12A   UnderCurrents
6A     Weekend Edition
9A     This American Life
10A   Reveal
11A   Thistle & Shamrock

Robert Altman/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Robert Altman/Getty Images

Ed Ward, photographed in the Rolling Stone office in December, 1970 in San Francisco.

Robert Altman/Getty Images

Ed Ward, an incisive former critic and editor for Rolling Stone and longtime contributor to WHYY's Fresh Air, died this week in his home in Austin, Texas. He was 72 years old.

Ward was known for the historical precision of his work — who was playing what, who was friends with whom, what they were imbibing. In a piece on the label Paramount Records, Ward described the legendary Charlie Patton on Fresh Airin 2015 as "... a towering figure who was looked up to by most of the other Mississippi bluesmen ... Once his records began to sell, Patton would load up a car with his friends, his girlfriends, his ex-girlfriends and some whiskey and head to Grafton, Wis., to record. One of those friends was [the also-now-legendary blues player and singer] Son House." The details, both incidental and integral, were typical of Ward's work.

Born in 1948, one can find Ward's byline across all of the early rock magazines — principally Crawdaddy, Creem and Rolling Stone, the latter where he worked for a time as the reviews editor. He eventually moved to Austin, Texas — a city he became a relentless booster for.

In 2016, Ward published The History of Rock And Roll, Volume 1 – its sequel followed in 2019; both remain rigorous books that fastidiously surveyed the genre's formative history from 1920 to 1977.

In its first volume, Ward was committed to preserving the work of acts integral to rock's development, despite not having reached the heights of an Elvis or Ray Charles – the types of figures who would only be appreciated long after they were gone.

Chapter one of Ed Ward's The History of Rock And Roll, Volume 1 opens with a mention of Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues."


Ward told various interviewers a third volume would have traced the history up until the 2000s Napster era, though it was never finished.

In a 2016 interview with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Ward was asked if he had any regrets about his career or life. He replied, after a life spent tracing the past: "A little late for that, don't you think?"

Pin it
  • 104.9 FAQs
  • Join Us!
  • 104.9 Insiders
  • SoCo Baby
  • SoCo Calendar
  • Talk To Me
  • Hiding Places
  • Birdwatch

Why is 104.9 becoming an NPR station?

104.9 FM has been purchased by Northern California Public Media. The former KDHT is now KRCB FM. The frequency has been changed, by permission of the FCC, from a commercial station to a non-commercial station. NorCal Public Media wanted to acquire a larger, more powerful radio frequency, and Amaturo Sonoma Media Group was willing to sell 104.9 to NorCal Public Media.

Why did KRCB need another signal?

The former KRCB FM Radio 91 signal covers a very small area, and only a portion of Sonoma County. KRCB FM listeners have made it clear over the decades that what they wanted most from KRCB was to expand the geographic reach and signal strength of the public media news and music service. Over the course of two years, NorCal Public 



KRCB 1049 radio logoBrowse around our site and you'll see a few ways you can join in the effort to make KRCB 104.9 a great community radio station for Sonoma County. You can record a message that we play on-air, give us some new ideas, and keep abreast of what we're doing. New ways to engage with us our coming soon.
But there's an old fashioned one that's really important to us: become a member! We're making a big commitment to serving Sonoma County better, and while we really do want you to listen, and participate, helping pay for all of this would be really helpful too! Any amount helps, and we've got lots of cool gifts including some great CDs curated by our DJ Doug Jayne.
Please click:   Thank you!
Welcome to the new KRCB 104.9. This is a forum so we can hear from you, answer your questions, and generally exchange ideas about how we can improve.
FB screenshot
Read More
“Sonoma County Baby” began in 2013 as a way to connect new Sonoma County mothers with the history of the county. In cooperation with Sutter Health, a nice book was published that featured the stories of several dozen Sonoma County families, describing how they each came to Sonoma County. The book was given to new moms. The project’s website is here:
Now, we want to put stories like this on KRCB-FM, Sonoma County’s NPR station. How and when did your family come to Sonoma County? Does your story include some old Sonoma County landmarks that some of us might remember? What was interesting about it? Finding the interesting part is important! These recording are all short, less than a minute or under 100 words. That’s not enough time to tell the whole story—just the highlights. Here's a sample script that’s about the right length. Click "Read More" to hear what others have submitted.
Read More
Be on KRCB 104.9...answer this month's "Talk to Me" question: What does Sonoma County need that it doesn't already have? 
You can do a recording right from your computer or smartphone, but please use an external microphone (ear buds are good enough). Don't worry, you can try as many times you like until you get a "good take." We won’t hear any of the bad ones. After you finish, the page will give you a chance to listen and decide if you like it. Once you get a good one, you'll be asked for your name and email address. Then hit "Send.” (Click "reset" if you would rather try again.)
Go to the recorder page
Each week, Santa Rosa-based travel writer Dana Rebmann introduces us to great local spots to visit. Listen on-air for the latest. Or click here:
 Crane Creek Regional Park
 Marijke's Sculpture Grove
Read More

Listen to the Sonoma County Birdwatch!

fullerThroughout the week, we play short segments about what birds are out in Sonoma County and what they sound like, from Harry Fuller. Harry spent his working career as a TV and Internet newsman in the Bay Area.  He’s been leading bird trips and writing about birds for thirty years.  He has written three natural history books: Freeway Birding, I-5 San Francisco to Seattle; San Francisco’s Natural History, Sand Dunes to Streetcars; Great Gray Owl in California, Oregon & Washington. He blogs regularly about birds:  And he frequently leads birding trips on the Pacific Coast. Check him out at

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.