Thursday, June 21, 2007

KCUV's Summer of Love

In honor of the Summer of Love, Denver's KCUV is doing an all-day tribute (today only, 6/21/2007 -- available free via Internet) to those days, featuring guest programmers:

Bill Clarke came out to Colorado in 1963 for college at the University of Denver. He became a disc jockey at KLZ-FM -- the first FM in Denver, if not the whole USA, to play album versions of rock hits -- before a two-year hitch in the Army brought him to Vietnam. He's now the Consumer Champ at 7News and a 20-year veteran at the station.

Bill Ashford was on the first full-time airstaff at KFML, Denver's pioneering "free form," or "underground" station. The emergence of KFML-AM and FM was a major influence in the Denver area radio market, a departure from programming tradition -- every disc jockey was free to play whatever music he chose in whatever sequence his ideas suggested.

Max Floyd started the original KLZ-FM along with Bill Gardner. He went to Kansas City and started the original KY102. He left for a bit in 1980 and came back in 1983, and he has been there ever since. Max is included in the group of pioneers in the broadcast section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jay Cooper was part of the "new crew" on KFML. Jay interviewed and introduced an amazing array of musical up-and-comers during the four-year run of Ebbets Field, Denver's premier concert venue of the '70. Hundreds of the shows were either simulcast live or recorded for re-broadcast on KFML. Jay has the beard.

Thom Trunnell, a free form programmer par excellence, was one of the founding fathers of KFML.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Larry Bensky Retires

Veteran newsman and activist Larry Bensky has retired, after 40+ years.

(Bensky image courtesy of

A two-hour audio documentary covering Larry's career in radio was produced by Aaron Glantz and narrated by KPFA News' Aileen Alfandary. It is available in mp3 format at:

Sunday Salon: Bensky Tribute

Also posted there is an mp3 file of the Bensky tribute of June 2, 2007.

All three hours are worth a solid listen. There are a lot of stories of freeform days and Pacifica.

(Bensky at KSAN image courtesy of

Laufer in for Bensky

[ Excerpt from KPFT Program Director Ernesto Aguilar's blog, concerning two legendary freeform broadcasters: ]

Laufer Replaces Bensky

Berkeley, June 1st - KPFA Radio 94.1 FM has hired award-winning journalist, broadcaster and documentary filmmaker Peter Laufer. Laufer will host the popular Sunday morning program, formerly called Sunday Salon, following Larry Bensky’s retirement. Laufer, who got his start in KPFA’s news room, has won many of the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism including a George Polk Award and Peabody Award.

Laufer worked at the legendary freeform rock station KSAN and was a member of the award-winning KSAN news team that reported on the shootout at San Quentin Prison that occurred during the attempt at breaking free George Jackson. While a correspondent for NBC News, he also reported, wrote, and produced several documentaries and special event broadcasts for the network that dealt in detail with crucial social issues, including the first nationwide live radio discussion of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “Healing the Wounds” was an analysis of ongoing problems afflicting Vietnam War veterans. “Hunger in America” documented malnutrition in our contemporary society. “A Loss for Words” exposed the magnitude and impact of illiteracy in America. “Cocaine Hunger” was the first network broadcast to literally trace the drug from the jungles of Bolivia to the streets of America, and alerted the nation to the avalanching crises caused by the consumption of crack cocaine.”Nightmare Abroad” was a pioneering study of Americans incarcerated overseas.

Laufer has written on issues ranging from the imprisonment of Lori Berenson in Peru to the rightwing Minutemen militia on the US-Mexico border for AlterNet, Mother Jones (where he set up Mother Jones Radio), and other alternative publications. Laufer’s books include “The Question of Consent: Innocence and Complicity in the Glen Ridge Rape Case” about the rape of a developmentally disabled schoolgirl by a gang of her classmates and the effect of the case of the health of the local community, “Inside Talk Radio: America’s Voice Or Just Hot Air” about the rise of conservative radio, and most recently “Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq”, published by Chelsea Green. Other books have focused on US-Mexico immigration, migration in Western Europe, and the US invasion of Iraq.

“Over the last several years my friend and colleague Larry Bensky performed radio magic Sunday mornings”,” says Laufer. “He combined an array of intriguing guests and audience participation with his own curiosity and thorough knowledge of current affairs to create a radio show that entertained while it informed. It is a privilege to seize the KPFA microphone now that Larry’s decided to retire from the show.”

“Peter brings a stellar background in journalism, strong progressive politics, and intellectual substance to the program,” says interim general manager Lemlem Rijio. “We are very pleased that he will continue the tradition of thoughtful, in-depth programming on Sunday mornings”.

Laufer... can be heard from 9-11am on KPFA 94.1 FM or KPFB 89.3FM in the Bay Area and KFCF 881.FM in California’s Central Valley, or online at

Thursday, June 14, 2007


NPR has Lou Adler and Michelle Phillips doing a slight retro on MONTEREY POP as it was 40 years ago. The NPR page also includes video of The Who and The Mamas and Papas, along with audio from Big Brother, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix...

[ from NPR: ] 'Forty years ago this week, at the dawn of what would become known as the Summer of Love, a musical experiment unfolded in Monterey, Calif.

'The Monterey International Pop Festival, which preceded Woodstock by two years, brought together a diverse group of big-name acts including the Mamas and the Papas and Jefferson Airplane as well as some then-unknown performers, notably Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

'The 1967 event was organized by Lou Adler and the late John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and it was caught on film by documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker. Adler and singer Michelle Phillips look back at the event.

"Some of the greatest performances of all time happened at Monterey," Adler tells Renee Montagne.

'Michelle Phillips, a member of the Mamas and the Papas, remembers how Hendrix amazed the crowd — and fellow artists — with his jaw-dropping performance, playing his guitar on his back, behind his back, lying down and setting the instrument on fire.

"I had never seen anything like it," Phillips says. "And I didn't understand that it was kind of theater. I was used to people singing and harmonizing and taking care of their instruments. It was shocking for me to see this kind of behavior on stage."

"The festival also exposed soul great Otis Redding to a new, primarily white audience, whom he called "the love crowd," Phillips says.

"A whole new audience opened up to him," she says.

'Redding was killed in a plane crash just months after that performance. A few, short years later, Hendrix and Joplin died within weeks of each other. Their performances at the Monterey Festival have become part of music legend.'

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sgt. Pepper's 40th

The Beatles', Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released June 1, 1967, in Britain, and on June 2 in the United States. The album became a phenomenon, spending 15 weeks at the No. 1 spot in the Billboard Top 200. The success came after the Beatles had announced that they would no longer tour...

Even AM radio was forced to play songs from the album — but the record was perfect for the then-new frequencies of FM. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was certified gold within two weeks of its release...

Take the link above to check out NPR's audio retrospectives, including complete original versions of "Getting Better," "Within You Without You," and "A Day In The Life."