“Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I mean, I wanna” - Boom
May 12, 2010 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Free speech radio. Forty years ago today the KKK bombed KPFT a Pacifica radio station a mere two months after they went on the air. They rebuilt and were bombed again during a rendition of Alice's Restaurant. The hatred of speech continues, but then so does the station and the network.

ARLO GUTHRIE: [singing] I wanted to feel like the all-American kid. I walked in, I was hung down, brung down, swung down, hung up. I walked in and sat down. They gave me a piece of paper, said, “Kid, see the psychiatrist, room 604.” I walked up there. I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I mean, I wanna”—

posted by caddis (16 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I totally dig KPFT. It's a local treasure. It's been expanding my little horizons since high school when I was listening to the Hour of Slack to yesterday while listening to Democracy Now! during drive time. You can always listen online. They're in the midst of a fund drive now in case you're feeling charitable. Individual donations make up around 90% of their operating revenue, and they're beholden to no sponsors or interest groups (other than the listener board).
posted by Burhanistan at 8:23 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

One of my favorate shows is Friday night's The Prison Show where people can call the radio station and talk online to their loved ones in Huntsville State Prison who are listening. It's really touching. They talk about how children are doing in school, or the health issues of another family member, or just typical little things that did that day and how they thought of this person who is in prison and is missed and loved. It's run by Ray Hill who is an amazing local activist for prisoner rights and the gay community. This American Life did a story about it - Lockup a few years back.

And the support for local and Texas musicians is incredible. KPFT is all kinds of awesome.
posted by dog food sugar at 8:49 PM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]

Fight on, KPFT.
posted by spiderskull at 9:29 PM on May 12, 2010

There are shows about labor issues, immigration concerns, African-American political activism, GLBT issues, local sustainability efforts, etc etc. Its an unabashedly liberal forum in a city thought of as being Republican country.

There's also Technology Bytes, a fun call in computer support show that is 200x funnier than that awful Kim Komando syndicated show and doesn't try to sell you any garbage.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 PM on May 12, 2010

I'm sure that there are radio stations that I'd like maybe close to as much as I like KPFT. KUT here in Austin was very good up until about four years ago, got co-opted by money-hungry bottom-feeding scum management, KUT now headed fast toward Nowhere Land. Sad.

KPFT really is varied -- which I love -- there's just every kind of show you can imagine. I'd told one friend about it, a fairly straight-arrow woman, and she tuned into a show, turns out it was a coven of lesbian witches, talking about god only knows what; my friend never went back to KPFT again, not that I know of.

And that's too bad, for her, as she's missing some of the very best music shows in Texas, and that is a fact. All Saturday morning and most of the afternoon just stellar radio, good as it gets.

I've stopped in over the years, said hi to whoever might be on or hanging around, bunch of good people, a good scene. It is to me ground zero of Texas music in Houston but it's just got so much going for it, one of my favorite things about Houston.

Thanx for posting, I haven't been to Houston in a few months, need to get back and listen to Larry Winters as I drive around that ratty old town....
posted by dancestoblue at 10:20 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

...turns out it was a coven of lesbian witches...

Ha! Another thing I love about kpft - in many circles of my life I am the big lefty liberal of the group. Kpft can make me feel like I'm conservative and/or sheltered. I like that about it a lot.
posted by dog food sugar at 10:45 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

I remember being one of the only Democrats (I thought) in Houston in the '90s (I was also a teenager too young to vote, so I was really helping the cause.) I wish I'd known about KPFT (I want t read it as K-Puft, like the Marshmallow Man.) I think it would have helped a lot.

In a hel of a lot of ways Houston is absolutely Republican Country. When I went back there in the '00s there were billboards up proclaiming Bush as the second coming of Christ, for example. Also, 99% of everyone I met there was Republican, so there's another data point. I'm not surprised at all that left-wing listener-supported radio has been violently attacked there, as recently as 3 ears ago. First rule of terrorism: IOKIYAR.

But then the damnedest thing happened in '08, and Harris County went for Obama. I don't know the how or why or the demographics (and Houston is extremely diverse, demographically) but I know that I watched the returns come in that night and I couldn't believe it.

Texas went red, of course, but somehow, that day, there was a liberal light in Houston, and I'd like to think that K-Puft had something to do with that.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:09 PM on May 12, 2010

Also, 99% of everyone I met there was Republican, so there's another data point.

Really? I grew up in Houston, and yeah, it's more right-wing than Austin where I live now, but still far, far to the left of most of Texas. It's got a huge gay district (Montrose)*, for one thing, which alone would probably preclude 99%-Republican-ness.

* Although I'm told that Montrose is now mostly a hipster neighborhood and the old leather bars and such are gone, but I've not personally verified this, although I'm going there next month for a day or two
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:46 AM on May 13, 2010

DecemberBoy-- it's pretty much true about Montrose, although not entirely.

On the "Houston isn't as reactionary conservative as the rest of Texas" front, we did just elect a lesbian mayor.
posted by nath at 12:55 AM on May 13, 2010

When I went back there in the '00s there were billboards up proclaiming Bush as the second coming of Christ, for example.

For serious? That's really, really, not a thing "Christians" should be fucking doing.
posted by Jimbob at 1:25 AM on May 13, 2010

A slight, but hopefully allowed derail - if you're in the Tampa Bay area (or even if you're not), we have our own version in the wonderful WMNF.
Listen locally, listen online, see the playlists, etc.
posted by willmize at 4:26 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow. I'm listening to the stream and they just mentioned my city & the first UK Green MP being recently elected there.

posted by i_cola at 4:39 AM on May 13, 2010

Hey! That story in the first link was written by a Mefite! (me)

The second bombing in October was really severe. It took the station off the air for three months, and when they were finally ready to go live again in January 1971 they invited Arlo Guthrie to Houston. His live in-studio performance of "Alice's Restaurant" was the first thing they played when the signal went out again.

My favorite memory of KPFT is a recent one. The station is located in the Montrose (which, yes, had become gentrified, but the leather bars are definitely still here). I live a few blocks away. In December a couple of bands met at a nearby coffee house and walked through the streets of the neighborhood singing carols. Eventually we arrived at the studio where the Geek Radio guys let us in to sing on the air. Fun times.
posted by Brittanie at 7:14 AM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Also of note, Pacifica basically created the model of listener-supported radio.
posted by Brittanie at 7:16 AM on May 13, 2010

I was disappointed - not a single one of those links contained 47 8x10 full color glossy photographs with circles and arrows, and a paragraph on the back explaining what each one was.
posted by jquinby at 7:55 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Brittanie that is a great story. KPFT is my favorite radio station in this city by a large margin, and I have a strong preference for the music on KUHF.
posted by bukvich at 10:00 AM on May 13, 2010

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