DJ Reggie Reg, formerly of 92Q, dies
Reggie Reg, who had worked at Baltimore radio station 92Q and was a well known disc jockey on the city's club music scene, died Saturday evening at St. Agnes Hospital. He was 50.
His sister, Betty Covington, said that he had been in declining health and died of congestive heart failure.
"He had been having trouble walking, but we just couldn't stop him. At a musical event, he would sit in a chair these days. He died doing what he loved," she said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake said in a statement. "I was terribly saddened to hear of Reggie's passing. He was one of the best DJs of my generation, with a personality bigger than life. He will definitely be missed."
Born Reginald Calhoun and raised in the 1800 block of N. Payson St. near North Avenue, he attended Matthew Henson and Booker T. Washington schools before graduating from Walbrook High School in 1983. He had attended the Christian Memorial Church in West Baltimore.
DJ Reggie Reg, Rick Levin DJ Reggie Reg (left) pictured in August 2000 with Rick Levin, the CEO and founder of Downtown Locker Room, at the Mondawmin Mall branch. (Elizabeth Malby / Baltimore Sun) "My brother loved music. My grandmother had bought him some turntables and he just took them over. You couldn't stop him," his sister said.
Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, wrote on her campaign page, "Reggie was a pioneer in Baltimore radio and paved the way for many who came after him."
Friends said he was well established in the city's club music scene by the time he joined the staff of 92-Q radio, also known as WERQ-FM, as a disc jockey in the mid-1990s. He remained on the air for a decade.
"I met Reggie about 1984 when he was an up-and-coming DJ," said Frank "Ski" Rodriguez, a radio and television personality. "He was kinda finding his space, and Reggie hung out with everybody. He hung out at beauty shops and at record stores. Everybody gravitated to him."
Notable Maryland deaths February 2016 Mr. Rodriguez also recalled that he and Mr. Calhoun met a fellow Baltimore resident, Kevin Liles, who went on to become an executive at Def Jam Recordings.
"This association with Kevin allowed us to have access to music," said Mr. Rodriguez, who had been on-air in Baltimore in the 1990s and is now based in Atlanta, Ga.
Friends said he began attracting capacity crowds to O'Dell's, a club in a former dance hall on North Avenue near Charles Street. Family members said one of his early musical influences was the hip hop group, Run-DMC.
"Reggie would say, 'It's not a party until everybody's dancing,'" said a friend, Howard "Hi-Def" Dabney. "And once his voice came through the microphone, it was time to party. He was the house DJ at O'Dell's. That was his home."
Mr. Dabney said Mr. Calhoun recognized the rapper Jay Z's talent early and played his music before it gained national attention.
"He was the jock who made the album 'Reasonable Doubt' before it was so widely popular," said Mr. Dabney.
Mr. Calhoun also worked events at Gatsby's, on Charles Street in Station North, and at the 32nd Street Plaza in Waverly, as well as the Paradox in downtown Baltimore and Volcano's in East Baltimore.
He was known in club circles as "Reggie Reg The Godfather" or "The Mayor of Baltimore."
In addition to his sister, survivors include his daughter, Jazzy Calhoun of Baltimore; two brothers, James Kevin Henson of Philadelphia and Melvin Henson of Baltimore; his mother, Melinda Turner, of Baltimore; and a stepson, George Alford, also of Baltimore. His marriage to Dionne Calhoun ended in divorce.
Services will be conducted through the Wylie Funeral Service in West Baltimore.