Little Ricky Rocko, the World's Youngest Deejay, Proves You're Never Too Small to Rock and Roll
01/16/1989 at 01:00 AM EST
Hi, everybody! I'm the world's youngest disc jockey, Little Ricky Rocko, with my rockin' report." In the studios of KKRZ-FM in Portland, Ore., 9-year-old Sam Rogoway is perched on a wooden box, the better to reach the microphone. In terms of precocity, though, little Sam stands taller than most. "Diet Coke is making George Michael's bank account big and fat," he announces, whipping through a script he wrote with his dad. "Coke paid George over $3 million for a TV commercial. Wow, it must be tough, George..."
The voice may be chirpily pre-adolescent, but the manner is purely professional. As the next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records will certify, both belong to the world's youngest deejay. For more than a year, Rogoway, working under the pseudonym Little Ricky Rocko, has been entertaining Z100 listeners with his weekly minute-long news reports and his Friday morning ad-libs on the top-rated drive-time Morning Zoo.
Surrounded by four rambunctious adult deejays, Little Ricky speaks only when pointed to, or when a caller asks him a question. But Zoo host John Murphy, 27, loves playing straight man to the kid, and women love calling him. "Do you have a girlfriend?" asked one young woman recently. "Yes," replied Little Ricky, "it's my dog. I gave her an engagement bone last night."
"I hate the kid," jokes Murphy. "He's funnier than me and he gets more girls than I do."
Actually, Sammy Rogoway—none of this Little Ricky stuff at home, thank you—couldn't care less about girls. What turns him on is talking on the radio. When he was 3, he told his parents he wanted to be a deejay someday and began working up his own patter on a toy radio console. "I just have the blood in me," he says. Maybe so. Sammy's fatner, David Rogoway, 35, used to spin platters on a Portland rock station in the early '70s, before he became advertising manager of his family's jewelry business. A few years later, when he realized his young son "could hear a Beatles or Elvis record and identify it," Rogoway built him a realistic turn-table-and-mike setup in the basement and gave him some professional tips. "But he would make up these amazing raps by himself," the elder Rogoway says.
After picking his nom de disque ("My uncle's name is Rick, and I always liked it"), 8-year-old Sammy got a tryout on an FM station in Vancouver owned by a friend of his father's. The station folded several months later, but Little Ricky was promptly picked up by KKRZ.
Combing fan magazines and the ABC entertainment wire at the station, Little Ricky researches his rock reports himself. At the same time he has remained an A student at Duniway Elementary School in Portland, where he is in the fourth grade. "He is so well-disciplined," says his mother, Lori, 34. "As soon as I pick him up at school, he's in the car and working on his homework." Now taking acting lessons, Sammy wants to be a deejay or a news anchor someday—"like Peter Jennings," he says. "I just like doing that sort of thing. When I'm on, I'm on."
—Susan Reed, and Susan Hauser in Portland