Frederick “Fritz” Egger was the first person to broadcast on the new KRDG in 1956 when Howard Martineau put the second station that Redding ever had on the air.
Fritz was born April 30, 1929 in Hopkins, Missouri. In 1947, his aunt and uncle moved to California and Fritz said he wanted to come with them. They lived on Lanning Avenue in Redding. He said he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. He said he started hanging out at the Cascade Theatre with a young lad by the name of Jerry McGee who ran the projector there and Fritz got hired as a part timer.
He then met the owner/engineer of KRDG, Howard Martineau, when he went out to the transmitter site in south Redding and said “howdy” to him. Fritz was one of the first employees Martineau hired when they first went on the air. Fritz said, “I played a lot of Elvis, Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard and Fats Domino.” Sun Records at the time was sending a bunch of new rock recording artists, including Elvis and Conway Twitty, to stations across the country.
I first met up with Fritz when I was in high school in the 50s, when he and Jerry McGee did a live remote in front of Stewart Electric at 1500 Market Street called “Fritz and Jerry’s Market Street Record Party.” The live show on the sidewalk out front was a hit for two hours Monday through Friday and drew large crowds of kids who would dance to this new rock and roll music.
Fritz and Jerry became close friends and Fritz persuaded Martineau to hire McGee. Both Fritz and Jerry were projectionists at the Redding Theater on California Street and the Cascade on Market Street.
Fritz left KRDG and went to work for KVIP on Pioneer Drive when it was affiliated with KVIP-TV for a while before he moved to KLAD in Klamath Falls, Oregon for some seven years.
I worked with Fritz for a few years at KVIP when we were on Hilltop Road in Enterprise. We had a show called Budd and Fritz’s Hilltop Road Show. Hilltop Drive at the time was a barren country road with Herb’s Pet Shop, Doc’s Hilltop Skyroom and little else.
Fritz leaves his wife Judy and brother Gary, both of Redding.
He’s no doubt up there with Jerry, Jolly Joe Lalonde, Jim Anderson, Don Chamberlain and George Newcom, broadcasting and playing that rock and roll music.
Budd Hodges is a retired disc jockey, newsman, talk show host and lives with his wife, Nancy, in Redding.
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