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Dave Diamond: Broadcaster, Writer, Academic

Dave Diamond is my mentor. For the past decade, The Diamond has had a tremendous personal, professional, and academic influence on my life. I would not be where I am today as a person or as a correspondent with out his guidance and wisdom.

Dave Diamond was a disc jockey in the early days of radio. He pioneered and lived through both radio and rock ‘n’ roll history as a Jock in LA and San Francisco in the 60′s and 70′s. Diamond was on the first Beatles tour of America, and co-wrote the song ‘Incense and Peppermints.’ He helped the Doors book some of their early gigs in LA, and was later mentioned in Densmore’s ‘Riders on the Storm‘ and Manzarek’s ‘Light My Fire‘ (not affiliate links). Diamond left LA in the 90′s to become a college professor in Iowa and South Dakota.

Frequently, I meet broadcasters who remember Diamond from his days on KFJ, KFI, KIIS, and KFRC. Often, I meet new people people who should know him. In the very early days of podcasting (spring 2005) Creepy Sleepy was a part of Diamond’s first website, ‘The Diamond Mine.’ But that site is long-defunct. Diamond was a huge influence on broadcasting and he deserves to have his legacy maintained.

So, last week I started building the new Dave Diamond website. I then emailed several of his colleagues and former students and asked for contributions. There are now several professors and students contributing audio, pictures, and stories for his website. I’m really excited to see how many people remember and were influenced by him. I’m excited to see these people help build and grow Diamond’s legacy.

I first met Diamond when I worked DJ in 1998 for KBHU FM – the college radio station for Black Hills State University (the birthplace, incidentally, of Creepy Sleepy). At age 18 I started as a DJ, worked my way up to Assistant News Director (a job that entailed waking EVERY morning at 4:30 to produce the news), then Music Director, followed by Program Director, and finally General Manager. I then transitioned to commercial radio, then talk radio, and now network news.

Sometimes surly and gruff, but mostly calm and wise, Diamond was there every step of the way. In class, he used to pass out sheets of ‘Diamond’s Laws to Live By‘ – bits of wisdom designed to help one lead a more virtuous life.

One particular Diamond Law has always stuck with me. To this day, every time I go on air, camera, or online – all broadcast mediums – I remember late nights on-air at KBHU. Often the listener request line would light up, Diamond’s grizzly voice would sharply command, “Tighten the fuck up!” Then line would then instantly go dead.

As a broadcaster, no personal anecdote has been more powerful: “Tighten the fuck up!” can have so many different meanings! Diamond once explained that “Boss Jock” legend Bill Drake used make the same call to his Jocks at KHJ in Los Angeles. I’m forever grateful that Diamond made that call (frequently, I might add) to me.

I could write thousands of words about Diamond, and I’m not alone. He was a tremendous influence on millions of radio listeners, thousands of future Jocks, and hundreds of students. Diamond’s site is designed to help preserve his legacy. Although he’s getting older, he’s excited to post some of his short stories, airchecks, and interviews.

Diamond lived through radio and rocknroll history. I’m proud to know him and I benefited greatly from his teachings. Hopefully a Dave Diamond website will help preserve his legacy as so that Diamond’s Laws can be passed down to future generations of broadcasters.

Video comment from the new Diamond website:

If you listened to, worked with, or was a student of Diamond’s, please leave a few thoughts and comments here.


- Dan

Categories: Friends

Tagged as:

Dan Patterson

Journalist & Technologist

3 replies

  1. Just wanted to say that listening to Dave on KFRC in the late 60′s is what inspired me to get into radio and be a DJ. I still have (and cherish) some of those cassettes.A few years later (mid 70′s), I found a copy of his record "Please Mister Program Director," and took it upon myself to try to contact him. A short time later, I received a letter from him. His letter and his encouragement, encouraged me to go on.In the 90′s I wrote him again (at KBSU as I recall) and he wrote back again and enclosed some airchecks of him at KFI that I’d never heard before.I’m now working in a top-25 market and still think of him often. Thanks Dave for your advice and inspiration!I’ve been trying to find copies of his podcasts. Will you be posting them soon?"Leave no turn un-stoned Diamond-lovers!"Raoul

  2. Thanks words, Raoul – I’ll make sure that The Diamond sees your comments.- DanPS: You may be referring to KBHU – the college station for Black Hills State. And, where Diamond and I met. Great station.


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