In today's airwaves, few radio hosts have the musical knowledge and experience required to figure out and adapt to the ever-changing musical tastes of their radio audience, while maintaining the roots that are so essential to our music. Most DJs take the easy way out and just play the modern sounds, never challenging themselves and their fan base.
For over 32 years, Philadelphia has experienced changes to its salsa music scene, but only two steady elements have served to chronicle the city's Latín music history during that same time period: The first is the music shop Centro Musical and the second is radio host David Ortiz from WRTI 90.1 FM.
Born and raised in the City of Brotherly Love, Ortiz resided there until the age of 28, when he relocated to southern New Jersey. His education in Latin music did not come until the age of 17, when his sister made him listen to the LP Cachao y su Descarga/Cuban Jato Sessions m Miniature, which was part of his mother's vast collection. This introduction, along with his diverse tastes for R&B, reggae and jazz, launched him into the universe of music.
As a kid, his NYC-born mother pulled out the vinyl records of Joe Cuba, Tito Rodríguez, Machito and all the other great artists from the mambo era, which made his mom a rarity in those days as a female "mambo fanatic" (who knew her mambo history from A though Z, with a collection to back it). His dad, a native of Puerto Rico, met her at the Palladium in the early 1950s, and was a huge fan of the island's musical sounds.
David was merely 20 years old when he started to host the radio program "El Viaje" at WRTI 90.1 FM (Temple University), on March 2nd, 1977, which aired every Saturday (from 12 noon until 4 pm). That was the beginning of what would become a historical journey of Latin rhythms on the airwaves. In 1996, the show was moved to the evening hours (at first from 8 pm to midnight, and then from 9 pm to midnight; heard on the Temple University Network over 11 different frequency channels). For his first show...