Jim Benitez

DJ at WICN Radio 90.5 FM in Worcester, MA

A self-taught Latin percussionist since the age of 12 when his father handed him Cal Tjader’s 1960 Latino album featuring Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo back in 1966, and an LP fiberglass conga and told him, “Here, learn to play right with these”, he’s been living and breathing Latin Jazz since. A computer network engineer during the day, Jim keeps busy as part of a team overseeing the health and security of the computer network of a major Massachusetts retail corporation. Jim is also a US Army Vietnam Era veteran and served as an Air Traffic Controller where he admits, “That was my first real foray out in radio broadcasting directing all those aircraft”. Although the real commercial radio experience began at Worcester’s Gois Broadcasting Inc.’s WORC 1310AM in 2006 co-hosting with his friend Edwin Cancel, the first Latin Jazz show in Worcester called Ran KanKan. The show lasted about six or so months when his friend resigned and Jim took over the show and renamed it Latin Jazz Sundays. Jim also hosted a Salsa show at the same time on Saturdays called Salsa DuraSabados, that’s Hard Salsa Saturdays and again on Sundays with his friend Alex Vega on Salsa Na’ Ma. Both became major hit shows in Worcester’s Latin community and achieved a 2.5 rating in the Arbitron radio charts for two years. Although short-lived, but well remembered by his listeners, an opportunity opened up in Hartford Connecticut under the Gois Broadcasting group of stations at WNEZ 1230AM and a fusion of the two shows became and all Spanish language show called Jazz Latino Ahora, or Latin JazzNow!. To all this Jim developed a following reaching New York, Florida, California, Hawaii, Canada, and Milan Italy, thanks to the show being streamed across the internet to listeners outside of Worcester. “I am honored to be here at WICN surrounded by the finest and most supportive group of radio professionals in the world. Latin Jazz has a home here on public radio and here in Worcester, and it’s called WICN 90.5FM, New England’s Jazz and Folk Station and on Friday nights it’s New England’s Latin Jazz Station”.