This episode of From The Archives to the Air begins with a recording of a KGNU listener call-in show from early 1988.
Listeners commented on our broadcasting of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” a poem that – though it was written in 1955 – still has the capacity to shock, even in 2023.
By broadcasting the poem, KGNU took part in “Open Ears, Open Minds,” a direct challenge to a Federal Communications Commission ruling that was widely viewed as an attempt at censorship. (Scroll down for a link to a Radio World article describing the issue.)
The second half of this episode is an interview with poet and The Fugs co-founder, Ed Sanders. He spoke with KGNU’s Sam Fuqua in 1994. Don’t miss the final “Amazing Grace” by Allen Ginsberg!
Howl for Ed Sanders (Amazing Grace) John Kelin
This episode of From The Archive to the Air was produced by John Kelin and Alexis Kenyon, and presented by Benita Lee, with audio drawn from KGNU Archives.
The full text of the poem “Howl,” by Allen Ginsberg, can be found at The Poetry Foundation. A PDF of the City Lights Books edition of Howl is also online. There are numerous analyses of “Howl” on the Internet, including this one.
A 1987 edition of the trade publication Radio World describes the FCC indecency ruling, and the “Open Ears, Open Minds” response. (The article begins on p. 7.) See also this discussion with background about the question of decency in broadcasting.
For just one example of the countless ways the concept of truth is under attack, follow this link.
From The Archives to the Air opening and closing music: Circus by Portron Portron Lopez is licensed under an attribution-noncommercial-share-alike license.