The History and Career of Dave Diamond
Dave Diamond is a radio broadcaster and a professor at Black Hills State University. Diamond was one of the nine original “Boss Jocks” who helped legendary program director Bill Drake build KHJ 93 AM in Los Angeles in to a new format concept called Boss Radio. KHJ hit the air running in the spring of 1965, and changed both rock radio and Dave Diamond forever…
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The following story was written for the Black Hills Pioneer newspaper in 2005 by Dan Patterson. If you have any additional material and history, please make sure to visit the Share Your Dave Diamond Story section, or leave a comment below. Thanks.
He’s not a rock star, but he plays one on TV; and the radio; and in
books. Dr. David Diamond has lived a life many people only dream of.
The Black Hills State University professor boasts a resume that spans
five decades and includes two separate, but equally successful
careers. His work in and around the media business, and as a college
professor has taken him from humble roots in Howard, South Dakota, to
radio and recording studios in Los Angeles, back to his boyhood summer
home in the Black Hills.
The son of a newspaper editor in Howard, Diamond came of age with a
working understanding of the business of mass communication. “My Dad
was also a campaign manager for South Dakota Governor Nils Boe and
Senator Jim Abner, so I learned how the media and politics are
His parents also made sure that he was a well rounded young man. “My
mother made me join,” chuckled Diamond, recalling his stint in the Boy
Scouts of America. “She always said that if your going to do
something, then you should do it to the best of your abilities” A
sentiment Diamond took to heart by becoming the youngest person in his
troop to earn his Eagle Scout award at age 14.
Tall and lanky, Diamond was always naturally athletic. His passion
for basketball to took him to Louisiana State University for
undergraduate studies. Though he excelled in athletics, education
soon became a priority. His tenacity and love of education eventually
helped him earn several degrees. Diamond has graduate degrees from
Northwest Missouri St, University of Southern California and Columbia
Education, however, has served as Diamond’s second career. Another
piece of advice instilled by his mother was to “be accomplished;” and
accomplished he became.
Diamond is most widely known as a successful
radio and television personality. Through the 1960s, he worked for a
number of radio stations, including KOIL in Omaha, KBTR in Denver and
KFRC in San Francisco before landing in every broadcasts’ dream
market: Los Angeles. There, he worked for legendary AM giant KFI with
a signal that reached the entirety of the western United States.
While in Los Angeles, Diamond started a successful specialty show
called The Diamond Mine. The show, which featured a mix of
psychedelic rock and commentary, was a smash success. Diamond was one
of the first disc jockeys in America to play The Door’s legendary
single “Light My Fire.” During his tenure in L.A., Diamond also
toured with The Beatles during their first American tour and helped
produce the hit “Incense and Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock.
Diamond left L.A. in the mid-1980s to take care of his ailing parents
in Howard. He taught mass communication classes at Buena Vista
University in Storm Lake, Iowa for several years, and would commute to
Howard on the weekends.
“I always new that I’d be back in the Black Hills,” Diamond reflects.
In 1995 he moved to Spearfish to teach at Black Hills State
University. He is currently the faculty advisor of KBHU, the college
radio station. Diamond has also published a novel called “Cool Hand
in a Hot Fire” based loosely on his experiences in Los Angeles.
Though he has left the fast-pace life of L.A., he has no intentions of
slowing down. He is currently working on a new novel, and
occasionally consults with his friends in the music business.
For David Diamond, the rock and roll dream isn’t a dream at all; it’s his life.
Share Your Dave Diamond Story – Dave Diamond Radio Airchecks – The Diamond Mine Podcast