In 1960, at the age of 15, Ramon Jacinto set up his first business called RJ ENTERPRISES. His company produced and released numerous records by his classmates, as well as his band RJ and The Riots. RJ Enterprises also pioneered multi-track recording in the country being the first owner of the Ampeg 300-3 track machine and became the studio of choice of many artists and advertising agencies.
Two years later at the age of 17, RJ established what was to become a legendary radio station, DZRJ, in his parents’ backyard. Manned by his volunteer group of classmates and experimenting with radio concepts unknown and unheard of before, DZRJ developed a “cult like” following. It did away with rampant “payola” and introduced alternative music. It was the first to expose The Beatles and Filipino bands on the airwaves.
A decade later, the Marcos dictatorship and the declaration of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972 changed everything in the Philippines. During this time RJ lived in exile until 1986 when he returned. At that point he reopened his radio station. He went on the air and said: “Hi, this is Ramon Jacinto. Some of you know me as RJ. Some of you don’t remember me and don’t even know there is a man behind the name RJ. Well, I own this station but I’ve been gone for 14 ½ years. Help me by calling in and suggesting what I should do…” Thousands of phone calls later, DZRJ became the leader in the revival/retro wave of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
After that, betting on his hunch that live bands would stage a comeback, he proved that nightspots could earn more by hiring live bands. He opened the Bistro RJ, a phenomenally successful 60’s Rock n’ Roll music lounge. At the time he did it, live bands were dead. Night life in the Philippines was confined to piano bars and discos. Bands had to travel abroad to make a living.
RJ also bet on the guitar coming back as the instrument of choice when karaoke and Yamaha Portatones were in vogue. He bought a hole-in-the-wall guitar repair shop owned by luthier Rudy Discipulo and set out to manufacture world-class guitars. RJ Music City now has 150 dealers and 3 retail showrooms.
Today, RJ still manages and operates his 10 radio stations, one TV station, a wholesale and retail musical instrument company, a company that has the exclusive franchise for Radio Shack stores, a shopping mall and has relocated Bistro RJ (now called RJ Bar) back to it’s original location at 826 Pasay Road, Makati. He still performs till this day.
Here we have his version of the Gary U.S. Bonds song “New Orleans” originally released in 1960.