Rio and Reyes built their friendship from their days at San Antonio College being taught broadcasting by a future Texas Radio Hall of Famer, Don Couser, where the seeds of a morning duo were developing while both were students at SAC’s Radio, Television and Film classes.
While it all seemed natural, it was a technique they developed over the years. The electrifying chemistry evolved because of that relationship. The pair would often hang out on campus or at the nearby gathering places to be at the Quarter House burger room or Gatsby’s subway shop with other future radio talents .
After their two year atay at SAC, it was time for the two to hit the road. Rio (John Rosales) went to work in El Paso’s top FM station, KINT.FM 98. Reyes was making inroads on local radio in San Antonio by answering phones for Charlie Brown on kTSA at the pay rate of a dollar an hour for the request line, tabulator, He also had a part-time job on KTFM. He was doing whatever it took to get a break weekends or filling in when they needed a warm body.
On the other side of the state, John Rosales was becoming a radio hit in El Paso. How big a hit? FM 98 Program Director Jhani Kaye wanted to change his name. “We came with an air name, Sonny Rio,” Rio said. “Sonny because that was the Chamber of Commerce slogan in El Paso, ‘It’s always sunny in El Paso.’ ”
Reyes, in the meantime, finally landed a full-time job in the Rio Grande Valley. However, what he didn’t know was that it was an automated station. It took him three weeks to get a telephone installed and finally, the day after installation, KTFM called and offered him an overnight full-time gig. It was back to the Alamo town and destiny awaited.
During this time Rio wanted to return to San Antonio, The Rio and Reyes magic was still there and Reyes got Rio an interview with sister station KTSA. Sonny was hired, Rio and Reyes were together again, sort of.
Both were going head to head at night, 6-10 p.m. While the Mic’s were off records playing “We would always mess around in the hallways, and adlibbing off of one another” according to Reyes.
Their impromptu adlibbing sessions were soon heard on KSAQ doing afternoons for INNER CITY BROADCASTING, and then they were moved to mornings because of their on-air uniqueness recognized by Program Director Leo Vela, noting their ability to use theater of the mind and relate to a local audience.
Before you knew it, they were the city’s top morning duo. However, they were offered another gig before too long and landed at magic 105. It was at Magic 105 that all this happened. They were a Saturday Night Live improv show every morning that made the Alamo city smile and laugh plus the ratings proved that making them No. 1.
“The real show went on when the mic was off,” Sonny would often say when they would prepare for the next time on the air.
The back and forth transformed into a solid performance. They ruled the airwaves of South Texas for 25 years ending their successful journey at Rio Grande Valley’s B-104, under the direction of Billy Santiago. Rio and Reyes were voted into the Texas radio hall of Fame.
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