Sunday, June 12, 2016

KRAB Program Guide archive

Direct link

Seattle's KRAB was a noncommercial, freeform radio station from 1962 to 1984.  (A different station uses the call letters now.)  This archive of their program guides is a look at both the era and the foundations of a sensibility that won't be unfamiliar to listeners of WFMU, WREK, Resonance FM, WXYC and others.

The guides often include short essays (some by freeform pioneer Lorenzo Milam), letters, art work and other information.  As you can see below the covers and designs were imaginative and well executed.  (I couldn't resist the Ernie Bushmiller tribute.)

For instance, the February 1973 guide lists Elizabethan songs, material from a Gertrude Stein opera, classic jazz, a reading of the Pentagon Papers, bluegrass, 20th century piano music, stories on a lettuce boycott and the Philippines, religious songs of the Bahamas, an interview with a writer for Sing Out, 16th century Spanish music, Billings choral music, Jean Shepherd rebroadcasts, legal information, more Purcell than is probably appropriate, a show about "journeying the shifting paths of consciousness", poetry readings and so on.

As you can tell despite the innovative approach it's overall closer to a current NPR station with heavy emphasis on classical with some jazz, folk and ethnic thrown in, then lots of talk.  Programs from the 80s show more rock, mainly early or punk.  Still, not that many current NPR stations would play Babbitt, Stein, Crumb or Ligeti; program so much Baroque (or opera); or lean quite so clearly leftist.  (As documented in David Grubbs' Records Ruin the Landscape even the most forward thinkers among the avant-garde of that time still followed almost unconsciously some pretty solid genre boundaries.)

The main page has links to audio and soundchecks along with background information.