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Que pasa? : PEOPLE AND EVENTS

October 12, 1989|EDWARD J. BOYER

Humberto Luna is considered to be morning disc jockeys Rick Dees and Jay Thomas rolled into one. His new, $5-million, five-year contract--the highest for a disc jockey in Spanish-language radio--gives him a salary to match.

"I'm well paid, but it makes me uncomfortable because I'm identified with the average person, the average Mexican," said Luna, 41, a native of Zacatecas. "I don't want to seem presumptuous, but I appreciate that they're recognizing my work after 20 years on the air."

Luna's madcap antics during the 6 to 11 a.m. morning drive-time has brought KTNQ into the top 10 Los Angeles stations in the Arbitron ratings. "That's why we were so anxious to sign him," said KTNQ general manager Ken Wolt.

Ruben Ortega became a hero at San Gabriel High School when he wrested a semiautomatic rifle from a fellow student who was holding him and 69 other students hostage in a classroom last year. "I was afraid," Ortega said, "but I was just trying to get the gun away from him." Now, Ortega of Alhambra is also a hero to President Bush, who has awarded him a 1988 Young American Medal for Bravery.

For singer Tony Melendez, life irrevocably changed "when the Pope jumped off the stage and we touched with a kiss. He kind of rubbed a little of his charisma off on me--and maybe a little responsibility of the church."

Born without arms, Melendez, 29, of Chino, plays guitar with his feet. Since John Paul II's kiss at the Universal Amphitheatre in 1987, Melendez has practiced a kind of ministry--"singing my music and just trying to give people hope."

His biography, "The Gift of Hope," will be published this year, and readers, he said, "will see this guy with no arms leading a very normal life."

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