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AFTER FOUR DECADES, RODNEY’S OFF THE ROQ (UPDATED)

Rodney Bingenheimer, an icon of Los Angeles radio and tastemaker extraordinaire who helped launch the careers of countless bands on his weekly Rodney On The Roq show on KROQ-FM, has announced that he’s going off the air at the venerable L.A. station after nearly 41 years.

Rodney announced on Facebook that his last show will be 6/5 from midnight-3am PST. “It has been an amazing run, and I will be thanking all of you when I say goodbye to KROQ next week,” he wrote in a post Thursday. “I am planning on some special callers and special music as I say a proper goodbye.”

 Rodney On The Roq debuted in 8/76 and quickly became a must-listen for those who wanted to hear new music ignored elsewhere–be it the Sex Pistols, Ramones or The Runaways. Known for providing key early exposure to artists like Blondie, The Go-Go’s, Duran Duran, The Bangles and No Doubt, Rodney was also an unrelenting champion of the L.A. music scene.

“He’s always had his ears tuned to the future,” says DJ Dusty Street, who worked with Bingenheimer in 70s and 80s at KROQ. She says he more than anyone was the architect of the iconic KROQ sound. “No was as married to the music as Rodney was. He was responsible for so many acts that wouldn’t have gotten broken.”

"Without Rodney Bingenheimer, the music scene In Southern California as we know it through history would never had existed. He was the launching pad for many worldwide groups and acts of many genres," adds Rikk Agnew, guitarist with the L.A. punk band The Adolescents.  

"Rodney gave a lot of local bands that chance. There was nothing like saying 'I heard my song on Rodney’s show last night,' says bassist Annette Zilinskas. "Rodney was the first person to play the single 'Bitchen Summer' from a band that I was at the time in called then called The Bangs [later The Bangles]. He set the wheels in motion."

But Bingenheimer was more fan than smooth-talking jock and his reputation preceded his foray onto the airwaves. Dubbed The Mayor of the Sunset Strip (also the title of a 2003 documentary about his life) by actor Sal Mineo, he who arrived in Hollywood in the mid-‘60s as a teenager and became Davy Jones’ stand-in on The Monkees TV series before opening Rodney’s English Disco in 1972. The legendary Sunset Strip was a glam and glitter hangout that attracted a royal crowd of visiting dignitaries, including David Bowie, Iggy Pop and members of Led Zeppelin before it closed in 1975.

Though his run on KROQ may be over, Rodney plans to keep on keeping on, he posted. “I may be done with KROQ, but I am not retiring,” he said. “I hope you continue to join me on that journey. I have the greatest fans of all time and you’ve made my time at KROQ a fantastic one.”

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