BY THOMAS CONNER
© Tulsa World
Before going on the air, Davit Souders mentions this
band from Coffeyville that's been bugging him — in a good
way. They're called Pheb:ate, they've got a fresh debut CD
and for the last several weeks the band and its small
legion of supporters from the Kansas border have been tying
up the phone lines during Souders' late-night local music
radio show, "Home Groan," begging him to play something from
the new CD.
"These crazy kids," Souders says, "they still want to get
on the ol' radio."
So the show starts — 11 p.m. sharp, as it does every
Sunday night on KMYZ 104.5-FM — and pretty soon the phone
lines are blinking again. This time, though, one of them is
a cellular call. The producer patches it into the studio
"Look out the window!" cries a jubilant young woman
through the satellite static.
We go to the window and eight floors down in the parking
lot is a gaggle of young'uns, waving hysterically and
brandishing an acoustic guitar. For the next half hour, the
crowd grows, and the young woman on hold keeps begging to
be allowed into the studio. At one point, things get a
little loony, with the band's female fans so eager to show
their support that they show, well, more of themselves than
their mommas would have appreciated. It's one video camera
away from becoming "Home Groan Girls Gone Wild."
Souders — a true rock 'n' roll warrior, but a businessman
who enjoys at least a modicum of control — eventually
relents, and the band is ushered upstairs for a quick
on-air chat and an impromptu performance in the studio.
After the show, the whole group hangs outside and plays
guitar, confident their assertiveness has scored them a
major marketing triumph.
"That's as pure as it gets in my book, right there,"
Souders says later that night. "I mean, Jim Halsey (local
music entrepreneur) is always talking about the psychic
payoff musicians get from things like this. Boom — there it
is on those faces right there. Because when it comes down
to it, it's not really about money and girls and sales
figures, it's about getting played. It's about getting to
feel like the work you've put into something means
something, anything, to even one little radio host like
In the nearly six years he's been hosting "Home Groan," a
weekly show dedicated to Tulsa-area original music, Souders
has been buttered up by bands hoping to score a spin on his
show. They know when he's due on the air, and sometimes
they lie in wait in that same parking lot outside the
station, thrusting CDs in his hand and sometimes a pizza or
two — learning early lessons of salesmanship the hard way.
As America's — and Tulsa's — radio landscape becomes more
vanilla, monochromatic and pre-recorded, "Home Groan" has
survived as a refreshing oasis, largely due to madcap
moments like this one. More importantly, though, is the
influence the show has maintained — the impact radio airplay
(even in the worst possible timeslot, late on a Sunday
night) has on the evolutionary spark of a local and
regional artistic scene. Why else would two or three dozen
kids from Coffeyville drive an hour in the dark of night to
harass an innocent DJ?
Souders, of course, is more than a DJ. He's been
formulating fiendish local concerts as Diabolical
Productions for more than a decade, having worked
hand-in-hand for several years at the Cain's Ballroom when
Larry Shaeffer was there, and having owned and operated his
own nightclub, Ikon, in three Tulsa locations.
He's also a musician, once a member of a local band
called Lynx and currently singing for a revolving forum of
local players called D.D.S. He even makes his own kilts,
but perhaps that's another story (best told by the
His radio career began in the eighth grade in the late
'70s, when he was the voice of Tulsa Public Schools lunch
menus on KAKC. For this duty — reading the advance warnings
of tomorrow's institutional slop — he created an on-air
personality called Dr. Psycho Fanatic. Everything you need
to know about Souders (other than his obsessions with Elvis
Presley and his idol, Alan Freed) likely is summed up in
this fact: to this day, the Dr. Psycho Fanatic gig is still
on his resume.
From 1990 to 1994, Souders hosted the "Teknopolis"
electronic music show, which bounced between three
different local stations. In '96, he picked up the "Home
Groan" gig, replacing its original host, Admiral Twin
drummer-singer Jarrod Gollihare.
He has certainly made the show his own. In particular,
he has been instrumental in applying the show's brand to
occasional "Home Groan" "low-dough" concerts featuring local
bands as well as two "Home Groan" CD compilations. The former
have been especially illustrative of the show's success.
"We had a show at Cain's a couple of years ago where we
had about 500 kids," Souders said. "Of course, I emcee a la
Alan Freed, and you know I end all the radio shows with my
little catchphrase: 'I'm not evil, I'm just Diabolical.' So
I get up on stage at this show and say, 'I'm not evil, I'm
just . . .' and the bulk of the crowd shouts, 'Diabolical!'
I was blown away."
Souders hopes to one day produce another CD compilation,
probably of live performances from those low-dough shows,
but the plans to reopen Ikon are in the deep freeze.
Meanwhile, Diabolical continues bringing interesting shows
to Tulsa. But Souders is clearly in his element behind the
microphone, scratching his head underneath the trademark
bandana and directing a new band into the public arena.
Comments are closed.
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.