Carlos “Lando” Cartagena is simply the most important jazz radio personality in the history of Denver and the Front Range! Since he arrived from New York via Puerto Rico in the late 1970s, Carlos has made a great impact and difference on the radio and to the jazz scene here.

His first job in this area was at Black-oriented KDKO-AM, where he introduced NYC-style Latin jazz and salsa to the Denver airwaves. After a year at KBCO in Boulder, he was hired as Program Director to the newly formed KUVO in 1987 and transformed it into a predominantly jazz format. filling the niche when the commercial jazz outlet KADX turned to a country and western format.

For over 30 years Carlos was both PD and General Manager. He was also a frequent emcee for major touring jazz artists stopping in Denver. He has always been an advocate for local artists, largely responsible for KUVO’s commitment to spotlight Denver musicians in the live performance studio (established through his vision) as well as emphasizing their airplay, enabling homegrown talents such as Javon Jackson, Brad Leali, Pat Bianchi, Tia Fuller, and Rudy Royston to make their marks internationally. Carlos has long been an influencer, arranging interviews and speaking directly at KUVO to jazz artists ranging from Horace Silver to Tito Puente to Eddie Harris to Hilton Ruiz, among others. Carlos also had KUVO remotely broadcast live monthly concerts from the legendary venue El Chapultepec for more than five years.

In addition to his success at KUVO, Lando has served as a consultant to other jazz radio stations, including WWOZ (New Orleans) and WDNA (Miami). He has mentored dozens of on-air hosts, giving them opportunities to hone their skills and become above-average announcers. In 1992, Loretta Rucker, founding director of the African-American Public Radio Consortium, chose Carlos as advisor for her Blueprint Committee and coached under-performing stations to increase their audience by altering their programming and playlists.

So radio executives as well as radio audiences have benefitted from listening to Carlos. That’s been previously acknowledged: He has received various awards for excellence in Denver, is a candidate for the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement plaque from the Five Points Jazz Festival organizing committee.

In 2021, after spearheading the relocation of KUVO Jazz to its new state-of-the-art facility, Carlos Lando stepped down from his GM and PD positions. He decided to return to his roots and is currently on-air host/producer of “The Morning Set,” KUVO’s most popular program. Of course, anyone can listen to KUVO live, so everyone can tune in online for an earful of Jazz Hero.

Arturo Gómez
Music Director, KUVO Jazz

Stay connected to KUVO’s programs and our community! Sign up for the Oasis E-News today!

Become a Member

Join the growing family of people who believe that music is essential to our community. Your donation supports the work we do, the programs you count on, and the events you enjoy.

Download the App

Download KUVO's FREE app today! The KUVO Public Radio App allows you to take KUVO's music and news with you anywhere, anytime!