Sunday, September 10, 2006


----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Wright
To: ; Jimmy Magahern
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2006 3:36 PM
Subject: KCAC Lives! comments

Hi again-

I haven't figured out all this "blogging" crap (i.e., how to post a message so everyone can see it), but I'm still interested in what's going on, so here's my two cents worth. Feel free to post it on the blog since I couldn't figure out how.

First, nobody has to munch on broken glass to hear my tapes; a million in cash will do nicely. No, wait, they're free for the asking (sorry, I lost my hippie idealism there for a moment). I'm currently digitizing yet another set of tapes, including Hans Olson on the air at KDKB with Marty Manning on 5/21/76, and an earlier Hans appearance on KDKB in 1974 (although the original cassette of the latter is an advanced state of fragility and may not be 100% salvageable). I also have 4 hours(!) of Toad's last show at KSLX in 1983 on a reel of tape waiting to be copied, along with some tapes of the remote "Balcony Hall" broadcasts back in 1975 (Jerry Riopelle, Tom Waits, and Tracy Nelson) and assorted other archival goodies. I've already digitized a 7/29/78 Jerry Riopelle live broadcast from the Celebrity Theater on KDKB (during which he unleashes the F-bomb on the public airwaves), and the three "Profile" shows Compton did on Channel 8: music and interviews with Jerry Jeff Walker, David Bromberg, and Shawn Phillips (audio only, this was way before home video; I have no idea of the videos still survive in the Channel 8 vaults). I might even have an old episode of "Bunkhouse Capers" on tape, if I can find the box with the old 5-inch reels in it...

BUT... (as Pee Wee Herman said, there's always a big but)... we have to find some mechanism by which I can list what's available, and receive and process requests for copies. And while I'll do the copying for free, it would be awfully nice if folks who want them would supply me with blank discs and postage, or reimburse me for those costs. This is assuming more than two or three people want copies.

Speaking of people wanting copies... um, who ARE you people? Some of the names on the blog are familiar to me but many are not... remember, I wasn't part of that scene except as an avid listener, so while you all know each other, the blog is more than a little dense for an outsider like me. Some sort of introduction or "cast of characters" would be nice.

As for the fate of KDKB... who cares??? It's been nothing but another set of call letters for a long time now, and whatever happens to it won't change or tarnish what it meant to us back in the day. One reason I recorded, and kept, all those tapes was a sense even at the time that this was too good to last, and - guess what - it didn't. I'm an archaeologist, so in a sense I literally live in the past, but I also have some insight into the flow of human history and how the ONLY constant is change. If KDKB goes Spanish or pop or country or talk or if they just decide to broadcast "Metal Machine Music" on a never-ending loop, it won't make a bit of difference to me. An anthropologist friend once summed up the whole of human history for me in six words: "time passes, things change, people adapt." I keep hoping that out of the wreckage of FM radio something truly new and creative and meaningful will emerge, and perhaps it will... but I'm not holding my breath. Just adapting.

Again, I'm happy to share my tapes (in digitized form) with anybody, but we'll have to work out some structured way of making them available to interested parties without putting unreasonable demands on my time or wallet. Also, I still like the idea of a permanent archive of KCAC/KDKB materials (tapes, newspaper clippings, letters, documents, etc.) at the ASU Arizona Collection, Arizona Historical Society, or other formal institution that can properly catalog and curate the material in whatever passes for perpetuity. And again, we need either a comprehensive written history of the people and events of those days, or an oral history consisting of taped interviews with as many of the relevant people as possible. We're all getting old; let's not let this part of Arizona history die with us, OK?

Tom Wright


I gave copies of some of my old tapes to a guy at KDKB a few years ago; he was the unofficial historian for the station, I think his name was Fred. He was relatively young but knew quite a bit about the old days. When I visited him, he showed me a bunch of old, hand-written playlists (from Compton and others) on yellow legal pads. This was about 3 years ago. Anybody know Fred, and/or if there's some other way to salvage historical material housed at the station???


10 comments: said...

TOM, you are about to become a very popular person. Mariah Fleming will probably sing you a lullaby while she copies your tapes. Fran will give you a glss-eating demonstration and Bob Gately with Johnny D will be pulling up to your place soon in an 18-wheeler loaded with a studio full of equipment.

Seriously, I don't know where everyone is physically located but I am just north of Highway 82 right on FM 901 near the Oklahoma border of North Texas.

That means you sir, are about to have some new Best Friends much closer to you than I am. Give everybody a little time to plug in and sound check!


fran Bennett said...

Toad? Balcony Hall?? Profile??? Aaakkkk!!!

In the interest of expediency, could these archeologist's treasures be FTP'd to a server where we could just download at will? I hope I'm not sitting here in Silicon Valley just ASSuming everyone has broadband or cable but if these gems could be cut into15 minute segments and thoughtfully compressed (spoken word needen't be stereo etc) they'd be very downloadable indeed. No dollars necessary, but anyone needing "best quality" can pop the bucks to get 'em.

Ron's right, Tom, you're soon gonna be everyone's best buddy. My hero...swoon:)

Anonymous said...

My sincere thanks to John Robertson for telling me about this! I have many a story to tell and will as time goes by. If Wonderful has not shared the story about his first meeting with "Little Willy Sunshine", ask him to do so. Does anybody remember when Bill Compton was on air Sunday nights on KRUX? Then there was the night at Balcony Hall, Taj Mahal was playing and the deal was struck between Russ, Hank and myself to program the new FM station in Casa Grande. Many a employee left there to work at KDKB. John Robertson was one of the start-up announcers at KBFE. So was Belle Starr and Alicia Torres. But, allow me to digress and tell you I used to listen to KCAC when it was a R&B station as I'm sure Johhny D did as well. I remember Toad Hall's morning show where you could hear the birds chirping outside the open window. Tom I will surely be in touch!
Brett E.

Bob Gately said...

Overwhelming, this outpouring of affection for ideas that were suppose to have died so long ago. Kudos to this circle of storytellers who arrive daily at their monitors and meet friends they can see through these fingers tapping out responses to ancient wonderings...Have just returned from a weekend with my living hermit artist friend, George Brucha ( and am heading to the pillow with ya'll's thoughts dancing till dawn...Later.


Mariah Fleming said...

Not only will I sing Tom a lullabye, heck, I'll write one for him! This is incredible

Mariah Fleming said...

PS Hey Bob Gately, keep us all in your good dreams. You've been a lightbeam! We said it would happen and we are right!

All good things take time and patience! And one big plus, it's not going to be 120 degrees here much longer!

Liz Boyle said...

Hi Tom,

The handwritten music logs were kept by Scott Nicholson till a few years ago when he turned them over to KDKB. Yes, Fred Pandrock, a Pennsylvanian who was hired as KDKB promotions director in 1991, has been unofficial keeper of the archives, and did a great job with the big reunion party a few years back.

Andy Olson has had access to these music logs and has been copying them, one milk crate at a time. (There's a bunch ) It's his intent to replicate an entire day of KDKB programming on RFP, by following the logs.

Having had a chance to see a few of the music logs,(basically legal pads with the title and artist of each song written down) it's amazing to see how beautiful Bill Compton's handwriting was and how meticulous each log was kept.

Since Andy's already got a line of communication going with Fred, maybe he could broach the subject of the remaining KDKB archives.

Speaking of Alicia Torres, she now hosts "The Saturday Night Dance Party" on KOOL and she puts on a great show. She told me she used to work the front desk at the old KDKB building.

Also, an update on what's going on over at 93.3: Rumor has it the new moniker will be Movin'933. Although that's all just radio rumor, readily available at said...

FYI.. on the side I run a little business recovering and rebuilding old recordings, plus a little video. 40 years of rsdio has made me quite adept at rescuing old recordings on RR casssette, laquers, 78's and whatever. I am good with tape but Bob Gately has a machine that is much more GENTLE on old tape than anythin I could do here. So mu suggestion would be to connect with Bob and/or Johnny D to have it all digitized.

Andy must be up to his elbows. Wish I were there to work but somehow CENTRALIZING all these projects would seem to be a good idea. Maybe Russ has a bomb shelter somewhere?


Jimmy said...

I've been uploading the audio files on this blog to a great free resource called the Internet Archive ( On there, you can FTP any audio file, click a button to say you're contributing it to the "public domain," and then you get a URL address where your files can be downloaded or streamed.
Takes a little time to figure it out, but it's essentially a free server we can use to make all this stuff available on the Web. I'd be happy to handle this end of the archiving, if others can handle the digitizing.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how Scott Nicholson doing ?