Scare Waves


Story and photos by Jennifer Fox Armour

You might not want to tell darkly dolled-up 91X DJ Robin Roth that “black” is not a color. If you do, “You might get smacked,” quoth the Robin.

In her 20-plus years as a San Diego radio and club DJ, modern rock’s raven-haired first lady has facilitated on-air marriage proposals, given away a bat-swarm of concert tickets and chatted up everyone from Goth icon and Bauhaus frontman, Peter Murphy, to the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corrigan and Robert Smith of The Cure.

In 1994, a former La Jolla security guard named Eddie Vedder (yep, that one) employed Roth in his battle against what he viewed as exorbitant service charges being tacked onto Pearl Jam’s concert tickets.

Vedder dialed up Roth on the request line to garner public support for his crusade against Ticketmaster.

“I was like, ‘Why are you calling on the request line?’” Roth says. “He said, ‘Because I remember the number. I listened to 91X for so long, it’s stuck in my brain.’”

Once, when preparing to interview a ravenous Kim Deal (Breeders, Pixies), Roth suggested that Deal make an on-air plea for food.

“Within 30 minutes we had, like, 300 bean burritos outside,” Roth says. “We started getting calls: ‘We brought you a bean burrito, check the door.’”

Roth began her career in 1982 at KSDT, UCSD’s campus station, eventually landing a job at what is Magic 92.5 FM today.

In 1986, she saw an ad in the paper that said 91X was hiring.

“I was like, ‘Are you freakin’ kidding me? Hell, yeah, I am going to apply,’” Roth says, sheepishly adding, “and here I am.”

Roth spent more than 18 years on-air at 91X before being let go in 2005, when she was told the station was moving in a “different direction.”

Five years and one job later, 91X, with new management at the helm, asked Roth to return. This month marks her first full year back behind the mic.

“I think they were looking for what I represented-familiarity, heritage, longevity,” Roth says.

Roth can be heard on 91X, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information about her club gigs-including the Club Pussy Galore at the Whistle Stop-visit

Robin Roth
AGE: “On my fourth life and going strong.”
‘HOOD: Rancho Peñasquitos
EATS: Urban Solace, Café Chloe, Hash House a Go Go, West Coast Tavern
HAUNTS: Kava Lounge, The Flame (for Sabbat), Voyeur and U-31
FAVE HORROR FILMS: The Shining, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, The Hunger and The Crow. “And yes, I have the Buffy and Angel box sets.”

Black List
Robin Roth’s favorite spooky spins
Ministry: Everyday is Halloween
Bauhaus: Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Danny Elfman: This is Halloween
The Damned: Grimly Fiendish
The Cramps: I Was a Teenage Werewolf
Joy Division: Dead Souls
Michael Jackson: Thriller
Cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Time Warp