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Bruce Van Dyke, icon of Reno’s airwaves since 1978, dies after brief illness

Bruce Van Dyke at Pyramid Lake in 2003.

It’s 1978.

The temperamental radio dial in your garage is perched precariously on KGLR 105.7, the only local station that’s playing the 13th Floor Elevators, B-sides by The Who, and whatever other hidden gems the deejays feel like playing. (And even after that dial position gave way to top-40 rock hits by the Eagles and Rolling Stones, you still listen all the same.)

Or maybe it’s 1994, you’re listening to John Prine or the Talking Heads in your Geo Metro — where the radio is permanently locked in to 101.7 “The X” — and desperately trying to get your friends to do the same, so the station will stay on the air.

Then again, it could be 2022, and the entire eclectic set is streaming through your Jive Radio app, alongside indie radio hits from the past decade or two.

Chances are, one of the voices you heard between the curated tunes was that of Bruce Van Dyke. 

The radio host died Sept. 16 after a brief illness. He was 69.

‘The most bizarre alarm clock ever’

Rock fans hold a "wake" for KGLR as it switched over to the call letters KOZZ. The party was held at Del Mar Station, now the home of Midtown's JoStella Coffee Co.

Bruce Van Dyke became a Reno radio icon by breaking the status quo on the airwaves.

Van Dyke’s long career in Reno radio began in 1978, when he moved from Fresno to join KGLR — a station with the philosophy, “If it’s good, play it.” It fit Van Dyke’s style — prog rock, psychedelic rock, longer tracks and a full-album philosophy. A future radio employer would call Van Dyke’s KGLR morning show “the most bizarre alarm clock ever.”


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