Woody Miller, owner and founder of Fresno’s first soul and RnB radio station KLIP 1220 AM in the 1960’s, is considered a statewide media icon. Mr. Miller died on May 13 at 89 years of age of Alzheimer’s disease.
The first local radio station to play every black artist from James Brown to Prince, from B.B. King to Hip Hop and from Black gospel to smooth jazz, KLIP Radio was a beacon of pride and fostered “self love” to Fresno’s black community especially black youth. And as Fresno whites began listening to the popular rhythm and blues artists on KLIP, they became better acquainted with black music and also black culture.
Throughout Fresno and the Valley KLIP radio station and its on-air personalities provided the entire community with black music and entertainment not played on any other local station. For African-American listeners it was also crucial to hear the important and influential voices and leaders of their community that appeared on KLIP talk shows. KLIP programming encouraged a sense of common identity, pride and purpose.
Working with the California Advocate Newspaper, Fresno’s black newspaper, KLIP passed along strategies on how to combat racial discrimination, exposed injustices, worked to register voters and encouraged black voter participation.
Mr. Woody Miller was pioneer in many ways in the black community. In 1971 he was one of the first African American Fresno City Council candidates with a real chance of being elected. Miller was involved in numerous community groups and organizations.
In the 1980’s, Miller again teamed up with the Advocate Newspaper founder Lesly Kimber to form Central California Black Media, which combined Fresno’s black newspaper and black radio station into a single media group to address discriminatory advertising practices in the Valley.
Mr. Woody Miller is being remembered also for his kind spirit, media savvy, unrelenting drive, extreme intellect and as a loving family man and devout Christian.