After shocking South Florida last month by suddenly resigning from his longtime morning-show gig at Power 96, Latin booty bass pioneer and 22-year radio vet DJ Laz (born Lazaro Mendez) insisted that he was "going to take the boat out for a little while" and spend more time with his family.
But then the "Pimp With the Limp" shocked SoFla again on Monday with the announcement that he'd be leaving Miami for Los Angeles in just 14 days to start a new job with Spanish Broadcasting Systems' KXOL 96.3 FM, "L.A.'s number one party station."
Last night, SBS's newest recruit held a press conference at the Pablo Raúl Alarcón Media Center's Studio A to "announce" and "address" and "provide details about his new morning show."
As usual, we here at Crossfade arrived a half-hour late, just as Laz was wrapping up a demonstration of Spanish Broadcasting System's new LaMusica phone app, saying, "I might be all the way in Los Angeles. But I will never be more than a button-click away."
Nevertheless, we managed to seize the mike and ask Laz about returning to radio, leaving the MIA for L.A., and whether he'll be joining 2 Live Crew's Booty Bass Across America tour.
Crossfade: When you quit Power 96 last month, did you foresee taking another radio job this quickly?
DJ Laz: I did say when I resigned that I was going to pursue other professional opportunities, if they presented themselves. And you know, SBS really stepped up to the table when they heard that I was a free agent. They were like, "OK. Wait a second, we have to do whatever it takes to get Laz."
And in business, you don't pass up a wonderful opportunity to work in Los Angeles and be with a great company that has the same views as you do, which is expanding the brand and being in more than one place. Plus, they have radio stations all over [the country, including plenty in Miami].
How do you feel about leaving Miami for Los Angeles?
I'm not leaving Miami for Los Angeles. I'm going to share. It's like having two women. [Laughs echo around the room] I'm going to give them each about 50-percent attention. But when I'm with either Miami or L.A., they get my 100-percent attention. And I wanna see that quote in the paper somewhere!
Is TV something that you ultimately see in your future?
Yes, 150,000 percent. That is something, as a kid, I always wanted to be, not just a music producer or DJ. I would look at people on TV and be like, "Man, I really wanna do that one day." And I've been fortunate enough, knock on wood, that everything I've ever set my mind to, I've been able to accomplish with the help of the people. At the end of the day, my mind is set and I'm going to take this thing to the next level.
We were pretty excited when we heard you had a lot of free time. We evenprojected that you might join Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew and the rest of the Booty Bass Across America tour. Now that you got a full-time gig, I guess that's not a possibility, huh?
I don't count anything out, my friend! Life is too short to say, "I will never do this or I will never do that." Listen, I love music. And yeah, I got a full-time gig now. It's a huge responsibility [and] Los Angeles is a huge market, number two in the country. So I'm gonna take this in, enjoy it, and whoever wants to go along for the ride, let's go! Let's make history! 'Cause that's what we're doin' right now.
What are you most excited about with your new Latino 96.3 job?
It's L.A. 96 tres.
Yeah? Well, Uncle Luke said that you felt stifled by the programming at Power 96. Are you planning to expand the scope of your role?
I'm glad you asked that question. You have done your research. Good man! [Laughs] I didn't want to be just DJ Laz the morning show guy anywhere that I went. I've always wanted to take this thing and evolve and move on to the next level.
Part of my deal with SBS is that I'll be a big part of programming at any station that we decide to do business with. So it's not just gonna be DJ Laz in the morning, but what you're gonna get throughout the day. Along with the program director and Jesus Salas, I will be a huge part of the decision-making process when it comes to the music and the overall imaging of the radio station. Basically, your entire experience, I will be a part of. Which is what I wanted from the beginning.
From that point, Crossfade relinquished the mike as the press conference wound down with meandering questions and endless photo ops. But the late highlight was a toughie from a 10-year-old interviewer named Sonja on assignment for celerevista.com.
DJ Laz: Hi, mami. Oh, no ... You're way too cute. Come up here. How old are you?
Que linda. C'mon, people, how adorable! [Applause] Dale, dime.
Since you've been making appearances at Calle Ocho, will you still be making more appearances at Calle Ocho?
Girl! I won't miss a Calle Ocho as long as I got legs. Even if they're crooked, I'm going to Calle Ocho. Are you kidding me? I love Calle Ocho. I love Miami. You're not gonna get rid of Laz just because I'm gonna go do a radio show on the West Coast.