Billy Delle returns to the WWOZ airwaves

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After over a year's hiatus from the airwaves, the beloved WWOZ DJ Billy Delle will return to the Wednesday night slot he held on WWOZ since the early '80s.

Over twenty-plus years of broadcasting his Records From The Crypt show - three hours of obscure "scratchy 45's," as he called them, of New Orleans rhythm & blues from the '50s - Delle won legions of fans locally and internationally as a valuable repository of New Orleans music knowledge. The New Orleans native interspersed his playlists with entreaties delivered in a heavy New Orleans accent to "open your windows, open your doors - and let the music flow out into the street," plus uniquely personal memories and stories about a local music culture gone by.

Delle (pictured above with Earl Stanley at the old WWOZ studio in Armstrong Park) is a Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee and the first recipient of WWOZ's "Guardian of the Groove" award, given at Gambit's annual Big Easy Awards ceremony to honor a WWOZ volunteer.

I have a slightly personal interest in Delle's return. For about 90% of the Wednesdays since Billy took his break, I subbed for him on the air, madly trying to cobble together sets of vintage New Orleans R&B and fielding phone calls from confused and sometimes annoyed fans wondering where their favorite DJ was.

So this Wednesday at 7 p.m., as the OZ spring fund drive ends, turn your radios up for Billy - and when your neighbors ask what you're listening to, you can say "Say, Slick. I'm listening to WWOZ... and those records from the crypt."

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