KCPR Alumni: A landmark broadcast from 1971

This page has a discussion from the now-defunct KCPR bulletin board, along with a Mustang Daily story, about a landmark KCPR broadcast in 1971. Len Filomeo saved the discussion and scanned the story. Len writes:

There was one story on the KCPR bulletin board back in 2004 that seemed so important that I saved the dialog between the alumni involved in a Word file, which was nice because the bulletin board abruptly disappeared a few months later taking all of our other insights into KCPR's past with it. That is, unless someone else was archiving those posts.

Here are the original article from the Mustang Daily that reported on the subject broadcast and the dialog of posts from the alumni involved, Stag, Woody, and Craig, that followed.

A Landmark Broadcast in 1971

Post by Len Filomeo on Jun 4th, 2004, 01:02am

Does the media shape public opinion, or does it reflect public opinion? As early as November of 1971, listeners to KCPR were already getting a chance to form their own opinions. Encouraged by KCPR's expanding role in the college community (it was still a college back then), the station's staff undertook to inform its listeners of some significant cultural changes on campus; in hopes of advancing a better informed dialog among the student body. These changes may have been unpopular, but they were already becoming a part of our community, we had to face them. It's what being a broadcaster was all about.

So, under the darkening skies of a November evening, a few KCPR pioneers secreted themselves away on the third floor of the Graphic Arts Building, and proceeded to do a live radio interview with members of the fledgling Gay Students Union chapter on campus.

News of the broadcast was reported a few days later by Gary Hinds in the Nov. 9th edition of the Mustang Daily.

As an unworthy and slovenly DJ trainee, albeit one with a First Class License, I did not participate in this landmark broadcast and probably spent the time studying in the reference library. But I hope that some of my friends who where there will take this opportunity to tell their stories.

Re: A Landmark Broadcast in 1971

Post by Steve Stagnaro on Jun 4th, 2004, 1:36pm

Oh my,

Who would have thought that the son of "Archie Bunker" and a straight white guy to boot would have been involved in what was at the time a daring venture. It reminds me of just how exciting campus radio was and I'm sure still is. It also reminds me of just how lucky I was to be involved.

Thanks Zuch!

Re: A Landmark Broadcast in 1971

Post by Woody Goulart on Jun 4th, 2004, 1:50pm

Thanks, Len, for posting that Mustang Daily story. I must admit that I laughed out loud when I read the article because, by 2004 standards, the views expressed in that article are so utterly naive.

Of course, I do remember being one of the interviewers on the show, but little else. That show was a one-time thing and it took place 32 years ago. I cannot remember the guests, nor any of the questions or answers.

The only memory I have is that the windows looking into what was then the main KCRP studio were "boarded up" to prevent people from seeing what was going on inside. However, since the show really was broadcast from upstairs, the "boarding up" of the windows was a diversionary tactic to thwart aggies whom we thought might stop by KCRP with bad intentions.

Re: A Landmark Broadcast in 1971

Post by Craig Hines on Jun 4th, 2004, 2:46pm

Although I am old and grey, I have pretty clear memories of that night and what took place before and after. The two people from the GSU were Chuck and Jay, and for the record Chuck really was named Chuck (and went on to become a major engineer at Hewlett-Packard) and Jay was really Robert, an archie who went on to get a MA in education at Stanford but worked for years as a United flight attendent. Chuck is alive and well... and living in northern CA, Robert died from HIV about 12 years ago.

Robert showed up as "Jay" and he and Steve knew each other from the dorms. I was scheduled to have been Robert's roommate in the dorms, but moved off-campus instead. That night began a long friendship with Robert, who I miss to this day. He was quite a character.

I was the producer/engineer of the "Great Broadcast Of 1971." We used "house wiring" to set up the mikes and mixer on the 3rd floor... but planted stories of the broadcast originating somewhere off-campus. Security and nerves were heightened, to say the least. All in all, it went very well and no major incidents happened except for some callers who expressed their disgust. (Not surprising at the most conservative state University.)

Pretty bold stuff for 1971. And, it had major ripples that spread from that day forth. I was working at KVEC and the news director, Vic Bremer, asked if I could arrange for the GSU to do a pre-taped public affairs show at KVEC. Of course, it took place and it was a great show, and we owed a great deal to KCPR for breaking down the wall and taking on the subject. Much credit was given to KCPR, but then again, the two stations were very "linked" in those days.

A side note: KVEC's manager, Bob Brown, was a very conservative man, but as with so many things, Bob was a radio man first, so he was very supportive of Vic's journey into the subject. The electricity in the air at old 92 was as they say, palpable, just as it had been at KCPR. Those were the days, when radio was not real estate... but a new frontier. I wax nostalgic, but it was a treat to be involved with KCPR and also be part of KVEC and to know and respect Bob Brown, one of the great local broadcasters of all time, and a true Cal Poly Booster! Being around Bob AND Zuke was always a treat!

Meanwhile, back to the main theme: At the time, I think that Woody, Steve and all of us knew it was important radio, but I'm not sure we knew just how monumental it really was. Up until then, it was well known that "out" gays were sometimes taken into the country and brutalized by some of the more "conservative" students, aka "aggies." Hopefully, by opening up a dialog all those years ago, we may have helped bring some calm to an ugly storm.

I do remember that during the broadcast we had a lot of fun. The two guys were brave souls, but with quick minds and wonderful senses of humor. Stagnaro and "Jay" were on the verge of being risque, so it was fun to be a participant, though I think we were all scared that the gun-toting cowboys were going to break down the doors and haul us off. In later years, I discovered that many of those cowboys were quite the closeted gay-blades themselves. But, that is another story for another day.