DJ Laz Off South Florida Airwaves

Popular voice at Power 96 since 1980s leaves station

Lazaro Mendez, better known as DJ Laz, has said goodbye to Power 96, where he's been on the air since the 80s.

The famous South Florida radio voice was off the morning air on Tuesday, but his co-host Afrika took the lead.

"Rumors are true, I am no longer with Power 96... I wish them all the best. And to my coworkers and friends, thank you for everything," Mendez said in a Tweet Monday night.

DJ Laz told NBC 6 in an exclusive interview that his departure from Power 96 was his decision "100 percent."

"After doing the same thing for 22 years, (I) decided that maybe it's time for a change. That structure, that getting up every day, because the show starts at 6, but you get up well before that. 4 a.m. that alarm clock's going off, and it felt really good to throw the alarm clock against the wall today and not have to worry about it," he said.

Power 96 said in an email statement that effective Tuesday, the DJ decided to "move on and explore other professional opportunities."

The statement added that he "wishes the Power 96 family the best of luck" and that Vice President and Market Manager of Beasley Broadcast Miami, Joe Bell, said they wish him "success and happiness in his new endeavors."

Afrika and The Big Lip Bandit will continue with the morning show, and the station is looking for a third person, the statement said.

"It’s a mystery," said an employee at Beasley Broadcast Group, the company which owns Power 96.

Mendez, a Cuban-American rapper and DJ, is also known for his albums DJ Laz and Category 6. He began his career in music at 15, mixing at South Florida clubs.

He is also a promoter and still books private engagements, according to his Twitter page.

DJ Laz is "my mentor," said one former coworker, who did not give his name.

"DJ Laz is Power 96," said another employee who wanted to remain anonymous. "It's sad, but life goes on."

Chris Iacobelli grew up listening to DJ Laz. “It’s a great loss for the community of South Floida,” said Iacobelli. “He’s gonna be missed.”

Laz cleared up the mystery – or at least some of it – Tuesday night.

“I just walked in and handed them my resignation letter and said I just want a change. So I’m going to go do me for a little while," he said in the interview.

Laz said he will spend some time with his family and travel, and said he hopes to spend some time on TV and in the recording studio. He also thanked his listeners.

“You guys made me who I am, I love for you it, and I will never, ever ever forget it," he said.

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