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Spoken Word Programming - The 1980s

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Programs are listed in chronological order. Problems listening, or comments? Email: KRABarchive

The text in bold italic that begins each program description is quoted from the original program guide entry. As some tapes lack complete descriptions, and we do not yet have all the program guides in which to find a description, some of the notes below are vague. If you can enlighten us about any program, please email us about that too.

The Paranoid's Notebook with Tom Allen - The History of Plant Patenting up to 1980 - KRAB Mar 19, 1980

Discover your paranoid quotient (p.q.) with Tom Allen as he checks out the survivalists. Are you ready for the end? Or is it the beginning?

On the website of the "A-Infos Radio Project", where we found this program, it is titled "History of plant patenting up to 1980. The birth of GMO,", and described as follows:

Until the 1970s seed companies attracted little attention. After patent laws protected hybrids the rush was on.

Credits: Tom Allen and all those who built today's seed savers network.

This was originally broadcast 3/16/1980 on KRAB FM, Seattle; rebroadcast 2004 on RFPI Costa Rica. Produced before the development of GMOs, this program is a time capsule that provides historical context to GMO issues of today. Historical audio clips from 1974 Alternative Agriculture Conference held at Central Washington State College, Ellensburg WA.

Since the beginning of agriculture, farmers have saved seeds locally and selected the best plants for future crops. This resulted in enormous genetic diversity and resilliance that was at risk in 1974 as local seed companies were gobbled up by conglomerates and is at greater risk today.

Thankfully, the seed savers movement has created islands of heirloom varieties. The movement began in the early 1970s and continues today but must be supported and protected. In Europe farmers and gardeners can only purchase seeds from an approved list and are prohibited from growing crops that are similar enough to patented varieties to cause confusion. Could it happen in the US?

Listen now Listen now - The Paranoid's Notebook with Tom Allen - The History of Plant Patenting up to 1980 - KRAB Mar 19, 1980 (27:48)

Recording courtesy Thomas Allen and the A-Infos Radio Project of A-Infos Radio Project

NEW Sep 2021: In This Corner - KRAB Mar 25 and Apr 25, 1980

Former fighters, managers, and trainers provide a glimpse into the traditions, language, and special relationships which bind the world of professional boxing. Their stories about learning and teaching their craft, the character of its heroes, the secret art of stopping cuts, and similar topics frequently extend 50 years into the history of a profession which has its roots with the ancient gladiators. Participants include Joe Toro, Eddie Cotton, George Chemeres, Harry "Kid" Matthews, Bob Melnick, Marino Guaing, and others. This program was produced by Jeff Follette and funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The voices heard in this program, in order of occurrence are:

Ex-Light Heavyweight contender Eddie Cotton (1927-1990);
His former manager George Chemeres (1914-2002);
Former Middle Light and Heavy weight contender Harry "Kid" Matthews (1922-2003);
Former manager and trainer Bob Melnick (d. 1982);
Trainer and manager Joe Toro (1918-1990);
and Trainer and manager Marino Guaing (1904-1992).

Nov 7, 1971 the Seattle Times did a pictorial in the magazine section about "The Gym", with phptographs by Roy Scully and text by Tom Stockley (click here).

The producer was Jeff Follette, with assistance from Phil Andrus, Julie Harris, Leila Gorbman, Howard Weiss, and Jay Follette.

This program was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Listen now In This Corner- KRAB Mar 25, 1980 (86:31)

Recording courtesy John Ochs, jo0002 and jo0003

NEW Sep 2021: Tales of Jack Hurley - KRAB Mar 26 and Apr 8, 1980

When he died in his Seattle hotel room in 1972, Jack Hurley concluded a remarkable boxing career which began in Fargo, North Dakota, moved to New York in the late 20s, and finally to Seattle as he assumed management of Harry "Kid" Matthews. Former boxing associates portray the colorful exploits and character of one of boxing's promotional geniuses. Produced by Jeff Follette and funded by a grant from the N.E.A.

The voices heard in this program, in order of occurrence are:

Former manager and trainer, George Chemeres (1914-2002);
Seattle Post Intelligencer Sports writer Paul Rossi (1928-2009);
Seattle Times Executive Sports writer Vince O'Keefe (1915-2006);
Seattle Post Intelligencer Sports writer John Owen (1929-2014);
Former Middle, Light and Heavy weight contender Harry "Kid" Matthews (1922-2003);
Ticket agent Bob Vrooman (d. 1998);
Former Olympic Hotel Security Office Austin Seth (1915-2006).

Produced by Jeff Follette, with assistance from Phil Andrus and Julie Harris.

Funded with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Listen now Tales of Jack Hurley - KRAB Mar 26, 1980 (58:32)

Recording courtesy John Ochs, jo0001

Out of Bounds with Doug Honig - An Interview of Art Thiel - KRAB Nov 3, 1981
OUT OF BOUNDS - "The Sonics: Comeback or Comedown?" Interview with Art Thiel, P-I sportswriter who covers basketball.

Sports received short shrift at KRAB. Gene Johnston organized a softball team one summer. I think it was Phil Andrus that organized volleyball in a vacant lot another summer. In the mid 1970's Professors Roger Sale and Malcolm Griffith, replaced later by Norm Arkans did a program covering basketball, "On the Foul Line". And, somewhere there is an episode of Greg Palmer's "Government Inspected" devoted to professional sports.

And here, along comes Doug Honig with a thoughtful interview of the up and coming sports writer for the Seattle PI, Art Thiel. Thiel, though still in Seattle, has covered a lot of territory in the last 36 years. To borrow from the introduction on his sports news service site,, "Never having met a metaphor he could not twist beyond recognition, Art has been illuminating, agitating, amusing and annoying Puget Sound sports readers for a long time."cassette label

Listen now Listen now - Out of Bounds - The Sonics: Comeback or Comedown? Doug Honig interviews Art Thiel - KRAB Nov 3, 1981 (29:29)

Recording courtesy Doug Honig, DH0002

First Avenue, Seattle - A Five-part Oral History, produced by Jim Simon and Roz Barnett - Apr 1982

This program was put together in 1981 and early 1982. Listening to this series 35 years later, one wonders if we are now living a repeat performance. Seattle high rise office and condominium construction is ubiquitous, and real estate costs rise hourly. The bland monochromatic miasma that was beginning to swallow Seattle then is now an omnipresent companion to the cookie cutter glass and steel boxes

First Avenue, Seattle documents the passing of more than a street of army/navy surplus and novelty stores, taverns, seedy restaurants, and storefronts advertising to "adult" interests. It is filled with the voices of the people that lived there - those whom Emmett Watson, John Hinterberger, and Susan Paynter seemed to think gave Seattle "character". Paynter, interviewing Tiny Freeman in 2007, asked "Where have the big-livers, characters and genuine articles gone?" To which Tiny replied "It's not just Seattle, sweetie. It's the whole shiterie."

There are problems of city life today that can be attributed to the decisions of the last century. Some of those decisions seem to have been directly related to looking the other way when "trying to do the right thing", like saving an historical landmark and center of Seattle "community". The preservation of the Market resulted in the displacement of poor and vulnerable people, and when there were limited resources to provide them with alternative housing, it was just too bad.

Is this program still relevant today? The 96 room *Gatewood Hotel (built in 1898) is featured in the fifth episode of this series. It was closed in 1982 long enough to drive out the previous tenants and sell off the furniture, but reopened shortly after and continued to operate as a low cost flophouse/hostel until 1985. It then became a rallying place for advocates of housing for the homeless. Then, in 1991, Mayor Norm Rice leased it for 25 years and took on renovating it for subsidized low income housing. The lease was up last year and on Jun 30, 2017 it was announced that the 4-story Gatewood property is to become a 14-story tower of mixed use: commercial on first floor, 145 luxury hotel rooms above, and 12 luxury housing units on top.

Jim Simon, producer, has kindly offered the following introduction:

“First Avenue, Seattle” was a five-part oral history that chronicled the community of Skid Road hotels that catered to working stiffs and transients, cheap cafes and clubs, union halls, longshoremen bars and a working downtown waterfront from the 1920s to the 1980s. The neighborhood vanished with the redevelopment of downtown Seattle, the Pike Place Market and Belltown.

The radio series was written and produced by Jim Simon and Roz Barnett, with production assistance from Joe Justad. A companion photo exhibit by Nancy Walz was displayed at the Museum of History and Industry. This oral history project was also featured in the Sunday Pacific Magazine of The Seattle Times.

The project was sponsored by the Pike Place Market Development Authority, with funding provided by a grant from National Endowment for the Arts.

Narration and announcing is by Jim Stutzman, former KZAM news director.

Part 1 - Skid Road, First Avenue and the Working Stiffs - KRAB Apr 7, 1982

Seattle Times clippingTonight we begin the first part of this five-part series produced for radio by Jim Simon and Roz Barnett. Part 1 of this examination of Seattle's First Avenue and waterfront communities.

In this program: Olger Barmen, retired logger

Listen now Listen now - Part 1 - Skid Road, First Avenue and the Working Stiffs - KRAB Apr 7, 1982 (34:08)

* * * * *

Part 2 - High Life and Low: Good Times on First Ave - KRAB Apr 14, 1982The Rivoli

In this program:

Betty Mcallister, worked on First Ave during WWII

Marve Ann, "Burlesque Queen", Rivoli dancer

Lieutenant Frank Ottersback, police officer; retired in 1990, passed away 2014

Listen now Listen now - Part 2 - High Life and Low: Good Times on First Ave - KRAB Apr 14, 1982 (34:01)

* * * * *

Part 3 - On the Sea, and On the Streets, a Portrait of Davld Edenso - KRAB Apr 21, 1982

In this program: David Edenso, retired fisherman living in the Market

Listen now Listen now - Part 3 - On the Sea, and On the Streets, a Portrait of Davld Edenso - KRAB Apr 21, 1982 (28:43)

* * * * *

Part 4 - Street Roots: Hobos and Transients - KRAB Apr 28, 1982

In this program:

Ken Crawford, former hobo

Richard Evans, former hobo

Listen now Listen now - Part 4 -Street Roots: Hobos and Transients - KRAB Apr 28, 1982 (27:12)

* * * * *

Part 5 - The Lost Hotels: The Lenora and the Gatewood - KRAB May 5, 1982

About the Gatewood Hotel
Gatewood Hotel

In this program:

Mrs Sumi, live-in owner and manager of Lenora Hotel

Rosie Sumi, daughter of Mrs Sumi, grew up in Lenora Hotel

Audrey Larson, resident of Gatewood Hotel

Bob Grouse, resident and night clerk of Gatewood Hotel

Listen now Listen now - Part 5 - The Lost Hotels: The Lenora and the Gatewood - KRAB May 5, 1982 (49:37)

* * * * *

Recordings courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives: SMA3369, 3370, 3371, 3372, and 3373

*The history of the Gatewood Hotel ought to be of interest to anyone curious about the relationship between community improvement projects (such as the Market preservation) and commercial/corporate business interests and developers. A quick search through the Seattle Times revealed an interesting trail of stories relating to the acquisition by a corporation of the Gatewood property (and a number of other downtown Market area parcels) in 1966, and how their interests did, or did not, mesh with Market preservation plans.

Articles in the Seattle Times, and First Avenue, Seattle, mention Sam Israel as owner of the Gatewood. I could not find anything in the Times describing how or when Israel (of Soap Lake, WA) acquired the property, but the registration form to put the Gatewood building on the National Register of Historic Places, says this:

In 1975 Sam Israel acquired the building and the land in an indirect sale from the Central Park Plaza Corporation through the People’s National Bank of Washington, trustee. The hotel furnishings were sold at public auction on May 24, 1981. The hotel land and building together were converted to part of the Samis Foundation holdings in 2001.

For an enterprising researcher, I think there is a story here, and I am sharing 3 sets of articles that feature the Central Park Plaza Corporation to get you started:

Articles - 1966 to 1971

About the Initiative to preserve the Market - 1971

Articles - 1971 to 1972

The fight in the 1980's to preserve, and then to secure, low income and affordable housing is well documented in the Seattle Times, but perhaps it is worth restating that this has been going on since well before the millenium.

The Rise of Solidarity, Produced by Doug Honig - KRAB Apr 26, 1982

A half-hour documentary tracing the development of the Polish Solidarity Movement. Produced by Doug Honig.

Dramatic Readings by Daniel Bradick, Peter Constantini, Jim Hunter
Sound effects by the Emergency Comedy Teamcassette label

This is a two part program - The documentary was followed by a live panel discussion with members of Solidarity responding to phoned in questions from listeners, while Doug moderates. With an in studio interpreter.

Listen now Listen now - The Rise of Solidarity Documentary, Produced by Doug Honig - KRAB Apr 26, 1982 (28:44)

Listen now Listen now - The Rise of Solidarity Panel, with former members and listeners - KRAB Apr 26, 1982 (46:53)

Recording courtesy Doug Honig, DH0004

Mike Rotkin, Socialist and Mayor of Santa Cruz is interviewed by Doug Honig - KRAB Sep 14, 1982

Can Socialists Find Happiness in Santa Cruz? Doug Honig interviews Mike Rotkin, Socialist elected mayor of Santa Cruz, CA.

The liberal leanings of the Pacific NW, at least of its coastal territory, have been touted for decades. The authenticity of those claims have not been particularly obvious to some of us, but after 136 years Seattle did get its second Socialist City Council member - Obviously not serving concurrently. Anyway, it was surely a novelty when Mike Rotkin, the new (1981) Mayor of Santa Cruz, came to Seattle. In the ensuing years Rotkin served six terms on the Santa Cruz city council, and 5 terms as its mayor.

More about Mike Rotkin can be found in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and the City on a Hill Press.

Cassette LabelDoug Honig first appeared on KRAB in a 1971 panel recorded at a Tenants Rights Workshop at the University District Center. In 1980 he volunteered at KRAB, and started producing programs ranging from sports commentary to interviews with politicians and activisits to documentaries about the Polish labor movement and the social economics of cooperatives.

Listen now Listen now - Mike Rotkin, Socialist and Mayor of Santa Cruz is interviewed by Doug Honig - KRAB Sep 14, 1982 (28:07)

Recording courtesy Doug Honig, DH0001-2

Admiral Rickover: A Warning (Eisenhower redux?) - Jan 28, 1982 - KRAB Sep 8, 1982

On Jan 28, 1982, at the age of 82, Admiral Hyman G Rickover testified to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Although he is credited as being the driving force behind the Navy's adoption of nuclear powered warships, in this hearing he describes a military supported by special interests, and a likelihood of nuclear war unless disarmament is given priority. Three days after giving testimony he was relieved of command and retired from the armed services.

The questioning comes from Senator William Proxmire and Representative Frederick Richmond.

This program appears to have originated at Pacifica, appearing in the PRA database with a length of 57 minutes. Our copy, preserved and shared by Bob West, is only 42 minutes, so it may be incomplete.

Listen now Listen now - Admiral Rickover: A Warning - Jan 28, 1982 - KRAB Sep 8, 1982 (42:48)

Recording courtesy Bob West and the Pacifica Radio Archives

Emmett Watson interviewed by Kay Hutchins for Conversations About This, That and the Other Thing - Rec Nov 30, 1982, but rejected for airplay

According to the Feb 1978 program guide "Kay Hutchins, who, despite vague rumors to the contrary, is not a stuffy old Englishwoman..." Between 1978 and 1984 she read from a variety of books and other publications and also recorded conversations with numerous guests at KRAB.

Emmett Watson wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1956 to 1982, and then moved to the Seattle Times, where he continued to write until 2001. He seemed to frequently be inspired, or bemused, by the antics of KRAB, Lorenzo Milam, and others associated with KRAB, including Richard A C Greene and Tiny Freeman. Irritated with the champions of "progress" in the Chamber of Commerce's "Greater Seattle", Watson wrote about his own fictional anti-progress organization "Lesser Seattle". Meanwhile, Jon Gallant of KRAB and Jack Straw was writing of "Grosser Seattle". We don't know which was first.

Tape labelAnyway, this was recorded but never broadcast. See the tape label at right. We hope to eventually have more of Kay Hutchins' programs.

Listen now Listen now - Emmett Watson talks with Kay Hutchins - Rec Nov 30, 1982 (53:47)

Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, PA0021

Elizabeth Cotten interviewed by Liza Dietrichson - KRAB May 24, 1982

tape labelPerhaps best known for "Freight Train" she was "discovered" by Peggy Seeger. This recording appears to have been made in May of 1982.

Listen now Listen now - Elizabeth Cotten interviewed by Liza Dietrichson - KRAB May 24, 1982 (32:49)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv PA1182

Making Caskets - KRAB Dec 21, 1983

Not that many decades ago, most caskets were the products of neighborhood cabinetmakers, or of the friends and family of the deceased. In one rural Washington community, this tradition has been restored - when someone dies, their neighbors make the casket. They do this not as a business enterprise, but, as one of the builders says, as "the last thing you can do for your friends." Produced by Phil Andrus.

Phil tells us that the subject interviewees of this program asked that their location identity not be revealed. They weren't interested in turning casket making into a business. So we don't know if, after thirty one years, their casket making tradition has persisted.

Listen now Listen now - Making Caskets - KRAB Dec 21, 1983 (25:54)

Recording courtesy of Phil Andrus

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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

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