John Loscalzo, director of music at CBS Local and a 30-plus-year music industry veteran of CBS Radio, MTV, WXRK-New York, WDRE, MCA Records and others, died suddenly on Wednesday of causes that were unclear at press time. He was 52.
“John was a true joy to work with,” said Adam Wiener, a senior vice president at CBS Local. “He had a very unique style and sense of humor. He knew how to create content that would appeal to people, and he knew how to read a room -- whether it was two people in the office, or the audience seeing the content he worked with. He made things fun, and he will be missed by everyone here.”
A graduate of New York University (where he was a host of WNYU's popular New Afternoon Show), Loscalzo began his career in 1984 at Advanced Alternative Media, promoting new releases to college radio and retail. Beginning in 1986, he spent several years as an on-air host for WPDH, WRCN, KROQ, WDRE and WXRK (K-Rock), with a stint in the middle doing alternative and metal promotion for MCA Records in Los Angeles. He was also an editor at Billboard's Airplay Monitor in the mid-1990s. In 1995 he joined Sony Worldwide Networks as director of rock programming and was promoted to vice president before leaving to become operations manager at WXRK. He began a nine-year stint at Viacom and MTV Networks in 2001, rising to vp of multi-platform programming in 2003. He joined CBS in 2012.
Musician and former label exec Tim Sommer, who worked with John at WNYU and remained friends with him since, tells Billboard, “I’ve never known anyone like him -- he was so completely sunny and yet so completely strange! No one would accuse him of being normal or boring or bland, yet he had a kind word for everyone, and he really inspired people.”
John’s survivors include Tracy Zamot, his wife of 23 years and current director of artist and music industry communications at Pandora, and their daughter Gracie, 4. A scholarship fund has been established for Gracie; information follows: