As a lyric from a heartfelt song that we listened and grew to be familiar with some 22 years ago, it really is hard to say goodbye to yesterday.
A sad day befell today1 when the legendary Bay Area radio DJ Chuy Gomez was finally let go by our people station, KMEL, after serving the SF Bay Area community through his recognizable voice on the radio airwaves and his live participation in local events. Growing up listening to him since I was a naive and curious teenager, he, like most of my fellow Bay Area residents, had grown on to me and became one of my favorite DJs to listen to on the radio.
In actuality, I started getting to know about Chuy Gomez (in which I thought his name was “Chewy” as what my ears have heard) when he began hosting in the very local MTV-esque show called California Music Channel.2 I remember coming home from school and to meet up with my brother (who was in middle school at that time) and record some of the tracks we thought were the freshest in our ears. Our stereo speakers also connected to the TV adjacent from it and we were able to record audio captured from our TV. We’d record those songs on blank cassette tapes and then bump them in to our old boom box whenever we felt like it (which is actually everyday. ) Many of those tapes even captured Chuy’s voice in between tracks which wasn’t much of a distraction, but it was also a treat for us. We didn’t listen much to 107.7 before,3 but we did hear that breaking news before about him and that other DJ from 107.74 making that stunt at the Bay Bridge. My mom, who was working in San Francisco at that time, was furious with that stunt, even though she rode BART everyday to work for the past 6-7 years. Still, that didn’t stop my brother and me from watching CMC simply because he was so down to earth and entertaining. He truly defined the meaning of locality by reaching out to various communities around the Bay Area with just his voice alone.
Eventually, Chuy Gomez moved from KSOL/KYLD to KMEL, which was the premiere radio station that my bro and I listened to two years since we moved to this country as fresh noob immigrants. We didn’t know what kids our age in the States listened to keeping in mind that the music we used to listen to on the radios in the Philippines (even though they’re mainstream American pop) until I attended my very first school dance in sixth grade. I didn’t even know who the New Kids on the Block were and didn’t even listen to any one of their songs like most girls my age did back then,5 which is why I couldn’t relate to many of my friends’ posts about them on my FB.6 Going back to Chuy Gomez, I was grateful to him for introducing so much fresh talent who hasn’t reached the mainstream yet, especially with the local talent. He broke the color lines and reached out to all races and not just the Black and Latino minorities. His introduction of so many of these talents finally defined the type of music I should be listening in, not simply because they’re mainstream and that most kids my age listened, but it made me appreciate music even more that I could break out from my “past” musical tastes (’50s, ’60s, ’70s, early ’80s) to the present music: R&B and Hip-Hop. He started hosting his show at night, then he got a spot in the afternoon.
By the time I started my first job fresh out of college, he became a part of KMEL’s hilarious morning show. Around that time, I was beginning to not feel any satisfaction with the current music within the R&B and Hip-Hop genre, but I still listened loyally to the KMEL morning show every mornings up until today. I wonder if the “ousting” of Chuy Gomez out of KMEL would finally mean my days of being a loyal KMEL listener (at least in the mornings) had finally ended. It’s been 20+ years, after all.
There were so many favorite DJs in KMEL whom I missed since my youth as a naive immigrant kid who disappeared from the local Bay Area radio: Renel, Sway & King Tech, Victor Zaragoza (who’s in 102.9 KBLX now), Theo Mizuhara,7 and other memorable personalities. We had no cable TV back then because we weren’t exactly “well-off” at that time, didn’t really care about MTV or VH1 or those music-related TV channels. Those KMEL DJs (and KYLD/KSOL I guess?) were the celebrities for me. I’ve followed them like a complete devotee and sadly, just as my youth was fading, so do the DJs who pretty much built my youth. Chuy Gomez has got to be the final DJ who will no longer have a strong presence on the radio, in which I could also feel complete detachment from KMEL itself. Sad, but true.
I hope to hear from you on the radio again, somewhere, Mr. “Chewy.” If I can find some time to get myself on CMC on TV again, I’d be able to catch up with you again. But for now, I’ll catch up with you on Twitter.
(Old Batman TV series theme song tune) Che-wy-che-wy-che-wy-che-wy-che-wy-che-wy-che-wy-che-wy— GOMEZ~!
- actually it was yesterday but it hasn’t gone mainstream online until this morning… [↩]
- or CMC for short. [↩]
- Wild 107.7 or KYLD. It used to be KSOL before. [↩]
- I believe that was Mancow Muller? I think…? Lemme try and refresh my memory… [↩]
- simply because the radios in the Philippines have never heard of NKOTB by the time my family and I immigrated to the States… [↩]
- I apologize to all you NKOTB fans out there. The Philippines were so behind with mainstream pop culture back then that whatever I heard on the radio then must be really old to you guys. [↩]
- my gosh… he’s got the voice that would seriously melt your heart! It did for me… [↩]