A day later, many rockers are still mourning the loss of KRZR, Fresno’s once mighty rock station. Many are questioning how its corporate overlord, Clear Channel, could have decided to turn it into a dance station. And more than a thousand people have already joined a “Bring KRZR Back” Facebook page.
I could attempt to write something about what KRZR meant to the community. But I know I couldn’t do it half as good as some of the people whose voices guided the station through its good times. So I’ve asked a few people to offer up their eulogies for “The Wild Hare.” Some you’ll recognize as beloved once-KRZRers. Others just know the station well. All of them understand what it meant to Fresno.
Once morning show co-host at KRZR from 1994-2005, and now on morning (5-9 a.m.) on 105.1 The Blaze. She writes …
KRZR was the station every rock station in the country wanted to be–sincerely, ‘even though we were in Fresno’. And that’s a true story.
KRZR was the first rock station streaming on the internet, and yet stayed local. KRZR was the first rock station to realize the importance of the local music scene, and share a mutually beneficial relationship. Because of the heritage behind the station, there were big rock names that might not have given Fresno a second look on their tour. But that was also at a time when we only had one rock station in town.
Hopefully, with rockers continuing to support the scene (and stations like 105.1 The Blaze continuing the tradition of rock in Fresno!), there won’t be a ‘void’ per se. KRZR and I spent 12 years together, and they were awesome years. I wish the best for everyone there. And I hope when looking for a rock station, peeps may lend an ear to 105.1 the Blaze…just sayin’.
Daniel was the host of the popular Front Row morning show. He worked at KRZR from the day it debuted, June 17, 1989, until Sept. 2004. He can now be heard twice a day on KMJ — 1-3 p.m. on 105.9 FM and 5-7 p.m. on 580 AM.
KRZR was, quite simply, the first and last word in rock for the Central Valley for many, many years. Two generations of some really great people–listeners and staff–grew up on the station. It stands out as it holds a special place in the memories of a whole lot of folks, though they may not have listened for years. To this day, literally this week, people still want to talk me about stunts, events, concerts, shows and comedy that was performed as long as 18 years ago. That’s special; few stations enjoy that kind of legacy and fond recall.
I am really proud and grateful to have been able to be a part of something as wonderful as KRZR was for so long. I got to work with some amazing and talented people, notably 18-year Program Director E. Curtis Johnson, Jennifer Lipp, Brad Giese and Aaron “The Giant” Lee. We had so much fun and the laughter you heard was real.
Radio like that, which KRZR once did, isn’t done anymore and for no reason other than fear, pasteurization, budget slavery and a complete abandonment of up-and-coming talent. There is no longer any bravery at the local pod of the corporate Death Star that handles the station. That is clear for this channel
It is hard to imagine a city like Fresno, with the demographics it has, without a mainstream rock station. With due deference to the classic rockers and the alternative station, it’s difficult to conceive our town without a R&R format that doesn’t delineate genre. KRZR simply said, “It either rocks or it doesn’t and if it does, we play it…LOUD.” That’s a rock station and our Valley has lost a treasure. True, KRZR has suffered in recent years and not done particularly well in the ratings. It hasn’t really been a player lately, but only because the coaches pulled it out of the game with endless budget cuts, syndication, zero promotion, playing it safe, shrinking its talent and running a playbook from an out-of-town office building where no one ever, ever rocked.
KRZR didn’t die of natural causes. It was starved to death.
It was matchless privilege to work there. I’ll miss everything about it except that inflatable rabbit.
KRZR was about more than music. It wasn’t just a juke-box. 103.7 KRZR was an outrageous part of Fresno’s radio history: a party that spilled into the streets and refused to quiet down for 21 years.
I’m proud that I got to launch the station and captain the ship for almost 18 years along with with some incredibility talented broadcasters. The contests and promotions KRZR’s employees pulled off are unparalleled in Fresno’s radio history. Fresno will never again see the likes of “Show Us Your Wild Hare,” “The Running of the Sheep,” “The Straight-Pride Parade,” “The Endangered Species Banquet,” and dozens of other contests that were fun for listeners, caused an uproar, and caught the attention of local and national media.
KRZR played as hard as it rocked! KRZR’s murder leaves a void for another station to take the reigns and thumb its nose at safe, corporate, soul-less radio.
Roddam was a jock on KRZR and the music director from 2000-2005. Until recently, he was the program director at 105.1 The Blaze.
KRZR did more to promote local rock than any station in Fresno ever has, and when I was there, it was a big part of our marketing plan. More than that, in its heyday, KRZR was one of the craziest and politically incorrect rock stations in the country. The Wild Hare was more than just a slogan or a mascot, it was an attitude and that’s what really connected with the rock fans of Fresno.
As for the void, it leaves Fresno without an “active” rock station, although I suspect that KKBZ and KFRR will make adjustments to their playlists. My good friend Jennifer Lipp will stand alone as the only local morning show for rock fans. But I doubt any rock station in Fresno will ever be able to reclaim the spirit that made KRZR so great back in the day. It’s a shame, but that’s the state of big corporate McRadio these days.
Hard to put into words what it all means at the end of the day. I come from a different perspective, I have many friends that were there that are amazing broadcasters & talents. From the perspective of a programmer, they were always the 800 lb gorilla that gave me more grey hair then I care to have.
For our business of radio & community of Fresno, it is a huge loss.
Silva is a local rock promoter, who used to help with KRZR’s local music show.
KRZR meant a few things to Fresno and Fresno music scene. As for Fresno, it was the only hard rock/metal station that played those types of bands; Slayer, Iron Maiden, Mudvayne and so forth. They even had Mandatory Metallica.
They were the only station that pushed the envelope on their shows. Remembering back ten years or so, they had the Meat Shop with Bower, and then Rick Roddam stepped in right after that. His show bought new depths in Fresno radio. I feel he really stepped up and shaped KRZR and raised the bar in Fresno radio. I never forget the hilarious things he did on his show, and to all his crazy characters like Prison Bitch, Manhole, Cletus, Cerebral Paul, and the rest of his interns.
Let’s not forget the Front Row Morning Show! Jen Lipp, Brad Giese and Chris Daniel. I remember getting up or never going to bed and hearing Jen’s Freak News. Just the random moments in the morning to start the day of laughter. I remember becoming a huge fan of KRZR around that time and always calling in the morning show, Roddam’s show, and even late night with Ashton and becoming all great friends.
I even helped produced a segment called “Overnight Spotlight” every single weekend. I gave my weekends to go help Ashton out to help the music scene. We had a two-year run of that show! The music scene loved the show and it was very popular among all the music scene supporters. I had bands all over the country wanting to be on the show. So we knew the show was something the music scene needed. Not to mention “Turn That Damn Noise Down” on Sunday night. KRZR was a huge supporter of the Fresno music scene.
Now that KRZR is gone there’s going to be a huge void of hard music, crazy games to win tickets, hell even the cool segment “The Beer Run” with Koyote. Only a station like KRZR can think and do all these off the wall segments! So we’re really going to be missing out on good, fun, off-the-wall entertainment. I’m glad I was part of it someway and I’m glad I made friends with them through out the years! KRZR had a good 21-year run!
OR TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANT TO FRESNO.