KROQ Staple 'Rodney On The Roq' To Air Its Last Show This Weekend
“Rodney on the Roq,” the KROQ show that was been on the airwaves since 1977, will run its final installment this weekend. The show is helmed by the ever-present Rodney Bingenheimer, the biggest rock and rock fanboy to have ever landed in Los Angeles. Bingenheimer confirmed the news on Facebook, saying that while he'll be leaving KROQ, he has no intentions of retiring:
As reported at the L.A. Times, the decision to end “Rodney on the Roq" wasn't exactly a mutual one. Bingenheimer said that KROQ executives had informed him that the brass at CBS in New York (they own the station) were planning "a cutback" and that he was let go as part of those plans. The final show will air at midnight on Sunday (technically Monday morning), and will be given an extended four-hour time slot that runs till 4 a.m. on Monday.
Bingenheimer promises a special final show that includes "special callers," which is no small thing when coming from the DJ, as Bingenheimer is infamous for being the most well-connected man in L.A. when it comes to rock music. As reported in an earlier Times article, Bingenheimer first arrived in Los Angeles as a teenage runaway from Mountain View (he refuses to give away his exact age). He did an internship with Mercury Records, and one of his jobs there was to escort David Bowie around Los Angeles (you think he got college credit for that?).
In one way or another, Bingenheimer would repeatedly find himself in the sphere of music celebrity. He auditioned for, and lost, Davy Jones' role on The Monkees, though he'd later be hired as Jones' double. He was a live-in publicist for Sonny and Cher. He opened a nightclub on Sunset Boulevard—Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco—that drew in the likes of Led Zeppelin, Andy Warhol, and the Kinks. He was a man about town, and the great Sal Mineo would dub him the “Mayor of the Sunset Strip" for the way he navigated the neighborhood (figuratively and otherwise).
There was also his show on KROQ, of course. Today, the station is something of an L.A. institution that pumps out a steady diet of Sublime singles. Back in the '70s, however, it was still a fledgling station that was pushing against the weight of humdrum, Easy Listening acts like The Eagles. It was in this context that Bingenheimer would help popularize KROQ as a purveyor of under-the-radar jams from the realm of Punk, New Wave, and beyond. According to The Press-Enterprise, Bingenheimer was one of the first West Coast DJs to play Cheap Trick, Van Halen, the Runaways, Blondie, and the Sex Pistols. The Ramones, in fact, were guests on Bingenheimer's first show on KROQ:
Bingenheimer is also known for introducing us to Coldplay. "He played Coldplay (on American radio) before anyone else," frontman Chris Martin said in the 2003 documentary Mayor of the Sunset Strip. Oh well, it's hard to maintain a perfect legacy!
As for why his show was on Sunday nights, Rodney told the OC Register that it was a conscious effort to pit himself against the ills of boredom. “I remember when I first started my show they said, ‘What day would you like to do your show on?'” Bingenheimer said. “I’d say, “I’d like to do it on a Sunday, because Sundays are always so boring.’"