Jon Batiste (photo by Louis Browne)
Even a casual listener of FUV likely knows of Darren DeVivo's passions: The Beatles. Paul McCartney. The Mets. The Jets. The Bronx. Speak to him one-on-one, and you'll find out just how passionate he is about his job.
A Bronx native raised on rock n' roll, DeVivo has grown along with WFUV. He discovered the station while in high school and began working here as a college freshman in 1983. In fact, one of the primary reasons DeVivo chose to attend Fordham University in the first place was because of its "great radio station," which fascinated the young music buff.
"WFUV reminded me of what I vaguely remembered FM radio was like when I was a kid. We're talking the early to mid 1970s," DeVivo says, citing the time, in 1981, when he stumbled across a WFUV DJ playing the new King Crimson album, Discipline, in its entirety. Upon arriving at WFUV, DeVivo was exposed to the station's large record library and was able to explore artists he had only read about in the past.
After graduating from Fordham, DeVivo never completely left WFUV. From 1987 until 1990, he was "on call" as a fill in DJ and engineer, eventually returning to his old Friday night/Saturday morning free form rock show that he hosted for most of his '80s tenure. By January 1991, the management major was a professional DJ, living his dream, and hosting the weekday afternoon drive time slot on the newly revamped, public radio WFUV. A year later, in January 1992, DeVivo moved to weekday morning drive, spending the next nine years waking WFUV's listeners. In January 2001, DeVivo moved to weekday middays (10AM-2PM) and remained there for a little over twelve years. In the spring of 2013, it was off to evenings, and, by the summer of 2015, DeVivo landed in his current slot, 10PM until 2AM, Monday through Thursday nights. In March 2020, DeVivo added 1PM until 4PM, Saturday afternoons to his gigs.
It's the station's wide open approach to music that has kept DeVivo enthralled with his work over the years. "We're cutting edge," he says. "There's a ton of music and hundreds of artists that are significant, most of which isn't heard on commercial broadcasts. Many new artists, songs and albums find a home here. In addition, we're still playing many of the artists who have lost their home on commercial radio. It's the new and the old, side by side."
DeVivo's on-air interviews have included such rock icons as: Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Brian Wilson, Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel, Donald Fagen, David Crosby (and his band CPR), Robbie Robertson, Sting, John Fogerty, Sir Bob Geldof, Warren Zevon, Julian Lennon, Dhani Harrison, Charlie Haden, Buddy Guy, Roger McGuinn, Hot Tuna, Jorma Kaukonen, Al Stewart, Richard Thompson, Richie Havens, Robyn Hitchcock, Thurston Moore, Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, John Mayer, Laurence Juber and many more.
Darren now lives in Westchester County with his wife, their two kids and Alice the dog. Sometimes he can't believe he's been able to work alongside New York radio icons like Dennis Elsas, Pete Fornatale, Vin Scelsa and Meg Griffin, all of whom he listened to as a kid.
"It really is kind of a dream come true, a perfect situation that's a stone's throw from where I've lived my whole life. I'm here doing what I've always wanted to do," DeVivo muses."I am very blessed and very fortunate."
Darren DeVivo now entertains night time listeners from 10PM-2AM Mondays through Thursdays and 1PM-4PM Saturday afternoons.