Kool DJ Red Alert (born Frederick Crute on November 27, 1956) is an American disc jockey who rose to fame on 98.7 Kiss-FM in New York City, and is recognized as one of the founding fathers of hip hop music and culture. Kool DJ Red Alert grew up in Harlem, New York, he was given his nickname “Red Alert” as a teenager for his natural reddish hair, and for his “alert” sense on defense when playing basketball. He is one of the first deejays to perform with the architects of hip hop Universal Zulu Nation. He built his radio show’s fan base by shouting out to listeners within the Tri-State area. Red Alert has been noted for breaking in such acts and artists as A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, and Black Sheep. Red played a vital role in The Bridge Wars beginning in 1986. His legend grew immensely after being the first deejay to break the record South Bronx by Boogie Down Productions on his KISS-FM weekend radio show and club gigs in support of the Bronx-based hip hop group versus MC Shan, Marley Marl, and the Juice Crew. He holds the all-time record for the most guest appearances amongst all hip hop artists and personalities in the history of music video.
While dee jaying at The Roxy in 1982, Red Alert met Barry Mayo, the KISS 98.7 FM Program Director. Impressed by Red’s deejay abilities, Mayo hired Red Alert to inaugurate the station’s “KISS Master Mix Party” showcase. Kool DJ Red Alert appeared on the station, becoming their top deejay. He built his fame and expanded his name recognition via mixtapes that were bootlegged amongst his fans within the Tri-State area who recorded his radio show, and eventually worldwide with the Universal Zulu Nation and the Rock Steady Crew. His only full-time hired colleague for the station’s other hip hop shows was fellow pioneering deejay Chuck Chillout. After over 11 years at KISS-FM, and the 1994 corporate sale from KISS-FM’s parent company Summit Communications to rival Emmis Communications, and KISS-FM’s re-branding to an “R&B and Classic Soul” format, Red was transitioned to New York City’s next arbiters of hip hop and R&B Hot 97 in December 1994. He would deejay two time slots called The Twelve O’Clock Old School At Noon Mix and The Five O’Clock Free Ride for the next seven years. After a brief return to KISS-FM from 2001 to 2002, Red started playing for Power 105.1FM.. After a five-year stint at Power 105-FM, Kool DJ Red Alert returned to his initial radio station KISS 98.7 FM in 2006. After parent company Emmis Communications sold the station’s license to become the sports-talk radio-formatted ESPN Radio New York 98.7 FM, Kool DJ Red Alert performed his final mix on the pioneering urban-formatted station on April 29, 2012.