Chris Ryan

Chris joined KWFM in June 1980 doing weekends and swings. At some point in 1981-1982 he took over weekday evenings (7pm - 12am). In 1983 he became Music Director, and was promoted to program director in 1985, where he remained until 1987. Chris saw a lot of change in Tucson's rock radio scene while at KWFM.

Chris recalls the changes in an exclusive interview: "KWFM played pretty cool music thru 1981. Sometime in 1982 we were finally beaten in the ratings by 96 Rock KLPX and this caused the station to jump to a very safe 'Formula Format' (Journey, Styx, Foreigner).

"I remember being on the air during several critical times. First, I was there when they started hauling out the old Frank Zappa / Gentle Giant / Flora Purim music that we could slide in from time to time. It was the day we went to a very small library of 900 or so 'well tested' rock songs. We were pretty much in shock.

I was called in to cover Bob Cooke's shift the day we discovered he had been shot. I was also on the air doing a Jazz Show the Sunday night of his Memorial. I remember there was a tremendous lightning storm that night and it knocked the power out for a few minutes... no shit!

"In 1983 we jumped on the Rock of the 80's bandwagon, riding the tide of MTV, Hair Bands, Synthesizers and Dance Rock.

"In 1984 the Rock of the 80's thing didn't work as well as hoped, so we swung to a hard rock format, heavy with Dio, AC/DC and Judas Priest.

"Finally, after multiple ownership and management changes, the plug was pulled on KWFM as a rock station at 7:00pm on January 27, 1985. I was on the air that final Sunday night as we signed off, and I have the final hour of music on tape... 'The End' by The Doors, 'A Day In The Life' and 'Goodnight' by the Beatles, 'The Song Is Over' by The Who, 'Life Goes On' by The Kinks, 'Moonlight Mile' and 'Memory Motel' by The Rolling Stones, 'Last Chance Texaco' by Rickie Lee Jones, and the final song: 'When The Music's Over' by The Doors."

One of the traditions that distinguished the "best from the rest" of the rock stations was the Sunday Night Jazz Show. Chris hosted KWFM's jazz show from 1980 through 1987.

After 10 years at San Diego's KGMG-FM (Magic 102.1), and a stint in Cincinnati, Chris returned home to Tucson, where he currently works for KUAT Communications selling underwriting for Public Broadcasting TV and radio stations.