Friday, February 23, 2007

Gene Marine

Last night I heard Gene Marine speak about his years at KPFA and KPFK. Very interesting. Gene started at KPFA, the first listener-sponsored radio station, only two years after its inception in 1949. At that time, he said, they had no intention of advancing a lefty agenda. Yes, most of the founders were pacifists, but the goal was to present thoughtful, balanced, professional programming without the advertising. But a series of events, starting with the witch hunts of the McCarthy era, led the station to its current niche in the media ecology.

Someday I'd like to hear more about Gene's career in print journalism. He was the West Coast contributing editor for The Nation after Carey McWilliams decamped for New York, and he was a senior editor at Ramparts until its first collapse in 1969. It turns out Ed Cray, who now teaches journalism at USC and attended my Bonnie Cashin lecture at UCLA, worked for Gene at KPFK. I interviewed both fellows for American Prophet.

All of which leads me to today's recommendations:

Jeff Land, Active Radio: Pacifica's Brash Experiment (University of Minnesota, 1999).

Ed Cray, Chief Justice: A Biography of Earl Warren (Simon & Schuster, 1997)

Ed Cray, Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie (W.W. Norton, 2004)

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