(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?
A few additions now and many more later – especially in the context of the weekly Helix insertions. KRAB and HELIX did several benefits together, and Helix also reported on the station and help promote some of its programs like (then not yet) novelist Tom Robbins popular program “Notes from the Underground.”
Here we will put up four details of the KRAB crew (part of it) posing above. Then we will pull several clips from The Seattle Times using the Seattle Public Libraries opening for key word (like KRAB RADIO) searches of that newspaper from 1900 (62 years before Krab got started) to 1985 (about the time KRAB transformed, in part, into an Everett-based listener-supported station with the call letters KSER.
With so many volunteers working its turn-tables and carrying-on in its studios the stories connection with KRAB are many. We, however, will tell none or hardly any on this occasion. We may add them later. And we hope readers will also share some of their own. (There is also a facebook page devoted to KRAB. I’ll get the link on Sunday – after breakfast. PAUSE I am advised that if one goes to facebook and types KRAB into the the Facebook search it will pop up – I am told.)
When helping name the KRAB volunteers below you might refer to the “Identification” number. There are only four of them.
Follows now a few clippings pulled from The Seattle Times (for the most part) through the Seattle Public Library’s Key Word search of The Times twixt 1900 and 1985. We will put in a few from the first year of operation. Through the station’s 20-plus years there were, of course, the daily insertions of the local radio schedules, and much more. Ordinarily “KRAB” and “RADIO” are highlighted or marked in yellow.
Returning now to Lorenzo Milam at the controls in a P-I photo from 1963 followed by Lorenzo and several others on hand for the last day of KRAB – a story we will hold back on until we ask a few more questions and/or search the Times.
A SAME SUNDAY KRAB ADDENDUM
* Ron Edge, frequent contributor to this site, sends this link to several radio commentaries recorded off of or at KRAB. Ron introduces his contribution with a suggested that “They could have used a Yeti to good advantage at KRAB.” But then probably we all could. Here’s Ron’s link . . . http://www.fluxus.org/FLUXLIST/maciunas/