Skip to main content

KUVO host Carlos Lando reflects on radio career and Jazz Appreciation Month

Email share

DENVER — For KUVO jazz radio veteran Carlos Lando, it’s always been about the music — ‘la musica,’ as he likes to say.  

Lando has been program director for KUVO – Denver's oldest jazz station – for 36 years. "What people want to hear from an announcer, or an on-air person, is authenticity,” he said. “They want you to be you, tell your story and be who you are." 

Carlos Lando's career reflections
Colorado Voices

Carlos Lando's career reflections


Carlos Lando reflects on his career and Jazz Appreciaiton Month

Listeners from around the world are familiar with Lando’s voice, but his story is home grown. His career started 56 years ago in high school in Puerto Rico where he was born. Lando started organizing the music catalog of a radio station library years before the use of computers. He eventually applied for an on-air position and got the job.  

“The invitation I was waiting for finally came,” Lando remembered, saying that he was the first person in his school to be on the radio. “I did that until I graduated,” he said, “and got a job in my local hometown in Puerto Rico. It was AM radio, because FM was just beginning."

Lando at KDKO in the 1980s, where he worked as Music and Program Director and mid-day host at the nationally recognized soul music station.

Lando and his family lived in England, Puerto Rico and Spain because his father was in the United States Air Force, part of why he’s always been comfortable hosting radio broadcasts in both English and Spanish. Lando said his enthusiasm for jazz music was fueled by his early travels. “I had such a fascination with the music of Latin artists and their contributions to jazz, and it started with artists like Tito Puente,” he said. 

His initial passion for music came from listening to different types of music with his father. Lando described his dad as a frustrated percussionist. “I’m three or four years old and following him around the living room while he was listening to music,” Lando said. “And it was all in Spanish. I didn’t know English until elementary school.” 

Flo Hernadez-Ramos helped get KUVO started in 1985. Hernandez-Ramos explained how right after meeting Lando in person, she wanted him to work for KUVO. “I’d heard of Carlos for a very long time. His voice was very famous”, she said with a laugh. “He interviewed [for a job] and didn’t really need to. I’d have hired him anyway."

Flo Hernadez-Ramos, one of the founders of KUVO, at the KUVO studio office in Denver.

At the end of April, which is Jazz Appreciation Month, Lando reflected on how important it is to work for a radio station that belongs to the public. “It’s their station, it’s not my station. It belongs to you,” he said. “That's what the best public stations do. This station has been supported year in and year out, from the person who walks in once a month with five dollars, to someone else who writes a check for $500 every time there’s a membership drive.” 

 The best part of radio for Lando?  “It’s a two-way street. I may have the microphone, but I want to hear what you have to say,” he said. 

Dana Knowles is a multimedia journalist at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at

Julio Sandoval is a multimedia journalist at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at


Spotlight Newsletter

Community stories from across Colorado and updates on your favorite PBS programs, in your inbox every Tuesday.

Sign up here!