Great Moments in Broadcasting

KRAB 107.7 FM Seattle - The Doughnut shop

I remember KRAB (FM, Seattle)1 with its programming of Indian classical music, a pipa concert, two hours of Korean temple bells2, things like that, often with European classical music and country blues mixed in.

I remember the old Collins transmitter that sported serial number three, and that we finally had to get a new exciter for since nobody made phasitrons any more.

I remember the antenna up on the telephone pole that you had to go hit with a two-by-four on those rare occasions when the snow started sticking.

And I remember one night when everything, except time, stopped dead.3  What happened was that the accumulated muck and filth in the old converted doughnut shop (sans janitor) had caused the blower that cooled one of the power tubes to stop blowing; and the melted and mangled 7C24 became an objet d‘art that hung around the station for months.

So now you know what I consider my salad days.

1Yes, I was there, although the picture at the top of this post is from before my time.  I’m on the cover of the August ’71 Program Guide just left of the gate.  I’m sitting on a big metal box that housed the electric company’s transformer that supplied power to the transmitter.

Hey, PZ:  do you remember Jon Gallant, a biology professor at the University of Washington?  He’s also in the photo.

I heard rumors, not confirmed by me, that the fellow on the far right, Tiny Freeman, was the engineer in the opening title sequence of Petticoat Junction.  It seems that he was one of the few people who could still safely operate a 4-4-0 American at track speed.

2One of KRAB’s more infamous programs:  the kid playing the temple bells tape thought, “That was cool; I’ll turn it over and play the other side.”  Uh…it was a full-track tape, and so he played the whole thing backwards (and thought that was even cooler).  That was before my time, but it was a well-established part of the station’s tribal lore.

3“…everything, except time, stopped dead” shamelessly borrowed from an essay by the late Greg Palmer written during his time as station manager.  I’m pretty sure it was in a KRAB Program Guide, but I can’t remember which one and can’t find it.  In any event, that wonderful turn of phrase is not my work.


  1. says

    I don’t remember Gallant. I looked him up, and his faculty page is interesting & what I’d expect of a KRAB alumnus.

    I do remember KRAB. I didn’t listen to it much, though — the weirdness was not conducive to discipline.

  2. says

    KJR was an AM station — it’s what the school bus radio was tuned to all through my childhood.

    I listened to KZOK (“OK one oh two and a half!”) a fair bit. I can’t remember if that was the one that hosted the King Biscuit Flower Hour, which I listened to religiously.

  3. creinsch says

    Bill, I searched the guides, and could not find “everything, except time, stopped dead”. Unfortunately the printing of some guides is pretty poor, as is the resulting OCR. And, though we have over 300 guides in the online collection, 72 are missing, but only 2 from Greg’s time.
    Regarding the Korean temple bells, Lorenzo changed the story every time he told it. If there was a problem playing the tape it was because some people didn’t pay any attention to the note on the box: “Tails Out”. Or, perhaps they didn’t understand what it meant.

  4. billseymour says

    creinsch @7:  thanks for your comment.  Maybe the quote I attributed to Greg Palmer was actually somebody else’s…it was a long time ago.  I’m pretty sure I can’t claim it as my own.

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