Hot 97’s Ebro Darden spoke to Okayplayer recently about stepping out of the production booth and into the red glow of the ‘on-air’ light. That new role has become official now with the news this past weekend that Ebro is stepping down as program director. For decades New York’s WQHT AKA Hot 97 has been an institution on the East Coast and beyond, giving big-market airtime to some of the most important MCs, DJs, singers and musicians in the worlds of R&B and hip-hop since the early 90s. Naturally, when there’s a shakeup at the station the aftershocks are felt across the global music scene, although even with this confirmation of big changes at the top, Ebro does plan to stick around as an on-air DJ and Morning Show co-host.
Explaining the decision via his personal twitter account Friday Darden explained that he’d rather work with a mic than a spreadsheet all day and is much happier as a host than an office boss. Doing double-duty as both program director and radio jock was too much for a single human, and when Hot 97’s parent company Emmis Communications let him choose between being director or full time DJ, Ebro opted for the gig that keeps him closest to the fans. “Mornings, TV and assisting in programming makes sense with everything HOT 97 and I have happening today,” the ex-director wrote in a circulated press release, “so I chose creative over corporate. See you all at 5a tomorrow.”
The whole situation got distilled earlier this month in a single tweet:
Im a field general not a skybox suit my G… Just who I am.
— Ebro el Viejo (@oldmanebro) March 13, 2014
Radio listeners will still be able to catch “Old Man Ebro” hosting every morning alongside Cipha Sounds, Peter Rosenberg and Laura Stylez on Hot 97’s Morning Show, and beginning next week Darden will grace the televisual airwaves as well. VH1 is debuting This is Hot 97, a new series that gives us a look into the station’s DJ booth and beyond, later this month and plans to feature Ebro on the show regularly. This is Hot 97 will feature plenty of cameos from famous producers and MCs (Macklemore, Kanye and others have already been name-checked). The show premieres on Monday, March 31st at 10pm EST but you can watch the first episode below in all its glory.
Of course, the economy being what it is, after the reaction to Darden’s migration away from program director settles the bigger news item here may be that there’s a job opening at Hot 97. As of this date, the position is still open on the Emmis website. Get your applications in quick.