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NPR Arts & Life

After 40 Years, DJ Rodney Bingenheimer Will Say Goodbye To KROQ

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So if you're here on the West Coast and you are, say, up in the middle of the night, you have probably heard this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BROOKE SHIELDS: This is Brooke Shields. And I got my radio station on for "Rodney On The ROQ."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That's Brooke Shields ID'ing one of rock music's most iconic radio shows. "Rodney On The ROQ" has been on the air in Los Angeles since 1976, when Rodney Bingenheimer first began hosting the show on K-R-O-Q, or KROQ.

GREENE: Yeah. With Rodney's help, KROQ became first in the nation to popularize punk and new wave and alternative rock in the '70s, '80s and '90s. And through that program, he introduced some unknown acts who would become some of the biggest stars in rock, like Van Halen, who appeared on the show over a year before the band even released its first record.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED BAND MEMBER: It was the first radio play we've ever got. And we couldn't have done it without you either, Rodney.

MARTIN: Van Halen, a band who would own radio during the '80s, got their start on Rodney's program in 1976, after he discovered them in a West Hollywood nightclub. And that's not the only band he'd introduce the nation to. There's also Oasis, Joan Jett, The Ramones and Coldplay, whose lead singer thanked Rodney in a documentary for helping them out as an unknown band.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY)

CHRIS MARTIN: He's the man around here - played Coldplay before anybody else, you know. Thanks - so we owe you.

GREENE: Well, we have come to this. Rodney is hosting his final "Rodney On The ROQ" this weekend, after over 40 years on the air. His last show's going to be early Monday morning - or, as it has always been known on Rodney's show, Sunday night from 12 to 3.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RODNEY ON THE ROQ THEME")

UNIDENTIFIED ARTIST: (Singing) Every Sunday night from 12 to 3, he spins the hits for my baby and me... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.