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About the KRAB Archive

The mission of the KRAB Archive is fourfold:

First, in several essays KRAB founder Lorenzo Milam wrote, and occasionally on the air spoke, of radio frequency transmissions carrying the voices of people speaking their minds, or the sounds of music that consoled or uplifted, beyond the confines of gravity and time. He seemed to relish the idea that, although the signal may gradually fade through distance, there was a timelessness to it. In the spirit of that timelessness, the sharing of the material of the archive is to remind the creators of the programs broadcast by KRAB that, although radio station KRAB, Seattle no longer exists, their programs are still relevant and meaningful, and that if contemporary tastes, and attention spans, make them a novelty, they are still a testament to possibilities.

Second, though much is made of the failure of KRAB to be economically successful, in reviewing the programs broadcast over twenty-two years one finds a remarkable consistency in producing programs that challenged conventional publicly held political, social, and scientific beliefs, and, with respect, introduced people to ideas not popularly entertained. Many of the issues taken up in these programs fifty years ago continue to be unresolved problems today.

Third, despite the continuing existence of some form of public broadcasting, the consolidation of media ownership into a few corporate empires, and the effective elimination of a public interest requirement from the criteria for licensing, has resulted in blander, and even less educational and inspiring radio and television than existed fifty years ago. The archive is a reminder to the general public of what media could do for them if the government body that oversees the radio frequency spectrum actually represented their best interests.

And fourth, the last bastion of public, "community", radio is low power FM. With no "protection" from adjacent higher powered stations and extremely limited fundraising potential, it is difficult to say with any certainty how, or if, LPFM will survive. The archive contains numerous examples of quality programs that were produced, by volunteers, with little or no funding. It is hoped that other noncommercial stations and their volunteers will find inspiration and encouragement in these programs.


The KRAB Archive in the media

The KRAB Archive has been noticed by a couple of noncommercial radio stations, HistoryLink.org, and a web site dedicated to discussing issues and news of the FCC and public radio:

Shortly after we launched the Archive, manager of KSER, Everett, wrote about it in his blog: Memories of KRAB

In 2014 John Caldbick wrote an article for the internet-based encyclopedia of Washington State History, HistoryLink. We were interviewed and the Archive contributed material to the article.

In Mar 2016 we were interviewed by Mike McCormick of KEXP, Seattle.

In Nov 2016, Paul Riismandel of Radio Survivor, wrote an article about An Online Archive of the Fourth Community Radio Station: KRAB


Partnerships and collaborations

Jack Straw Foundation - The former owner and licensee of KRAB, then known as the Jack Straw Memorial Foundation, has a collection of over 1,200 tapes of programs created and broadcast at KRAB between 1962 and 1984. We have been working with them to preserve (digitize) these recordings, prioritizing the oldest, fragile and degrading tapes first.

University of Washington Libraries, Archives and Special Collections - The University of Washington has a number of collections that contain program recordings and other ephemera from KRAB. The KRAB Archive is working with them to promote preservation and public access to the artifacts. The KRAB Archive also facilitated in the donation to the UW Archives of an important collection of recordings of programs produced at KRAB.

University of Maryland, Special Collections - The University of Maryland is the repository of a large collection of recordings and other ephemera from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB). Included are recordings originated at KRAB and KRAB Nebula stations. The KRAB Archive is working with the University of Maryland to provide them with information about these programs, and to make these programs available for listening and research.

Radio Preservation Task Force of the Library of Congress (RPTF) - One mission of the RPTF is "to create an online inventory of extant American radio archival collections". Hoping to eventually expand awareness of, and access to, the material in our archive, in 2016 we submitted information about the KRAB Archive for inclusion in the RPTF's inventory. The inventory database and user interface is still in development, but we are hoping that some version of it will be deployed soon.

Another of the RPTF's missions is "to identify and save endangered collections", so we encouraged the Jack Straw Foundation to provide documentation about their collection so that the RPTF might help them secure funding for digitizing the collection.

Finally, the KRAB Archive will be participating in RPTF's Fall 2017 conference with the intention of reminding attendees of the value and contributions of independent non-institutional public radio stations, and that they should not be overlooked, or ignored, in the preservation and "study of the cultural history of radio".

KRAB listeners, volunteers, staff, and friends - Material ranging from program guides to posters, board minutes, photographs, recordings and memories have been donated or shared with the KRAB Archive by over fifty three individuals as well as a number of organizations.

Would you like to help? - If you know anyone that volunteered or worked at KRAB, or listened to KRAB, please pass the word that the we want to preserve any souvenirs, mementos, or relics of KRAB they may have saved, including program guides, photographs, correspondence, and, of course, tape recordings.


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 archive@krabarchive.com

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