Remembering DJ Porkie

PORKIE4Veteran WRTC host Benjamin Castro, best known by his on-air name, DJ Porkie, passed away July 8 at the age of 40.

For nearly two decades Porkie hosted the Latin Dance Party Mix, initially on Tuesday evenings before moving to the Thursday 6-7:30 p.m. time slot.

Renowned for being the ultimate fill-in person at the station, he was exceptionally knowledgeable about many genres of music so it was not uncommon for Porkie to be behind the board on a jazz, rock or Thought Power program.

“He just knew about so many artists,” said Richard Green, a long-time Latin Dance Party Mix host who co-hosted shows with Porkie many times over the years. “He knew his music and he was always able to play anything that people asked for.”

Respected by all, his passing seen as a ‘big loss’

Green learned firsthand about Porkie’s erudite depth when it came to styles of music, especially when not his normal first choice of Latin.

Collaborators: Richard Green (left) and DJ Porkie were colleagues at WRTC for 15 years. (Photo courtesy of Richard Green)

Collaborators: Richard Green (left) and DJ Porkie were colleagues at WRTC for 15 years. (Photo courtesy of Richard Green)

“I remember him helping me out on a show I was doing,” related Green. “He was coming up with all sorts of old school stuff, like old school disco and funk.”

DJ Jazz, who hosted DJ Jazz Underground Hip Hop and R&B Mix for about 12 years at WRTC, remembered a mutual admiration he and Porkie had for each other’s djing style.

“What set Pork(ie) apart from everybody else was his motivation,” said Jazz. “Every time he was doing his thing, he really got into his music. He really mixed it up, too, he would be doing his hip hop, but he’d drop in some reggaeton.”

Similar to what others in the dj community and friends of Porkie would say of his passing, Jazz was blunt: “This is a big loss,” he said. “He was loved by everybody and he helped everybody. He was that type of guy. He would support you and help you. It’s just a big loss.”

Even with his experience as a radio host and his in-demand DJ work at clubs and parties, Porkie remained a consummate student in all facets of his on-going passion to be the best he could be.

“I think what made him (Porkie) special is that he wanted to please everybody and he wanted to connect people to the music,” said Jose “CPR” Ortiz who first met Porkie in the early 1990s when he was hosting Club House Dance Music, a Latin program at WTCC-FM in Springfield, Mass.

“He was a guest on my radio show,” recalled Ortiz. “He wanted to be part of Club House and he wanted me to be his mentor. As a student, he was like a sponge, he would stand and watch you for hours, but he also wanted to learn the history of the music that was playing.

Always learning, honing his skills

“He was just a sponge when it came to learning the technical side of djing, but he learned and picked up so much of the background and history of the artists, that’s what made him such a complete DJ,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz, who continues to do radio in Springfield, often collaborated with Porkie on podcasts and hosts CPR’s Club House Reunion which features top freestyle DJs and packed houses of fans.

Porkie, according to Ortiz, was always a go-to person when it came to these shows and Ortiz said he had once DJ’ed for an audience of 10,000 people.

“A DJ has a lot of power,” explained Ortiz, “they can help fix relationships, mend hearts and that’s what he did on a weekly basis. He wasn’t just a DJ, he was our partner and I will always consider him a brother.”

Power in the music:

Power in the music: Jose “CPR” Ortiz (left) and DJ Porkie went from a mentor-student relationship to an on-going musical collaboration. (Courtesy of Jose Ortiz)

Porkie was scheduled to be one of the DJs performing at the Aug. 7 Club House Reunion at the International Biergarten in Springfield as part of the on-going Freestyle Fridays, but it will now be a massive tribute to the beloved DJ.

“What people don’t understand is the great loss they’ve just suffered (with Porkie’s passing),” said Ortiz. “He was an in demand freestyle artist and he would provide the medium – not only playing on the radio at WRTC, or with the online audience (podcasts), but with the live shows.”

Porkie: Thoughtful, humble

Ortiz says the ever-humble Porkie never wanted to be the one garnering the attention or the spotlight.

“It was never about him becoming famous or making money off this (djing),” Ortiz explained. “That was all secondary to promoting the artist. He always wanted the artist to earn the audience.

“He was never cocky, he just wanted to learn,” Ortiz said. “Even if he already knew something, he would still watch and make sure he was doing it right. There were no students like him, he just wanted to take his time and learn.”

Ultimately, it all came down to the performance for Porkie, be it at a club or on the airwaves.

“He just wanted to make people happy,” said Ortiz. “He wanted to have people dancing and being happy and that’s why the Aug. 7 performance will be dedicated to him.”

Wake, funeral details

Visitation will be held Sunday, July 12 from 5-8 p.m. at Newkirk & Whitney Funeral Home, 318 Burnside Ave., in East Hartford.

A funeral service will be on Monday, July 13 at 10 a.m. at Wesley Memorial Church, 110 Ellington Rd., East Hartford with burial to follow at Silver Lane Cemetery at 1298 Silver Lane in East Hartford.


In his element: DJ Porkie in performance. (Photo courtesy of Richard Green)

4 thoughts on “Remembering DJ Porkie

  1. miguesaragarcia on said:

    Our condolences to Mr green cpr his family specially his daughter. and everyone that had the pleasure of knowing
    Benji.may he rest in peace.

  2. Reynolds on said:

    My condolences to Porkie’s family – I knew him for years and years, and he was the nicest person who projected love and positivity at all times. Plus, he could play anything and was always graciously filling in when asked.

    Recently he came on before me and Greg and Thursdays, and I felt how lucky we were to see him on a regular basis. It was precious time indeed, and I am glad I knew Porkie, his knowledge, his grace, his kindness and his uplifting personality. What a wonderful man, and what a loss for us, for Hartford and the world.

  3. Dino Santana on said:

    Never have I ever met a more genuine, caring and loving individual who cared more about other people than himself. May every young kid he ever spoke and gave his honest opinion to carry on into adulthood and share the love for many generations to come. Pay it Forward. .. Sincerely, Herminio Dino Santana

  4. Claudia Rios on said:

    May you rest in Peace dear DJ and friend. We may say life is unfair when you are taken so young. My condolences to all his crew at WRTC and to his family and friends. From me personally and from the team at the Amplitude Program. RIP DJ Porkie.

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