Bentley: Mt. Whitney grad Nick Durazo wins 'Jeopardy'

The Fresno BeeMarch 25, 2014 

Nick Durazo, a compliance engineer from Visalia, can now mark off being on "Jeopardy" from the list of things to do in his life. He was a one-day winner on the March 18 episode of the syndicated game show, which airs at 7 p.m. weeknights on ABC30 (KFSN, Channel 30.1).

This was the first game show appearance for Durazo, who once tried out for "Wheel of Fortune" but wasn't picked to spin the wheel. He landed a spot on "Jeopardy" on his sixth try, where he used the game show's online testing.

"I've always had a pretty good memory. Once I heard I was going to be on the show, I started studying a little more on categories where I was not as strong," Durazo says.

He was hoping for categories on movies or sports. One of the categories he feared was opera, which did not pop up during his two-day appearance.

His first day on the game show ended with an easy win for the 33-year-old Mt. Whitney graduate, who now lives in Los Angeles. He took an early lead and only had to battle the returning champion, Gordon Graham, in Final Jeopardy.

The Final Jeopardy answer was: "The author of more than 50 books, he won six Hugo Awards & was nominated for a 1968 Oscar."

The correct question was "Who is Arthur C. Clarke?" Clarke got the Oscar nomination for writing the screenplay to "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Durazo ended the game with $20,401 when he correctly answered the question. He had more than enough to defeat Graham, who was also correct on Final Jeopardy but didn't have enough money to beat Durazo.

In the second game, Durazo went into Final Jeopardy in third place with $11,600 behind Gabor Revy with $15,600 and Susan Shikany with $12,400. In the category "The Music Industry," both Durazo and Revy correctly posed the right question to answer: "She beat out newcomers like Bieber & Gaga to top Forbes' list of the highest-paid people in music for 2013." The correct question is "Who is Madonna?"

Durazo lost because Revy was able to bet more money.

Before going in front of the cameras, Durazo got to go out on stage to get familiar with his surroundings. Once the game started, he found his nerves passed quickly.

After each show, host Alex Trebek always chats with the contestants. Durazo says after the first game, they talked about one of the other contestant's scuba work and in the second, they talked about the Final Jeopardy question.

Durazo, who doesn't consider himself someone who likes to splurge, wants to use his winnings buy some new cabinets for his kitchen and possibly take a trip to Europe.

No fooling

The normal lineup for KFSR (FM 90.7) is going to be kicked out the door on April 1.

In honor of April Fool's Day, the member-supported, non-commercial public radio station, licensed to and operated by Fresno State, will be in the hands of local celebrities for "No Rules April Fools." Each host will be given one hour to play any music they want to play.

Julie Logan, program director for KFSR, says there will be no rules. Well, there is one rule: The celebrity disc jockeys must play music. They can't fill the hour with talk, animal impersonations or readings from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War."

Some of the celebs who have agreed to be on the air include Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, FOX26 anchor Kopi Sotiropulis, ABC30 weatherman Kevin Musso, KSEE24 anchor George Takata, Fresno Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Al Smith, and Mary Castro, wife of Fresno State President Joseph Castro.

The KFSR team isn't proud of the decision, but they have also asked me to fill an hour. It all depends on if I can get a new copy of "Weird Al Plays Gregorian Chants."

New owners

Lotus Communications — owners of four radio stations in Fresno — has purchased Q97.1 from Buckley Radio California group. The contracts have been signed, but the deal still needs to be given the OK by the Federal Communications Commission. That should take three or four months.

The plan now is keep KSEQ (FM 97.1) as a Top 40/Rhythmic format when it joins the local Lotus stations of: KGST (AM 1600), ESPN Deportes; KKBZ (FM 105.1), Classic Rock; KHIT (FM 107.1), Spanish Hits; and KLBN (FM 101.9), Mexican Regional.

Tryouts announced

ABC's new series "Rising Star" kicks off its nationwide search for talent at the end of March. The closest tryouts will be held April 15 in Los Angeles.

Aspiring singers should go to for more information on the audition process. It's open to solo vocalists, duos and vocal groups (up to five members).

The difference between this singing competition and others is that during the performances viewers will vote in real time via an app to determine if the singer will advance.


TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at

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