NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A local DJ has one of the most distinctive voices on Connecticut radio and has continued to reach thousands of listeners throughout his 30-year career.

Juan Castillo is a fixture on the mic for the Afternoon Drive at WYBC, playing the hottest hip-hop and R&B tunes and making listeners feel like family.

Castillo said he’s come a long way from his first broadcast all those years ago.

“I felt like I was sitting on a cliff looking down the whole show and when I came home I told my wife ‘I’m not going back, there’s no way I can do this.. and she said you never quit at anything in your life- and you’re going back… the rest is history,” Castillo said.

His journey to the height of radio is a little different from others. He was a high school basketball star in Brooklyn, New York and was good enough to win a college scholarship to Notre Dame.

However, he never suited up for the Irish after being arrested on drug charges back home.

It was in a New York State Prison when he decided it was time to concentrate on education and turn his life around.

“Once I got there, I was like I don’t want to come back, so I’m going to work on myself while I’m here,” Castillo explained.

His biggest break came when he had the chance to meet with then-Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso who saw his potential.

“May she rest in peace… she was a was wonderful woman… without her, I wouldn’t be here,” Castillo said.

After doing his time, Grasso helped him get started in a career in law enforcement and social work. He then made the move into radio as a trainee at WYBC.

Today he is the host and director of urban programming at the station and his show, thanks to streaming radio, can be heard by listeners around the globe.

“So, on any given hour, you might have 200 or 300 hundred thousand people listening,” Castillo said.

He has a signature sound and delivery that has stood the test of time and keeps on going.