During his time in Fresno, Rick Roddam has been a radio personality, a comedian, a program director, an event host, a local advocate and the head of his own clothing line. On Monday, he bids Fresno farewell after 11 years. We couldn’t let him leave without one last exit interview — he insists he’s done plenty during his time here (that’s radio for ya), but was up for one more.
Radio listeners remember Roddam’s name from KRZR, Y-101 and The Blaze. Recently, however, he hasn’t been able to find a new radio gig, so he’s leaving for Denver. But not without his comedy pals sending him off in the best way they could — with a roast Sunday night at Heroes Sports Lounge.
What’s so awesome that it’s getting you to leave Fresno?
I had a Jules Winnfield style moment of clarity and I’ve decided to ‘wander the earth.’
Tell us a little background on how and when you came to Fresno. Did you think you’d be here this long?
I came to Fresno in 2000 because KRZR offered me a job. I planned on staying here for a few years and then moving on to someplace bigger and better. Little did I know that Fresno sucks you in … and you never really leave.
What are some of your most memorable Fresno moments?
I got to witness the last days of rock radio’s golden age. Working for KRZR was an honor and the depraved antics we were able to get away with will live in infamy. I’m also very proud to have worked with some awesome local bands and comedians.
What are some of the things you’ll miss about Fresno? Besides people. I’m talking businesses, things to eat, events, etc.
I will miss Fresno’s proximity to amazing natural beauty. We are all lucky to live very close to so much awe inspiring scenery. I will miss stumbling around the Tower District in a drunken stupor, Thirsty Thursdays, the skanks at The Bar, good Thai food, taco trucks, potato salad from a Basque restaurant, tough dudes from Clovis telling me how much they love Motley Crue, Tri-tip, watching the smog change color on a summer night, Mr. Rude, doing stand-up in front of 6 people, all the of the incredibly good looking and completely crazy women in this town, and Ashley Swearengin … I’m especially gonna miss her.
You put you a comedy DVD called “Stay Classy, Fresno” recently, what’s the “classiest” thing you saw during your years in Fresno?
That would be the people. From the hard-working, hard-rocking listeners I’ve had the honor to befriend, to the bands, comics, venue owners, promoters, stoners, drunks, hippies, rednecks and freaks I have met over the years, Fresno is classy. And it’s the best kind of classy: it’s not pretty, it’s not fancy, it’s a blue-collar, black t-shirt town that is overflowing with character and genuine charm … it’s working-class classy.
Speaking of DVD projects: You’ve also been working on a documentary about KRZR. What should we expect from that? When will it be out?
It’s called “Long Live the Wild Hare,” and I’m working on it with a local guy named Giovi from Fadeaway J Films. It’s a tribute to the people who worked at and listened to the craziest, most politically incorrect, stupidest, sophomoric and juvenile radio station in Fresno history. It’s also a time capsule of Fresno from 1989-2010. If you lived here and you love rock ‘n’ roll, this film is for you. If you partied at the Cadillac Club or Porky’s, this film is for you. And it’s also about the last era of good rock radio in America, before the big corporate McRadio companies sucked the life of out of it. And it’s not just a Fresno story. If you ever loved KSJO, KNAC, KUFO or any of the other legendary rock stations that are no longer around, this film is for you. We are currently editing almost 20 hours of footage and we hope to release an awesome 90-minute documentary sometime before Christmas.
Let’s say a genie gives you three wishes, but you to use one to improve Fresno as a whole, one to improve Fresno’s comedy scene and one to improve Fresno’s radio landscape. What do you wish for?
Here’s my 3 wishes. For Fresno: rebuild downtown and restore it to the jewel it once was during Fresno’s heyday. For Fresno’s comedy scene: have a full time comedy club that promotes both national and local acts and consistently delivers top-notch entertainment for a low price. For Fresno’s radio landscape: someone loan Chris Pacheco $25 million dollars so he can buy a cluster of stations and put local talent to work.
As someone who has been a Fresno fan in his time here — even started a clothing line called “Fresno Doesn’t Suck” — let’s say after you leave, you don’t see, hear or read anything about Fresno, then come back in five years. How would you expect it to be different?
How could I possibly stay away from Fresno for 5 years. Just because I’m leaving now doesn’t mean I won’t be back in six months. That’s how Fresno is; it’s that abusive relationship you just can’t leave. I’m leaving Fresno because it beats me and it can’t find work. But Fresno will knock on my door and say “I’ve changed.” I’m not breaking up with Fresno, I’ve just decided to see other people. And I fully expect Fresno to stalk me and beat the crap out of my new lover. Then I will file a restraining order on Fresno. Then Fresno will lure me back and I will drop the charges.
Any final words for the people of the 559?
Stay Classy Fresno. And thanks for a decade of great times and great memories.