Frankie Crocker dead at 59
P. Llanor Alleyne -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/5/2000 7:00:00 PM
Frankie Crocker, radio program director and on-air personality, died Oct. 22, in Miami, after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 59.
His career began in the early 1970s when he joined WBLS(FM) in New York. Coining the phrase "urban contemporary" to describe his unique playlist of R & B, soul and jazz, Crocker took the station to top ratings and spawned a new radio format.
Besides four stints with WBLS(FM), Crocker worked for radio stations in Chicago, Los Angeles and St. Louis. He was also one of the first VJs for cable music channel vh1 and hosted television shows Friday Night Videos and Solid Gold.
His radio persona garnered him honors from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and awards from Billboard magazine.
In 1994, Crocker was rehired as program director and DJ of WBLS(FM) to help bolster slumping ratings in what had become a fiercely competitive urban music market. In 1997, he moved to California but maintained an on-air presence in New York with his Saturday-night countdown on wrks-fm.
"Urban black radio is all the better for the path Frankie laid," said Charles Warfield, President and COO of Inner City Broadcast. "He is going to be sorely missed." He is survived by his mother, Frances Crocker.
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