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All Reason.com articles with the "Radio" tag.



Published: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Last Build Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:46:53 -0500

 



Talkin' Clowns on the Radio

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 08:02:00 -0400

Because I can't stop writing about clowns, people ask me to go on the radio to talk about clowns. Here are two recent interviews about the Big Bozo Scare—the first, from last Friday, with the Calgary show At Night with Dan Riendeau...

src="https://www.omnycontent.com/w/player/?orgId=fdc2ad13-d199-4e97-b2db-a59300cb6cc2&programId=b7a48ef8-a7aa-4528-a3f5-a5ca0111f253&clipId=693a5730-7f68-4361-8776-a69c01276309" width="100%" height="150px" frameborder="0">

...and the other, from yesterday, with The Blaze's Pat and Stu:

src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/287193550&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="0">

In other news, the AP reports that "Ronald McDonald is keeping a low profile with reports of creepy clown sightings on the rise." Naturally.




Jerry Doyle, RIP. Radio Host and Babylon 5 Star Was 60.

Fri, 29 Jul 2016 11:26:00 -0400

(image) I'm saddened to announce the death of Jerry Doyle, who hosted a great nationally syndicated radio show out of Las Vegas that Reason staff appeared on dozens (and perhaps hundreds) of times over the years. Doyle was also a cast member of the fondly remembered science fiction show Babylon 5, on which he played "Mr. Garibaldi." He also wrote at the site Epic Times, a treasure trove of commentary and links. Doyle, born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey, was 60 years old. The exact cause of death isn't known.

It was always a pleasure to appear on Doyle's show even though (or because?) we didn't agree on everything. He was a rare talk radio host who wasn't a rabid ideologue or partisan. Instead, he was funny, self-deprecating, and always measuring issues by how they affected everyday people. What he liked about Reason was that we weren't coming at things from the same old, same old position. He spoke with the restrained and resigned anger and annoyance of someone who wanted something different in American life and politics, and his rallying cry was "It's not Left vs Right, it's right vs wrong!" I know in my case at least, that led him to call bullshit on me if he thought I was getting too abstract in my examples or thinking. He also had a great sense of humor. Because of the time difference, I often appeared on the show around dinner time in the Eastern Time Zone and one time I was in the middle of chopping vegetables for a meal when his call came. I tried to continue my prep quietly but he heard the tap tap tap of the knife and asked, "Are you cooking dinner, Dr. Gillespie?" (he insisted on calling me by that honorific, both as a sign of respect and as a good-natured way to bust my balls). "At least tell us what you're making."

RIP, Jerry Doyle, the airwaves are diminished by your passing. Reason's deepest condolences to your family, friends, and audience. 

His show's Facebook page is here.




The Back Door to the Radio Dial

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 16:23:00 -0400

(image) In theory, the lowest frequency on the FM dial is 87.9 megahertz. But many radios, especially in older cars, go a little lower, allowing listeners to pick up a signal at 87.7 FM—a spot allocated to whichever TV station broadcasts on channel 6. Not that there are many stations left at channel 6 these days.

This would just be a piece of trivia from the rapidly receding age of analog television, but for one fact: Some clever broadcasters are now using that spot as a back door to the FM dial, slipping uninvited into a marketplace where the government has long enforced high entry barriers. Technically these are low-power TV stations, and they transmit a pro-forma video signal to keep things legal. But they're producing programs aimed at radio listeners. "This phenomenon has proven helpful for certain types of audiences underserved by traditional radio," Ernie Smith notes in an engaging story for the website Tedium, and it "has led to a number of small stations, such as Cleveland's Latino-focused 'La Mega'...finding a new home on the dial." In the industry, such outlets are nicknamed "FrankenFMs."

If that doesn't sound like a friendly nickname, that's appropriate: Some broadcasters have less-than-friendly feelings about the TV-on-the-radio stations. The left end of the FM dial is reserved for noncommercial stations, such as NPR's affiliates. Unsurprisingly, NPR doesn't like the interlopers. (As Smith puts it, "NPR friggin' hates FrankenFM.") In 2014, when the Federal Communications Commission considered a proposal to embrace the FrankenFM stations, the public radio network filed comments attacking the idea.

Much as I admire the ingenuity of the back-door FM broadcasters, I have to agree with one of NPR's arguments: The FCC could fit a lot more operations onto the airwaves by opening that part of the spectrum up to traditional FM broadcasters, as opposed to simply tolerating some TV licensees who have found a loophole. As far as I'm concerned, the commission may as well extend the FM band all the way down to 82 megahertz, guarantee the existing FrankenFMs a space among the new licensees, and then open the door to new comers. In the age of internet broadcasting, the old limits on who can have an FM signal aren't the chokehold that they used to be; but I'm always glad to see more rather than fewer options.




Talkin' Orlando Conspiracy Theories on Public Radio

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 13:33:00 -0400

(image) I'll be discussing Orlando Pulse Massacre conspiracy theories today on Press Play, a show on the Santa Monica public radio station KCRW. The program starts at 12 Pacific Time, 3 Eastern; around 10 minutes after that, I'll start chiming in. To listen live, go here. For more from me on Orlando conspiracy chatter, go here. For more from me on conspiracies in general, go here.

Update: A podcast of the program is posted here.




On the Radio Today: Jesse Walker, Mark Potok, and Michael Wood Debate Conspiracy Theories

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 09:20:00 -0400

(image) The annual Bilderberg conference, star of many a conspiracy theory, will begin tomorrow. To mark the occasion, the Philadelphia public radio station WHYY is interviewing me today to "discuss the more pervasive conspiracies, why people believe them, and how they are affecting this election cycle and the political system in general." The other guests will include the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok, whose work I have criticized from time to time, and the University of Winchester psychologist Michael Wood, who I wrote about here.

The show will air from 11 to 12 this morning, eastern time. To listen, tune in here. To get ahold of my book about conspiracy theories, go here. To see this year's Bilderberg agenda, go here. To tell me that that's not really this year's Bilderberg agenda, go here.

Update: Here's a recording of the program:

src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/268159112&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="0">




SiriusXM Suspends Glenn Beck for Brad Thor's Comments on Trump; Brad Thor Responds to His Critics

Tue, 31 May 2016 14:08:00 -0400

SiriusXM announced today that it is suspending talk show host Glenn Beck for a week, following an interview last Wednesday in which a guest made comments that the company felt "may be reasonably construed by some to have been advocating harm against an individual currently running for office." The guest was Brad Thor, a popular novelist with conservatarian politics. In his interview, Thor compared Donald Trump to a Latin American caudillo and suggested that Trump, if president, would suspend the Constitution and seize dictatorial powers. Then came the controversial part. "It is a hypothetical I am going to ask as a thriller writer," Thor said to Beck. "With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as president? If Congress won't remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that—if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president? His constitutionally granted authority, I should say, as president. If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office?" Thor added that he doesn't "think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in, to get Trump out of office, because you won't be able to do it through Congress." Several people took this as a suggestion that someone should kill Trump, an interpretation Thor strenuously denies. "It's not a defense of assassination," he told Reason today. "I don't even want to see a dictatorial president assassinated. We are a republic—a nation of laws—and the greater good would be served by the despot standing trial." And if there's no trial? "Safeguarding the republic against a dictatorship is a topic of conversation that dates back to the Founders," he says. "If we had to unseat a president without the backing of the Congress, we would need a patriot along the lines of George Washington to lead the country from tyranny back to liberty." Thor's appearance on the Beck show is embedded below, with the relevant section starting shortly after the four-minute mark: width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/265875584&color=ff5500"> My thoughts: I understand why people took the words "what patriot will step up and do that" as a casting call for an assassin, but it's also true that there are forms of extralegal political action that stop well short of the Oswald option. In any event, it's clear that Thor's scenario was set not on the current campaign trail but in a hypothetical future where a president is playing Perón. If nothing else, this shows just how quickly American politics have been scrambled. If you said seven years ago that the Glenn Beck show would one day get into trouble for airing comments that were widely construed as a call to assassinate an American president, a lot of pundits would have nodded their heads sagely. But they might not have believed you if you added that the president in question would be a Republican denounced as a fascist by the same people who used to throw that sort of accusation at Glenn Beck.[...]



Before Trump, There Was Pappy

Sun, 01 May 2016 12:00:00 -0400

The Texas press didn't know what to make of Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, the eccentric businessman, broadcaster, and bandleader who plunged suddenly into the Democratic primary during the state's 1938 gubernatorial race. They certainly didn't expect O'Daniel to get anywhere. He had no political experience. For most of his life, he hadn't been a Democrat. He hadn't paid his poll tax, so he couldn't even vote for himself. Surely, they reasoned, the voters would instead choose one of the established leaders in the race—probably Railroad Commissioner Ernest Thompson or Attorney General William McCraw. Or maybe Tom Hunter, an oilman from Wichita Falls who had run for the office several times before. Meanwhile, O'Daniel embarked on a 20,000-mile trek across Texas. The candidate would roll into town in a long white bus with a little stage atop it. Huge crowds would swarm in to see the show: 3,000 in Colorado City, 15,000 in Cleburne, 22,000 in Austin, 25,000 in Waco. Pappy's band would play a few country tunes, and then the solidly built radio star with the slicked-back hair would join them, alternating parts of his stump speech with more songs. They come to town with their guitars/And now they're smoking' big cigars, he'd croon. Them hillbillies are politicians now. At first the papers barely noticed O'Daniel's tour through the state. (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram didn't bother to mention his massive Waco rally until three days after it happened.) When it became clear that something big was afoot, they argued that no one could tell whether the crowds consisted of supporters or just gawkers. Did those mobs actually agree with O'Daniel's vague platform? the pundits asked. Or were they only there to enjoy, in the words of the syndicated columnists Drew Pearson and Robert Allen, "a mellifluous radio voice that women gush over and a hill-billy band that delights both young and old"? When the Star-Telegram finally acknowledged that Pappy was attracting "larger and more enthusiastic crowds than any other candidate," it added that many members of those audiences were nonvoters and wondered whether the movement was a "bubble." All the while the carnival kept getting bigger, until finally it took over the Lone Star State. When the Democrats of Texas cast their ballots, O'Daniel won about 30,000 more votes than every other candidate combined. He went on to defeat the Republican (in Texas in those days, the Democrat always defeated the Republican) and moved his broadcast base into the governor's mansion. Long before Donald Trump threw his hair into the ring, Pappy O'Daniel's radio-sparked campaigns ushered in an era that effaced the lines between popular culture and politics, paving the way not just for Trump but for Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kinky Friedman, and every other politician who started with a fan base instead of an exploratory committee. If you want to know how a reality TV star can open a presidential primary season with a second-place finish in Iowa and then victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, O'Daniel's tale is a fine place to begin. 'That's What Brings 'Em In, Boys' Pappy O'Daniel was not the first man to mix mass culture with political power. William Randolph Hearst had used his newspapers to propel himself into Congress several decades earlier, and before then the circus impresario P.T. Barnum had gotten himself elected to a couple of offices in Connecticut. Nor was O'Daniel the first to use radio as a political tool. Earlier in the '30s, the broadcaster-cum-quack John R. Brinkley, best known for telling listeners he could cure their ailments by transplanting goat glands into their bodies, had run for governor of Kansas. And of course Franklin Roosevelt had promoted policies to the public in his so-called fireside chats. But unlike Barnum, Hearst, and other pre-radio pols, O'Daniel was a celebrity of the broadcast age, a man w[...]



Anthony L. Fisher on SiriusXM's Insight Hour Today 12p-1p ET

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 10:22:00 -0400

Tune into SiriusXM Channel 121's Insight Hour today from 12p-1p ET, where I'll be(image) riding shotgun alongside guest host and former Reasoner Michael C. Moynihan for some satellite radio shenanigans. 

Joining us will via telephone will be Canadian law professor and author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science ClashTim Caufield. Later in the hour, Reason contributor Johan Norberg dishes on socialism, Venezuela, and Bernie Sanders

We'll be taking calls, too: 877-974-7487. 




Talkin' Paranoia on Public Radio

Mon, 04 Apr 2016 08:30:00 -0400

(image) The public radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge dedicated this past weekend's episode to the topic of conspiracy theories, and one of the people they spoke with was me. My segment is here; the whole show, which also includes interviews with psychologist Rob Brotherton, religion scholar David G. Robertson, and reporter Patricia Goldstone, is here.




Friday A/V Club: The First Presidential Debate of the Broadcast Era

Fri, 11 Mar 2016 13:50:00 -0500

If you're sick of the Clinton/Sanders and Trump/Cruz/Rubio/Kasich debates, here's an alternative: the very first presidential debate to be broadcast in the United States. No, not one of the Kennedy/Nixon face-offs of 1960—those were the first televised debates. This was a radio program aired in 1948, pitting two Republicans against each other right before Oregon held the campaign's final primary. The candidates agreed in advance to focus on just one issue: whether the Communist Party should be outlawed. The debate was held in Portland on May 17. The debaters were former Minnesota Gov. Harold Stassen, representing the liberal wing of the party, and New York Gov. Thomas Dewey, generally considered a moderate. (Several other candidates were running for the nomination as well, most notably Ohio Sen. Robert Taft—widely seen as the party's leading conservative, though he considered himself a liberal in the classical sense of the word. But only Stassen and Dewey were on the Oregon ballot.) The format didn't have much in common with the debates we're used to today: Stassen spent 20 minutes making his case, Dewey got the same amount of time to respond, they each issued brief rebuttals, and then it was over. Stassen tried to shoehorn several issues into his opening spiel, but Dewey didn't take the bait: After a wry reference to Stassen's "eloquent discussion of the subject, and of all the other matters which he brought up," he kept his attention on the topic at hand and Stassen followed suit. Interestingly, it was Stassen, the liberal, who wanted to ban the Communist Party. "Such a law would not outlaw ideas," he insisted. "It would not outlaw thoughts. It would make illegal organized conspiracies of fifth columnists." Dewey retorted that organized conspiracies of fifth columnists were already illegal, and that prohibiting the party would threaten American civil liberties; he ended the hour with a rousing account of the damage done by the Alien and Sedition Acts. The New Yorker was in no sense a consistent civil libertarian—at one point he even favorably cited the Smith Act, which made it illegal to advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government—but relatively speaking, it was clear which candidate was friendlier to the Bill of Rights. There's a lot more that's interesting about the debate, from Stassen's endorsement of the draft to the ways the fear of Soviet subversion was wrapped up with fear of labor unrest. A good deal of the hour was spent arguing about whether or not a particular bill that Stassen supported would in fact outlaw the party. Here's the whole thing: src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/251377610&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" height="450" width="100%"> Taft, for the record, shared Dewey's opposition to banning the Communist Party. And since Stassen brought up peacetime conscription, I should note that Taft was opposed to that too. If you reflexively associate conservatives with the repressive side of the Cold War and liberals with the defense of dissent, the 1948 primaries should add a little nuance to those stereotypes. Dewey went on to win both the primary and the nomination, then lost to Harry Truman in November. Stassen became a perennial presidential candidate and Mad magazine gag. And the Communists provided the final footnote to the show. According to the website Our Campaigns, "William Z. Foster of the Communist Party asked for equal time to set forth his party's views on the Dewey-Stassen debate. [The Mutual Broadcasting System] set up a debate between Foster and Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party candidate for President. Foster refused to hold a joint debate with Thomas, so MBS [...]



Before Trump, There Was Pappy

Thu, 25 Feb 2016 09:30:00 -0500

The Texas press didn't know what to make of Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, the eccentric businessman, broadcaster, and bandleader who plunged suddenly into the Democratic primary during the state's 1938 gubernatorial race. They certainly didn't expect him to get anywhere. He had no political experience. For most of his life, he hadn't been a Democrat. He hadn't paid his poll tax, so he couldn't even vote for himself. Surely, they reasoned, the voters would instead choose one of the established leaders in the race—probably Railroad Commissioner Ernest Thompson or Attorney General William McCraw. Or maybe Tom Hunter, an oilman from Wichita Falls who had run for the office several times before. Meanwhile, O'Daniel embarked on a 20,000-mile trek across Texas. The candidate would roll into town in a long white bus with a little stage atop it. Huge crowds would swarm in to see the show: 3,000 in Colorado City, 15,000 in Cleburne, 22,000 in Austin, 25,000 in Waco. Pappy's band would play a few country tunes, and then the solidly built radio star with the slicked-back hair would join them, alternating parts of his stump speech with more songs. They come to town with their guitars/And now they're smoking big cigars, he'd croon. Them hillbillies are politicians now. At first the papers barely noticed O'Daniel's tour through the state. (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram didn't bother to mention his massive Waco rally until three days after it happened.) When it became clear that something big was afoot, they argued that no one could tell whether the crowds consisted of supporters or just gawkers. Did those mobs actually agree with O'Daniel's vague platform? the pundits asked. Or were they only there to enjoy, in the words of the syndicated columnists Drew Pearson and Robert Allen, "a mellifluous radio voice that women gush over and a hill-billy band that delights both young and old"? When the Star-Telegram finally acknowledged that Pappy was attracting "larger and more enthusiastic crowds than any other candidate," it added that many members of those audiences were nonvoters and wondered whether the movement was a "bubble." All the while the carnival kept getting bigger, until finally it took over the Lone Star State. When the Democrats of Texas cast their ballots, O'Daniel won about 30,000 more votes than every other candidate combined. He went on to defeat the Republican (in Texas in those days, the Democrat always defeated the Republican) and moved his broadcast base into the governor's mansion. Long before Donald Trump threw his hair into the ring, Pappy O'Daniel's radio-sparked campaigns ushered in an era that effaced the lines between popular culture and politics, paving the way not just for Trump but for Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kinky Friedman, and every other politician who started with a fan base instead of an exploratory committee. If you want to know how a reality TV star can open a presidential primary season with a second-place finish in Iowa and then victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, O'Daniel's tale is a fine place to begin. 'That's What Brings 'Em In, Boys' Pappy O'Daniel was not the first man to mix mass culture with political power. William Randolph Hearst had used his newspapers to propel himself into Congress several decades earlier, and before then the circus impresario P.T. Barnum had gotten himself elected to a couple of offices in Connecticut. Nor was O'Daniel the first to use radio as a political tool. Earlier in the '30s, the broadcaster-cum-quack John R. Brinkley, best known for telling listeners he could cure their ailments by transplanting goat glands into their bodies, had run for governor of Kansas. And of course Franklin Roosevelt had promoted policies to the public in his so-called fireside [...]



Anthony Fisher Talks Bernie Sanders' Folk Album on NH Public Radio's Word of Mouth Today, 2p ET

Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:15:00 -0500

Tune into New Hampshire Public Radio's (image) Word of Mouth today in the 2p ET hour, where I'll be talking with host Virginia Prescott about Bernie Sanders' long-forgotten and now suddenly ubiquitous folk album We Shall Overcome

I reviewed the 5-song EP, which was intended to serve as Vermont's answer to "We Are the World," here at Reason last week:

Examining this record nearly 30 years later, what's most remarkable is how Sanders appears impervious to the influences of time. His voice and speaking cadence of 1987 are nearly identical to the present day, and his passion for peace and freedom remain admirably staunch, even if his simplistic utopian economic views remain trapped in the Dust Bowl.

Listen online here or check out the podcast later.




Friday A/V Club: The Art of the Ad

Fri, 18 Dec 2015 11:15:00 -0500

For your "yes, advertisements can be art" files, here's Ship of the Ether, a spot George Pal made for Philips Radio in 1934:

width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/msbDW1WxE2s" frameborder="0">

If I hadn't told you that was an ad, you probably wouldn't have realized it before the sales pitch at the very end. Until then, it's just a lovely little film about radio. Pal, who today is probably best known for the science-fiction movies he produced in the 1950s, directed several animated advertisements like this in the '30s. In that pre-TV era, they would be screened in theaters; I have to say I like them a lot better than most of the commercials projected before the main feature at the movieplex today.

Bonus trivia: Half a century after Ship of the Ether was made, a fragment from it appeared in a 1987 episode of Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

(For past installments of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)




Friday A/V Club: Fascism vs. Socialism vs. Communism vs. Democracy

Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:49:00 -0500

Here's a remarkable recording from 1935, just a couple of years into the New Deal era. It's the debut episode of the radio show America's Town Meeting of the Air, and it features four Americans making the case for different social systems. Speaking for fascism: the eccentric Old Right writer Lawrence Dennis. Speaking for socialism: the Socialist Party's perennial presidential candidate, Norman Thomas. Speaking for communism: the leader of the American Workers Party, A.J. Muste. And speaking for capitalism: nobody, because the fourth path represented here is not "capitalism" but "democracy," which is kind of unfair to Norman Thomas, who also supported democratic government. Anyway. Speaking for democracy: Raymond Moley, one of FDR's original Brain Trust. Each panelist addresses the microphone for about 10 minutes, and then there's a roundtable discussion. Dennis leads off with the case for fascism, which to Dennis means a "planned economy" that still "respects some private property rights" (though those rights should be seen as "mere licenses"); in theory he doesn't reject democracy any more than Moley or Thomas does, but his "new ideal of democracy will be an efficient executive state." Thomas is also high on planning, but he wants to abolish "the profit system" and private ownership of productive property. Muste opens by invoking the founding fathers—not a habit of communists today—and then calls for expropriating "the czars of industry and finance." And Moley makes an anti-utopian case for constitutional democracy, suggesting that the other ideologies onstage are forms of escapism, not serious ways to muddle through our problems. You can listen to the whole thing here. About a year after this program aired, Muste would abandon communism for Christian pacifism. Following World War II, Dennis would move away from fascism, embracing instead a quirky sort of individualism. (In Prophets on the Right, Ronald Radosh quotes the latter-day Dennis calling for a capitalism of "the dissenters, the rebels and nonconformists whose main motivations were not profit or money-making but either religious or intellectual self-expression, freedom and independence.") Moley never abandoned democracy, but he did become a fierce critic of his former boss Franklin Roosevelt, adopting a more free-market view of the world and eventually contributing to the libertarian-leaning magazine The Freeman. Only Norman Thomas refused to budge from his mid-'30s persona, though he did eventually stop running for president. And in 1964, the hour those four spent talking together would be rebroadcast on the wonderfully weird Seattle station KRAB-FM, which is why the recording has now resurfaced at the KRAB Archive. That site has posted yet more information about the program here, including this intriguing comment from the radio historian David Goodman: In 1948, on the five hundredth edition of [America's Town Meeting of the Air], the program returned to the question posed on the first broadcast. But this time there was no possibility of having communists or fascists speak for themselves. [The moderator] made it clear in his introduction that communism and fascism were forms of totalitarianism and that "we are not impressed by the propaganda demands of the advocates of totalitarianism to use the principles of democracy to advance the cause of a form of government which would destroy those principles." The speakers chosen to talk about communism and fascism were vigorous opponents of those doctrines. (For more on the KRAB Archive, go here. For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)[...]



Free Forum Radio

Sun, 01 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0500

(image) From 1962 to 1984, KRAB-FM was the strangest station in Seattle. Its "free forum" format featured poetry, comedy, odd interviews, obscure music, and a wide range of opinions. (At one point the John Birch Society and the Socialist Workers Party alternated in the same timeslot.) Once it even aired a live 20-hour group-therapy marathon.

The outlet was extremely influential in the small but vibrant world of community radio, where listener-sponsored stations can stake out an identity that is neither corporate nor NPR. And now it can be heard again: The KRAB Archive, online at krab.fm, is full of anecdotes, program guides, and—best of all—recordings of the shows themselves.

Whether it's an interview with a leader of Britain's Tory Party or an interview with a guy who lives in an old Kaiser automobile, a communique from a leftist band of bombers or a half-hour dedicated to Bulgarian brass ensembles, these audio files demonstrate just how much variety one radio station can contain. —Jesse Walker