Steve and I were best friends in Las Cruces High. We didn’t share every interest, but we both had a taste for adventure and humor – and taking these to the edge. After high school, I went away to college, and Steve and I parted ways in terms of career and lifestyle. But whenever I returned to Las Cruces to visit family, Steve and I always got together, and we could always relate closely due to our shared sense of humor.
Of course everyone who met Steve, or listened to him on the radio, was aware of his funny side. He was a spontaneous comedian. But with friends his sense of humor often ranged wider and deeper than he usually allowed in public. Irony, sarcasm, the absurd, the bizarre – he relished them all, as I did.
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Steve Crosno Middle School?
A movement is currently afoot to convince El Paso Independent School trustees to name Cordova Middle Crosno after Steve Crosno. The school’s namesake, former high school coach Carlos Cordova, asked the school board two weeks ago to remove his name from the school following his indictment on public corruption charges. Crosno, the legendary El Paso radio personality who kept three generations of El Pasoans entertained with his unique brand of humor and musical tastes, died in August, 2006. “Maybe this is the best way to pay homage to Crosno,” said KTEP-FM Operations Manager Dennis Woo. Woo is part of a group of radio professionals in El Paso who have launched an effort to have the school named after Crosno. In a column I wrote in the El Paso Times shortly after Crosno’s death, I pointed out that most people – including Crosno himself – never fully grasped the larger signficance of his on-air presence. Long before marketing experts recognized the importance of the Hispanic market, Crosno was already catering his radio programs to the rapidly-growing Mexican-American audience. His “Crosno Hop” TV dance program was a huge hit in El Paso and Las Cruces in the 1960’s and 1970s. Beyond that, he very directly influenced a crop of young and Crosno4webaspiring Hispanic media professionals who had never before seen nor heard someone on the radio or TV speak their language. On October 27, Crosno was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. But is it likely that EPISD trustees will even remotely consider the notion of a Steve Crosno Middle School? “Several organizations are already expressing interest in having the school named for someone,” said EPISD spokesman Louie Villalobos. Among the names being heard are El Paso Astronaut Danny Olivas and famed Bowie High School Coach Nemo Herrera. Villalobos said the school board will begin the process of changing the school’s name during their December 12th meeting.
Up until I was about 12, I didn’t listen to the radio. One Christmas our mom and dad got us a little transistor radio. We listened to KHEY, which was the biggest country/western station around. this mostly because it was what Mom listened to when she was working around the house, which was pretty much all the time. Shortly, though, the kids at school (this was still Putnam) turned us on to KELP.
KELP was a bonafide top forty radio station, and the disc jockey head and shoulders above all others was Steve Crosno. Crosno was completely