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If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all this week then I am sure
you have heard about the recent shooting at KPFT, the station I broadcast Technology Bytes from each Wednesday from 8-10 pm.
To recap (from the KPFT site):
At about 1 AM Monday, August 13 a gunshot was fired
from a passing car into the KPFT control room. It penetrated thru both
panes of the outer window, entered the room and smashed into the control
room door on the far side of the room. Police were summoned and have begun an investigation.
Fortunately, Mary Thomas and John Orr of “Zydeco Pas SalÃ©” were not hurt.
I have sat in that control room many times in the last 20 years of programming at KPFT. Only in the last few years have I had an engineer working the board (thanks phliKtid!) which allows me to sit in the windowless on-air studio.
I’m truly grateful that no one was hurt during the incident
This is not the first violent episode at KPFT.
The station’s transmitter was bombed and destroyed on May 12, 1970,
two months after going on the air. The new station was off the air for
three weeks until repairs could be made.
Five months later, on October 6, 1970, while the station was broadcasting Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” the transmitter was bombed yet again and
the damage was significantly more extensive. The second bombing took
KPFT off the air for three months.
Check out this rare video:
The bombing was at the transmitter and the actual station was unharmed, as were the programmers and staff of KPFT.
There’s a piece of the destroyed transmitter on display at the radio station.
It’s upstairs so you have to know about it or ask to see it if you are just
a casual visitor.
Then there was the time not too long ago that the guy who has been ranting and raving all over the Internet about Technology Bytes and KPFT conspiring with Microsoft to exploit the American public showed up at the station brandishing a shotgun.
As to the recent shooting, I have no idea what the motivation might be.
It could have been someone upset with our left leaning programming, it could
have been random, it could have been a disgruntled volunteer…heck,
it could have been someone upset with Rick Heysquierdo for playing one
too many Billy Joe Shaver songs on Lone Star Jukebox for all I know…
One thing’s for sure, this event has the opportunity to galvanize
support for KPFT in this community.
No matter your political leanings, no matter your spiritual beliefs
or taste in music, everyone (sane) can agree that shooting a
radio station is just crazy and, quite possibly, a REAL symbol
of the threat to freedom of speech and expression faces each
and every day in this country.
If anything, the recent shooting might bring some much needed
attention to the plight of our little public radio station. Maybe more
people will be motivated to get involved. It’s times of crisis that seem
to bring out the best in people.
I don’t see my show as a lightning rod for controversy, but I sometimes
lose site of the fact that KPFT can be.
I’ll be doing my show tonight. Business as usual. But you can bet I will be a little more on the wary side than before.
Links of interest:
Rolas de Aztlan (kpft.wordpress.com)
Notes from KPFT Program Director Ernesto Aguilar