The KING of Mixshow Radio & Founder of the DJ Vatican | Alumni WPGC Washington, DC + KSFM Sacramento, CA
written by DJ Sir Charles Dixon, founding member of the DJV:
I met Ricky Leigh early in 1988, just after I started the Mixshow on WPGC 95 in DC with Albie D the MD that started my career in Radio. Ricky was a DJ at a Club in Rockville MD and he use to DJ with Scott Magerer at Club Mirage. I also started the first DJ service for WPGC called the Continuous DJ Service and that's when Ricky and I started working together around 1989. I put Ricky on my team and he helped me expand the service from DC to Rockville. Ricky had 4 massive Cerwin Vega 18" speakers and a top of the line system of Crest and Crown amps! We did a lot of parties back then.
I left WPGC in July of 1990 to work at Tommy Boy records in New York and create the first Mixshow DJ database to break acts on the Roster. In 1990 labels did not focus on DJs unless they were Billboard reporters or Gavin and CMJ reporters. The argument for labels regarding radio was they already met with the PDs and MDs and there was no need to speak to the Mixers. So in addition to my Billboard mag, club and record pool contacts I had compiled a national list of Urban and Crossover DJs that mixed like I did on WPGC.
Ricky and I were out of touch for almost 2 years, until I ran into him at The New Music Seminar in 1992. He was part of a radio panel and he had started to do a mix pick column for Hitmakers radio trade magazine and later Charlie Minor hired him to come over to Hits Magazine. Working for Hits Ricky had more freedom to be creative and innovative with a new column called INThaMixx. Ricky would reach out to DJs and get their Hot song picks for his column. I was the new head mixer at WBLS (Thunderstorm DJs). Ricky called me one day for my picks and asked me to call DJs and let them know about his column. He offered interviews and exposure in his "in tha mixx" column. I agreed it was a great idea. Ricky would then call me every week to see what DJs I had ready to report. Some weeks when we were catching up he would say "let's call some DJs on 3 way". Ricky loved to do that and after a few month's we had quite a network.
In 1993 one of our dear friends and mixshow DJs from Detroit, Greg Beasley who was also the founder of Metro Mixx in Detroit, had passed away weeks after getting hired on the beat in Los Angeles. We were devastated by the news and we started a series of 3 way to 5 way calls to reminisce about Greg's demise right when he was about to make it big. The calls were so impactful, Ricky decided to start a conference call for mixshow djs. He asked me to help him recruit and the 1st Mixshow DJ conference call was born in 1993. With a core list of about 60 DJs and Major label sponsorship, the calls became a force in the game and the impact of the mixshow community finally rivaled the Billboard DJ panel that concentrated on Dance Music. Ricky's INTHAMIXX column and conference call was game changing. Every senior level radio and label executive became aware of how important and revelant the Mixshow community was for breaking new artists.
After a solid five year run with the industries top DJs and Industry vets, Ricky's roster of DJs included such Djs as: Sway and Tech, The Baker Boys, Funk Master Flexx, DJ Ran, (me) Sir Charles"Mixin"Dixon, Kelly G, Latin Prince, Prince Ice, Babalu Bad Boys, Kid Fresh, Wolf D, Jimmy Jamz, Damon Williams, Justyn Time, Clark Kent, Dj Debonair, Stan Priest, Touchtone, Mecca, DJ Scrap dirty, Mark X, Tony Neal, Dwight Stone, DJ Doom, Miggedy Maestro, DJ Jelly, Capitol J, Chonz, Chino, Felix Sama, Dj Book, Geoffrey C, Enrie, DJ Speed, Virman, DJ Wick, E Rock, Franzen, Irie, Mixxula, Davey D, Roy Barbosa, Colby Colb, DJ Jam, Ebro, Rick Lee, Don Mack, Tossin Ted, E Man, Harold Banks, G Wiz, DJ Kut, Rory Mack, Chris Coleman, DJ Fresh, Paul Bunyon, Jazzy Joyce, Cocoa Chanelle, Kid Jay, DJ Jelly, Red Alert, DJ Clue, King Tech, DJ Flexxx, and a host of other top DJs from around the world.
In 1998, Label rep Rene McClean started the 1st major Mixshow DJ conference and Ricky Leigh, DJ Ran and myself came on board to consult, represent the Mixshow Community and help Rene's team make it happen. The Mixshow Power Summit was a great success. The business gradually changed in the following years as DJ organizations and events that targeted DJs became more popular. Ricky was also voted in The Source's TOP 30 of the Year. Eventually Ricky left HITS and moved to Florida to help his Mom and work on his last project, a groundbreaking radio show called "Recovery Radio Live." Recovery Radio was an on-air 12-step program designed to help people suffering from addiction get the help they needed to overcome their disease.
His influence, passion and support for the Mixshow community will not be forgotten. Often misunderstood, Ricky left his foot prints on the music business, he was a true vet and pioneer of the industry. I am so glad I had a chance to speak to him and get a better understanding of our past and mend differences of opinion and have closure before he left to rest. I thank him for supporting me and being a friend for over 20 years. Ricky will truly be missed by the people that understood his true value to the music business.
Rest In Peace Ricky Leigh Mensh - Sir Charles Mixin Dixon
Parting words from the DJV:
Sway (MTV News+The World Famous Wakeup Show): "Ricky was the first to mobilize mixshow DJs on a national level and gave us the power and recognition that we deserved. There was a point where radio stations and record companies didn't value the role of the mixshow DJ until Ricky Leigh gave us a platform and voice. Ricky Leigh was a visionary with his Mixshow column in Hits magazine and made a path for future DJ organizations like the Technicians, Core DJs and the Mixshow Power Summit. He was a great friend of mine. R.I.P Ricky Leigh."
King Tech (The World Famous Wakeup Show/Sway's Partner & Co-Host): "Ricky, thank you for being such a great friend over the years," Tech wrote to MTV News. "Thank you for being such a a good friend to me and Sway. Thank you for introducing me to my wife. I'll see you in heaven soon, my friend." Rest in peace, Ricky Leigh Mensh. Your legacy will live on.
Nasty Nes - On March 11th I lost a good friend, Ricky Leigh Mensh (see photos above). Ricky Leigh was responsible for me moving to LA. Ricky, Latin Prince & I had MixShow &College Radio on LOCK at HITS Magazine. There will NEVER be another WINNING team like us! Ricky had a distinguished 25+ year career in the music industry, which includes many years as an on-air host and programmer in commercial radio at WPGC in DC & at KSFM in Sacramento. As former Sr. Vice President of music industry trade publication Hits Magazine, Mensh also wrote the storied column “InThaMix” which became a weekly must-read among industry heavyweights. “Ricky Leigh” was a voting member of The Grammy's since 2001 and an active participant on many of The Recording Academy's panels. Ricky was also voted in The Source's TOP 30 of the Year. Ricky's last project, "Recovery Radio Live" was an on-air 12-step program designed to help people suffering from addiction get the help they needed to overcome their disease. Ricky is also the guy who started the DJ Conference Calls from his days at Hitmakers to Hits magazine. I've kept his legacy alive via my Rap Attack Conference calls which is 13 years strong. Ricky Leigh Mensh's funeral will be held Tuesday March 16 at 11:00 AM at Danzansky and Goldberg Funeral Home in Rockville, MD. I wouldn't be doing thisRap Attack column if it wasn't for Ricky. Please peepout his special tribute page online at: http://www.myspace.com/rickyleighmensh. R.I.P. to the KING of MIXSHOW & my friend RICKY LEIGH MENSH…
Steve Miggedy Maestro - I met ricky at an impact convention in '94 or '95. He was very humble when he asked me to join the dj conference call. From that point we became close, with his 3am three way calls. Ricky had a way of handling people & most times he was nuturing, sometimes he could ruffle your feathers if you didn't know him like i did. I enjoyed keeping the conf call in some kind of order, not so much to gain points with him but sometimes you have to step in when you see a void and just handle it, no questions asked. I knew i could never work for ricky for pay 'cuz it would've messed up the friendship we had. I remember a convo we had & he was asking me what did i see myself doing in five years. At that time i said producing(that was always my plan.) he gave me this look and this sigh that said so much to me, but i wasn't hearing that. I was mad with him but i never said anything. God as my witness he turned out to be 1000% right. He had saved my life so i can tell you when a friend tells you something you don't wan to hear, that's a true friend. I will always love my friend, ricky leigh mencsh. You are now one of the lucky ones.
Chris Coleman - Yo! I am in SHOCK right now! We just had a conversation on the phone with him about a week and a half ago. Rickey was still Rickey! I still remember my 1st time on the call back in 1996...wow!!! he had a way of introducing you on the call, he made you bigger than denzel winning an oscar!!! he was truly the Godfather of the Hip Hop Community...never be anyone like him! R.I.P Ricky!!!
Bad Boy Bill - Ricky Leigh had one of the biggest hearts I know, and once he had your back he was behind you 100%. He loved and respected what the dj's were doing when nobody gave a fuck. I remember once time he invited me to his house in Malibu, and I did some mixing there, spent the night, and the next day me, Sway (who later would go on to host on mtv), and him all sat on the beach looking at the ocean, talking, bullshitting, game planning, and most of all having a laugh. That was a great day, and that's the memory I will keep of my great friend Ricky Leigh. R.I.P. brotha. Get the cream ready for us up there (Ricky knows what I'm talkin about)
DJ Lynnwood - Ricky Leigh was singlehandly responsible for the organization and propulsion of the US Radio Mix Show community. Not only did Ricky connect power players from every corner of the music business, he broke hundreds of records and is largly responsible for crossing hip hop onto mainstream radio.
Ricky was a gifted communicator, and a talented promoter, DJ, air talent and businessman.
Ricky was quite possibly my dearest friend in 30 years of music, and he and I shared our trials and triumphs as best buddies.
Ricky will be missed by all, and his energy, tenacity and out-of-the-box thinking should become a template for future success in our ever-evolving industry.
R.I.P. Ricky Leigh Mensh