KABF (88.3 FM) will celebrate two decades on the airwaves Aug. 31.
As the self-proclaimed “voice of the people,” Little Rock’s nonprofit, non-commercial, community-supported radio station thrives on its symbiotic relationship, according to “Sunglasses After Dark” host Oleo Magneto.
“We can only do as much and last as long as the community will allow,” the 20-year volunteer says. “It’s remarkable that an urban population as small as here can support a community radio station for 20 years. I think it’s a good thing KABF has lasted 20 years. It says something good about Little Rock that it’s been able to sustain it.”
To commemorate the occasion, a 20th anniversary logo design contest ending Aug. 19 will provide limited edition T-shirts from the winning entry that features the station’s call letters and a reference to the anniversary. Listeners are invited to attend a picnic cookout Aug. 28 from noon to 4 p.m. at the station’s headquarters at 2101 S. Main Street in Little Rock.
General station director John Cain expects officials from the city of Little Rock, the Annie Casey Foundation and the Central Arkansas Library to join the celebration. Cain, who first volunteered at KABF 20 years ago, says the public can search for sound bites from some of their favorite shows over the previous two decades. Unfortunately, one sound bite visitors will not find belonged to a former President.
“Bill Clinton made a spot for KABF while he was governor,” says Pat Wood House, president of the station’s board of directors. “Some dutz recorded over it.”
Later that evening, a commemorative ensemble will perform “America’s music” including jazz, blues, etc. at Juanita’s. Additional plans include an Aug. 29 Gospel celebration at the Greater Rose of Sharon church at 28th Street and Martin Luther King Drive with Pastor Arthur Blood, as well as a Rock event and a Bluegrass event.
Some program announcers plan to continue the festivities. Nineteen-year volunteer Robert “Big Grif” Griffin promises to bring in “jazz cats from New York” to honor the event before December. Seventeen-year volunteer Pat “Flap” Jones (on the cover) will feature the Birtschi Brothers, Runaway Planet and Salty Dog on Friday, Aug. 17 at Sticky Fingerz.
In the beginning …
The story of KABF begins with a seven-year ACORN campaign to put the station on the airwaves. ACORN created the Arkansas Broadcasting Foundation in 1978 to provide a voice to the state’s voiceless. The Federal Communications Commission opened new frequencies, setting aside some for non-profits serving low-to-moderate income people. Continue reading