Break on Through: Remembering The Diamond

The studio blinked. “KDDX, this is Dan.” I punched the phone button on the red and white mixer expecting a buzzed request for Metallica or Aerosmith.

“Dan! This is Diamond! Tighten the fuck up!” Click.


In a radio studio the phone never rings, but the light always blinks. Nighttime radio is great. Broadcasting from the Black Hills of Western South Dakota a 100 thousand watt FM signal travels across five states of prairie towns, military bases, and truck stops. Thousands of people collectively dial in to the same chatter of music, local low-budget ads, fast jokes, and rock ‘n’ roll.  The listeners talk back to the radio, the studio buzzes, and the light blinks.

I used to work the afternoon drive, evenings, and late nights at a big stick rock station in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. It’s a small but fun radio market, and we were a highly-rated station. When the drive time shift ended I would stick around on-air as I recorded my evening voice track recording for the weekend hours. Punching the ‘on-air’ button is a lot of fun regardless of market size, and our station had a big and rowdy audience. Answering the phone at X-Rock station was frequently an adventure. Sometimes the caller just wanted to hear that one Alice in Chains song. Again. And sometimes the listener was roaring backstage at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Talking up and down the ramp of Walk This Way is fun every time, though, and with a big audience it’s easy to get a little cocky on-air. I turned up the studio monitors, glance at the music and production list, cut an ad, punched a talk set, and repeated the cycle through the hot-clock. The station light blinked. I had just cut the air and was expecting to get a buzzed request for Metallica or Aerosmith.

The light blinked. I answered.

“KDDX, this is Dan.”

“Dan. This is Diamond.”

“Hey Diamond, thanks for-”

“I’ve been taping your show all night. Book some time tomorrow to review your air check. Also, tighten the fuck up!”



In May my friend and mentor Dave Diamond passed away. Here’s the post from his website, and a eulogy from The Hollywood Reporter:

In 1967, Diamond was one of the first disc jockeys to play “Light My Fire” by The Doors, then a largely unknown L.A. band, and he connected listeners to The Seeds, Iron Butterfly, Love, Linda Ronstadt and other acts who at the time could not find airplay.

Through his Black Hills Music publishing company, the South Dakota native was the publisher of “Incense and Peppermints,” the psychedelic pop hit from The Strawberry Alarm Clock that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in May 1967.

Named one of “America’s Early Radio Idols” by Billboard, Diamond was one of the few radio reporters to tour with The Beatles during their first trip to America.

And on a 1967 edition of The Dating Game, Diamond was one of the three bachelors attempting to woo actress Yvonne Craig (TV’s Batgirl.)

Diamond was an academic and a rock ‘n’ roll radio jock. His influence was both personal and vast. “Tighten the fuck up” is the closest I can come to a story that properly (impossibly) summarizes the personal impact of a guy who also influenced thousands listeners and students. I’m willing to be that a lot of Diamond’s friends and family have similar stories and feel the same way about their relationship with him.

“Tighten the fuck up” became a mantra that was always coupled with a productive and inspiring session of granular critiques. Always tough, never negative Diamond expected work to be good, rehearsed, and repeatable. This value was one many Diamond’s Laws to Live By to which he attributed his personal and professional success.

Here’s one of my favorite Diamond’s Laws to Live By:

Life is short. It can be snatched from you instantly … that is why we must do our best to do good, to love, and not waste too much time! Time bleeds!

Of course, Diamond taught more than just the value of practice and hard work. From him I learned a ton of practical lessons about the media industry, the history of rock ‘n’ roll, and his home, the Black Hills. Diamond helped coach me through the process of running a radio station, starting a business, and managing people. Sure, Diamond was a successful guy and taught a lot of lessons. The practical lessons, however, were always coupled with his consistent reminders about healthy and smart living.

Be a good person. Do the right thing. But don’t take no shit from fools.

I was fortunate to be one of many young people Diamond mentored. As a great DJ, one of Diamond’s many skills was his ability to develop intimate and sincere relationships with a diverse and large group of people. His method was hands on, cerebral, and personal. Diamond’s friends and students now work in media across the country. And with the success of his friends comes the inherent dissemination of Diamond’s values and creativity.

As he was in life and on-air, with his passing Diamond remains a broadcaster. His values are the transmitter, and the people he taught are the signal.

Turn up the radio. Thanks for listening. Break on though.

  • Dan

Here’s Diamond during the final hour of Burbank’s KBLA rock program:


Hacking Explained: Jack Rice and Dan Patterson on Progressive AM 950

Download Audio

Jack and Dan discuss a brief history of hacking, explain how the NSA captured personal user data from major internet providers, and provide a few essential security tips for the web and mobile on Minnesota’s progressive talk station, AM 950.

Learn more about about the NSA from expert James Bamford, and security from host Steve Gibson.

Thanks for listening to Jack and Dan.

Stay tuned.



The classic, generic podcast feed logo.

I create radio shows and podcasts for a living. With a few brief exceptions, I’ve spent my career behind mixing consoles and microphones. I began my radio carrer in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. I worked my way from the college radio station, KBHU, up to drive-time spots at various local rock radio stations.

When podcasting emerged in 2003 and 2004, I was the right person at the right place in the my life: young, broke, and ambitious. I co-created and hosted a show for many years, and watched the medium explode, then quickly fade. Initially podcasting seemed to define flash-in-the-pan tech. The medium was hip, then hyped, then forgotten in the span of about 18 months. Many – myself included, for a time – were disappointed, and moved on to other things.

Since mid-2004, podcasts have never been absent from my earbuds. I began listening to shows on my beloved iRiver H-140, an early iPod competitor. The device was great, and was used to record many early episodes. But podcast listening with the H-140 was as clunky as the name. I used the Juice app to pull down shows, then would manually copy the files to the device. This process worked, but the complicated nature syndicating podcasts in the early days nearly doomed the medium. It was years before I upgraded to the iPod family, but I listened as the medium evolved.

Today, podcasting can claim victory. But it’s early-period was rocky. Podcast curiosity-seekers should investigate Dave Winer and Christopher Lydon‘s early experiments. Though Apple adopted podcasting with the 4.9 update to iTunes in June of 2005, it was still difficult to produce high-quality shows. Indie shows seemed hopeful, but quickly faded after Adam Curry and Podshow‘s initial push and plunk. The initial podcamps were great, but momentum was difficult to maintain (a revival, however, is in the works!). The ‘user generated content’ debate was settled with YouTube’s arrival in 2005, and major media companies couldn’t (still can’t) grok the value proposition of podcasting.

However, niche media continued to evolve the medium. Considering it’s current success, podcasting’s mid-period is important. Revision3 and CNet’s Buzz Out Loud were always passionate champions. Andy Bowers at Slate was an early and under-appreciated innovator. Of course, This American LifeRadioLab, and NPR all deserve great credit for their pursuit of podcasting. TWiT remains the reigning champion of indie podcast success. These shows borrowed the community vibe of the early indie podcasters and evolved consumer expectations of quality.

Podcasting has survived and flourished. Nearly a decade in, podcasting is embraced and employed with great success by everyone from the tech media establishment, to the quirky spokes of the East Coast media, to Scott Johnson’s indie success of Frog Pants Studios, to stand-up comedians like Marc Maron and auteurs like Kevin Smith.

The virtues of audio and podcasting are easy to understand. Podcasting reduces the distance and friction between people, other people, and information. I believe in audio. Audio allows content creators to perform intimate acts of  conversation with an audience, not simply perform a monologue at a demographic. And, of course, audio engages the imagination in ways that video and other mediums cannot.

I create podcasts, I think, because I listen to so many great shows. I’m simply an aspirational fan of good content. These are the podcasts and radio programs that stack up with the medium’s cannon, and are perpetually parked between my ears:


The KoPoint News Hot Clock

Dan Patterson:

Each day we add new stuff and tighten the shows.

Originally posted on KoPoint:

Each week KoPoint works to iterate and improve our audio product.

First we built the infrastructure (January, Febuary), then we built the studio (March). Next we produced and released shows (April, May). In late-May and early-June we bagan recording live-to-tape. This means that we included all audio elements live, during the recording process, and added very few elements in post-production. Shows were a bit buggy, but also a lot more exciting.

We’re now streaming some shows live via the KoPoint Google+ page, and we’ve started working on KoPoint Live, our dedicated live audio and video page.

This week’s KoPoint News program will be recorded and streamed live. Additionally, we’re tightening the program by adding production elements designed around specific show segments. We’re also curating the conversation by integrating the KoPoint Reddit page as well as an episode-specific Urtak question.

Below is an example of the KoPoint News hot…

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The KoPoint Show Creation Process

Dan Patterson:

Great change comes in small increments. Building KoPoint has been an exercise in patience. Yet every day I see how far we’ve come. There’s still a ton of work to do. This post should help illuminate our day-to-day creation process.

Originally posted on KoPoint:

Hi there. KoPoint launched in early-2012, and we’ve been creating shows on a regular basis for almost two months solid.

We record shows five days per week, and I spend every day of week editing and writing. I work closely with small teams of content creators to produce fun, topical, episodic discussions.

While I love being a work-a-holic and am fortunate to spend my time building KoPoint, there will come a time when I am unable to produce every episode. To that end I recently created a step-by-step document aimed at assisting each producer with show creation. After sharing this with my team, I figured that our friends and colleagues might be curious about the process and that the document might make for a great ‘inside baseball’ post.

I’m having a blast working with KoPoint show hosts on each step of the production cycle:

- Production Cycle
The full KoPoint…

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KoPoint Studio - Microphones

KoPoint Shows, Season One

A few thoughts on the first few weeks of producing KoPoint programs, via KoPoint Shows, Season One.

KoPoint just accomplished one of our first major content-focused goals. We produce shows in ‘seasons’ of six episodes. Yesterday The KoPoint Comic Book Show reached episode 006, concluding our first successful season. Co-hosted by Jeff NeweltJon Lazar, and myself KoPoint Comics was our first produced and syndicated show and was first to reach it’s season milestone. KoPoint Weekly and The KoPoint Minecraft Project will reach similar goals this week.

Keep Reading

KGO Dumping Most Local Talk

Very interesting indeed…


KGO radio in San Francisco, one of the last radio stations in the US that actually produced a large amount of programming is dumping all but one talk host in order to be 24/7 news. 24/7 news likely means people in a studio reading wire service stories.

It’s sad, but not surprising, to see this happen. 


The Future: Laws To Live By

Fear is one of the most negative emotions. It can immobilize the best of people … fear is another form of mind static.

- Diamond’s Laws

Hi there. Over the past few days I’ve contemplated composing a number of ‘what traditional media can learn from the web’-type posts. I left my traditional-media comfort zone not to pursue a new job, but rather to create content that I believe in. After scrapping a number of  justifiably snarky posts, I realized that I have little desire to linger in the past. Instead I will marginalize negative feelings in favor of tightening my future focus.

Have faith in yourself. Keep your mind on good thoughts and your actions based on wisdom and reason. To be successful and happy don’t waste time. Worry is an energy rip-off.  It does no good to worry. It causes nervousness and disease. Solve the problem rather than worry


Coverage: Voices of September 11th

Along with the @abcnewsradio team I helped to cover the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on September 11th. I manned the social media ‘desk.’ Using a Google Voice number, followers shared short audio memories of September 11th. I pruned and edited the audio submissions then uploaded each to Soundcloud. During the ceremony I slowly released short segments via Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+.