One of the topics that came up during my conversation with Russ Shaw a couple months back was his work with the Phoenix pirate station, KDIL. I never heard the station myself; by the time I learned about it, I was in my late teens and the broadcasts had all but stopped. But the older guys I knew were big fans. One of them made me a dub of a tape that used to circulate back then, made from bits culled off the air. Last week, I went digging in my closet to see if I still had it. Sure enough, I soon found a beat up cassette with "KDIL" scrawled on one side. It sounds like a tenth-generation copy, but I managed to clean it up a little.
Turns out, a lot of what's on the tape has already passed into legend. The recordings of Casey Casem, Buddy Rich, Orson Welles and other celebrities abusing their subordinates have moved from underground legend status to their rightful place in history. I've removed those portions in order to concentrate on the recordings from KDIL itself, the parts that remain cherished only by those who actually remember the station. KDIL's own site offers lots of audio, but only a small percentage appears to be from its heyday in the seventies. Most of the programs archived on the site sound like a recent attempt to rekindle the old magic. But I did manage to find another page by a fan who offers a few air checks of his own.
Details about the history of the station are sketchy. KDIL.com sheds no light on the subject, offering only a large collection of excerpts from its in-house publication, a xeroxed collage-zine called KDIL Blues Licks. I did find an article about the station's origins reprinted from an old pamphlet purporting to be a manual on pirate radio operation. I also found a story devoted to the KDIL legend on the Phoenix New Times web site. In the article, the author recounts verbatim some of the same routines found on my cassette.
Not everything on the cassette is KDIL-generated. The NBC parody can be found elsewhere on the net, though unfortunately not in a version with any better fidelity than my own. Other items are the kind of bottom-feeding show-biz dross beloved by all collectors of oddball recordings. (Who could resist an ad for Coppertone suntan lotion featuring Manson Family victim Sharon Tate?) But most of the selections feature KDIL staffers harassing other radio stations, offering illicit drugs for sale and encouraging listeners to "off the pigs." All in all, the tape offers the kind of local nostalgia so meaningless to people not raised in Phoenix but which seems to have increasingly become our stock in trade here at Bostworld.
What the hell: it's only eighteen minutes long. If you don't like it, there's always next time.