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Letters and Things
"Letters and things" was an irregular program - Its frequency often dependent upon whether any letters had been received, and if the letter reader's spirit could be sufficiently inspired, and if someone could be prevailed upon to bring back some beer from the mini-mart up the street. Lorenzo started it, and a version of it persisted to the very end. Program guide number 5 (1963) has this description: "A mild discussion of the letters, problems, and ideas facing KRAB".
Here, it will be some of the comments received about the web site/archive, and responses to pestering requests we have sent to KRAB alumni. Do you have something you would like to share? Most recent letters are at the top.
Dec 9, 2018
Chuck, this attached .jpg was shot this past week by Bill Scherer, He included no comment as the pic. was intended as a garnish to email on another subject - Ketjak. It's a long convoluted story. [Ed note photo on right ->]
(Beware - Many Oxford commas in the following and long wind too)
P.S. Some time ago you wrote in the archive site, of a KRAB live tape, added to the site, that you thought I was the engineer doing the intro and that I probably had a cold.
The horrible truth is that tape was recorded on one of the decks that had a damaged pinch roller. Some unknown person was blithely cutting tiny annular groves in the rubber with an editing blade as they used that machine. It was months before it was discovered.
The effect was that as tapes played or were recorded on that machine they did not move at a constant nor the correct speed. The tape drag and pull from the feed reel and take-up reel motors changes proportional to the diameter of the tape-fill on both reels.
So, at the head end of tapes, the take up pull was much more than the feed drag since the the empty hub is much smaller in diameter than the full feed reel and the two reel motors always have the same amount of torque, pulling opposite directions, keeping the tape tight to the heads.
As the tape moved from the feed to the take-up, the feed pull got stronger and the take-up pull got weaker, again because the' effective diameters' of the reels change with regard to each other from the start to the end of tapes.
The [invisible, but deep] razor blade cuts in the roller allowed slippage at the pinch roller, depending on the tape tension, friction and drag influenced by the reel motors.
The result is the tape went past the heads faster at the beginning, and as the feed reel emptied and the take-up filled, the tape speed past he heads slowed proportional to the amounts of tape on each of the two reels. As a tape was recorded/played on that machine, it gradually slowed from beginning to end and may never been at the correct speed at all.
If a tape made on a good machine was played on the machine with the damaged pinch roller it was too fast at the start and too slow at the end.
If a tape made on the machine with the damaged pinch roller was later played on a good machine, the tape would sound slower at the beginning and faster at the end.
If a tape made on the machine with the damaged pinch roller was later played on the same machine it would sound as though the tape speed was correct and constant.
Executive summary: I was well and one of the tape machines was sick.
TMI maybe, but it is yet another arcane bit of KRAB history. I was going to write you about it a the time, but at the time it struck me as a bit fussy and maybe of little interest [excepting folks with perfect pitch] in spite of the nearly irretrievable (irreconcilable?) pitch and time distortion on a bucket load of KRAB tapes.
Remember, this December 25th, will be forever known as Tuesday.
Dec 10, 2018
Thanks for writing.
I just took a look at the "top songs" listing of the Bakersfield KRAB, and the monkey chant does not appear to be listed. ("Monkey" was mentioned 34 times on their website though. Perhaps it is some other kind of "ALT" radio ritual.) So I am pretty sure all they adopted of our KRAB were the call letters. And even that I cannot fathom why. But now that you have reminded me, I will add Ketjak to the KRAB top ten.
As to the pinch roller cutting volunteer, I wonder if this was one of the over zealous ones who had read about "siping" tires to improve their traction and thought to similarly "improve" the functioning of our ancient ampexes.
A few years ago after I posted the earliest of Garfias's Ethnic Music programs to the site, Robert complained that his voice did not sound right. I sent him the files, and he adjusted the pitch (up or down, I do not remember which) and they are good now. Perhaps you have provided an explanation as to the source of problem.
The good news is that the day after Tuesday is the start of Kwanzaa.
[To see/hear the program to which Phil refers in the above email, go to Jean Shepherd gets Ethnographic and does "The Witchdoctor" - KRAB 1972]
May 15, 2018
The legendary donut shop was located at the end of the block (NE 91st) where I lived when I was in high school. I remember when it was converted into the radio station. It was a big mystery that everyone on the block was talking about. The parents in the neighborhood were concerned. This was a typical “Leave It To Beaver - Ozzie and Harriet” neighborhood. Who are those weird people??? Oh no! We’re being infiltrated by communist beatniks! And since it was all so upsetting to the “grown ups”, I was all the more intrigued. It was the coolest thing that had ever happened in our neighborhood.
I remember one day when the guys were working on the interior renovation of the old donut shop I noticed the front door was open. I just had to see what was inside. But did I dare? After all, these were communist beatniks and I was just a white bread Wally Cleaver (Beaver’s older brother). What would I be getting myself into? But, alas, the lure was overwhelming. I nudged the door open a little more and peeked in. It was pretty dark in there with only a hint of light seeping in from around the edges of the boarded up front window. All I saw was what I recall now as a cramped maze of plywood partitions and a few lengths of 2x4s leaning against them and I remember the smell of freshly sawed wood. There was another little FM station a few blocks away (on Roosevelt Way). I’d been inside that station so I knew what a radio station looked like. This didn’t look like any kind of a radio station to me.
Then I heard some voices coming from somewhere toward the back of the little building. I peeked around a partition and I have a vague memory of seeing some electronic equipment and one of the guys noticed me. I was a little scared. After all, I hadn’t been invited and I had no business snooping around in there and these guys were commies. That’s what the adults were saying. So it had to be true. Would they kidnap me and haul me off to Russia? But no. The guy was friendly as could be. He explained they were, indeed, building a radio station and pretty soon I’d be able to tune them in on my radio. I was curious to know what kind of music they would be broadcasting. I vaguely recall him saying something about experimental music (I had no idea what that meant) and I remember him saying something about folk music. That did it for me. I was a big folk music fan and was just learning to play guitar. Clearly these guys, commies or not, were OK in my book.
But when the tower went up and they started broadcasting, that’s when the trouble began. Their broadcasts were interrupting the TV reception in the neighborhood. The neighborhood residents were not happy. How dare those dirty beatnik commies interrupt our TV reception! It seemed no amount of twisting the dials and adjusting the vertical and the horizontal and the contrast on those wonderful state-of-the-art console TV sets would fix the situation. Even getting up on the roof and adjusting the position of the antenna didn’t help. The neighborhood was up in arms. Something had to be done.
I don’t remember exactly how the problem was solved. I have a fuzzy memory of a couple of the guys from the station going door to door, up and down the block, offering to somehow shield the TVs from the KRAB signal. I don’t know if that’s how they solved the situation or not. Maybe there was some other solution. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention. I was more interested in what those commie beatniks were broadcasting over the air.
I had my own Zenith brand transistor radio with an FM band and my secret delight was to hide away in my bedroom absorbing all the weirdness that those guys were delivering to me on what seemed like a frustratingly random schedule. But those guys up there in that little dilapidated donut-hole-in-the-wall radio station had a tremendous influence on me in terms of broadening my perspective of the world and on what eventually became my eclectic taste in music.
While all the other kids in the neighborhood were gathered around their transistor radios anxiously awaiting the next spin of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, I was listening to experimental music that I’m pretty sure was produced by someone rhythmically dragging a spoon across the metal shelving inside an otherwise empty refrigerator while someone else pulled a violin bow across the edge of a saw blade. It was weird. It was unconventional and it was wonderful, especially because it would be followed up by someone reciting beat poetry with a bongo drum backup. There was some seriously cool shit going down here and I couldn't get enough it. My poor dad. He’d just roll his eyes and wonder where he’d gone wrong. Like Bob Dylan said, “Something’s happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?”
Anyway, that’s my KRAB story and I’m sticking to it.
Gary Val Tenuta
Apr 16, 2018
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Aug 11, 2017
Just wanted to add this to the archives. Michael Vaughan was an early volunteer for KRAB when KRAB was first starting up. He was an audio engineer, and wound up being a huge contributor to public radio in the state of Alaska. Please include his name in the archive and pass this obituary along to anyone who may remember Michael. Thanks!
Thank you for writing. The volunteer/staff list is updated, with a link to Michael's obit. I did find the following in the KRAB program guide of Dec 17, 1963: "THE GOLDMARK TRIAL - The first of two special interviews arranged by KRAB. In this first, recorded two weeks ago, Rory Funke and Michael Vaughan talk with Hu Blank, editor of the Wenatchee World."
Dec 24, 2016
I grew up in Moscow Idaho in the early sixties and fondly remember getting my first radio at the 10 cent store, a cat whisker am in the shape of a Gemini space capsule that you tuned by twisting the antenna at the end of the capsule. There wasn't much to listen to out there at that time, but I could hear late at night "the Joe Pyne show". Joe was a very conservative talk show host whose whole shtick was to brow beat his guests about their "deviant" ideas. Aliens, UFO, Scientology, communists and more all were fair game for his vitriol. And what great guests, Gus Hall of the American Communist party, Madeline O'Hara of American Atheists, Philip k Dick and Ray Bradbury. And the stuff they talked about late at night when little ears weren't supposed to be listening - Queers and beatniks and pot and Vietnam and hippies and rock music. Squirreled away under the covers with my radio and flashlight, it was a fascinating world.
And then we moved to Tacoma in 68 and there was no more Joe Pyne. My attempts proved futile as I tried to finding anything at all as interesting as what I'd heard from my little am radio.
Maybe my dad sensed something because one day he brought home a little Philco FM transistor radio. That night I plugged in my earphone and switched it on. A little static as I tuned the dial and then WHAM...THE MOST AMAZING MUSIC I HAD EVER HEARD POURED OUT OF MY RADIO. I think it was King Sunny Ade and I was transfixed for most of the night until I passed out.
Over the coming days I experienced something I had never heard before, all the people who Joe had been haranguing had their own radio station. To say that the experience was transformative does not say enough about the impact that night had. I became swept up in the momentum of the time, eventually joining KRAB as a contributor and later as a volunteer. I went to vocational school after high-school and got my first class fcc license so I could continue working in radio. I went on to do volunteer radio work all around the northwest and have worked for KUGS in Bellingham, KAOS in Olympia and KBOO in Portland as well as doing work for Northern Sound Public Radio and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
But KRAB and that night under the sheets will always hold a special place in my heart and memories. My undying gratitude to the pioneers who wrestled this airspace from the clutches of crass commercialism and religious propaganda and love to the hundreds of volunteers who filled my ears with the most beautiful and sublime sounds, and to the hundreds who shared their ideas and dreams.
As Chairman Mao said "let a thousand flowers bloom".
Aug 31, 2016
[We came across this while doing our periodic search for new appearances of KRAB on the intertubes. It comes from Bruce Greeley's not-a-novel "Novel Novel", which had been recently gogglized by Google Books. I asked Bruce if I could share it with the multitudes, and he replied in the bemused affirmative.]
Bruce Greeley's reminisence about KRAB and spawn of KRAB, KSER
and now, let me take you back, back, to the distant past of radio's heyday, or at least before it became all commodified into wretched background chatter dreck or shock talk crapola.
As a child of the '70's in a groovy west coast big city, I got to discover so many of the world's sounds through a sort of underground, truly alternative radio. Seattle was home to KRAB-FM, 'highest' on the dial at 107.7 and nearly the granddaddy of all the listener-supported stations that had a brief flowering here in that heady time.
KRAB was amazing to the ears of someone just growing up then. You could hear three hours of pygmy drumming followed by a city council hearing(24) followed perhaps by a special show dedicated to bop trumpeter Fats Navarro or electronic music pioneer Pierre Henry(25) . I found so many of the sounds this station produced so mind-expanding that, one day, I trounced down to the station in person, at this time ensconced in the 4 th floor of a former fire station, and offered to sweep the floor or do anything to help them out.
Eager for any willing body, they quickly signed me up as another volunteer disc jockey, and I was off and running ....
mostly filling in as a sub for jazz shows when the regular d.j. was too hungover or sick or out of town or anything ....
I'll never forget one of the first shows I did, I was nearly alone in this 4th floor walkup, and at one point, needed to 'use the facilities' so picked out a nice albumlength song(26) from the ample shelves of dusty classic discs slapped it onto the
turntable and ran down the four flights to the porta-potty on the street corner.
Finishing my short duty, I confidently climbed back up these stairs, certain nothing could have gone wrong, but as I got closer I heard the record skipping! For all the cool ears of Seattle to be getting bummed over! (27)
After a few more years KRAB finally succumbed though it sorta reemerged in shiny new future form as KSER in Lynnwood (of all places!)(28)
Here I presented myself to the staff on hand and quickly got my own once a biweekly music show, which I promptly dubbed "MESS-cellaneous." For two hours on Monday nights I got to play all the craziest greatest music I could think of, a sort of Dr. Demento for the avant garde. I delved into Armenian chants and Henry Brant (the reigning champion of spatially separated orchestral music), shamanic chants, and the World Saxophone Quartet, Led Zeppelin parodies and microtonal piano etudes. I even got to air some speciality shows, such as the Christmas show when I read the passages from The Bible's Revelations about each of the 7 trumpet players who would play at the apocalypse interspersed with Miles Davis & other stark solo horn soliloquies. I also got a number of comments on my 2 hours of songs with the sounds of animals.
With two turntabl.es, several CD and cassette players, I also experimented with early versions of the now-tired mashing: combining several droney new age soporific spiels into something twisted & magical since they were often keening along in different keys -- I also did a whole show on choirs, from that part in Pink Floyd's"Atom Heart Mother" where the luxurious major key singers start to veer off into discordant howls to quarter tone chants to Indonesian kecak to Tibetan monks intoning long & low to Urszula Dudziak, the Polish jazz chanteuse who likes to electrify her voice into something unearthly!
But what an opportunity to unleash my own wild sounds upon the formerly-deaf populace!(29) To play the post-disco dance band Enigma that also blended in the oldest music of the west, Gregorian Chant! AND the infinitely plaintive sobs of the Armenian duduk! AND shadow surrealist bop scat singer Slim Gaillard! AND the Tuvan throat singer warbling rock classics! AND Rahsaan Roland Kirk playing three saxophones at once (or regular flute and nose flute at the same time -- for 20 minutes without pause, circular breathing, dig! AND "New York, New York" played entirely on car horns! AND Eugene Chadbourne mixing free jazz scratchings and classic C&W on electric rake! AND Spike Jones, sure, but also the Nihilist Spasm Band! AND John Mayall's "Catch That Train" where he plays solo harmonica with the sounds of a freight train! AND the Bonzo Dog Band's "Rawlinson's End" which consists solely of one man's lonely laughter broken into 2 second snipplets AND John Zorn's "tre nel 5000" which jumpcuts just about every kind of music from film noir mystery to raucous R&B to atonal twitterings, etc. all every few bars AND MC Paul Barman's raps using palindromes AND Steve Reich's "It's gonna rain" which features a part of a preacher's harangue on a slightly out of synch tape loop for about 20 minutes ("It's gonna rain, it's gonna rain, it's gonna rai--") AND Captain Beefheart's crazy fractured free jazz rock "Fast 'n' Bulbous" AND Carl Stallings' cartoon music accompanying Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, AND Xaviera Hollander's sexiest version of "Michelle" AND Rhino's amazing compilation of the greatest hits of last 20 centuries AND maverick American composer Charles Ives' quarter-tone piano pieces AND the even more maverick crazy Harry Partch's pieces with words transcribed from road signs AND African rainforest pygmies actually drumming on top of the water for beats and music AND Einstuerzende Neubauten's ' music' for power drills and chainsaws AND James Chance & the Contortions punk jazz version twisting Sinatra's "That 01' Black Magic" AND the Grunge Lite muzak version of Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit" AND homeless NYC street artist Moondog's composed rounds AND cocktail lounge singer high pitched Blossom Dearie's "I'm Hip" AND German avant trombonist Albert Manglesdorff's "Ant Stepped on an Elephant's Toe" AND Frankie Maximum's song snipping sounds of animals into a Count Basie song, "Jumping at the Barnside" AND extreme classical composer Luciano Berio's "Omaggio A Joyce" getting Cathy Berberian to recite the wildest onomotopeic "Sirens" section of Ulysses and then cutting it all up and mixing it together AND post-punk band Bird Songs of the Mesozoic's version of the theme song to kiddie cartoon "Rocky and Bullwinkle" AND the New International Trio, featuring Northumbrian small-pipes, virginal and Cambodian hammered dulcimer playing Thelonious Monk's fractured bop tune, "Blue Monk" AND Steve Turre playing jazz on conch shells, AND Screamin' Jay Hawkins Singing "Alligator Wine" AND Mozart pieces for the glass harmonica AND the soundtrack to The Mahabahrata featuring Japanese taiko drums, Iraqi sentur, Turkish ney, Iranian zarb, a Dane playing didgeridoo and east Indian vocals AND Brave Combo playing "16 tons" as a polka or The Doors' "People are Strange" as a South American cumbia AND punk rocker's Flipper Singing "I Knew an Old Lady" with new verses ("I knew an old lady who swallowed a minister, isn't that sinister, to swallow a minister ... ?! I knew an old lady who swallowed a rhinoceros, isn't that preposterous, to swallow a rhinoceros ... ?!) AND the Moody Blues little known gem"Procession" which simply contains the history of this whole planet in about 4 minutes of sounds (and culminating in one of their bombastic rock guitar solos!) AN tv hardnosed detective Jack Webb intoning "Try a Little Tenderness" AND Billie Holiday singing "MY Yiddishe Mama" on some rare homemade recordings AND plunderphonic tape wizard John Oswald mixing Webern and the Beach Boys on Ten4gv AND Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy AND President Jimmy Carter singing "Salt Peanuts" with Dizzy Gillespie AND ancient Chinese recording of He Zemin and Huang Peiying doing "Big Idiot buys a pig" AND the greatest culminating expression of art by man (yes really!) when, in the middle of Charles Mingus' "What Love" (30), Mingus' bass and Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet stopped playing music and started expressing their innermost feelings, they were talking, goddammit! & oh so goddam close to legitimate speech! AND sometimes all these songs, back to back one after another. .....
Ah, music! (31)
(24) And there were those who said you couldn't tell when it changed between these two
(25) whose seminal piece "Variations on a Door and a Sigh" I'm still looking for if you have a spare mp3 amongst your billion of pop throwaway tunes out there!
(26) We're talking about them 01' 33-1/3 speed EI Pees, the big records, natch'
(27) Or maybe they thought it was some cool new repetition rage! For I believe it was a long sonorous baritone sax solo & sounded vaguely like humpback whales ... !
(28) though let's not also forget that this weird stripmall mistake Lynnwood, this lack of city-planning nowhere 'burb north of Seattle was also the location where demi-god John Coltrane dropped acid his one + only timeand recorded one of his wildest LPs, "Om" ... !
(29) It also must be noted that some of these songs were on old cassette tapes that were freebies I took from my Father's medical swag and Mother's religious schlepp. Originally I had big sheets of paper listing what was on, for instance, the "Green Female Climacteric" tape [some rare Mingus live in Europe in 1964, I believe] or "Medical Outlook for Cardiologists" or "Avoid Death & Holocaust"!
(30) Itself based on the old standard, "What is this Thing Called Love?" Not to be confused with some of Mr. Mingus' other incredibly titled tunes such as "All the things you could be by now if Sigmund Freud's wife was your mother" or "If Charlie Parker were a gunslinger, there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats" OR "The Shoes of the Fisherman were some jive-assed slippers"!!
(31) Curiously, I hear of what songs my fellow NaNoWriMo'ers are writing to and am startled!: there is no one more passionate about music than me but perhaps that is why I can't write this while any music is playing -- it would distract me, and interrupt the rhythm of these words and all that rot ..... !
Jul 5, 2016
I have a special place in my heart for KRAB as it gave me my first chance to be on the radio. You may recall a fellow named Hal Sherlock who had a vintage jazz show...I met him through another record collector (and KRAB program host) Mike Duffy, and Hal invited me onto his show as a guest, and had me bring along a few jazz 78s from my collection. That was, as I recall, in 1966 so I would have been 13.
May 25, 2016
Hi! Many many thanks for making the KRAB archive available on the web. There is some truly amazing and valuable stuff there! Blessings!
I do something vaguely similar: since 2004 I have been attempting to catalogue and recover as much as possible of the work of pioneer of electronic music Delia Derbyshire who worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop from 1963 to 1973 and created music for over 200 TV and radio programmes. Unfortunately most of her music is lost: the BBC has lost or wiped most of the master tapes (often by recording over them to save money!) and of what it does have, it makes very little available. Worse, when the Radiophonic Workshop closed down in 1997, someone stole the thousands of tapes that were there.
What does this have to do with KRAB? Well, KRAB broadcast a radio play that Delia created sound for, "The Autocrats", on Sunday 28th April 1974 at 7:30. I've looked through your excellent listings, but, not surprosingly, it's not among those online already.
So my question is, do the KRAB archives happen to still have a copy of this radio play on tape? If so, it could be the only copy in existence, and if I could obtain a copy that would resurrect one of this wonderful composer's works.
Thanks, blessings and keep up the good work!
Martin Guy, editor of delia-derbyshire.net and wikidelia.net
* * * * *
May 25, 2016
Thank you for writing. It is reassuring to know that I am not the only one falling down rabbit holes while searching for things that we know "must" exist, but seem just out of reach. Unfortunately, I have not learned much more than you already know, though I did find that KRAB broadcast The Autocrats at least four times:
Apr 28, 1974 - 7:30pm
Oct 5, 1974 - 8:30pm
Apr 30, 1976 - 2:00pm
Mar 18, 1977 - 7:30pm
The OCR of the online program guides is faulty, so searches do not always yield results.
The text descriptions in the program guides are similar so do not offer any clues as to the source of the recording. In the early to mid 70's, National Public Radio and the National Endowment for the Arts financed the production of a series of radio plays, some of which were purchased from the BBC. KRAB was a NPR affiliate at that time, so . . . well, perhaps. The early records of "Earplay", as the radio drama series was called, are kind of sketchy, and I cannot find Autocrats listed in the partial NPR program listings I have.
Sorry, but I have not (yet) come across a tape or transcription (Earplay was distributed on LP's) of Autocrats, and the holder of the largest collection of KRAB programs does not have a copy in their database.
I will ask some of the people that were also at the station between 1974 and 1977. Perhaps someone will have some memory of where it came from. Also, it is surprising what listeners at home chose to record and save. There is a chance, albeit slim, that someone has a personal recording somewhere. If I learn anything new, I will let you know.
Good luck and best wishes,
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May 17, 2016
I came across the archives of KRAB broadcasts and was happy to find one of Tom Robbins’ old shows. It appears this is the only one you have which is unfortunate.
I remember two shows that, at least in my memory, were:
-Tom using Country Joe’s line from Suite Lorraine “And you never learned nothing ‘bout country ways,” and for most of a show playing hard core country and western tunes, which were probably not in the record collections of most of his listeners.
-My favorite was a show with Tom setting up a mock debate using separate speeches by Timothy Leary and LA Police Chief Ed Davis, both speaking about drugs and then between each section of the “debate” playing a Beatles tune that seemed to fit the topic that they had just been talking about.
This was a long time ago and I may have been in an altered state when I was listening, but this is the way I remember them. Peace
- Paul Ponton
Jan 31, 2016
My KRAB Experience
I worked at KRAB-FM two different times, once from 1968-1970 and once from 1976 to 1978. The first stint was when I was a high school student at Ballard High. It was 1968 and I had an intense interest in electronics and engineering, and broadcasting in particular. I'd listened to KRAB on and off and liked the freewheeling style of the programming. A friend and I drove out to the old Donut Shop on Roosevelt. We got a tour from Tiny Freeman and met a few of the people hanging around. I was fascinated with the immense record collection and the compact setup with two control rooms and main studio.
The egg crates on the walls of the control rooms and the way the place was hooked up was magnificent. It all worked! I volunteered to do whatever was needed and hoped to get my foot in the door and learn more about broadcasting. After a few more visits, I was "hired". You had to have an FCC 3rd class radiotelephone license to run things in those days and I soon had a license to post in the corridor next to the transmitter. Shortly I was running the board one night a week and airing whatever programming was scheduled. Lorenzo Milam was there regularly working on projects of one kind or another.
My career goal was broadcast engineering and I hoped to work with the KRAB engineering guys on whatever projects were planned. One night I was the only one there airing some program on tape and a huge electrical storm came through North Seattle. Suddenly there was a lightning strike nearby and it tripped the transmitter off the air. Not knowing what exactly to do, I waited a few minutes and brought it back on line and everything was OK but it scared me. Running a radio station was a huge responsibility, in more ways than one.
At the Roosevelt studio, the transmitting antenna was right outside on the top of a huge telephone pole. One time someone showed me a novel 25 watt lightbulb with wires attached to its base. The wires were cut to the 107.7 frequency and the strong nearby radio frequency signal made the light illuminate. One night a couple of us held the ends of the wires and we took it outside in front on the sidewalk. Here was this light not connected to anything and glowing brightly. More than one car slowed down to see the unusual light swinging up and down, seemingly in midair.
As I recall, KRAB owned the house across the street and someone lived there associated with station management. I was over there once on an errand and I recall the stereo setup in the living room. All the connecting cables and wiring to the speakers and turntable all had aluminum foil wrapped around them as the strong RF signal from the station was getting into all the components. I think all that shielding worked, but not very well. A friend and I took the station's portable Ampex reel to reel and a mike to record a series of conferences on the 1969 ABM treaty at the Seattle Center in one of the Northwest rooms. It was later aired. I soon graduated from high school and left for Phoenix to attend DeVry University. I returned to Seattle 6 yrs later with a degree in my pocket ready to get into broadcasting. I had a "first phone" FCC license and was taking some TV production classes at Shoreline CC and interviewing with the Seattle TV stations.
It was 1976 and I looked up KRAB at its new location on East Harvard on the top floor of the old fire station #25. Things looked a lot better than the I last remembered at the Donut Shop. There was an NPR affiliation and the studios and offices were top notch. I volunteered to do anything and was soon running the board on Monday afternoons. I recall working with Chuck Reinch, Phil Andrus Karen Berge. I was talking to Chuck or Phil once and found out that their degree was in ethnomusicology. One of my duties was to air the Seattle City Council meeting on Monday afternoons. KRAB had a phone line hookup to the PA amp in the council chambers and it fed one of the channels on the board. I'd monitor the meeting as we aired it and when it was over, I'd resume the scheduled programming. One time I had quickly gone to the restroom and left the council discussing something. When I returned, all I heard was a bunch of chairs moving around so I assumed the council had adjourned and began a Jazz program. All of a sudden the council started back up and I was like should I go back to the meeting or just keep on playing John Coltrane?
Another one of my Monday duties was to air a live news discussion. I would receive a 7" reel of tape with five or ten live cuts from NPR news segments. Each cut was 1 minute or less and when the moderator (I don't recall his name) wanted to air the tape cut, he'd signal me through the window between the studio and the control room and I'd play the segment using one of the two Ampex tape machines. This required a certain amount of skill to keep the continuity of the program going. I ended up getting quite good at it. By this time the transmitter and antenna were on Cougar mountain and the transmitter remote control system had been hand built by one of the engineers. The panel was in the the control room behind the operator, and its indicators were LEDs. This was the first time I had seen LEDs in use as indicator lights.
I had a great time at KRAB and met some highly motivated and talented people. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but I never got a job in broadcasting. I was desolate when the chief engineer at KING5 looked at my resume and said "You need to go to Spokane for two years and then come back and see me!" Later I went to Boeing and they said "How soon can you start!"
Aug 4, 2014
Hi... I ran an "errand" to Portland with some equipment that Jeremy had 'surplused' to a group there (I think it became KBOO)... and did a search for him after stumbling into a blog involving KBOO's early days. I was contacted by Jeremy- via Facebook!-- from South Africa, in which he explained what he had been up to, and what sort of equipment it was. That was a few years ago... but he might still be in that place, and 'doing his thing' there.
I played music, live, on KRAB once, in '66 or '67 as part of the pH Phactor Jug band. In 1968 (I think) KRAB bailed me out of jail on a "mischief" charge connected to something that went down in the U. District... I think they put up $25. bless their hearts!
I'm still, ah, "divinely discontented" about the loss of KRAB to the community, after the BS that went down around the Nathan Hale HS/Seattle School District action, after KRAB had sold off their frequency (expecting a new one, alas!)... one of the greater travesties in local history. It bothers me even more than the lack of a monorail from Ballard to Boeing Field (which, if instituted, would have made the scrum around tearing down the viaduct a "non-issue")... but, that's Seattle, all over.
So glad to be tipped off to this archive spot! Thank you. ^..^
Peace... the affordable alternative
Ed note: John, Thanks, and yes it seems like some of those engineering sorts remember past events with a clarity the rest of us can't imagine. I have yet to come across any studio tapes of The pH Phactor Jug Band, but John Hendricks at the Folklife Festival is in the Archive, as is Okie Dokie. Thank you, also for letting us know about Larry Van Over.
Aug 1, 2015
Subject: Hokey smoke, what a great website!
I used to listen to KRAB while growing up in the Seventies and just minutes ago got a wild hair to Google search "KRAB-FM." What a find! I've already bookmarked the site and will find room on my Favorites bar. This is INCREDIBLE stuff. I anticipate hours of listening and reading to come.
My own story?
I was born in Seattle in 1959 and have (almost literally) had a radio glued to my ear since kindergarten, maybe even earlier. I went from listening to KJR and thinking the Beatles were in the studio playing to exploring every station spanning the AM dial on my transistor radio while my parents kept Ray-O-Vac in business by buying enough 9V batteries to supply a Third World country. I can still name every Seattle/Tacoma AM station from KVI to KUUU plus frequencies and formats by memory.
My parents gave me my first AM/FM radio for Christmas in 1971 (I still have and use it) and it opened a whole new world for me. It was a matter of time before I discovered KRAB and from the beginning, I was hooked by its uniqueness. The Jean Shepherd WOR transcript playbacks were "must-listen" radio on Monday night, but I also enjoyed a ton of programs like the Robotnor Hours, Smitty's Waxworks, Cap'n Baltic's Bop Stop (is that right?), et. al. The list is endless. I remember listening the night the Wisdom Marionette Theatre was on live and heard the line, "He's dead, lady; he's deader than shit!" I later read in the Times that KRAB received a fine from the FCC and thought that might've been the reason.
KRAB was (and still is) invaluable for all the music and POV's it exposed me to at an early age. I eventually attended TESC and spent some time on KAOS in the late 70's (helped start a show that's still running 35+ years later) and finally went into commercial radio 20+ years ago. I've been fortunate to earn a living doing what I'd dreamed of doing since grade school, but finally got burned out on the business side of radio three years ago and quit. It just wasn't FUN, and that's what I most remember about KRAB: You never knew what you were going to hear and there was a sense of adventure to it all (along a sense of ongoing financial urgency). Jack Straw got their millions selling the frequency in the 80's, but losing KRAB as a trade-off was no bargain for me as a listener. I'm a subscriber to KAOS now and may even try getting a show in the near future, but it's not and will never be KRAB. Nobody ever has repeated what you guys did in turning what could be a pretty stodgy medium into magic amid the mayhem.
Sorry to be so longwinded but I'm forever in KRAB's debt...I can't imagine what radio and growing up would've been like without you.
Ed note: Thank you Bruce. This is just our way of reminding ourselves why we did it, and reminding others what radio could be. One myth we have tried to dispel is that KRAB was fined by the FCC. Although we had a serious dispute with the FCC in 1970, there was no fine, and none of the former Jack Straw Memorial Foundation board members (the station licensee) remember any fines ever being imposed.
Jul 30, 2015
Hello Good People:
We had no idea PK Dwyer was part of the KRAB Music Archive and we are stoked!
Just yesterday I came across the music player for The Speakeasy Sessions: Music from Seattle's Taverns and saw the names PK Dwyer & Donna Beck. I got so excited by the wonderful music that it inspired a TBT post on the PK Dwyer website. Please view here [no longer available] or from our Home page We are starting to share this around and hope it will bring some folks to the KRAB website. I asked PK if he had any memories to share from the recording session but he said he doesn't remember being there . . . in any case, we are very proud to have some of PK's songs and live performance as part of your archive. PK & Donna do sound amazing - thanks so much for having this out there!
Administrator: KIng Pin Head Music
May 8, 2015
Please add me to the KRAB email list
May 8, 2015
Putnam? Several people have asked about you. Glad you found the site. And, I have added you to the "What's new..." list.
I'll be posting several of Gregg's Sunday shows this month.
May 9, 2015
Glad to be in touch. I found the site about a month ago from a link at JS Foundation. I think what you've done is fantastic. KRAB was a special experience for a lot of people and the aura is still there in this site and the recordings. Steve
Apr 6, 2015
I’m looking forward in particular to listening to Lorenzo’s interview with Mike Page.
Meg and I were close friends with Mike and Foy Page. We referred to them as the “Dynamic Duo” which they certainly were, larger than life.
I have photographs of Mike and Foy, including photographs of a couple of Mike’s one-man shows. Lenny Bruce was a hero of Mike’s and Mike said of quitting working as a therapist, “I’m tired of listening to other people’s stories, I want to tell my own.”
Mike didn’t become the next Lenny Bruce.
Keep up the good work. Thanks.
Mar 12, 2015
What a graceful archive. I just cruised through. Easily. Goes beyond nostalgia. Gives me a sense of history. Thank you!
I have a few reel-to-reels and some cassettes of Iamb Said the Lamb, Saturday a.m. Around here someplace. Yes you may have them.
Art Wicks died last year, but I lost touch with him decades ago.
Where do I mail them or drop them off? Twill take a few weeks but if I look around they will be here. My most appreciated show was a recording of Jack Keouac reading the History of the Bop or some title like that from a spoken word lp. My tape was lifted from the 'done program' pickup box each time I re-aired a recording. A true compliment.
Mar 3, 2015
Charles -- Good to hear from you. I can't recall how many reel-to-reel programs I mailed to KRAB -- the show than resurfaced for a while at KPFA in Berkeley. Various relocations for me & much of my cassettes & tapes can't be immediately located. I'll give it a shot soon & get back to you. I really enjoyed doing those programs at the time & want to thank the folks @ KRAB for giving me the time.
Feb 26, 2015
I stumbled across your website and wanted to send you a big, big THANKS. As a youngster in the '60s and a teen in the early '70s, KRAB-FM in Seattle was a life line that shaped much of what I became. I listened to the station every chance I could get, especially the music programming ( was it Vernon Todd who played old cylinder recordings circa 1890--1910? ).
When I became a teenager and started playing guitar and banjo, I loved Hal Sherlock's vintage jazz show on KRAB. I wrote him a letter, he invited me on his show, drove to my parent's house and picked me up with an armful of jazz records. At the young age of 15 I found myself in the station, helping him to program records and talking about my favorite Bix Beiderbecke and King Oliver tunes.
If it wasn't for KRAB-FM, I wouldn't have been exposed to all this great music and mind-blowing commentary. I have been a professional blues guitarist and Dixieland banjoist for over 35 years now, and much of that is due to the influence of that wonderful old station.
Thanks for sharing your memories, and your wonderful website.
Feb 25, 2015
I Found KRAB!
KRAB was my remedy for Top 40 radio overdose in the 70's. After 10 years on the opposite coast, I came back to find that the frequency was taken over by something else. So I tracked down Dennis Flannigan and asked him what happened. All he could tell me was find Mad Man Moskowitz and Baby Gramps. So I have been making my own version of KRAB music programming on a computer in the shed, with air checks from KRABGrass I had recorded, and some cuts from Vintage Rock, Music With Moskowitz, some cuts from Baby Gramps, etc. But I still miss Deathwatch, Robotnor Hours, Early Music, Memory Lane, Carlos Hagen... I foresee many hours playing back the archives.
Feb 12, 2015
Dear Chuck, I just had a request for a radio interview here in NYC, and I remembered doing the Arts Magazine of the Air for KRAB radio in the early 70’s. Michael Turnsen was doing a Poetry Magazine at the time, and I met him then. I didn’t see many other people at the station except for the folks that made it possible for me to interview artists in the booth. It was so much fun. We had to splice tapes then, of course, editing was a huge amount of work. I can’t remember how many I did, (it was the 70’s) but somewhere, there is a stack of tapes, and I bet I will come across it one of these days. I did a cover for one of the KRAB papers - it had puzzle pieces on it that I drew in ink. When it turns up, I’ll take a photo with my iphone and send it to you. I was thrilled when they published a poem I wrote against the Vietnam war - the only time I wrote poetry was when I was mad in one sense or another. Anyway, the request I just received turned on the memory tap - I wish I had been able to participate in more of the social activities, but my daughter was small and I was ever working to support us and my painting habit. I’m pleased to say I’m still painting. So glad I checked the web and found your site. Hope this note finds you well. Warmest regards, Fredericka
[I searched the guides and found the one with her cover. chuck]
You found it! Please excuse the email you just received - it is getting late here in New York and I’ve had a long day. Of course you can post it - as I said though, I’m not sure about the booth - it was pretty bare bones, but I do have a sense memory of “inside” and “outside”. When I find the tapes, I’ll be able to give you a list of the artists we covered. I do remember interviewing the most amazing puppet group - I was so excited about their raw creativity and those puppets, that I got pulled on the carpet for doing a “puff” piece. Selma Waldman and I were close friends and taught several “Body and Soul” drawing classes together around this time. Tiny was also a friend - he was going to help me become a truck driver at one point, but I didn’t have the strength to lift the whatjamacallit that joined the cab to the trailer, and started driving school bus instead, a perfect job for an artist with a child on the same schedule. What a beautiful time that was in Seattle - we had a tremendous sense of community. Well…thanks for giving me this opportunity to remember those sweet times. Fredericka
Dec 28, 2014
Hi- I just discovered the KRAB site and am so delighted that you have been pulling together the history of that remarkable place. I was an 18 year old Antioch College student on my first co-operative education placement from September 1970-Jan 1971. I engineered, made bad coffee and was all around go-for for the station. I was even given my own program- what were they thinking? I got a LOT of help- women's music. I got so many calls during the Blue's segment airing that I just stopped answering the phone. I was flummoxed that folks were actually listening and wanted answers to questions about the recordings, artists, songs.
Characters, scholars and artists- quite a magnetized and magnetizing community. I barely had a clue. But it all gave me an appetite for authentic music, field recordings and public radio.
Great experience in a wonderfully alive and vibrant group of folks. Didn't understand a third of what I heard. But what a gift of ear and heart.
Dec 1, 2014
I finally listened to Reverend Bevel’s sermon. Wow! How did I manage to miss this at the time? Maybe I was downstairs at the JPS with the usual collection of characters who gathered in Richard Greene’s manager’s apartment listening to classical music or rock and smoking weed.
I sent the link out to a number of friends. The world has not fundamentally changed. Reverend Bevel’s sermon is as relevant today as it was almost 50 years ago.
Oct 21, 2014
We're interested in advertising on Krab.fm. Let us know if you wish to discuss further about this proposal.
Note: Our team has manually researched your website and shortlisted it as Potential Advertising destination. However, in case we've misjudged your website and you're not interested or do not offer advertising at all, kindly respond with "NOT INTERESTED" or "UNSUBSCRIBE" and our team will NEVER contact you again.
Oct 19, 2014
Now all you have to find is Richard Radovich who helped us build the station and Judy Buck --- now Judy Brow --- who fed us all before we went on the air, I think she's in Austin --- and Charles Jackson from Maryland who taped our record collection before we got on the air (all night at the station playing his flute). I trust you have interviewed Chris Melgard and his wife Pat who met each other at the station the first year and Bob Dunshee (I think they all live in Seattle if they still live at all) and I assume that Gallant told you about his terrific interview with Jacob Brownowski (great tape) and the three american indians --- friends of Bud Havilish --- who tried the first in-station revolt. O yes, Sy Ottenberg did a fine reading of an African version of Hamlet on his monthly program African periodicals.
There's been a similar interest in the history of KTAO but which can but sadden one (two of our best volunteers died a couple of months ago) and their anniversary party which I missed me being out of this world too much. Think that KRAB signal is still going out there, probably out at Antares by now.
Dec 28, 2014
Hi- I just discovered the KRAB site and am so delighted that you have been pulling together the history of that remarkable place. I was an 18 year old Antioch College student on my first co-operative education placement from September 1970-Jan 1971. I engineered, made bad coffee and was all around go-for for the station. I was even given my own program- what were they thinking? I got a LOT of help- women's music. I got so many calls during the Blue's segment airing that I just stopped answering the phone. I was flummoxed that folks were actually listening and wanted answers to questions about the recordings, artists, songs. Characters, scholars and artists- quite a magnetized and magnetizing community. I barely had a clue. But it all gave me an appetite for authentic music, field recordings and public radio. Great experience in a wonderfully alive and vibrant group of folks. Didn't understand a third of what I heard. But what a gift of ear and heart.
Oct 21, 2014
We're interested in advertising on Krab.fm. Let us know if you wish to discuss further about this proposal.
Note: Our team has manually researched your website and shortlisted it as Potential Advertising destination. However, in case we've misjudged your website and you're not interested or do not offer advertising at all, kindly respond with "NOT INTERESTED" or "UNSUBSCRIBE" and our team will NEVER contact you again.
May 4, 2014
I just sorta (re) discovered your page on KRAB-FM -- I too wandered into the station headquarters when it was in an old fire station on capitol/pill hill offering to sweep the floors to help out in the late 1970s/ early 80s and ended up subbing quite often on different dj shows.
Took under the wing of Jim Anderson, then as I was the biggest fan of jazz, with Gary Bannister -- knew Stu Witmer (later with KSER too) and Herb Levy too -- & RObert Mittenthal who I don't see on yr volunteer list either....
loved that station and the music & programming that came out of it....
Apr 2, 2014
Chuck this is incredible. I'm listening to all of Bob West's recordings that you have posted. I think of working with Bob and Joan upstairs at the last KRAB studio and it just brings a smile to my face. Those few years taught me motpre about music, radio and life than any school could ever have taught. Bob was our own Alan Lomax. Chuck thanks for your efforts. I hope to see you on the 12th at the Blue Moon.
Zels Bryan Johnson
Apr 1, 2014
Chuck, thanks so much for forwarding this info about the KRAB archive to me.. I'm really enjoying rummaging through it, it's like an old pile of tapes and tape boxes, not necessarily related. When I was at KING-FM in the 60s, I had a framed copy of KRAB Program Guide # 1 on the wall. It became the first chapter of Lorenzo Milam's book, The Radio Papers. It's still some of my favorite reading! I'll continue watching the krab.fm website.
Jazz After Hours, PRI
[This month (May 2014) Michael and Joanne Wiater's 1970 interview of Allen Ginsberg was added to the site. This reminded me Michael and I had earlier this year exchanged emails in which he shared details of his 4-1/2 years at KRAB, observing events and times during which I was mostly absent. His comments, and the examples of the programs devoted to poetry and spoken arts he describes, recalled something that I learned only last year: Nick "Captain Baltic" Johnson who for years produced "Baltic's Bop Stop", first came to KRAB as a writer of poetry, in a program suggested by the instructor of a class he was taking. I wonder for how many others was word art their initial connection to KRAB. With Michael's permission, here is his reminiscence. chuck]
Mar 3, 2014
KRAB-FM: The time of my time.
Dr. Michael Wiater, Research Professor in Neuroscience, WSU
In August 1969 I turned 25. I had recently moved to an apartment near the Arboretum in Seattle after a winter in the country near Lake Goodwin and Fir Island. My life was Bohemian: as a visual artist, painter and poet. My Bohemian values were existential (small e): authenticity, productivity, creativity, engagement, frugality. Politically I had participated in the University District Movement (UDM) and the start-up of the Seattle Liberation Front (SLF). While no longer SLF, I was active in the anti-war movement. I had taught modern poetry at the Free University in Seattle and during the first years of the Experimental College of the University of Washington. I was a Reader in modern literature for the UW English department. I helped start, named and was the first manager of the Last Exit on Brooklyn, which provided a platform for poetry and art. The Exit was a counterculture center with lively conversation, good chess or go, hot soup and tea, as well my sloppy peanut butter sandwiches. Earlier I had participated in theatre under the guidance of Balwant Gargi (The Little Clay Cart) and Duncan Ross. I helped found the first summer stock group in the Inland Empire as part of the Red Door Players when I both helped build the physical theatre of the Lake City Summer Theatre in Coeur D’Alene (which still exists a half-century later) and performed.
The summer of 1968 I had been in the Bay Area, where I attended San Francisco State College to study with my nascent film mentor, Shirley Clarke, who had recently completed Portrait of Jason. She argued for a more authentic cinema with greatly reduced costs. Authenticity would only be achieved when the process became part of the form, as in Jason. Shirely Clarke would have liked Sarah Polley's documentary Stories We Tell (2013).While in San Francisco I listened exclusively to KPFA which was the local Pacifica radio station. The morning show, introduced by a selection from Satie, was particularly delightful.
And one day in August 1969 my old friend Harvard Palmer showed up with his brother Greg, whom I barely knew. Greg had a proposition for me, if I was interested. Greg had been approached by KRAB to become the Station Manager (SM) and he wanted to know if I would consider the role of Program Director (PD). The work would entail among other things sequencing and writing the majority of the Program Guide, auditioning all spoken word tapes for interest and appropriateness, maintaining my own shows, doing interviews and developing new spoken word programs. I was interested. But the transition for both of us into those roles would take some time. I had to finish my degree program at UW. I had momentum as a painter and one of my paintings, ‘Dancing Calf’, was selected for purchase by the Seattle Art Museum at the 1969 Northwest Open. I was represented as a painter by the Polly Friedlander Gallery. I was writing poetry. I was busy. I also would have to get my broadcast license and learn the ropes at the station. Thus I began my show Toothpick, Lisbon and the Orcas Islands in Program Guide Number 173, 1969, Aug 21 to Sep 3.
The Program Guides for KRAB provide a primary historical source and can be found online under the administration of Chuck Reinsch. I will reference these guides herein by number (e.g., 173). Information about KRAB in the Program Guides is limited in several ways. First, during my three years, 20% of the Program Guides are missing. Second, there was timely improvisation at KRAB: we worked live. Third, there is little background information about station operations in the Program Guides, especially about the Board. My three year run at KRAB as PD was presented in +55 program guides 173 to 230. Of those guides 80% are online. These missing guides online are: 192-194, 203, 205-207, 209, 223-224, 226-227 [n=12; ~ 20%]. Of these I have one .
During the fall of 1969 KRAB was in financial despair. Gary Margason was the volunteer SM (see 171) and had no PD at that time. Margaret Hollenbach had a half-year run as PD beginning December 1968 (155). Other people chipped in to keep the programming going. A lot of what I learned about KRAB during my transition to PD was from Gary Margason, who was one of the founders of the station and a member of the station’s board of directors: the expert in running the printing press, a devotee of poetry and world music and, I felt, a fellow Bohemian. KRAB had legal debts and the founding diva, Lorenzo Milam, had transitioned out of KRAB and its debts. The programming quality in general was strong. But the station was, and would continue to be, at the brink of financial ruin.
Greg Palmer and I would have to wait to start our run, but both of us were active participants during the fall of 1969. A month after the start of my first program, I started my second which was devoted to world music, The Barbarian Prince (175, Sep 18 to Oct 1). The musical backbone of KRAB was world music which was largely due to the influence of a key KRAB figure, Robert Garfias, a Professor of Ethnomusicology at UW. I got a quick education in world music, which has influenced my musical thinking to this day. Rock music had been banned from KRAB until about the time of the show Notes from the Underground by Tom Robbins (1967) because Rock music was well represented on other stations. When I began Bob Friede was responsible for American Music.
During this time Greg Palmer (e.g., 175) and I (176) began doing interviews for the station. Greg Palmer began doing Letters and Things on October 27 (177), after the marathon, which indicates that he was functioning as the SM by that time. We were both working under the radar in our respective roles until there was enough money to pay us. Greg Palmer often used a pseudonym for his presentations (e.g., Chester Snavely, 179; Dr Otis Guelpe, 180). The Program Guides provides only a glimpse into the station operations. During these first years staff/volunteer lists were not included in the guide. It is unclear from the Program Guides exactly when we started getting paid, but it was probably soon after the October marathon improved the station’s finances. Greg Palmer was announced as the broadcast manager and member of the board in December, with Gary Margason still the SM (181). I was finally announced as PD in 186, March, 1970. But individuals whom I recruited to KRAB began to appear much before 186. For example, Ken Lund began his program devoted to the ideas of Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means, in November 1969 (178).
As the station PD I dealt primarily with few people. Besides Greg Palmer and Gary Margason, the most important person was Bob Friede. Robert (Bob) Friede appeared at KRAB in 1968, the year before my arrival. Bob was in control of the American music shows, including his own Dr. Spider’s Hole in the Wall and provided an occasional new music release to present in the Program Guide. In the music realm I arranged the morning shows and provided new releases of world music. I brought Phil Munger in to do the morning show in April of 1970 (190). Greg manned the helm at the station while I ran about preparing the program guide and Greg led the charge to get the program guide published (see 187 for description of our self-publishing effort). At the beginning of 1970 KRAB was on air from 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM and again from 5:30 PM until after midnight: 12 hours/day . A year later our afternoons began at 3:30 PM: 14 hours /day . By 1972 we were on air without an afternoon break: 16+ hours of programming per day done by four people.
Greg Palmer was unexpectedly fired by the board (not in the program guides, but before the April Marathon in 1972). Greg Palmer was an excellent station manager in my view, hard-working, good with volunteers and a comic artist. The programming was a glory to behold. But, without explanation, the Board decided to go in a new direction. My last program guide was 230, September 1972, which was also the last of the numbered series of program guides. I maintained contact with Phil Munger and Nila File; later Pamela Jennings reached out to me. By January 1973 Phil Munger had left KRAB; by August of 1974 Bob Friede was gone. After February 1974 I was no longer mentioned in the program guides [1974-02]. My overall participation with KRAB lasted from August 1969 until February 1974 or 4 ½ years. To his credit Greg Palmer returned to the staff of KRAB for a short time as Resident Humanist during 1975-1976. After the Palmer/Wiater era there was no stable programming leadership at KRAB for two years until the Reinsch/Gorbman era (August 1974 until August 1976). Later Julie Harris provided a stable PD (December 1977 until February 1981). On average these three leadership reigns each lasted about three years and provide the best historical basis for programming comparisons by era post-Milam.
A note on poetry at KRAB:
From the first program guide onward poetry was richly represented. Carolyn Kizer and Emile Snyder did the first Poetry Program (1) followed by Robert Bagg (43), Robin Magowan (49) and Robert Sund (72) among others. Indeed, during my tenure, an audience survey by KRAB in 1971 (214) placed poetry and radio theatre collectively as the most popular non-music shows. I presented Toothpick, Lisbon and the Orcas Islands bi-weekly for three years and Poets Around Here for over a year. I developed a relationship with the San Francisco Poetry Center through my friend Robert Duncan that allowed KRAB almost unlimited access to one of the deepest collections of poetry in the world. Numerous poets were presented live, often unlisted in the guide, at the station, including Allen Ginsberg, Edward Dorn and David Meltzer. Indeed, David Meltzer and Kenneth Rexroth each had an ongoing show at KRAB.
During my tenure these people/programs were introduced (among others):
Myself, Poets Around Here [interviews & presentations by authors]
Kenneth Lund, Ends and Means
Robert Jangard, Classical Oriental Music; Fundamental Exercises of the Pituitary
Robert Horsely, Theatre Reviews
Mamooks Kumtux [Native American programming]
Michael Lerner, Imperialism and the Capitalist Economy
Roger Sale, Writing a History of Seattle and On the Foul Line
David Mendoza, Made of One Piece [art reviews]
Simon M’Pondo, African Times
Richard Jameson, Film Reviews [with Peter Hogue]
Peter Hogue, Why Not Sneeze
Fool and Soup Theatre
Ray Jarvi, Breadline Theatre; Lieder
Jim Mish’alani, Breadline Theatre; Theatre Review
Randy Francisco, The Hemlock Review [alternative education]
Colette Menasian, Book Reviews
Dick Palm, Early Music
George Shangrow, Early Music
Roger Veinus, Exquisite Corpse
David Meltzer, Home Movies
David McDonald, The Shadow of Fu Manchu; Wodnesnahts
Anna Louise Strong Brigade, And Aint I A Woman
John Giorno, Dial a Poem
Kenneth Rexroth, Books [Rexroth switched from KPFA to KRAB!]
Some of my individual program highlights (among others): a mix of politics, radio theatre, poetry, the small press movement, cutting edge music and alternative education:
Bill Butler, poet,  Seattle: Everybody Died [From Spokane to the Unicorn Book Store obscenity case in England]
Clifford Burke  He Left His Art in San Francisco
Nancy Keith, Michael Wiater, Greg Palmer and Bill Cleland, February 17, 1970, [187; unnumbered Summer Survival Marathon, 1970] Running the Bulls in Blue: The Seattle TDA Demonstrations
Jerry Burns  COSMEP
Tom Hayden, Friday April 13, 1970  The Dinosaur Romp
Michael Magie et al.  Grading at the UW
Michael Butler  Hair Interview shared with Robert Horsely
Allen Ginsberg at UW, poet, March 20, 1970 
Allen Ginsberg, poet, March 1970, Breakfast Club [unnumbered Summer Survival Marathon, 1970]
UW Freeway March, Live, May 5, 1970
Gary Snyder, poet, May 20, 1970 
Edward Dorn, poet, May 13, 1971, [unnumbered Marathon guide, 1971] Gunslinger
David Meltzer, poet, September 1971
Keith Abbott, poet 
Robert Bly, poet, March 19, 1971 
Calvin Hampton, composer, May 1971 
Martin Koening, ethnomusicologist, September 1971 
Phil Munger, musical composition, November 25, 1972, Between the Lines, Op. 10, No. 2
Phillip Glass, composer
Feb 04, 2014
I was once sent off with the usual Ampex freight to record a Costigan commentary at his home. I arrived a half hour early - he sent me away to give himself time to think. At the appointed hour I threw the stuff together and he began talking - in coherent paragraphs without notes. The talk ended with perfect logic and poise at something like 29:47.
ed note: This was in response to my posting of a transcription of Giovanni Costigan's speech "Thoughts on the Death of Martin Luther King". David Calhoun was a KRAB volunteer and became KBOO's first manager.
Feb 04, 2014
Thanks for the heads up, Chuck.
I'm glad to learn that JSP is making the tapes they've been storing for years available online. I hope they've got some interns or volunteers helping with the transfer process.
Jan 25, 2014
Ah, what great memories the page http://www.krabarchive.com/ brought back to me of KRAB!
I first discovered KRAB in the early 70s through the late Randy McCarty's morning show, during which Randy played the most wonderful medieval and renaissance music in the mornings. (He and I both went to Roosevelt High School, a year apart I believe, though I really didn't know him then.) I was glad to see him listed on your people page.
BTW, also listed on the supporters page is my sister, the poet who is misspelled as "Carolyn" [sic] Wright. Please note that she uses an "e" at the end of her first name; it should be Carolyne Wright. I know that she'd done some readings on KRAB long ago (though I didn't listen to them; I have a horror of poetry readings :).
Thank you very much for the great memories!
San Jose, CA
Jan 22, 2014
Hi -- I wanted to let you know that I was staff at KRAB & recognize a lot of familiar names, but not mine! I worked there from 1978-1980 as Promotions Manager/Development (fundraising) Director -- I can't remember the exact titles. I produced the monthly program guides -- the old fashioned, cut & paste way -- did the layout & the graphics, produced a radio shows with Herb Levy -- one talk show of my own "Healthy Perspectives" focusing on cutting-edge & uniquely bizarre traditional and very nontraditional medical techniques. I did all the promotions, marketing, press releases, etc., and fundraising along with volunteers, bulk mailings, all the usual tasks -- basically, did a little bit of everything!
In 1979, for the big fundraiser on the Virginia Five, no one could think of a headline attraction -- so I thought of asking some of the Sonic's as guests, since it was the year of the BIG WIN -- THE PLAYOFFS! No one thought they'd come and were pretty negative about it since it didn't fit KRAB's image/philosophy, etc. being a primarily "white", hip, hippie, alternative station. I asked James Donaldson and he said yes, and tickets were sold out in a few days! It was the BIGGEST crowd ever and people still wanted tickets! We also made the most money ever. Donaldson and his wife had a great time.
I realize it was a very odd choice and didn't fit with KRAB, but the goal was to make as much money as possible & we did, got new listeners & it was an entertainment success -- can't remember what band we had.
ed note: From 1971 to 1976, during basketball season, KRAB had a show called "From the Foul Line" with commentary by Roger Sale, Malcolm Griffith and Norm Arkans. Here's a PDF of the 1979 Virginia V poster
Jan 16, 2014
Facebook must have connected us due to the many call letters associated with my name as I saw KRAB drifting down the right side of the page recently and joined you'all.
I began my broadcasting daze in the fall of 1979 at the fire station mostly board-op’ing taped shows or spinning World Music (Buddhist temple gongs anyone?) Engineered a few live shows, some gospel ladies and “The Outsider” Charles Karpuk. Spent many nights in Studio “A” and the control room just to keep warm! Hope these snaps will inspire others to share more. I’m a good friend of Jef Jaisun these days but we didn’t meet ’til 1993. The names on your photos are bringing back memories. Thanks for your work on this! I may have more photos printed that I can scan later.
Class of '79
Jan 05, 2014
I just listened to the Arkansas Trawlers, Jeff and Ellen Thorne. There is a third person playing in the band who is not mentioned in the notes, Tom Moran, playing mostly mandolin and some guitar.
Do you have the date for this broadcast?
Thanks for posting these old recordings. Keep them coming. Fan--tastic!
From and old (and getting older) fan of KRAB.
All the best ~ rich
Jan 02, 2014
This is great! I engineered Exner's show, an one night he came in and
apologized that he's not written his commentary. Could we play some
old 78s instead?
He pulled out an old briefcase full of records. His records. No, I
mean *his* records, ones he recorded himself on his own label in the
40's. They are now some of the rarest trad jazz records in the world.
Here's some of them:
Had a nice jam with Mark O'Connor this summer. I'll see if I can
forward this link to him too. And you can reach Peter Langston at:
Keep up the good work, and Happy 2014!
Dec 29, 2013
Roosevelt Hill is long and steep, and the modest premises of KRAB-FM were at the very summit. I know, because I would arrive for my shift gasping for breath, having stood on the pedals of my Raleigh 3-speed all the way from Wedgwood. I was the announcer/engineer of the station on weekend nights, and the holder of a Radio Telephone Operator's permit, Third Class. Of which I was quite proud, especially since I wasn't yet old enough to drive a car.
KRAB-FM opened vast expanses of my cranium, all heretofore strictly terra incognita. Hunkered next to the Magnavox, I first heard Dylan and Donovan, then Gary Davis, John Dowland, Isak Dinesen, Wild Bill Davidson, et al. My real education began in that drafty doughnut shop with an antenna jammed out of it, where second-hand transmitter tubes lit up a universe I could never have imagined.
The freaks, the geeks, the one-note Johnnies. The mystics, cranks and true believers. Souls so rabid with beauty they couldn't contain themselves: blowing the empty ether full of Blues, Buxtehude, and luminous blasphemy all night, line-of-sight, destination unknown.
KRAB tapped a high-tension line of cultural energy, jury-rigging together a frequency-modulated village whose depth and richness had never been suspected. KRAB rode the wave of untrammeled possibility that the 60's unleashed, in this quirkiest corner of the continent. KRAB arrived just in time, and there will never be another time quite like it. Let the world be amazed as well, before the last molecule of oxide flakes off the last spool of tape.
Dec 19, 2013
I spent quite a bit of time yesterday exploring the content of your KRAB history web site. I planned to send you a note today, but other activities took precedence. I was then surprised, but also amused and pleased to see your email show up earlier this evening.
I was led to your web site by a series of electronic stepping stones yesterday, the first an email from my son Andrew in response to my little photo essay on Tiny Freeman and the day we beat the crap out of Lorenzo Milam's architect's concrete courtyard at the JPS No Exit Rooming House. Andrew passed along the Skagway News obit on Tiny, the first I learned that Tiny had died a few months ago. I was sorry to learn there would be no further opportunities to experience Tiny in person, but pleased to hear he was given a true and proper send off, ashes into the firebox of a steam locomotive and blown out the stack in what I hope and trust was a last ride at full throttle. I pictured a scene much like that I experienced with Tiny decades ago, with Tiny, very much alive at the throttle, flames leaping across the floor of the locomotive cab from the vent in the firebox door with each piston stroke, and exhausted steam belching through the stack and from the pistons, blowing alder leaves off the trees as we raced down what track we had above Snoqualmie Falls, before coming to a stop at the end of the line, then backing up and doing it again.
Andrew's first email was shortly followed by a second, with a link to a Seattle PI obit. A "for more information" link at the bottom of the article led me to a broken link notice, but with yet another link that led me to your KRAB history site.
At about that point Andrew called and we spent the next hour or more in a phone conversation about Tiny and other topics.
Andrew says he retains a clear visual memory of riding in the back of Tiny's Jeep, with Tiny driving and me in the passenger seat. No doors (of course). A bit scary as Andrew recalls. Then Tiny suddenly swerved, nabbed an orange traffic cone on the fly, and passed it back to Andrew. This would have been after we moved from the rooming house to a little house (and later a larger house) north of University Village. Andrew was about 6 months old when we moved. Andrew was definitely older than that to be out jamming about with Tiny and I.
After I got off the phone with Andrew I returned to your web site and there I stayed for quite some time. In due course I explored just about every nook and cranny.
Among the program guides I made this discovery: The front-back cover spread for Program Guide #160, 1969 Feb 20 to Mar 5, is a photograph I took during a walk with my brother Steve in Golden Gardens Park in January of that year. Meg [McElwaine, my first wife and mother of my sons] might have been with us, but she does not appear in any of the photographs. I have the negatives on the light table next to me now.
At that time I was producing the KRAB program guide. I had to come up with cover art twice a month. This image would have been fresh out of the darkroom when I was putting together #160. After I finished putting together the layout Meg and I would take the camera-ready copy to the print shop. A few days later we'd pick up the boxes full of program guides and hold an addressing work party at the rooming house. After that we'd take the boxes full of addressed program guides to the postoffice. We didn't have a car, so these errands were often done on foot (laundry cart or backpack) and by city bus. On one occasion, by the time we delivered the program guides to the main Seattle postoffice south of downtown the buses had stopped running. We could have walked home (cab too expensive), but decided our better choice was to take shelter under a large sandwich board sign and wait for the first early morning bus to arrive.
Scrolling further I discovered another set of program guides: Meg did the covers for #169 and #172. The covers for #170 and #171 are by Terry Abraham. I have the negatives from photocopies I made of both Meg and Terry's artwork that were used in producing these issues. The photocopies were made in May 1969.
By the way, I do have negatives for photographs taken on a March 1969 visit to Golden Gardens Park in which Meg appears prominently. These will be sure to appear in a future photo essay email.
Connections continue. Spider Woman is weaving overtime.
As I explored further I eventually arrived at the donut shop era studio shots. The mixing board shot stopped me in my tracks. This is where I spent many long nights in the mid to late 60's, the control room at KRAB:
This is where, after the scheduled programming was over, I was free to keep going, a whole radio station to take where I pleased, me and the old Colllins transmitter, its output tubes glowing blue into the night. This is were Tom Robbins introduced me to the best of rock'n roll and and taught me how to close cue. Where Richard Greene offered me my first joint. Where Bob Dunshee told me I should have been there last week when the most amazing person walked into the studio. Where I met Meg.
It sounds like you and I discovered KRAB about the same time and in similar fashion, high school kids searching for something interesting to listen to late at night, working our way up the dial, boring, boring, boring, boring… what the fuck?! This is pretty strange. This is pretty cool. This is actually interesting. We, like many, came of age through KRAB.
Reading your very long list of staff and volunteers impressed me with how many people's lives were significantly affected by Lorenzo Milam's quirky creation. And that's just the staff and volunteers, not tallied are all the listeners.
Your KRAB web site is a worthy effort.
The Jack Straw Foundation is still a living and breathing (or hacking and wheezing) entity? Well I'm pleased to hear the old goats are coming around to helping you out rather than chewing up your roses.
Getting around finally to your original request, in a separate email I will send a version of the Tiny Freeman photo narrative you received sans images through the grapevine, in the form of an attached PDF, which should improve the odds of text and images arriving whole and property associated.
By the way, who is Gary? Margason perhaps? By the way, the collection of old negatives I've recently started cataloging and digitizing includes a number of shots of Marguerite and Gary at various times and places. Marguerite may or may not know this, but she is in fact the de facto godmother of my sons. Contrary to the conventional depiction of Cupid, she is a plump pianist.
And who is Dr Phage?
ed note: Ah Dr Phage. See Lord Shuttlecock's letter of 11-04-2013, below.
Dec 01, 2013
Hi there, just stumbled on the site, brought back some good memories - I was a bankamerikrab card holder in Victoria BC.
Even though reception was spotty over here, spent many hours setting up an antenna specifically geared to the station and eventually managed to get good reception - if I moved house, one of the priorities was that I could get KRAB - otherwise didn't move!
Taped a bunch of stuff on my reel-to-reel which I later dubbed to cassette and now have the stuff archived on CD ..unfortunately that was condensed down to 2 cd's worth of broadcast, but better than nothing. I'm not sure of the exact date of the recordings, probably from the late 70's - one of the announcers says " I've just been informed that Ethel Waters has passed away" in one of the segments, so that bit must be from 1977. I have recordings of Charlemagne Palestine and Ivor Cutler - I remember my neighbor complaining that I as playing "church music" all night, no doubt hearing Cutler's
harmonium through the wall! One thing that sticks in my mind about the night you played Charlemagne Palestine was the droll comment by the announcer who had just received a phone request from a listener to stop playing the hypnotic Palestine as they had just driven into tree!
Anyway, Early music, the African shows with Day-E, the robotnor hours were all faves, just to mention a few. KRAB introduced me to genres of music that were to become huge parts of my musical directions for years afterwards.
Thanks again for being there, Krab was the best station in the Pacific Northwest and sorely missed.
all the best
ed note: The "Bankamerikrab" card was a way for business's to encourage individuals to become KRAB supporters by giving discounts on their services. Does anyone still have a card?
Nov 04, 2013
I've been trying to reach deeper into my memory on this. There was a lot going on at the time!
I know I requested the Parks Dept to document the memorial, and I remember correspondence and a meeting with Boy Scouts Seattle HQ. I also recall asking Burke Museum if they wanted anything. I'm certain the Scouts took parts, but not so certain about the Museum. All the coordination for this was done by the Parks Department's project manager.
As for the Zoo History, I think they may in fact be correct. I wanted the structure buried in situ, but I think in the end there wasn't sufficient money and-or it was too tall to cover, and that after removal of important parts the structure was indeed knocked down, and as they said, tipped into hole.
I do recall thinking I was getting away with something audacious by removing a Memorial to a president of the United States of America. May God have mercy on my soul.
ed note: David Hancocks was the Director of the Woodland Park Zoo at the time of Richard AC Greene's campaign for Land Commissioner, and the rally on the Harding monument.
Nov 04, 2013
Regarding "Richard A C Greene, and the campaign for Land Commissioner"
It is very clear that everyone involved in this charade are miscreants of the first order, and ne'er do wells with defective genes, who have tragically sunk into depravity and have no respect for their betters. Most probably they also indulged in spanking innocent wenches and other depraved acts.
If I had known of this sordid history I would have had the Harding Memorial disinfected and then blown to smithereens with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Fuming and Disgusted in Cheltenham Spa,
Lord Shuttlecock of Putney and Leicester Square.
Oct 22, 2013
A old friend sent me an email earlier today, excitedly letting me know about your digitized “Sunday” episodes. Said friend and I listened to, and greatly enjoyed, these shows back in the day.
Even cooler is that he recorded many of these shows onto his trusty reel-to-reel tape recorder. And better yet is the fact that I am in possession of the tapes!
When he lent me the tapes, it was with the hope that I could somehow digitize and convert them to mp3 format but I was never able to do so. My old Sony reel-to-reel has seen better days and would’ve been a bother and expense to repair. Added to that is the fact that each show was recorded on either the left or right track, so as to optimize each foot of magnetic tape. I guess they weren’t broadcast in stereo, or maybe he was just the consummate cheapskate. I think the latter...
Anyway, judging by the titles listed inside each box, there appear to be at least 24 episodes, all probably recorded at 1 7/8 ips (that cheapskate thing again). There are two boxes marked “Sunday” and a third box which may have even more! I have no idea as to the condition of the tape nor the quality of the recording, but the storage conditions have probably been optimal regarding temperature and humidity.
If you have any interest in borrowing these tapes with the intent of digitizing and making them available for download on the KRAB site, please let me know. I’d sure like to be able to listen to them again, and who knows, there may be one or two similarly interested wackos out there too!
I live in the Lynnwood area and would be happy to meet you at a mutually convenient location.
ed note: It is 02-08-2014 and I am still working on digitizing these. Was loaned two 1/4 track tape decks - the speed on one slows down after about 20 minutes and the other, which is now back in the shop, adds pops and clisck and waves of static to the audio. I promise to get these digitized before Spring.
Oct 21, 2013
Just discovered your krab.fm site. Thanks.
FWIW, I presented a number of what would now be called "world music" programs, with records from my own collection, probably around 1978 and '79.
(My memory is kinda fuzzy, alas, but I think those years are about right. Maybe there was something in the early '80s, too - not sure.)
The reason you may not have my name is because I think my occasional
programs were mostly (all?) in Judy (now Joe) Ellison's usual slot.
Sometimes I'd substitute for her.
The music I presented undoubtedly tended to be Greek, Romanian, and Jewish
(early klezmer revival!), but I seem to remember some Albanian, Turkish,
etc., probably having been mixed in there.
Jul 29, 2013
Just found the KRAB Facebook site and your lovely website. Nice work. Thanks for doing this. I need to rummage in my trunk. I used to have the missing Program Guide from July 1974. No promises.
Jul 13, 2013
I was a KRAB fm engineer (with a 3rd Class FCC License) for Nancy Keith's Wednesday night shows throughout my 1964-1965 senior year at Roosevelt High School. I was also the brains behind "The Great Carpet Sweep" a psychedelic fundraising party featuring The Great excelsior Jazz Band at the Kirkland Center for the Seven Lively Arts in either l966 or 1967. I lived on Lorenzo's Milam's Lake Union houseboat briefly where I socialized with Jon Gallant, Jeremy Lansman, Robert Sund, Gary Wingert , Duke and Sarah Hayduk, Gary Margasson and a host of other KRAB volunteers. I did a couple of cover designs for the program guide in 1965. I'm requesting that my name be want to be added to your list of volunteers. I have pictures of myself
from the era on Lorenzo's houseboat which I can send later. Today, I was looking for info on Tiny Freeman's memorial and stumbled on your KRAB site.
Best from Beacon Hill,
Jun 11, 2013
Hey there, I've just stumbled upon your KRAB-FM page and I want to say thank you - it made a lovely trip down Memory Lane for me.
I do see one name missing from the roster - Michael Toennesson, who did a stint On Air with his Bluegrass and Old-Timey music show "Peanut Special" (I seem to remember that's what he called it).
We were volunteers way back in the Dave Wertz Show days at the Donut Shop, too.
Ah, those were the days!
Love the website.
(Did my stint on KRABgrass and Tiny Freeman's Saturday night show in the 80's too).
"Que me amat, amet en canem."
(Who loves me loves my dog also).
Apr 30, 2013
~Interesting site; I wasn't in Seattle for KRAB, but heard lots of KPFK from
the 60s onward.
Nothing specifically KRAB-related to contribute, except that what you refer
to as "Jeremy's Classic Tape" couldn't have been from 1964, but is likely
1965 or '66.
There are four music elements that were released in 1965: The Rolling
Stones, Joan Baez, Ian Whitcomb and the Yardbirds.
Timothy Leary really became a public figure in 1966, although I don't know
whether he was presented on Pacifica stations and KRAB before that.
But at the earliest it's from 1965, and probably '66 at the very latest.
But it can't be '64.
I'll visit this website often and check out the other items here. Thanks for
Apr 15, 2013
Got me back into the room with Lorenzo's desk and the round table, walls covered with jammed-full great records, a pile of great magazines nearby.
I think it was Lorenzo who told me one day, "Check this out. I think you might like it." The "it" was R. Crumb's "Fritz the Cat."
Up in the shop, I've still got a pretty pristine collection of ZAP! and other comics with Crumb and others (S. Clay Wilson--"Tree Frog Beer", etc.). I still get them out from time to time. They're timeless. And, as I say to wife Sarah from time to time, they're "Over the top."
Not exactly the Nancy Keith intellectual fare, but I guess they're the major collection of KRAB-caused ephemera I have.
Thanks for the compliment on my "holding down the fort" in the morning hours. It was a lot of kind-of anarchic fun
ed note: The asterisked "That" refers to Geoff Hewings letter of 01/12/2013
Apr 14, 2013
Just skimmed your pretty comprehensive-looking list of KRAB-ites.
Made me smile in the skimming.
Didn't notice it, but was Gene Johnston in there? A real, authentic, funny bad boy.
Lots of memories back there.
I got a better, broader, clearer, cleaner sweeter, finer, more complicated education in my about three years there at KRAB than I got all the time before or since, including five years at the U-Dub, and I'm seventy-four years old now. It was Lorenzo who caused it, as we know.
Maybe the most difficult lesson I learned was that, as time passed and youthful ideals eroded, I realized that many such worthwhile situations such as KRAB required not only idealism but independent wealth.
A couple memories. I really didn't like poet Kenneth Rexroth, on tape from, as I recall it, Sausalito. He had a "You peons don't deserve my creativity" tone about him that always turned me off.
Another memory, an earthquake. Suddenly, one morning, everything started rumbling. I rushed out of the control room, passed the two old glowing transmitters on the left and opened the front door and was amazed to see cats rocketing in all different directions heading everywhere and nowhere.
(ed note: Duke is there in the beginning (in Guide #5 reading the Marquis de Sade and Darwin). Later, when KRAB tried the morning program experiment coming on the air at 7am and rebroadcasting some of the previous evenings programs (for the benefit of 'beleaguered housewives"), he became the first "morning man". While KRAB had a number of morning show producers, for some of us, Duke's ability to assemble music and readings became something to model and emulate.)
Apr 06, 2013
How's it going?
Funny you should ring in now. It was April 1973 (yup, 40 years ago) when I aired my first Stump City show on KRAB. A few days ago I swapped email with Ray Serebrin, the person (perp?) responsible for getting me the slot. And yes, we told Friede stories. :)
I certainly do have KRAB stuff somewhere, most likely in the multitude of boxes stored in my basement. I'm sure there are program guides, and I'm positive I have air checks and tapes. I see you found my old nude cameo from the firehouse. Man, I wish I was still that thin today! LOL!
I wonder if Bannon has any pix of the Cougar Mountain xmtr. We both climbed the new tower before it was energized. I stopped at the 100' level, but Phil went all the way up to the 200' top. Bet he wouldn't try that today (and neither would I!).
I'm glad you're working on this. We got a way with a lot at KRAB, but it was great fun for the most part. (Especially when I banished Friede from my studio for hitting the tone arm while "Bolero" was playing.) The record 9so to speak) needs to be preserved.
Feb 14, 2013
I have been checking with Bob Jackson and Mike Duffy and my memory has corrected a few things. The entire Great Excelsior Jazz did not play at the rally. It was me piano, Mike Duffy bass; Bill Lovy , guitar and Howard Gilbert drums. I have been told that Bob West taped the music and perhaps everything that day. The recordings, made about the same time, did not include Lovy but did include Anne Skjelbred and Wendy Duffy on sound effects. Ray, Mike and Howard wrote the songs: Keep Washington Greene, Everybody's Talking 'bout Richard Greene and Dick Greene is Something. I did find a recording, an EP, a little 331/3. The lyrics hold up as very clever to my ear. Lorenzo Milam rented tuxedos for us to wear that day. I also remember him renting rooms at the Olympic Hotel for us to watch the returns in November. If you want to borrow the recording to make a copy in some other form, you may do so. thanks,
ed note: The above relates to the Richard AC Greene campaign for Land Commissioner
Feb 12, 2013
Hi, its Ray Serebrin a million years later. I have been quite impressed with your words and with the effort you are putting forth on the KRAB site. Just starting reading all of this and much enjoying it.
Though I may be thought of as one of the whimsters, I can tell you (since no one else gives a shit) that I spent at least 3-4 hours in preparation for every hour of music that went on the air. And I even worked when I slept, jumping up in the middle of the night to record my dreams, assuming they would have great meaning for the listening audience.
I have several old small reel-to-reel tapes of my show, though I have no idea who might digitize them for me (and I live in certain dread that should that be done, I would die of embarrassment). My tenure was 1969-1982 – the disco inferno era, though I too was strongly affected by KRAB of the mid-sixties.
I did a show for 6-8 months on KSER in the early 1990’s - the Midlife Crisis Dance Party. It was a live program simultaneously mixing music and spoken word from 6 different sources, with some basic rhythm track underlying much of it. It was some sort of audio travesty that worked about 30% of the time. I could not keep up the hours, living on my farm in Kitsap, working in Seattle (at Seattle Public Library) and radioing in Everett.
I have been working in libraries for 40 years and am about to retire as the Director of the Jefferson County Library. One of my retirement plans? Explore doing a show on KPTZ in Port Townsend, where Phil Andrus (who you will likely recall) currently holds forth.
Be well Chuck*
*the only station Manager who ever went from KRAB to a reputable job.
ed note: That last complement(?) isn't quite right. Given KRAB's (political, social, and philosphical) location on wrong side of the tracks it is surprising the number of staff, volunteers, and managers that were able to go on to rewarding and successful careers - some even "reputable".
Feb 02, 2013
Just came across your page on KRAB. I had been listening to it for several years in Bremerton Wa when I found myself in a philosophy class at Olympic College taught by Richard (Dick) Norton. He was evidently part (which?) of the Jack Straw Memorial Foundation. At any rate, some friends of mine and I decided to throw a fundraising concert for KRAB at O.C. The year was, I think, 1971. I cannot remember how much money we raised (not much) but I still have the soapstone carving of a crab (ie, body louse) that I carved for use as an entrance stamp.
Jan 12, 2013
Greetings from Glasgow where I am staying for a few days and experiencing my usual (non jet-lag related) sleep problems. I got up to check e-mail and found your note – KRAB – did that ever jog some memories.
The e-mail was an amazing coincidence. Last week, I gave my daughter-in-law in Chicago who works in the arts a small collection of tapes of a few KRAB programs I had made (I think Seattle Symphony reviews) in hopes that she could transcribe them onto a CD. In part, the motivation came from some one challenging the fact that I was of British origin and I became curious about how my accent had changed. I guess these would have been made between 1966-68.
I still tell stories about my time with the station while I was doing a PhD at UW; it was amazing place. Thanks for putting the web-site together.
I read through the list and recall with pleasure Harrison Ryker, the music director. I do not know if you were the engineer the night we did the end-of-the-season symphony review. I recall Harrison, someone else (I have forgotten who, maybe two others) and I sat in the studio around the round table consuming a fair amount of beer before we went on the air. I am sure we trashed Milton Katims (the conductor) and said not too much that was positive. At the end, Harrison noted we had a few minutes to spare before the next program and announced an impromptu dedication to the music of the avant garde German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. This involved spontaneous utterances in any language, singing and blowing on beer bottles with varying amounts (from zero to full) of beer to generate different sounds. Energized, Harrison, sprung from his chair, grabbed the station's vacuum cleaner (the Hoover mentioned on the web site no doubt!), plugged it into the electrical outlet and proceeded to move towards the microphone. In the process, he tripped over the cord and as he fell to the floor, cried, in alarm "Christ, I think I have a hernia!!" We all devolved into uncontrollable laughter for several minutes. I think the radio audience thought this was a set piece, because the phones started ringing; listeners said it was the funniest thing they had every heard on radio – not so much the act itself, but three of four people in the throes of uncontrollable laughter. And of course, no attempt was made to turn the microphone off – I am sure that whoever was the engineer was in a similar state!
There are lots of other memories – the piano drop (out west of Lake Washington) with Country Joe and the Fish playing, listening to Jean Sheppard from WOR, NY, Tiny Freeman (a tug boat skipper and a giant of a man) and Dave Wertz (I think – a thin guy) who would riff on bluegrass (and smoke weed at the same time), Rory (I cannot recall his last name but he was convinced that his parents named him so to provide differentiation from others) who had wicked commentaries and of course Lorenzo Milam. For a while I did the Sunday morning classical show –often doing the engineering too even though, as a non US citizen at the time, I could not obtain an FCC licence.
Thanks for jogging the memories – I still have my KRAB button and a small box of memorabilia. I'll try to retrieve it and send along with the recordings if they can be copied.
Hope this note finds you well – thanks so much for contacting me. It has extended the KRAB trip!
Hope to be in touch soon
PS Did KRAB not have a sister station, KBOO in Portland Oregon, for a while?
Geoffrey J.D. Hewings
(ed note: Geoff appears all over the early guides, reading from periodicals, symphony reviews, remote recording, and producing programs. )
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
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