Holy shit. Hole Lee Shit! Last night I was handed a box containing 23 reel-to-reel tapes of KCAC (and maybe some early KDKB) broadcasts. I haven't had time yet to thoroughly examine them; in fact I only listened to a few minutes each of 4 tapes, but they appear to be mostly KCAC, and mostly talk and public affairs programming (not much music). Some of the tapes are in great condition, others are water-damaged and moldy, some are on broken or warped reels, and one is a hideous spaghetti tangle that will take a whole lotta love to salvage. The moldy ones (at least 5 of the 23) may need professional cleaning and restoration, and the spaghetti tangle may have to be sliced-and-diced by someone with good tape editing skills. Also, all but one of the tapes I've sampled so far were recorded at 1.75 IPS (or whatever the slowest speed on reel-to-reel tape decks was in those days). My tape deck only goes down to 3.75 IPS so most of what I heard was Alvin & the Chipmunks-style speeded-up gibberish, but even at that speed I could recognize Bill Compton's voice. We'll need to either find a machine that can play the tapes back at their correct speed, or use computer software that can do speed-correction (I'm told that such software exists, though I know nothing else about it).
I think all of the reels will be salvageable, but it's going to take some time and possibly some money for professional help. I'll check into this (there is at least one company here in Tempe that might be able to do tape restoration), but in the meantime, please contact me if you have the time, equipment, and expertise to help bring these ancient tapes back to life, or if you have any advice on how to do so. Best to contact me off-blog, at email@example.com.
My heartfelt thanks to Jeff Crawford of Phoenix for hanging on to these tapes for so many years, recognizing their importance, and lending them to me for preservation and restoration. He runs a video production company and has a library of thousands of concerts and videos. Check out his website at www.bohemiavisualmusic.com.
I'll keep you posted via the blog.