'Professor' of rock dies

DJ Scott Muni was born in Wichita

Thursday, September 30, 2004

— Disc jockey Scott Muni, the gravelly voiced radio host whose encyclopedic knowledge of rock 'n' roll made him "The Professor" to three generations of New York listeners, has died at 74.

Muni, who spent nearly 50 years on air in the nation's No. 1 radio market, died Tuesday. He had suffered a stroke earlier this year. But the cause of his death was not immediately known, said Josefa Paganuzzi, spokeswoman for Clear Channel New York.

Muni's last gig was an hourlong afternoon show on New York classic rock station Q104.3, where he landed in 1998. He also was host of many nationally syndicated programs during his career, including "Scott Muni's World of Rock" and the Beatles-oriented "Ticket to Ride."

He was included in an exhibit on radio personalities at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Muni's voice was instantly recognizable, a low rumble announcing the latest tunes from the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen to Pearl Jam.

As the program director at WNEW-FM, he was one of the leading acolytes of the freeform radio movement and became a major influence on the next wave of DJs.

Known to his listeners as "The Professor" or "Scottso," Muni was renowned for his interviews with artists such as Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend and Springsteen.

Muni was a die-hard fan of Bob Dylan and the Beatles; after the 1980 murder of John Lennon, the DJ began opening his shows with a Beatles song.

"I did it all," Muni once said when asked about the one thing he wanted to do before dying. "Some I did more than once."

Muni was born in Wichita, Kan., and raised in New Orleans.