A collective gasp took place among listeners of black radio in St. Louis Tuesday night. DJ Kut, a legend on the turntables and evening personality for the Urban One St. Louis station 95.5 FM The Lou, announced yesterday was his last day as their evening personality.
Kut broke the news of his departure from the station, which has been his on-air home since 2011, via Facebook.
“I am humbled and grateful for the long run that I had, and I thank you all for an amazing experience,” Kut said of his time at 95.5 FM.
Kut was one of several Urban One St. Louis employees – including on air personalities Ms. Sinita, Meghan O and Miss Pooh – that were dismissed as a cost saving measure to offset economic strain faced by media and countless other industries in the wake of revenue losses due to COVID-19.
The outpouring by fans responding to his message with memories and vows of support regarding his future endeavors was overwhelming, even for a 30-year-veteran of radio.
“It’s hard to see the picture inside the frame, so you really don’t know how people feel about you until they actually show you,” said Kut, who is also known for keeping the party hype on the tables at large and small scale concerts and events.
Thousands chimed in as they shared and commented on his post.
“I remember I was so excited when he made the announcement that he would be coming back to St. Louis,” Linda Robinson said via Facebook. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s going to be a party.’ This is bittersweet, but I know God has something better in store for him.”
Kut is taking it all in stride. He knows the industry he’s in. No one is ever 100 percent safe in the “here today, gone later today” climate – magnified as the world awaits the full scope of the financial fallout from the coronavirus.
Kut has a six-month non-compete clause, which is standard operating procedure when radio personalities part ways with media companies. He’s been preparing for this for nearly five years.
A proud provider, Kut went about creating a safety net for himself and his family in recent years – almost prophetically – based on what he saw while working at the top of the nation’s radio market, in New York City.
“I saw Ed Lover get let go from Power 105 and couldn’t get a job,” Kut said. “I was like, ‘Mr. Yo MTV Raps, the icon?’ It ain’t going to happen to me.”
He earned his license to sell life insurance in 2016 and his real estate license in January.
“Let me have some other things outside of music and radio that I can control,” Kut said.
Does that mean he’s done with radio? Absolutely not.
“Radio is in my blood, so there is no way that I will walk away,” Kut said.
Already a respected DJ on the local hip-hop scene, Kut’s began his radio career exactly 30 years ago this year at KCFV 89.5 FM. It was the campus radio station for St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, where Kut took classes.
“Man, who knew?” Kut said.
Plenty of the heavy hitters on the local hip-hop and club scene had an idea after seeing him blaze the tables as the featured DJ for rap duo The Chill The Posse.
In 1992, DJ G-Wiz saw his potential and asked him if he wanted to become a resident DJ for the popular Saints roller rink.
“I wasn’t thinking down the road, but was living by myself and I was like, ‘Okay, Saints is paying $60 a set - three sets a week – and my rent is $250. That will help knockout my rent,” Kut said.
He didn’t know that by saying yes to that gig, he was reshaping his own future – and still feeling the ripple effect.
“You had an average of 800-1,000 teens coming there partying with me,” Kut said. “And these are the people in 2020 that these people who were listening to me at Saints and follow me to the club this very day.”
Saints is where he earned his reputation as “the club rocker.” He became a mix master at live hip hop shows and the notoriously competitive radio market paved the way for him to ultimately reach the pinnacle within the field.
“Coming through St. Louis radio, at one-point Majic 108 was the only game in town,” Kut said. “You had Tossin’ Ted, Doc Love, who were there before me. I had to wait my turn. Getting to a place like New York, it was like “I’m already used to these types of obstacles.”
Before he landed in New York, Kut played to audiences around the nation as the DJ for Nelly and the St. Lunatics for MTV’s “Total Request Live Tour.”
Nelly became a superstar and Kut landed a job on the top-rated radio station in the nation, Power 105 in New York City. He stayed there for eight years and became famous in his own right on a national scale and established relationships with some of the biggest names in the music, media and entertainment industries.
“I love Kut. He is the best at what he does,” legendary rapper MC Lyte said when she was paired with him for The St. Louis American Foundation Salute to Excellence in Education Budweiser Black Crown Afterparty in 2013.
Kut jumped over to WBLS 107.5 FM for a year, before heading back home to Foxy 95.5 in 2011. Those teens who rocked with him as they made their way around the rink at Saints, were now the grown and sexy radio listeners and became his instant devotees.
He credits the mentorship he received in St. Louis as the foundation for his long-term success within the field, particularly with how legendary local personalities like Dr. Jockenstein, Doc Wynter, Kevy Kev and Captain G (who got him in the door at Majic) engaged with fans.
“As we see with this, [in radio] it’s here today, gone tomorrow,” Kut said. “And what people are going to remember is how you treated them.”
What’s next? Like so many in this unprecedented time, he’s not sure. But he’s extremely confident that things will shake out well for him – just as they always have – thanks in large part to his resourcefulness.
“I want all the listeners and all the people to know that it ain’t over. God’s got me,” Kut said. “And nothing is going to stop me from doing what I’m meant to do.”
Fans can stay in touch with DJ Kut by way of social media:
Facebook Brian Kutter
For bookings, he can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com