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

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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."

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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?"

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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.

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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.
 
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“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: http://sonomacountybaby.com/.
 
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.
 
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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:
 
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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: atowhee.blog.  And he frequently leads birding trips on the Pacific Coast. Check him out at http://www.towhee.net/.

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