KRAB Spoken Word Programming - The 1980s
Programs are listed in chronological order. Problems listening, or comments? Email: KRABarchive
The text in bold italic that begins each program description is quoted from the original program guide entry. As some tapes lack complete descriptions, and we do not yet have all the program guides in which to find a description, some of the notes below are vague. If you can enlighten us about any program, please email us about that too.
First Avenue, Seattle - A Five-part Oral History, produced by Jim Simon and Roz Barnett - Apr 1982
This program was put together in 1981 and early 1982. Listening to this series 35 years later, one wonders if we are now living a repeat performance. Seattle high rise office and condominium construction is ubiquitous, and real estate costs rise hourly. The bland monochromatic miasma that was beginning to swallow Seattle then is now an omnipresent companion to the cookie cutter glass and steel boxes
First Avenue, Seattle documents the passing of more than a street of army/navy surplus and novelty stores, taverns, seedy restaurants, and storefronts advertising to "adult" interests. It is filled with the voices of the people that lived there - those whom Emmett Watson, John Hinterberger, and Susan Paynter seemed to think gave Seattle "character". Paynter, interviewing Tiny Freeman in 2007, asked "Where have the big-livers, characters and genuine articles gone?" To which Tiny replied "It's not just Seattle, sweetie. It's the whole shiterie."
There are problems of city life today that can be attributed to the decisions of the last century. Some of those decisions seem to have been directly related to looking the other way when "trying to do the right thing", like saving an historical landmark and center of Seattle "community". The preservation of the Market resulted in the displacement of poor and vulnerable people, and when there were limited resources to provide them with alternative housing, it was just too bad.
Is this program still relevant today? The 96 room *Gatewood Hotel (built in 1898) is featured in the fifth episode of this series. It was closed in 1982 long enough to drive out the previous tenants and sell off the furniture, but reopened shortly after and continued to operate as a low cost flophouse/hostel until 1985. It then became a rallying place for advocates of housing for the homeless. Then, in 1991, Mayor Norm Rice leased it for 25 years and took on renovating it for subsidized low income housing. The lease was up last year and on Jun 30, 2017 it was announced that the 4-story Gatewood property is to become a 14-story tower of mixed use: commercial on first floor, 145 luxury hotel rooms above, and 12 luxury housing units on top.
Narration and announcing is by Jim Stutzman, former KZAM news director.
Part 1 - Skid Road, First Avenue and the Working Stiffs - KRAB Apr 7, 1982
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Part 3 - On the Sea, and On the Streets, a Portrait of Davld Edenso - KRAB Apr 21, 1982
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Part 4 - Street Roots: Hobos and Transients - KRAB Apr 28, 1982
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Part 5 - The Lost Hotels: The Lenora and the Gatewood - KRAB May 5, 1982
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Recordings courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives: SMA3369, 3370, 3371, 3372, and 3373
*The history of the Gatewood Hotel ought to be of interest to anyone curious about the relationship between community improvement projects (such as the Market preservation) and commercial/corporate business interests and developers. A quick search through the Seattle Times revealed an interesting trail of stories relating to the acquisition by a corporation of the Gatewood property (and a number of other downtown Market area parcels) in 1966, and how their interests did, or did not, mesh with Market preservation plans.
Articles in the Seattle Times, and First Avenue, Seattle, mention Sam Israel as owner of the Gatewood. I could not find anything in the Times describing how or when Israel (of Soap Lake, WA) acquired the property, but the registration form to put the Gatewood building on the National Register of Historic Places, says this:
In 1975 Sam Israel acquired the building and the land in an indirect sale from the Central Park Plaza Corporation through the People’s National Bank of Washington, trustee. The hotel furnishings were sold at public auction on May 24, 1981. The hotel land and building together were converted to part of the Samis Foundation holdings in 2001.
For an enterprising researcher, I think there is a story here, and I am sharing 3 sets of articles that feature the Central Park Plaza Corporation to get you started:
The fight in the 1980's to preserve, and then to secure, low income and affordable housing is well documented in the Seattle Times, but perhaps it is worth restating that this has been going on since well before the millenium.
The Rise of Solidarity, Produced by Doug Honig - KRAB Apr 26, 1982
A half-hour documentary tracing the development of the Polish Solidarity Movement. Produced by Doug Honig.
Dramatic Readings by Daniel Bradick, Peter Constantini, Jim Hunter
This is a two part program - The documentary was followed by a live panel discussion with members of Solidarity responding to phoned in questions from listeners, while Doug moderates. With an in studio interpreter.
Recording courtesy Doug Honig, DH0004
Mike Rotkin, Socialist and Mayor of Santa Cruz is interviewed by Doug Honig - KRAB Sep 14, 1982
Can Socialists Find Happiness in Santa Cruz? Doug Honig interviews Mike Rotkin, Socialist elected mayor of Santa Cruz, CA.
The liberal leanings of the Pacific NW, at least of its coastal territory, have been touted for decades. The authenticity of those claims have not been particularly obvious to some of us, but after 136 years Seattle did get its second Socialist City Council member - Obviously not serving concurrently. Anyway, it was surely a novelty when Mike Rotkin, the new (1981) Mayor of Santa Cruz, came to Seattle. In the ensuing years Rotkin served six terms on the Santa Cruz city council, and 5 terms as its mayor.
Doug Honig first appeared on KRAB in a 1971 panel recorded at a Tenants Rights Workshop at the University District Center. In 1980 he volunteered at KRAB, and started producing programs ranging from sports commentary to interviews with politicians and activisits to documentaries about the Polish labor movement and the social economics of cooperatives.
Recording courtesy Doug Honig, DH0001-2
Admiral Rickover: A Warning (Eisenhower redux?) - Jan 28, 1982 - KRAB Sep 8, 1982
On Jan 28, 1982, at the age of 82, Admiral Hyman G Rickover testified to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Although he is credited as being the driving force behind the Navy's adoption of nuclear powered warships, in this hearing he describes a military supported by special interests, and a likelihood of nuclear war unless disarmament is given priority. Three days after giving testimony he was relieved of command and retired from the armed services.
The questioning comes from Senator William Proxmire and Representative Frederick Richmond.
This program appears to have originated at Pacifica, appearing in the PRA database with a length of 57 minutes. Our copy, preserved and shared by Bob West, is only 42 minutes, so it may be incomplete.
Recording courtesy Bob West and the Pacifica Radio Archives
Emmett Watson interviewed by Kay Hutchins for Conversations About This, That and the Other Thing - Rec Nov 30, 1982, but rejected for airplay
According to the Feb 1978 program guide "Kay Hutchins, who, despite vague rumors to the contrary, is not a stuffy old Englishwoman..." Between 1978 and 1984 she read from a variety of books and other publications and also recorded conversations with numerous guests at KRAB.
Emmett Watson wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1956 to 1982, and then moved to the Seattle Times, where he continued to write until 2001. He seemed to frequently be inspired, or bemused, by the antics of KRAB, Lorenzo Milam, and others associated with KRAB, including Richard A C Greene and Tiny Freeman. Irritated with the champions of "progress" in the Chamber of Commerce's "Greater Seattle", Watson wrote about his own fictional anti-progress organization "Lesser Seattle". Meanwhile, Jon Gallant of KRAB and Jack Straw was writing of "Grosser Seattle". We don't know which was first.
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, PA0021
Elizabeth Cotten interviewed by Liza Dietrichson - KRAB May 24, 1982
Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv PA1182
Making Caskets - KRAB Dec 21, 1983
Not that many decades ago, most caskets were the products of neighborhood cabinetmakers, or of the friends and family of the deceased. In one rural Washington community, this tradition has been restored - when someone dies, their neighbors make the casket. They do this not as a business enterprise, but, as one of the builders says, as "the last thing you can do for your friends." Produced by Phil Andrus.
Phil tells us that the subject interviewees of this program asked that their location identity not be revealed. They weren't interested in turning casket making into a business. So we don't know if, after thirty one years, their casket making tradition has persisted.
Recording courtesy of Phil Andrus
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 email@example.com