generated and they don't take requests). We know that being on the air is demanding work. Getting to the studio by 5 a.m. is a daily grind. And managing to meet the station's "numbers" goals is a terrible burden. But good deejays make us think, make us dance and keep us from driving into the Potomac River on our way to work during morning rush hour or falling asleep on the long slog home in the afternoon.

We caught up with a few of our favorites who not only entertain us with music -- much of it programmed by their own tastes, not by a survey -- but also create moments of illumination and enlightenment in their discussions of contemporary culture. Or not. We like them anyway.

Always wanted to know more about the person behind that voice on the radio? Read on for interviews with five vibrant personalities who keep Washington airwaves from sounding like those from Anywhere, USA.

Pedro Biaggi

Air name and how you got it: My mother's last name is Biaggi. My real name is Pedro Antonio Gonzalez Biaggi, but they would have called me Speedy Gonzales, so I took my father's name out.

Shift, station and format: I am on the morning show at El Zol (99.1 FM), and our format is tropical music.

How old were you when "WKRP in Cincinnati" debuted on CBS (1978)?15.

Most common reaction when fans "put the face" to your voice: Well, they think that I am actually fatter and shorter; when they see me, they're like, "Oh, my gosh, I thought you were fatter, or darker."

Describe the image of the average listener you have in your mind when you are on the air: Beautiful, gorgeous, loving, sweet, kind.

Why is the music you play on the radio important? Because it's the music people want to hear, and we make people happy. Music is like the pictures of life. You know when you remember something and you always relate it to a song? Well, I think we are making that difference.

What's the hardest part of the job? Waking up in the morning.

Did you have a fallback occupation? I started in radio when I was very, very young, but I had an intermission due to financial needs. I became the vice president of a record label of Emilio Estefan called Crescent Moon. So there you go, I had a job.


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