Live and local: DJ Nathan Fryar has a plan for Rawlins radio
By David Louis
RAWLINS — “Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive plays that song that’s so elusive and the magic music makes your morning mood” — Rush.
No words hold more truth than for Nathan Fryar, station manager for Rawlins Radio.
“To me, there’s nothing like the feeling of getting behind the mic and knowing you’re connecting to a lot of people. Radio is magical,” Fryar said.
“It’s almost like you’re giving up control of what you are listening to and there’s a certain trust in the station you are listening to. There’s a certain trust to keep you entertained, to keep you informed, to stay live and local.”
Although KIQZ-FM 92.7 and KRAL-AM 1240 has been broadcasting since the end of January, it wasn’t until Fryar came on board nearly two weeks ago that the station’s direction began to take shape.
With its active rock format, covering bands from the 1990s, with a splash of alternative and the occasional classic rock song, “people have been going nuts about what we are playing,” Fryar said.
Bands such as The Offspring, Candlelight Red, Weezer, Foo Fighters, Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne are spun up on the station’s digital system.
“We don’t follow the traditional rock format,” Fryar said. “Active rock is newer and all very upbeat and up-tempo. What I’m trying to do is cater to more people, because we lack options for radio here.”
Although now known as Rawlins Radio, its lineage dates back to 1947 as the city’s first radio station. Eventually the station moved in 1963 to its present location at 2346 W. Spruce St.
“Way back in the day this really used to be a hot radio station. They played oldies and once they were a country format then they moved into adult progressive that we heard maybe seven years ago,” Fryar said.
“In fact, I was actually brought in to work at this radio station. This is where the radio bug bit me. John Roybal was running the place. He had a show that he called full metal racket. I talked to him one day … and he liked my voice and asked if I wanted to do advertising on air. Absolutely. I always wanted to see what it was like. Get my voice on the radio, who doesn’t want that?”
So the journey began in 2009 pitching ads, sitting in on the morning show and then one thing lead to another with Fryar soon finding himself behind the mic for six hours a day and having a “blast” doing it.
Within two months of starting his dream job, fate stepped in when Fryar moved to Texas to attend a radio apprentice program where he shadowed a top on air talent.
After the program ended Fryar decided to move back to Rawlins where he held odd jobs and a did a short stint at Bigfoot 99.
A series of relocations from Casper to Houston and back again followed and found the aspiring disk jokey languishing in jobs that included working in the oil patch, delivering pizza and a failed attempt to develop a children’s magazine.
Then by sheer chance, the opportunity to come back to Rawlins happened again.
Fryar was asked to take over the now-silent radio station approximately five years ago after it suffered from a bad reputation.
“Some mistakes were made. People were let down. Bridges were burned. I was brought on board because I know the area, I know radio and I know how to repair the image of this station, bringing what we have here back to life,” Fryar added.
“I really want to make the station I started what it’s supposed to be, something that serves the community, something the community can be proud of.” Fryar said.
Now it’s time to give the people what they want, but Fryar said his most immediate need is the physical resurrection of what has become a derelict building.
“I’m one of those people who likes to see the most done in the least amount of time,” he said. “Within one month I want to remedy the eyesore that this building has been for so long. I want the first building you see when you come into Rawlins from the west end something that is beautiful.”
Long-term plans may include brining in guests during the 6-10 a.m. morning show, potentially a co-host and to become more involved in Carbon County sponsoring or spearheading community involved projects for the betterment of its citizens.
The 2008 Rawlins High School graduate also plans to once again broadcast local sporting events, as well as changes to his AM presence.
“Right now our FM and AM signals are simulcast, playing the exact same thing. That’s something we want to remedy and something I’d like to do before the school year starts back up,” Fryar said.
“I plan on bringing back the Outlaw Sports Network. My general thought is when there’s not a high school game going on the AM side would broadcast a little bit of news, a little bit of talk, a little bit of comedy and oldies music. Stuff that is meant to be played on the AM dial.”
Realizing all of the efforts will be worth the payoff, Fryar knows his biggest challenge is to regain the trust of the community.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat anything on what has happened in the past,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and deny all of the things that happened. I’ll come up to you and say ‘yeah the company screwed up.’ But people are not dealing with the company they are dealing with me. This is a wonderful opportunity to show people what we can become.”