The patriarch of pop in Phoenix, KRIZ's Pat McMahon, undoubtedly feels William Edward Compton's hot, hip breath on the back of his neck. Compton comes across as a more with--it Dick Cavett to McMahon's establishment comic, Johnny Carson. "Unless you really get out and mingle with the people," he declares, "and I'm not talking about throwing a concert for them every three months--you can't find out what they're doing. Most radio personalities tend to isolate themselves.
In essence, what has happened is that within the past year a group of longhairs has captured a music and is espousing a lifestyle which was previously foreign to the Valley. The resultant rise in KCAC ratings has been as dramatic as KTAR-FM's. Compton is realistic about the future, however.
"My purpose in embarking on this format is not to have a number one station," Compton said. "I think we're more of a spiritual-force. KCAC is an exercise in freedom".
Compton is the station manager and, along with the other three staff members, serves as music director, disc jockey and janitor. Broadcasting is entirely free-form, and the DJ's may say and play whatever they please. Conflicts over FCC, and over certain progressive rock lyrics with sponsors, have ensued as a matter of course, but KCAC is confident it can weather any controversial storm. Climbing ratings and revenues, Compton hopes, will enable him to set up a news department and a production room. Eventually he would like to simulcast on both AM and FM which would give KCAC 24 hour capabilities (their AM broadcast is restricted now from sunrise to sunset).
As to the future, he is optimistic that eclectic, electric rock is here to stay in Phoenix and fatalistic about hassles with government and the older generation. "You can't drop out, man," he asserts "and escape people and the problems people create".