The KRAB Archive
Many documents are in pdf format. To read them, click on the thumbnail to open and adjust the size.
Jan 1, 1962, Broadcasting Magazine
Call letters KRAB assigned to 107.7, Seattle
April 6, 1962
An application for extension of completion date to Nov 10, 1962 is filed; file number BMPH-7187
In the "Statement of reasons as to why further time is needed...." in response to Form 701 question 4, Milam states that the Collins 737A transmitter was ordered from WFLN (Philadelphia) and fully paid for, but that tests prior to delivery revealed it to be defective, so that it was turned over to another broadcaster, and another transmitter was being sought.
Note: A number of these documents are notarized by Clarence P Schwartz. He had the realty office (Olympic View Realty, 9101 Roosevelt NE) on the North West corner of 91st and Roosevelt, directly across 91st street from KRAB, and it was to him that we paid the rent.
Apr 14, 1962, Seattle Times
Having decided that the station will now be located at the top of Roosevelt and housed in a derelict doughnut shop, an application for a conditional use zoning permit is filed with the city.
Apr 23, 1962, Broadcasting Magazine
An ad is placed in Broadcasting Magazine for a Chief Engineer
Apr 23, 1962, Broadcasting Magazine
KRAB personnel changes are announced
May 21, 1962
An application for modification of construction permit is filed to co-locate studio and transmitter at 9029 Roosevelt Way, with an effective radiated power of 19.988 kw, a effective height of 352 feet above average terrain, and a Standard Electronics Model 930 transmitter; File BMPH-7244
May 25, 1962
Gary Margason, Lorenzo W Milam, and Jonathan Gallant meet and incorporate the Jack Straw Memorial Foundation. The Articles of Incorporation are filed with the State of Washington on Jun 1, 1962.
May 31, 1962
FCC grants application BMPH-7187, extension of completion date to Nov 10, 1962; Accepted for filing May 31, 1962
Jul 16, 1962
Filed a Modification to construction permit to change transmitter type back to original Collins 737A. Where did this transmitter come from? See note below regarding transmitter history.
Jun 22, 1962, Seattle Times
Could things actually be coming together? With light opposition from residents worried that radio interference might interfere with Gunsmoke and Bionic Woman, and concerned that the tower would be "unsightly", the City Planning Commission recommends the permit for approval.
Jul 11, 1962, Seattle Times
The Public Safety Committee recommends, and the Seattle City Council approves the conditional use permit.
Aug 6, 1962, Broadcasting Magazine
KRAB needs equipment
Aug 29, 1962
FCC grants application BMPH-7244 to modify construction permit for co-location of transmitter, antenna, and studios at 9029 Roosevelt Way (the Doughnut Shop); increase ERP to 20kw, etc.
Sep 10, 1962, Broadcasting Magazine
FCC grants modification to construction permit.
Oct 10, 1962
Believing that the construction permit will expire Nov 10, 1962, Lorenzo files another application for extension of time to complete.
In the supporting documents for this application Milam states that the transmitter, a Collins 737A has been delivered, installed, wired, and that equipment tests are beginning that week. Was this the transmitter from WFLN, or another?
Oct 15, 1962
FCC returns the Oct 10th application for extension, saying that BMPH-7244 granted on Aug 29th already extended the time to complete construction to April 30, 1963
In the prospectus for the BIG KRAB Nebula Conference - Meet of 1972 Lorenzo writes:
It was another of those cold dark wet flappy days in Seattle. The sky was grey --- as usual --- and the power lines on Roosevelt Way hummed and buzzed: a city's naked power leaking down into the grounds.
In a dumpy retired doughnut shop, three rather seedy characters --- Jeremy Lansman, Gary Margason, and Lorenzo Milam --- bent low over a 15 year old Collins transmitter. A signal was given --- a button was pushed. Is this when community noninstitutional radio was born in the United states?
No: not only were there several other similar stations already in operation around the country --- but the goddamn Collins transmitter blew up almost the same instant it went on the air. The bloody 2000 pound power transformer, shipped at inordinate expense from WFLN in Philadelphia, showered sparks all over the ground --- and it was a full month before the three got over ' their exasperation and put KRAB on the air once and for all.
Dec 7, 1962, Seattle Times
If you refer back to Jul 13, 1960 you will find a "309 letter" from the FCC with the following: "It is noted that you propose to present programs provided by various universities and members of the Seattle Public Library." The letter went on to request that Lorenzo provide a list of the contacts he had made. Lorenzo declined, saying that the FCC had not asked applicants to pursue program development prior to issuing a construction permit, and that he would provide that information if the FCC were to adopt a policy whereby it requested the same from all applicants. The FCC never responded to his offer, but it seems that as construction proceeded, so did Lorenzo's program planning.
Bernard Poll became a regular on KRAB with the evening reading, and readings for children. PJ Doyle was another that came from the Seattle Public Library, doing readings and interviews. And Ray Serebrin (Dr Robotnor) was Library staff when he volunteered at KRAB. Were there any others? Please remind us.
Dec 11, 1962
Replacing the plate transformer was completed by Dec 11, when Form 302 (Application for New Broadcast Station License) is filed, requesting program test authority.
Note: The engineering part of this application was prepared by Jeremy D Lansman, KRAB's Chief Engineer. He's the one that responded to the advertisement of Apr 23, 1962. For more about Jeremy, see Lorenzo's article in RALPH, Phil Munger writing in his Blog, and this in the Anchorage Press.
Dec 12, 1962
FCC grants Program Test Authority. KRAB is on the air.
Dec 16, 1962
Another problem? KRAB was forced to reduce power, but the problem appears to have been resolved by the 16th when a letter was sent to the FCC saying it was back operating at full power.
During the years at the Doughnut Shop, reducing power to just the exciter section happened periodically. This meant the signal would not always make it beyond Roosevelt Hill. Strangely, the area I lived (unincorporated King County equidistant from Kirkland, Redmond, and Bellevue) was line of sight, and I was able to pick up KRAB even at its weakest signal strength.
Dec 17, 1962, Seattle Times
Broadcasting on a Shoestring - CJ Skreen announces KRAB in the Seattle Times
Note: In Skreen's piece "One of the more novel broadcasting experiments began operation here Thursday, when KRAB-FM took the air on 107.7 megacycles." The previous Thursday would be December 13th, one day after the FCC granted program test authority.
Dec 19, 1962
Yet another problem....The FCC stops by and inspects the transmitter and facilities. An "Adverse Inspection Report" is issued, and Program Test Authority is limited to Jan 10, 1963.
Dec 21, 1962
The first Commentary is broadcast - Jon Gallant talks about Seattle's "Blue Laws" The First Commentary
Dec 28, 1962
Because KRAB was a non-commercial station operating on a commercial channel, there always seemed to be a bit of confusion about what reports had to be filed with the FCC. This is KRAB's first political Broadcasting Questionnaire.
Dec 31, 1962, Broadcasting Magazine
Broadcasting Magazine announces KRAB is on the air.
Note: Regarding the source of KRAB's Collins 737A transmitter
As the above reflects, the documents are inconsistent when it comes to identifying the original owner of KRAB's transmitter. In Apr Lorenzo says it was from WFLN, but rejected because it didn't work. A CP mod is then filed changing to another transmitter type. In Jul another CP mod is filed, changing back to the Collins. In Oct Lorenzo writes that the Collins has been delivered and installed. Ten years later, Lorenzo writes that it came from WFLN.
I asked the former owner of WFLN, Sam Smith, if he had any photos of their old transmitter or knew what became of it. He responded "Afraid I have to fail you on both counts. . . So many photos from that era I wished I had".
Ben Dawson was the Engineering Director for Jack Straw. Asked about the source of the xmitter, he answered with this "I do not know for sure but I do not believe that the 737A came from WFLN. I thought it came from somewhere further south. But I really don't know for sure. Margason might know. Lansman would know for sure." He goes on with some information about later modifications and replacing the transmitter that we'll share later.
If you possess any souvenirs (program guides, tapes, or photos) or have a story about your experience with KRAB you are willing to share, please email email@example.com