Friday, December 01, 2006


We have a tendency to colloquialize ourselves - often into obscurity. We as DJ's and Creative Outbursts, can get so concentrated on what we know and whar we are doing that we can often forget that there are OTHERS who are also having great ideas and doing creative things AT THE SAME TIME that we are.

Gods is alives.
Magics is afeet.

Radio Stories from Bob Rogers

There's an article in this week's New Yorker (Dec. 4) profiling WBAI's Bob Fass, a very dear friend. He visited me for a couple of weeks when I did radio in Houston in the mid-70's. We co-hosted several programs on the Pacifica station there. When I visited New York I stayed with Fass (this was before I met Brian). He was usualy living illegally in some supposedly abandoned building in a desolate part of the East 20's or the lower East Side -- the kinds of places where the bathtub might be in the kitchen or something equally as odd. He'd (usually) have all the utilities hooked up in some jackleg fashion whereby services were rendered but no expenses
incurred, all the windows blacked out to cloak any evidence of occupancy. It was forbidden to enter or leave the building except in the quiet, preferably dark hours.

Shanti, his girlfriend, was a petite, vaguelly French-looking woman, sort of a gamin look, quiet, mysterious. She drove a cab, hair cut very short and her hat pulled down to just above her eyes. Most passengers never wondered if they were being driven by a man or a woman. Eight-five pounds of invulnerability.

When WBAI was in the church location described in the article, I used to go with Bob to do "Radio Unnamable." I was "his friend from Houston, another radio guy." He invited people to call and ask me questions or just to say hello. He would often have several conversations on the air at once. Often it was just people talking among themselves. His technical ineptitue exceeded even my own, which is to say it was bordering on life-threatening. He could somehow manage to get several concurrent conversations going on the air, but the interconnectivity was often pretty sketchy.

For example, one night he got the calls switched around so that a man in Queens was asking a woman in Brooklyn what life was like in Houston. And a man in the Bronx, who thought he was speaking to a well-known JFK assassination theorist in California, was asking me, "Okay, so who killed Kennedy?" Not seeing how things could get any more mixed up but willing to do my part, "The Beatles," I replied, "They did it. I'll send you a very detailed book that explains everything. Gu-bye!" I looked over at Fass. He was reading some album liner notes, seemingly oblivious to what was going out over the air. I never mentioned it to him, but I was profoundly impressed.

Later I thought about how strange it was that the only NY DJs I knew were Bob Fass and Mort Fega. After that, I always thought of them both as my radio fathers.

Bob Rogers
Bouille & Rogers Consultants



I sent that story to Barry Everitt in London, like myself, another KDKB/KSML veteteran. Barry and I were roommates in Lake Tahoe and again in San Francisco, where we both worked for Earth News. Anyway, he sent back this recollection. We've stayed in pretty close contact and I attended his wedding last spring in Llano, Texas.


Hi Bob, please mail me a cutting of the New Yorker article......your writings managed to get me memory working as to that amazing experience I had with Larry.

speak soon Barry

In 1971 I was working on the then new NBC station WPLJ-fm, my mentor, Larry Yurdin introduced me to Bob Fass and my world changed.

I was a young independent free form radical dj, coming from Radio Geronimo,a London based 'progressive' free form commercial free hippy, drug induced, anti-draft, White Panther loving, MC5 playing station that broadcasted from Prince Rainier's station in Monte-Carlo, backed by Jimmy Miller and Tony Secunda.

Arriving for the first time in New York, walking into the NBC studios to be greeted by Larry and the team was to say the least, a tad mind blowing. The corporate blanket was being allowed to be 'free formed' by this bunch of crazy dj's that Larry had brought together, it of course was not going to last for long but fun was had whilst the moment lasted.

Larry turned me on to WBAI, I was spell bound by Bob's all night show and one night Larry dropped me off at the WBAI studios and left me with Bob for the duration of his show. What happened that night opened my mind to what cool, free form radio was all about, I'd never worked 'live' radio and his methods or lack of them, in bringing his audience into the show taught me a lot, his honesty, his weirdness, his open mind showed me what it was to broadcast 'real' radio.

This experience helped me a lot when I joined another of Larry Yurdin's gatherings of radio crazy's on KSML in Lake Tahoe a few years later.

Barry is The Music Rhino
playing the greatest of Americana Music
every Saturday night at Midnight
on Total Rock Radio

1 comment:

Mariah Fleming said...

Calling all Radio Icons (o:
I just read the article in the Dec 4 issue. It's really interesting and sort of sad too. Lots of radio history. I think it can be read online also @ but for you pioneer freeform radio folks, the issue is well worth buying! Good photo too.