(photo: and early picture of the crew at KRABFM Circled is the late Greg Palmer, later to become Seattle teevee stalwart. He was GM. Please help us ID these folks... is Tom Robbins in there somewhere? Paul Dorpat? Credit: Steve Lawson, not pictured)
KRAB at KRAB 107.7 was the brainchild of the irrepressible Lorenzo Wilson Milam.
KRAB's programming was wide-ranging, bizarre, esoteric, obscure programming cultivated a listenership with broad and ever-broadening and otherwise unheard (of) or neglected tastes and points of view.
KRAB became a cultural institution in the Pacific Northwest served as a national role model, stimulating Milam's formation of the "KRAB Nebulae," twelve loosely affiliated stations across the country.
It was the beginning of community radio in the United States.
Media specialist Steve Lawson, a former KRAB DJ recalls broadcasting from a former donut shop in Seattle’s Maple Leaf neighborhood. On Saturday nights, from 6-11p, his playlist included Indian ragas and pygmies chants. (we'll post more tales from KRABFM in this space. Please send memories to us-- and pictures please!)
Lorenzo Wilson Milam, born on August 2, 1933, in Jacksonville, Florida, is an American writer and activist who was instrumental in starting many of the first listener-supported community radio stations in the United States, beginning with KRAB-FM in Seattle in 1962. Milam, who is credited with helping in the startup of at least 14 stations from the early 1960s through late 1970s, is often referred to as the "Johnny Appleseed" of community radio. He got his start in radio volunteering in 1958-1959 at Lew Hill's KPFA in Berkeley, California. He used a $15,000 inheritance to buy a small FM transmitter in 1959 and spent the next 3 years seeking a broadcasting license "anywhere in the US" from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which assigned him a frequency in Seattle. With the help of volunteer engineer Jeremy Lansman he was able to get his antique Collins Radio transmitter on the air in 1962. Lansman later assisted him in launching other stations around the country, starting with KBOO in Portland, in a mini-network that was sometimes referred to as the "KRAB nebula". Milam authored the book Sex and Broadcasting, A Handbook on Starting a Radio Station for the Community.
(photo: Lorenzo Milam- credit: Jack Straw Productions)