I'm embarrassed that I didn't get to this story sooner, but Arizona music historian John "Johnny D" Dixon is back on the FM dial.
Mostly Vinyl with Johnny D aired it seventh show Sunday night, on indie station KWSS 106.7.
The show runs for three hours, and during this previous Sunday night's broadcast, Dixon was all over the map, dropping some jams by AZ country-rockers Goose Creek Symphony, a reggae '45 set, golden vocals from Russ Arno, stunning soul from the likes of Donnie Elbert, Eddie Bo, and Bettye Swan and rounding things out with indie-rock from David Bazan and Those Darlins'.
In other words, it kicked serious ass.
Sunday night has become my absolute favorite night for local radio programming. Not only is Johnny D. tearing it up at KWSS, but Bob Corritore's "Them Lowdown Blues" program runs on KJZZ, Danny Zielesko hosts "The Regular Radio Guy" show on KDKB, X103.9 features Craven Moorehead's "Ska Punk" set and Gadger's "Local Frequency."
I'm probably missing a few worthwhile shows there, but between those gigs, it makes for a nice night of FM dial hopping, which I've love, and which is often kind of a nice respite from the normal grind of constant MP3 surfing on blogs.
I caught up with Dixon over the telephone to let him explain a little how the show came about.
"If you Google around you can see my past. I was a long time Phoenix gabber on the radio waves," Dixon says. "I hadn't had a gig in --gosh-- I wanna say since KZON, I had a reggae gig on KZON sometime in the '90s. It was a Sunday night, two hour reggae show, and that was kind of my last gig, though I would occasionally jump on Bob Corritore's show, [about] a couple times a year and play soul, blues, jazz, Arizona things, anything that would fit in his format. Someone would die and I would go on and [play some of their music]."
"I was certainly aware of the efforts of Radio Free Phoenix, Andy Olson's station, but they are internet and that's not a radio show for me -- if i can't get it on my [FM dial]. I'm old school and it would be great to do it, and certainly three's a lot of cool shows on there, and those guys have certainly picked up the torch for KCAC, KDKB and The Storm all those things going. But I just love being on air," Dixon continues.
Dixon read about KWSS when New Times featured a cover story on the station, and contacted them about buying some time for a program. The station was receptive. Dixon received "a strong commitment" from Stateside Presents to help cover costs. He has a few more sponsorships in the works, but says it's not about making money. "If I can just cover my nut. It's not about making money, just [paying for the show]."
Dixon culls selections from his record collection at "Johnny Land," his record room at his home in Scottsdale. "It's great to have a library to pull from." The selections range from archival recordings he has collected of Arizona artists to soul and R&B selections. "I've been playing live with DJentrification and DJ Smite, so I have eight or so boxes of soul 45s, and a couple boxes of Latin, and Jazz."
"I just love the idea of [airwaves] bouncing off the rocks and cacti," he says. "It's all about freedom."