(click to enlarge photos)
NOTE PLEASE: You may wish to check the comments (at the very bottom) for the growing list of names and ruminations connected with this picture. Some others were sent to me directly, and I have encouraged those correspondents to also return to the blog and post them here. I hope that is easy to do.
In the spring of 1962 Lorenzo Milam first visited this 32×20 foot hut at the southwest corner of 91st Street and Roosevelt Way. When the real estate agent asked $7,500 for what, he explained, was suitable for a barbershop but formerly a donut shop, Milam, envisioning a broadcasting tower, bought the corner for KRAB. By late December his shed was a FM radio station with a studio, which I remember – perhaps too ideally – was fitted with a single microphone at the center of a round table.
The listener-supported station’s creatively improvised transmitter both heated the place and excited listeners with diverse and “freeform” programing. Some of those tuned in were quite young, like this feature’s weekly “repeater” Jean Sherrard. Jean recalls, “I was nine or ten when I first listened to KRAB and it opened to me a world of art and music that I was eager to join. KRAB was programed with great storytellers, and what was then called ethnic music but now more often world music. KRAB was a marvel, an education in and of itself.”
Of the mix of twenty-three KRAB engineers, programmers and volunteers draping the station here, I recognize six including two one-time candidates for state offices as Republicans. While both Tiny Freeman with the bowler hat and waving behind the fence, far right, and Richard Green also behind the fence, far left, and standing on an unseen dumpster, made it on the ballot, both were caricatural candidates running for the laughs. And both were wonderfully funny.
The giant Tiny, with his weekly show of Bluegrass music, also refined the art of “pledge night” so well that many listeners looked forward to those chances to support Tiny and the station. With Bluegrass musicians crowding the KRAB table Tiny auctioned tunes to be played live for the highest bidders.
From the seed Lorenzo Milam planted with KRAB he ultimately earned the rubric “Johnny Appleseed for freeform radio.” Milam had a prolific part in starting about forty noncommercial community radio stations across America.
Anything to add, Paul?
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