From the October 2001 Idaho Observer:

Free Radio America

by Jan Blum and Dr. Gary Trexler

The New York Times called him an “intellectual brawler;” he calls himself “The Black Avenger.” As a black man himself, Ken speaks to the current sociological myths that he feels victimizes all of us. No stranger to poverty and alienation, Ken was raised on welfare in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. He faced segregation first hand and worked for civil rights in the 1960s. Today he dares to “say things that a white person wouldn't get away with.”

But don't put Ken in a box - he is not just about black issues as important as they are. He deals with a broad spectrum of issues particularly in the political and social arena. He travels around the country to make appearances, give talks, and cover stories. Lately, he has been drawing attention to the shootings that have been continuing since the April riot in Cincinnati - a subject virtually ignored by the mainstream media. Ken is an avid supporter of the police and he will often play taps on his show as a salute for a fallen officer somewhere in the country.

Ken's main message? Be responsible for your own actions. Many of his shows deal with erosions of the 1st and 2nd amendment guarantees. You can catch his show on over 100 local stations around the country. Denver's KLMO at 1060 AM plays his show from 1-3 p.m. daily. He can be heard over the whole of Wyoming over KFBC AM 1240. The internet audio streams are temporarily halted but will hopefully return when some union strikes are settled so bookmark his website and check back frequently.

The tragedy at the World Trade Center has not only changed things politically, but it has also affected most of us emotionally. One antidote we discovered is a healthy dose of Old Time Radio from simpler times. Jerry Haendiges has assembled an awesome collection of over 50,000 vintage radio shows. Just reading through the titles will bring a smile to your face - but we urge you to go the next step. Make a cup of chamomile tea, settle into a comfortable overstuffed chair (if you don't have one - go get one at a thrift store), put you feet up, close your eyes and allow yourself to be transported into a world of radio drama. Here is the tiniest preview of what you can choose from: “The Great Gildersleeve,” “Lum & Abner,” “The Burns and Allen Show,” “The Adventures of Superman,” “The Shadow,” “The Roy Rogers Show,” “Popeye, The Sailor,” “Arthur C. Clarke's World of Science Fiction,” “Hallmark Playhouse,” and “Mystery Theater.” Remember, there are over 50,000 shows - if you listen to one show a day, that will keep you in shows for over 136 years!! You can listen to shows from Jerry's site as well as many other sites for which he provides links. You can also purchase shows. If you have your own old recordings, Jerry repairs squealing Ampex tape and restores poor quality audio recordings. One more goody at this site that is not to be overlooked: The Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama Variety. If you've been feeling kind of blue about our present day society, tune in for an uplift.

Pokerface is about music - tunes and lyrics with passion that will feed your patriot soul. No wimps here! Their reaction to the recent assault on civil liberties in the wake of the WTC tragedy? A quote by Benjamin Franklin says it with aplumb, “He that would give up a little bit of liberty for a little bit of personal safety, deserves neither liberty nor safety.” True, this group does not have a radio show. We plead indulgence. We are willing to gamble that your discovery of this group's music will cause you to forgive us. And you can listen to the streaming audio from their website.

Tired of the Council on Foreign Relations? Here's a creative approach: Council on Domestic Relations. Jackie Patru has a radio broadcast that is totally listener sponsored. If you listen around much, you realize that is an unheard of feat. And it means several important things to all of us. First of all, Jackie brings so much value to her listeners that they make sure she stays on the air. Secondly, this kind of loyalty and follow through on the part of her listeners ensures that Jackie has total freedom of speech - she totes to no corporate or political party line. It also allows for better conversational flow without all the annoying advertising interruptions. Hats off to Jackie's commitment and guts to trust and respect her listeners in this way.

You can listen for yourself on WWCR 3.215 MHz from 10-11pm Eastern Time. Jackie opens each broadcast with a spiritual thought and the conversations often turn to the spiritual aspects of the issue under discussion. Spiritual, yes; religious, no! The distinction is important.

Those who tune in quickly realize that Jackie is a big resister - she doesn't just swallow everything her guests bring forward. She is hard won and often debates points with her guests if she feels they are incorrect or need to clarify a point. But once she finds someone who wins her respect and that of her listeners, they take the subject as deep as possible. This is such a valuable radio style and so rarely seen. One of her favorite guests is Allan Watt who has been on frequently since his first appearance in December of 1998. He provides an ancient history context and connection to current events and images in daily life that we often take for granted. Another favorite topic is regional governance and the search for the power pulling the strings with T. David Horton. Listeners contribute regional news for the dynamic website that is maintained as a labor of love by a loyal listener/webmaster.


Correction on August's column: Danny Schechter's website is apologize for our typo. As a very active news site, there is much needed true reporting about the WTC issue on this site.

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