KTAR's Rod Petersen Was Icon in Local Radio Industry

We first met Rod Petersen in 1983 in what used to be the press room at Phoenix Police Department, just inside the front doors of 620 West Washington.

Rod was grizzled even then, a garrulous big fella who reported with great authority on the crime news of the day right from his desk after prowling the halls for tips.

Rod was warm and receptive to the new kid from down in Sierra Vista, which was appreciated. 

That (then) youngster remembers rushing over to Library Park west on Washington Street to cover a murder for the Phoenix Gazette with Petersen and (then) reporter Mike Murphy.


The stabbing victim, a Native-American man, still was on the ground, and we craned our necks over the yellow crime-scene tape to see whatever we could, which wasn't pretty.

We asked Rod how many murders he had covered over the years, and still chuckle at his reply: "Hell if I know. Haven't missed too many."

Rod loved crime, or more accurately, loved reporting about it, and he loved dealing with cops.

His was the voice of authority, and it kept folks listening to 620 at least until his report was done.

Before Rod retired years ago, we would bump into him now and again downtown and chat about the crime of the day. He seemed to have as much passion for his gig nearing the end of his career as he had a few decades earlier.

We heard that Rod Petersen died the other day.

If you want to have an idea of what he sounded like, listen to current 92.3-FM reporter Jim Cross, another good one who continues to chase across the Valley and state for yarns day after day.

In a sense, Rod Petersen's terrific legacy lives on with Jim.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin