Free Forum Radio



From 1962 to 1984, KRAB-FM was the strangest station in Seattle. Its "free forum" format featured poetry, comedy, odd interviews, obscure music, and a wide range of opinions. (At one point the John Birch Society and the Socialist Workers Party alternated in the same timeslot.) Once it even aired a live 20-hour group-therapy marathon.

The outlet was extremely influential in the small but vibrant world of community radio, where listener-sponsored stations can stake out an identity that is neither corporate nor NPR. And now it can be heard again: The KRAB Archive, online at, is full of anecdotes, program guides, and—best of all—recordings of the shows themselves.

Whether it's an interview with a leader of Britain's Tory Party or an interview with a guy who lives in an old Kaiser automobile, a communique from a leftist band of bombers or a half-hour dedicated to Bulgarian brass ensembles, these audio files demonstrate just how much variety one radio station can contain. —Jesse Walker