[tags]kpft, pacifica[/tags]

The remains of the KPFT transmitter from when we were literally blown off the air on May 12, 1970.

The History

KPFT’s transmitter was dynamited two months after signing on to the airwaves. KPFT was down 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.

Here is the 10/6/70 press release from KPFT concerning the second bombing attack:

October 6, 1970
2:30 P.M.

Some time before sunrise this morning someone dynamited the transmitter of KPFT, Pacifica Radio in Houston. This is the second time in less than six months that criminals have tried to silence the station by bombing our transmitter, a transmitter which can be built and operated only with the permission of the Federal Government. The act itself is criminal. It is a modern method of cutting out a man’s tongue.

KPFT is a grass roots enterprise, community supported and paid for by its listeners. It is educational non-commercial and its microphones are open to all points of view.

People in Houston should know of the 20 year history of the Pacifica foundation, whose successful stations in New York, California – and affiliates on college campuses – have won plaudits from professional journalists, its listeners, and such national organizations as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Pacifica Foundation is a nonprofit corporation chartered in 1946. It is a fully tax-exempt public charity. As a noncommercial broadcaster, it limits its work to the ownership and operation of radio stations and to related projects. Pacifica is non-political and has no social program or goals. It never editorializes about political questions or other matters. The Foundation’s four stations exchange programs, but are independently programmed. Like all stations, they are prohibited from programming anything that could be characterized as obscene, libelous, or seditious.

KPFT will be back on the air broadcasting with your help – broadcasting complete wire copy, broadcasting music and voices which are so hard to hear in Houston. All of us who are working to put the station back on the air – the Advisory Board of Directors, the paid staff and, most of all, the unpaid volunteers, listeners, and supporters of the station – are more determined than ever that Houston have an open microphone. It looks like it needs it.

We feel our loss is Houston’s loss and solicit the aid of all concerned citizens. We will be back on the air, but only with your help. This bombing can be fatal to Pacifica in Houston. We earnestly appeal for your financial contributions.


Also in the picture above is the recently added window pane that features the bullet hole from the recent drive by shooting.

Here’s a rather rare video about the bombing in 1970

KPFT Remembers
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2 thoughts on “KPFT Remembers

  • May 22, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    How interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  • May 23, 2008 at 4:12 am

    One of the guys in the picture is my buddy Bill Ferhenkamp. He rebuilt the transmitter twice. He would tell me stories of him walking about with a Nazi P38 strapped to his hip because he was on the KKK death list. Ahhh… Good times, Good times.

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