“Cruising with Crosno,” The Lost Tapes

According to a video titled “Crosno’s Radio Reminiscences,” in 1955, Steve Crosno got his start at KGRT in Las Cruces doing commercials.  Eventually he was given his own show at the ripe age of 16-years-old, on his birthday on August 6, 1956.  Crosno was subsequently hired at KELP which “was one of the top 40 music stations in the country.”  In 1961, Crosno moved to San Diego but he said did not like it so he returned to El Paso and back to KELP.  Crosno was an entrepreneur who played at various locations around El Paso like Azcarate Park then came up with the idea to produce the Crosno Hop on Saturdays, beginning in 1961.  El Paso Mayor Judson F. Williams (1963-69) proclaimed July 9, 1967 as Steve Crosno Day.

Crosno created several renditions of his popular Crosno Hop beginning in 1962, concluding with Studio 14 in the late 1980s at KCIK-TV under the direction of the late Antonio Parra, who went on to be elected as a state representative.  He typically featured well-known singers and recording artists at his Hops, where teenagers would dance to the latest music, as if they were on El Paso’s version of American Bandstand. 

Crosno was one of the first El Paso radio music radio DJ to connect to the growing Chicano/Mexican American audience.  In an interview titled “Steve Crosno 1939-2006,” uploaded on YouTube by channelzvideo, he stated that in 1962 he began getting requests to play songs by Mexican American bands, like “Cariño Nuevo,” by Sunny and the Sunliners, which was a staple at weddings and quinseñeras.

Photograph from Steve Crosno 1939-2006. In the 1980s, I was hired as a graphic artist at KCIK TV. I created the program logo, the set, the dance platforms and backdrop which had a Chicago-like skyline for Crosno’s Studio 14.

Manny Rivera, a local DJ, who owns most of the archives of the late Steve Crosno said from 1999 to 2000,  Crosno recorded hundreds of hours of his program “Cruising with Crosno” from his home.  Rivera said Crosno recorded most of his programs when he was working for local radio station called Que Buena.  Rivera said “Crosno was able to get his radio program get syndicated in a couple of small towns in New Mexico.” It had been Crosno’s dream to have a nationally-syndicated show.

The late disc jockey left several hundred hours of programs on CDs and Rivera is in the process of transferring them to MP3s and loading them on Mix Cloud.  He said Crosno also left programs on reel-to-reel tapes and video and Rivera is seeking funding to purchase a reel-to-reel player so he can digitize those programs.

Photograph Courtesy of Manuel Rivera.

The lost “Cruising with Crosno,” programs are available on Frogdeath’s Mix Cloud.  Individual programs are accompanied by photographs of the late DJ.