Flashback: Sunday Radio & Silhouette

John Rydgren never had a radio job in Seattle even though he grew up here. He created a national syndicated radio program occasionally heard on Puget Sound radio stations. After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University he became an ordained Lutheran minister. In 1958 in a Minneapolis basement he created “Silhouette,” a rock-music program for religion-based radio stations. He worked at KRLA and KRTH, Los Angeles, several times between 1972 and 1988. “Brother John” had a unique place in Southern California radio as an expert at using rock music to convey a religious message. He headed the TV and film department of the American Lutheran Church, and was the voice of an ABC Network album-oriented program service “Love Format” in 1968. Shortly after a stroke, he died of a heart attack in 1988. He was 56.

Brother John Rydgren, host of Silhouette[/caption]Born February 14, 1932, John Rydgren (or Brother John, as he came to be known as an on-air DJ and radio personality) was an ordained minister in the American Lutheran Church, and for a time was a director of the American Lutheran Church’s radio and television films division. His claim to pop history fame came in the 1960s and early ’70s when his early syndicated FM radio shows, most notably the show called Silhouette, which was broadcast across the U.S. (and in Vietnam) between 1966 and 1968, reached a wide-ranging audience. Positioning himself as a sort of “hip preacher” between Christianity on one hand and the emerging “Flower Power” generation on the other, Rydgren interspersed progressive and psychedelic rock tracks with his thoughts on spirituality, philosophy, and the changing times, all in a deep, sincere, and affecting baritone. (Allmusic.com)

Author: Jason Remington

QZVX Creator, Admin, & Editor, former broadcaster. ABOUT Jason & QZVX.com | Jason's Airchecks

6 thoughts on “Flashback: Sunday Radio & Silhouette

  1. LA TIMES DEC. 29, 1988 12 AM

    John Rydgren, who created one of the first Christian rock ‘n’ roll radio programs in the country and who has been heard on local airwaves for the last 14 years, died of heart failure Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 56.

    Rydgren, who was known to his listeners as “Brother John,” was an ordained Lutheran minister who hosted a midday program on KRTH-AM and a Sunday program on KRTH-FM called “Heaven Is in Your Mind.”

    “His death has been very devastating to the station. He was a wonderful man,” said KRTH program director Phil Hall.

    Rydgren began his radio work in Minneapolis in the mid-1960s, when he began taping a Christian rock ‘n’ roll show called “Silhouette” from a church basement.

    The show became so popular that it was nationally syndicated, and he was chosen to direct the American Lutheran Church’s national television, radio and film department, a post that he held from 1962 to 1968. He then went to New York City to become host of ABC radio’s nationally syndicated program, “Love Format.”

    He moved to Southern California in 1972, working for KRLA, KOST, KROQ and KMET before moving to KRTH in 1977.

    In 1982, he suffered a debilitating stroke while on the air, and physicians predicted that he would never be able to talk again. However, with therapy he overcame his physical impairment and began taping commercials in 1985. The following year he was given his own show again.

    Rydgren, who was born in North Dakota and grew up in Seattle, graduated with a divinity degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington.

  2. Yeah, almost the voice of God. I listened to that Sunday morning show. I thought it was clever that Rydgren mixed his messagewith the regular tunes I was listening to each day, sticking with the format.

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