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Wait’ll You Hear This One (1970)

Samuel Hudson

Sound | 1970

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  •  A series of interviews regarding the bombing of KPFT Pacifica Radio, a community radio station in Houston. The station’s transmitter was first bombed on May 12, 1970, just two months after KPFT began broadcasting.  
  •  Montage of photographs from the radio station set to “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, the first song that KPFT broadcast on March 1, 1970  
  •  Dorothy Shelley, host of the 6 AM morning show, Grooving from Sunrise 
  •  Mark Lamonica plays “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel 
  •  Louisa Shaw, programming operations director and editor of the 12:30 PM show, The Garage Sale, along with Walt Silvus. The Garage Sale was, “a midday rummage through the new, often strange, audio offerings which reach the station. Listeners are encouraged to telephone or write their comments and, thus, get the programming previewed on the show scheduled in for the next month’s Folio or consigned to the junk heap. Beyond this, the show is a place for good conversation about things topical and/or eternal.” In this clip, Shaw broadcasts a lecture by John Cage at UCLA. 
  •  Juliette Brown, host of the 2 PM show, Just Plain Folk, which featured folk music “live and recorded, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic, rural and urban,” In this clip Brown plays “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor.  
  •  Life on Earth, KPFT’s 6 PM news show with Don Gardner, associate manger of the station, Roger Walters and Larry Lee, general manager 
    Aftermath, a 10 PM show edited by Nathan Fain, which “surveys the pop culture and pop politics scenes, mixing it up with music and participatory radio, and, as the evening wears on into morning, there is more and more music, until music is all there is.” In this clip, co-host Bill Miller plays “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie. This was the song  playing when a second bomb hit the radio transmitter on October 6, 1970. Guthrie sang a live version of the song at the station when it recommenced transmission on January 2, 1971. 
  •  Chronology of attacks 
  •  Contrary to the chronology, police arrested three Klansmen in connection to the October bombing. Jimmy Dale Hutto of Pasadena—whom police intercepted on his way to California, where he allegedly planned to blow up KPFT’s sister stations in Berkeley and Los Angeles—was the only one to stand trial. He was convicted in 1971.  
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Wait’ll You Hear This follows the Houston community radio station, KPFT, during the 1970s. Created by Samuel Hudson, Carter Howard Stanton-Abbott and William Colville, the documentary delves into the beginnings of the Pacifica Radio station as a noncommercial outlet for alternative music, news, and talks shows. Several popular programs, such as Grooving From Sunrise, The Garage Show, and Aftermath, make small appearances in the film set to a soundtrack by The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Arlo Guthrie. The documentary also highlights the unfortunate history of violence against the station. Members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the station’s transmitter on May 12, 1970, only two months after initial broadcasting. Another attack occurred five months later, while the station played Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”. KPFT finally returned to the air on January 21,1971, with Guthrie performing a live version of the song.