|By Gary G. Toms
If you enjoy the music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, then there is no doubt that you will probably love DJ Ken “Kojak” Rappaport. If you like being around people who spend their lives trying to make a difference, you will warm up to this man in no time. For Rappaport, music and good deeds go hand in hand.
“Music has always been my passion since I received my first transistor AM radio in the early 60’s,” said the DJ. “To supplement my income and put my three sons, Seth, Glenn and Craig, through college, I started my own DJ business, which is called Soundsations Mobile DJ and Karaoke. With my knowledge of the oldies, and my sons’ knowledge of today’s music, we make a great team. From weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries to block parties and corporate events, we do it all. The best part is that we have so much fun while we’re doing it.”
Rappaport went on to explain that since so many people recognize him for his cleanly shaved head, he has become known as DJ Ken Kojak.
“It just kind of stuck as more and more people started calling me Kojak. It’s worked for me, and my business cards have the classic Telly Savalas line “Who loves ya baby?” printed on them. It’s a hook,” he said.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Ken Rappaport moved to Belle Harbor when he was 10 years old. Later, he attended P.S. 114, JHS 198, and graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1970. During this time, he worked selling ice cream on the beach at Curley’s Hotel, which was located on Beach 116 Street. Rappaport also worked summers in the front office of Rockaway’s Playland. In 1972, he graduated from Manhattan Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy. He married Barbara Rothstein, a resident of Far Rockaway, in 1975. She is currently working as a teacher at P.S. 106 in Far Rockaway.
While he has managed to establish a lengthy and distinguished career in respiratory therapy, the mix-master has spent time working in radio (WRTN Radio 93.5 FM), and has co-hosted shows with other notable radio personalities like Jay Thomas, formerly of Jammin’ 105.
Rappaport has also been involved in charitable events for many years. By developing special concert events, which primarily feature legendary artists from the classic rock and roll era (Randy and The Rainbows, The Cadillacs, The Chantels and The Velvatones), he has been able to draw large crowds to his concerts.
In the last six months, he has been hosted a number of benefit concerts aimed at raising money for families of New York City firefighters killed on September 11. One of his concerts netted a total of $54,000, and to date he has raised close to $100,000 for charities. The New York City Fire Department honored him with a plaque back in January for his time and dedication.
“My next concert project is a memorial in Rockaway for all the victims from Rockaway who lost their lives on 9/11 and the subsequent plane crash in Belle Harbor. The music of yesterday and today will be played. I look forward to working with Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and the Rockaway community in making this function a huge success,” said Rappaport.
As we swapped tales about how the DJ scene has changed over the years, and whether rock and roll was better than the music played in today’s hottest dance clubs, he handed me one of his business cards. There, in bold, black print were the words, “DJ Ken Kojak…Who Loves Ya Baby?” Based on his hard work and love of community, that question can be answered in one word. Everybody!