Radio DJ Woody Miller, Quite a Pioneer!
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Long before the world of computers and iPods radio DJ's with their turntables, vinyl records and access to the stars of the music world powered that era's 'Social Media'. And one African American radio pioneer from the Central Valley is still on the air thanks to California State University's KFSR radio station's weekly Jazz show.
Woody Miller is truly a radio pioneer when he serves up the Jazz greats, "You know you don't hear much music like that, George shearing and "Pick Yourself Up". At 83 Woody miller is still serving up jazz inside a tiny booth with modern day CD's and electronics. It happens every Friday from 9 until noon.
It was a different time and place in the 50's when he was among the first African American radio broadcasters here in California. He got his first gig after leaving the military service, "You know, you can do something for yourself, you can lift yourself above this thing about race."
But as a DJ and salesman for a radio station in Bakersfield he dealt with prejudice by winning. He and his radio station were both number one in the ratings.
In Fresno County in the fifties and sixties the popular KLIP radio station was king and so was Woody. He would eventually own the station where his son Mike met jazz and rock legends all coming through the Valley and stopping at KLIP to be interviewed by Woody. Mike says he got to meet them too, "I was down there sweeping the floors and listening to music. And the artists would come through the station and I thought it was an everyday thing I didn't realize how special it was."
The radio pioneer would later become active in politics. He once as a candidate for Fresno city council and supported numerous other campaigns over the years, including current President, Barack Obama.
Three years ago his son and KFSR station manager Joe Moore collaborated to get Woody back on the air, "Just the stories he has alone to share with our listeners are remarkable. What you see is what you get, what you hear is what you get with Woody, he's real."
Stories of the jazz performers and musicians whose work he knows so well are all part of his radio repartee. So is his message for young black men and women to work to improve their communities, "That would lift us up as African Americans. And everybody who has an opportunity should take the responsibility."
But this afternoon the pure sounds of Jazz was what he was all about, "It's all right here on 9-point-7 KFSR. Full spectrum radio and I hope your enjoying it."
I certainly did. And you may want to tune in soon. This radio pioneer is considering a second retirement from the microphone. Until then, count on Woody to be on the air every Friday!
KFSR Radio Website - Woody Miller Page
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