Influential LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer Taken Off The Air
Rodney Bingenheimer has been around for a while, he is probably the most influential DJ in Los Angeles and has launched the career of many famous artists. But today, The OC Register and other media are announcing his departure from the radio KROQ where he made his debut in 1976. So is he retiring? At 69 he could well be, but this is not really what is happening. He was called by KROQ management earlier this week, just to be told that ‘Rodney on the ROQ,’ was over.
‘They said they were going through a lot of changes, a lot of cutbacks, and they’ve got new management people coming in, I didn’t leave the show on my own, but they were very good to me the whole time I was there,’ he explained to the OC Register.
This is really the end of an era, Rodney is credited to have made many bands famous. ‘The Ramones and Blondie, you can go right down the line. If you talk to the Bangles they’ll tell you, ‘Oh, Rodney, well, we sent him our cassette …’ . Duran Duran, they were big all over the world but in America no one was playing these guys,’ said Chris Carter, host of ‘Breakfast With The Beatles’ program on Sirius satellite radio.
Rodney was more than a DJ, he was friends with David Bowie, was a columnist for Go! Magazine in the 60s, operated a club, Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco,in the 70s, and he was the first one to play the Runaways on KROQ… Carter even made a documentary about him “The Mayor Of Sunset Strip’ in 2004.
Kevin Weatherly, the station’s program director simply released this statement on Friday: ‘We will forever be grateful for the indelible mark that ‘Rodney on the ROQ’ has left on this station, our listeners, and the alt-rock music scene. Rodney helped shape KROQ into the great station it is today and we wish him nothing but great success in the future.’
Great success in the future? He is 69, and you just fired him! But Rodney has announced on his Facebook that he will continue one way or another, and has projects.
I have seen him around, a few times, he is an eccentric character and honestly disinterested by the fame he has triggered.
‘Rodney has facilitated the multimillion-dollar careers of the biggest names in music. He got Bowie an American record deal – and yet he lives in a modest six-room apartment in Hollywood, plays his records on a $69 phonograph bought at a chain drug store,’ you can read on the Guardian.
‘He is perpetually, exclusively, and proudly with the band. But at what cost? His associations with the famous have not made him rich. His friendships with the rich have not made him famous. And arriving at the end of middle age, with his mother – and, from what I can gather, his best friend – recently deceased, he’s a figure of incredible loneliness,’ wrote Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe.
‘Rodney on the ROQ will air for the final time on June 4 at midnight’, wrote Bingenheimer on Facebook. 40 years is a long run, and who else can say he played Blondie, Joan Jett, Van Halen, The Ramones (he is even in the video for “Something to Believe In’) before they were famous?