K-R-A-B were once the call letters of a non-commercial, educational FM radio station (107.7) in Seattle, Washington that went silent in 1984. This site has nothing to do with the station in Bakersfield that now uses these call letters.
When KRAB went on the air in late 1962 it was the fourth station in the country to attempt an audacious experiment: The founders of KRAB, and of the three stations that preceded it (KPFA, KPFK, and WBAI), naively believed that there were, are, enough people like themselves, intellectually curious, artistically adventuresome, open and willing to be challenged by political views contrary to their own, and believers in the power of communication to improve society, so that a radio station not serving commercial interests could be financially viable. That thesis continues to be tested.
Like KRAB and the Jack Straw Memorial Foundation, this web site does not seek to profit monetarily from what is presented here. These archived materials are shared for educational, cultural and scholarly purposes to assist the curious in understanding what an imaginative group of people can do with a radio frequency, a transmitter, and little money. If our writing sometimes gets "jokey", it reflects the humor of the station and era it inhabited. In the documents shared here, the people who started and operated KRAB for 22 years speak for themselves.
Pictured above is KRAB's first location, 1962-1972, The Doughnut Shop at 9029 Roosevelt Way NE. To see additional photos at that site, as well as photos from KRAB's other two locations, click here.
Audio here is streamed and is not routinely available for download.
New in the KRAB Archive - Check here to find out what's happened since your last visit.
About listener-supported radio - Books and articles about using the radio medium for a grander purpose than selling laundry detergent.
The Archives - Program Guides for reading and audio for listening
Staff, Volunteers, Programmers - The people that contributed time, effort, and skills to KRAB. For some, there are photos.
Who, what, why, when - Historical rumblings - Anecdotes, photos, and remembrances of past glories and follies.
KRABgraphic - flyers, brochures, bumper stickers, posters
Letters and Things - Feedback from readers. Where to share your thoughts and recollections.
The KRAB Timeline - Events and documents in the history of KRAB - Beginning with the beginnning
The KRAB Pot - A Google search of the KRAB archive web site
Finding aids for spoken word, music, and documents
Finding other Non-commercial Radio Archives and History on the internet
About the KRAB Archive - Mission - Accomplishments - Collaborations
My own association with KRAB began sometime in early 1964 when, at the age of 15, I heard a reading on the station of a poem by Paul Celan (Todesfuge) and decided I wanted to use it to fulfill a school assignment to recite a poem. Being unable to find Celan in the local library, I took the bus from the suburbs into Seattle and found my way to the station where, for a modest sum, one Jeremy Lansman made a copy of the tape for me. Not long after, to the horror of my father, I was a volunteer with a FCC Radio Telephone Third Class Operator Permit.
During high school, my first paying job was at KRAB: On Sunday's I would be "in charge" from about noon until 7:00pm when the evening board operator and announcer would arrive. "In charge" included engineering the recording of any programs scheduled for production during that block, traffic, and taking the garbage out. For this I earned $10.00 per week, and always felt over paid. One Sunday John Cage nearly stumbled over me in the transmitter room unwrapping recording tape from the roller of a Hoover vacuum. He was there to be interviewed by Lorenzo. For the next 25 years I was in and out of the station, filling a variety of staff positions that always seemed to include removing garbage.
The success of this archive is dependent upon the willingness of people to share. You can see who has donated material (tangible and intangible) on the Staff, Volunteers, Programmers page. If you are also able and willing to help, please send an email to the address below.
More of the author's reflections
What hath God wrought? Experiments in contemporary obsessions
KRAB and the KRAB Archive are in FaceBook, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/52686313097/ If you are a former KRAB listener, staff, or volunteer you may find an affinity with others in the FB group.
The Twitter experiment has concluded (Nov 5, 2022).
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