KRAB Primary References and Links
There are not a lot of places, but some authoritative ones, where you can get an understanding of what, in the early years of public radio, Listener-supported radio was like. Here you will find a few of the obvious ones, beginning with the beginning of listener-supported radio, Lewis Hill and KPFA.
The first generation: Pacifica: KPFA, KPFK, WBAI
The Exacting Ear, edited by Eleanor McKinney is an anthology of mostly transcriptions of programs aired on Pacifica's first three stations, KPFA, KPFK, and WBAI. It also contains an essay by Lewis Hill, in which he articulates The Theory of Listener-Sponsored Radio.
For more about KPFA, see the web site of John Whiting, a KPFA Production Manager and program producer in the 1960's. It contains audio of programs and Whiting's first-hand account: My KPFA - A Historical Footnote.
See also his beginning of a history of KPFA, The Lengthening Shadow, Lewis Hill and the Origins of Listener-Sponsored Broadcasting in America, and his 1996 article about Pacifica in which one can find many parallel's with KRAB's second 11 years: PACIFICA IN VINCULA - The Life and Death of Great American Radio
Some of the programs on Whiting's site were also broadcast on KRAB: Erik Bauersfeld's radio drama series Black Mass, Compendium Cliché Productions, Dale Minor's "Freedom Now!", and others.
The Exacting Ear is available used.
More History of Pacifica
For a comprehensive history of Pacifica, Matthew Lasar has it covered in his two books:
Pacifica Radio, The Rise of an Alternative Network, Matthew Lasar (Temple University Press, 1999), reviewed by Lorenzo Milam in RALPH.
Uneasy Listening, Pacifica Radio's Civil War, Matthew Lasar (Black Apollo Press, 2006), also reviewed by Milam in RALPH.
Here is Matthew Lasar writing in RALPH about record stores as they once existed: Sam Goody Then...
And, Matthew Lasar's newsletter and blog about what is going on in radio: Radio Survivor
See if you can find Steve Post's entertaining stories of WBAI in better times: Playing in the FM Band, A Personal Account of Free Radio, (Viking Press, 1974)
Recommended with some reservation, Active Radio, Pacifica's Brash Experiment, Jeff Land (University of Minnesota Press, 1999)
For the story of KRAB, the writings of Lorenzo Milam, in the program guide essays, in his books, and many articles, is the place to go. You will find many of the guides posted in the archive, but about 70 guides from 1963 through 1966 are still missing. Many of the missing guide essays can be found in The Myrkin Papers and The Radio Papers.
Some of Lorenzo Wilson Milam's books can be found used. The Prometheus Radio Project may have copies of The Radio Papers and the 1988 Mho & Mho edition of Sex and Broadcasting. Mho & Mho Works may even still have new copies of The Petition Against God, as well as others of Lorenzo's "litter of pigs" (see jacket of the Myrkin Papers).
The Myrkin Papers was published in 1969 by Peggy Golberg at Duck Press. Peggy and her family were friends of Lorenzo and KRAB. Duck Press did a number of print jobs for KRAB, ranging from note cards to event invitations. Peggy was also very active in the NW arts community, being at various times a member of the Junior League, Allied Arts, the Washington State Arts Commission, and PONCHO. R M Campbell devoted a chapter to her in his book Stirring up Seattle - Allied Arts in the Civic Landscape. Peggy Golberg passed away last year. You can find out a bit more about her here.
The Myrkin Papers contains 27 essays in 3 sections. Some of the essays were published in program guides from 1963 to 1967. Others had been columns in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, The Washington Teamster, Puget Soundings, The North Central Outlook, and the Vancouver Sun. We haven't been able to to trace the sources of each essay yet. If you want to help . . . . .
The 1st edition of Sex and Broadcasting (Dildo Press) was released in 1971, and quickly gobbled up by people eager to start their own stations. A year later a 2nd edition was published, with technical advice from Ben Dawson, the Jack Straw Memorial Foundation's Chief Engineer.
In 1975 the 3rd Dildo Press edition was published, completely revised with additional text covering just about everything one might need to know to start "a radio station for the community". A 4th edition of Sex and Broadcasting was revised and released by Mho & Mho in 1988, and in 2017 was re-released by Dover.
The Radio Papers, published by Mho & Mho Works in 1986 contains 44 essays, with 32 from 1963 and 1964. It takes the reader from near the beginning of KRAB in Jan 1963, to "The End" in Apr 1984. Though in both Myrkin and Radio Papers Lorenzo provides publication dates, as most of these guides are missing from our collection, it is difficult to say with certainty which guide they came from.
If you would like to help . . . . .
The first edition of Sex and Broadcasting (above) is courtesy Linda and Leonard Good; the other books come from the library of c reinsch.
You don't read books? OK, how about a couple of reviews? Click here to see what others have said about Sex and Broadcasting (KPFT folio, Aug 1975) and the Radio Papers (Broadcasting Magazine, Feb 1986). As we find more, they will be added.
Lorenzo has written about radio and KRAB in Ralph (The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities):
HistoryLink and Seattle Now & Then
Walt Crowley, a friend of KRAB and occasional program participant, seems to have gotten the idea to create an encyclopedia of Seattle and King County history in 1997. It was Mary McCaffrey, Walt's wife, who suggested putting it on the internet. Another friend of KRAB, Paul Dorpat, incorporated HistoryLink in Nov 1997, and a prototype of the site was launched the following year. HistoryLink now features articles documenting the history of Washington State.
In 2014 John Caldbick wrote a comprehensive, but thorough, article about KRAB. In addition to extensive research, John interviewed Paul Dorpat and Chuck Reinsch, and questioned Jon Gallant by email.
Speaking of Paul Dorpat, Seattle's Historian Without Portfolio, KRAB appears on several occasions in his "Seattle Now & Then" articles that appeared in the Seattle Times and are archived (with additional material) on his web site. Two examples are linked below. Be sure and read the comments.
More About KRAB and Listener-Supported Radio
Phil Munger (former KRAB morning show producer, Music Director and in some guides News Director) occasionally writes about his experiences and the people associated with KRAB (including Jeremy Lansman and George Shangrow) in his Progressive Alaska blog. Phil was there 1970 to 1973, and I can almost hear the transmitter hum in his reminiscences.
Rebels on the AIR, an Alternative History of Radio in America, Jesse Walker (New York University Press, 2001) - I liked what Jesse Walker wrote about "The First Broadcasters" (chapter 2), but those parts of the book dealing with KRAB post-Milam needed more knowledgeable informants. This may be attributable to the reluctance of those that were there during a traumatic time to talk about it.
"Reverend A W Allworthy" (author of The Petition Against God) reviews "Rebels..... at ralphmag.org. (You will need to scroll down).
For the history of a couple of other alternative radio stations,
See these articles by engineer Don Mussell:
The History Of KAZU radio in Pacific Grove, California
The History Of KUSP radio in Santa Cruz, California
Radio Archives on the Internet
There are large collections of magnetic recording tape in major and minor universities in the US, and while there is currently an effort to preserve some of the audio through digitization, it has become clear that much of it will disintegrate well before the project can be completed.
Attached is a list of sources for examples of radio programs from the later half of the 20th century that can be streamed or downloaded via the internet. The list is incomplete, so I am hoping that you will let me know of other sites that should be added to it.
And more about KRAB.....
What? Recently it was pointed out to me that I had been derelict in sharing some the earliest, and most admirable (or is it admiring?), articles written about KRAB. Wishing to correct that, here is an article from the June 1964 Seattle Magazine, fifteen months after KRAB went on the air. (Click on the photo to read the article.)
New to me was the organization, "CLAW" or "Committee to Enlighten the Airwaves", "run" by Bud and Sylvia Havlisch. Or is it Committee to Light (up) the Air Waves? See page 6 of Building Bridges to learn about Bud Havlisch.
Should you have a loose copy of the June 1964 Seattle Mag, I would very much like to scan it. The bound edition at the library presented problems.
Here is another article. (Click on title or image to read)
This one written by Lorenzo himself.
Published in Puget Soundings the magazine of the Junior League of Seattle.
Note the sub-title: "In the pursuit of silence, let there be a great deal of noise". It echoes Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale, and will become a recurrent theme in Lorenzo's other endeavors.
For at least five years past I have pined for an FM radio. In an instant last Christmas, this creature craving was twice satisfied, once by three friends, and once by my wife, who is sometimes also friend.
I own two FM radios and am pretty much master of all I survey, as well as becoming an odious radio, FM please, snob.
It is in my own personal discovery that I exult, and hasten to share with you a new knowledge, a knowledge I feel sure I am the last to have acquired.
There are FM stations, and there are FM stations. After having heard the local lot, I am prepared to pass judgement. It's my discovery and I'm stuck with it.
Station KRAB, 107.7 mc, seems to me to be pretty much everything that we could ask for in a contemporary communication device. It is appropriate for our time.
(Click on title above, or image on right to read the rest)
If you possess any souvenirs (program guides, tapes, or photos) or have a story about your experience with KRAB you are willing to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org