These days, even a devoted longtime listener of Hot 97 could be forgiven for turning the radio dial to New York's revered hip-hop station and not recognizing the voices they hear. After years of being the premiere hip-hop station in NYC, the station has recently begun feeling the heat from competitors like Clear Channel's Power 105.1, as well as the internet; and one by one, long-time station personalities have begun to bow out. We've mapped out the station's major personnel shake-ups from the last few years.
July 2013 — K. Foxx Gets Let Go
K. Foxx is dropped from Hot 97's morning show, which she hosted for two years with Cipha Sounds and Peter Rosenberg, thus ending the "A Black, a Jew and a Puerto Rican" era of the show. "I always came in to work, I wasn't a bitch to anyone. I always smiled. Did lots of events. I was a team player," a baffled Foxx told Ebony about her abrupt dismissal the next day. "[DJ Funkmaster] Flex called me and he said: 'You didn't deserve this. You rode for Hot 97.' I wore that logo on my back."
September 2013 — Mister Cee Resigns On-Air
Mister Cee drops a bomb on Throwback At Noon listeners when he makes an on-air announcement that he's decided to step down. He cites the belief that it's no longer tenable for the station—where he had been spinning for two decades—to keep him on the roster, in light of Cee's much-publicized arrests related to his alleged solicitation of oral sex from transgendered prostitutes. "The last thing you want to do is hurt the people that you love, and I love this station," he says, before signing off with Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones."
The next morning, though, he's back on the air with the station's Program Director Ebro Darden, engaging in an astoundingly honest discussion about his alleged crimes, sexuality, and West Indian upbringing. "I am tired of trying to do something or be something that I'm not," Cee tells Ebro that morning, fighting back tears. "I'm tired." In the end, he's convinced to return, and a few hours later he is back in the booth spinning one of his most memorable sets to date.
March 2014 — Ebro Steps Down As Program Director
Ebro Darden steps down as Hot 97's behind-the-scenes program director—a position he'd held for nearly a decade—to focus on creative and on-air endeavors that he began dabbling in around the time of Foxx's exit, when the ratings for Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club began encroaching on Hot 97's morning show. "I have had tremendous success doing both on-air and PD roles, and EMMIS let me choose where I would be happiest," he explained in a press release. "Mornings, TV and assisting in programming makes sense with everything Hot 97and I have happening today, so I chose creative over corporate. See you all at 5 am tomorrow." The morning show is now known as Ebro in the Morning.
June 2014 — Angie Martinez Moves To Power 105.1
Angie Martinez, who's often referred to as "The Voice of New York," surprises everyone when she announces that she's leaving her long-held afternoon gig at Hot 97 to join rival station Power 105.1. "I just got to a point where I thought to myself, 'I'm curious about what my value is in the market, and let me just see what's out there,'" she explains in an interview with New York shortly after her exit. "I wanna be on different markets. I wanna be able to grow."
Today I resigned from HOT97. I am grateful to the Emmis family for my time with the company and the immeasurable way that it has shaped my life. We made history together in so many ways and I will cherish those memories and my friendships forever. This was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make but ultimately it is time to move on, to grow and to be challenged in new ways. Saying goodbye is always emotional and bitter sweet but I am extremely excited about the future. Thank you HOT97 and most importantly....the listeners... for an unimaginable journey. Today will be my last show ❤️ stay tuned.... Love, angie
A photo posted by Angie Martinez (@angiemartinez) on
July 2014 — A New Program Director Is Brought In
Jay Dixon is tapped to fill in for Ebro as program director, after having worked with Emmis (the media company that owns Hot 97) for 20 years. "Things are different now than they were before, even five years ago," he tells New York Daily News. "Radio is different. Hip-hop culture is different."
July 2014 — Cipha Opens Up On Juan Epstein
On an episode of Cipha Sounds and Peter Rosenberg's after-hours Juan Epstein podcast, Cipha talks about being moved from the morning show and expresses interest in making Angie's vacated afternoon show—which he had temporarily taken over—full-time. He also claims he'd been offered a position at Power 105 twice in the past but turned down both offers, citing the judgment of his mentors as a factor—that is, until Angie left. "I was like, 'This fucking bitch!'" he laughs. Cipha and Rosenberg also joke(?) that the station's interim program director, Dixon, has no idea who Cipha is.
August 2014 — Karlie Hustle Quits
Karlie Hustle steps down from her post as Hot 97's Music Director. In an Instagram post, she denies rumors that she plans to follow Angie Martinez to Power 106 and refers to Hot 97 as "the most important radio station in the world." "Quitting is just in my repertoire," she jokes in a video she posts on YouTube a month later titled "How to Quit Your Job Series: Step One." (She's since settled into a new job as Director of Brand Relations position at 9th Wonder's Jamla Records label.)
I've made the decision to resign my position as Music Director at Hot 97. I will remain through the end of the month to assist in the transition of duties. SIDEBAR: No. I am not going to a New York radio competitor. Thanks to Ebro Darden, I've spent the past three years living my dream in New York City, working at what I believe to be the most important radio station in the world. I've been empowered to run the Hot 97 Who's Next Live platform and the Summer Jam Festival Stage. I've appeared on a TV show and had the chance to guest host on the morning show as a fill-in. I've been a part of launching the careers of future stars from behind the scenes. These are amazing experiences that I cannot express proper gratitude for here. These past few years have given me the confidence and the enhanced platform to start my own business. I will redirect my time and attention fully to my #HustleBowTie endeavor and the overall K. Hustle brand (buy a tie dammit: karliehustle.com 😁). I will also be taking time to explore a host of new possibilities that I've been afforded as the result of the 13 years, six cities and six radio stations it's taken for me to arrive at this juncture. I'm excited to step out on my own two once again and see what I'm truly made of. I'll never forget the team at Hot 97 for being so warm and embracing this girl from the West so fully. Thank you all!
A photo posted by Karlie Hustle (@thekarliehustle) on
November 2014 — Mister Cee Resigns Again
Mister Cee resigns for the second time in about a year, and this time it sticks. He has remained vague about his reasons for leaving, but he did tell the New York Times that he once told 50 Cent "I can't be on Hot 97 at 50 years old." Now fans can hear the 47-year-old dj on Radio 103.9, where he's the host of a Saturday afternoon throwback show. "I can play anything, any genre of music, but I do feel that because of the direction that Hot is going in, I might be the answer for now, but I don't think I'll be the answer five or ten years from now," he said.
So Every Friday After I Would Go Off The Air @ 1pm I Would Stay @hot97 & Prepare 4 My Friday Nite Live Show. I Would Sit In This Corner Of The Studio All Day On Fri. Somebody Just Sent Me A Pic Showing Me Respect By Not Sitting In Corner 2Day. YALL CATS AT HOT 97 IS MAKING ME FEEL LIKE DEREK JETER 2DAY!!! THANK U. LOVE U ALL.
A photo posted by MISTER CEE (@djmistercee) on
January 2015 — A New Programming Director Gets Hired
Pio Ferro is brought in as Hot 97's programming director, while Dixon returns to a consulting role; Ferro was previously the National Program Director for Spanish Broadcasting System, where he oversaw programming for stations across the country. Longtime mid-day host Big Dennis Rivera's departure from the station is announced in the press release.
Today was my last day on #hot97. I want to thank Emmis ny and all of u for changing my life. Im just a kid from the BX who loves everything about radio and was blessed to call hot97 home for so many years of my life. I grew up there lol. Thank u to my incredibly talented team whom I had the pleasure to work with. Its bitter sweet because it wasnt a job it was more like home but its sweet because I cant wait to begin the next chapter in my life. Lets see how #2015 unfolds for me :) Thank u New York the pleasure to serve u has been all mine :)
A photo posted by Big Dennis Rivera (@bigdennis97) on
January 2015 — Nessa Takes Over For Angie
Nessa takes the helm of Afternoon Drive, Hot 97's afternoon show that had been steered by Angie Martinez for nearly 20 years before she made the jump to Power 105.1. She cut her teeth hosting the evening show for San Francisco's KYLD 94.9 and busting jokes on MTV's Girl Code. "Hot 97 has the best energy and continues to preserve the culture, which was something that I always wanted [in the West Coast] but didn't have," she says. "For me to be part of their legacy is incredible."
January 2015 — Cipha Sounds LeavesCipha Sounds announces his split from Hot 97 the day after Nessa officially takes over the afternoon show, which Cipha had been temporarily holding down since Angie Martinez's departure. "Relationship status from 'it's complicated' to 'single,'" he wrote, hinting at a frustration with the way things were going at the station, where he had served 17 years in various roles from intern, to mixer, to on-air personality. "One boss told me one thing, another boss told me another thing, they then fired one of those bosses, another boss came in an told me one things, and then a boss of another station came in and became our boss and told me another thing," he explained on an episode of Juan Epstein that had been recorded the weekend before he finalized his decision. "All nice people, all different opinions on what the show should be and how it should run." He is now focusing his energies on his comedy, and is in the process of developing a stand-up show with Alicia Keys.
After 17 years, I'm leaving Hot 97. I¹m changing my relationship status from "it¹s complicated" to "single". It¹s been an amazing ride - from intern to weekends to morning show host to fill Angie¹s seat in afternoons. Many years of incredible, life-changing experiences and enough amazing memories to last five lifetimes. The next move is already underway and I promise it's going to be huge. Follow me at @ciphasounds
A photo posted by Cipha Sounds (@ciphasounds) on