Lorenzo Wilson Milam, born on August 2, 1933, in Jacksonville, Florida, is an American writer and activist who was instrumental in starting many of the first listener-supported community radio stations in the United States, beginning with KRAB-FM in Seattle in 1962.
In 1952, at age 19, he was diagnosed with polio. His sister died of the disease on December 29, 1952, but Milam's case was milder and he was able to walk with crutches after one year. This and the aftermath are described in his autobiographical book "The Cripple Liberation Front Marching Band Blues."
According to David Armstrong in A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America, "Milam's passion for community radio--and 1.1 million from the sale of a second station, KDNA-St.Louis, to commercial broadcasters in 1973--led him to become a veritable Johnny Appleseed of community radio." He is credited with helping start 14 stations from the early 1960s through late 1970s. He got his start in radio volunteering in 1958–1959 at Lew Hill's KPFA in Berkeley, California. He used a $15,000 inheritance to buy a small FM transmitter in 1959 and spent the next 3 years seeking a broadcasting license "anywhere in the US" from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which assigned him a frequency in Seattle. With the help of volunteer engineer Jeremy Lansman he was able to get his antique Collins Radio transmitter on the air in 1962. Lansman later assisted him in launching other stations around the country, starting with KBOO in Portland, in a mini-network that was sometimes referred to as the "KRAB nebula". Mr. Milam authored the book Sex and Broadcasting, A Handbook on Starting a Radio Station for the Community
The "godless" petition
In December, 1974, Milam and Jeremy Lansman, both radio broadcast consultants in California, sent a petition to the Federal Communications Commission asking for a freeze on new licenses for educational television and radio channels, and an investigation into religious broadcasters. Although the agency did not consider the petition (on First Amendment grounds), the FCC received over a million letters, about 3,000 per day for many months,protesting the petition, the largest number of letters that the FCC has ever received on an issue.
Milam produces the online publication Ralph (The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities).
Books and publications
- Milam, Lorenzo W. The Myrkin Papers. Bellevue, Wash: Duck Press, 1969. WorldCat Link
- Milam, Lorenzo W. The Original Sex and Broadcasting: A Handbook on Starting a Radio Station for the Community. San Diego, Calif: Mho & Mho Works, 1988. ISBN 9780917320019
- Milam, Lorenzo W. The Cripple Liberation Front Marching Band Blues. San Diego, Calif: Mho & Mho Works, 1984. ISBN 9780917320095 
- Lourdes of Arizona
- Milam, Lorenzo W. The Radio Papers, from Krab to Kchu: Essays on the Art and Practice of Radio Transmission. San Diego, Calif: MHO & MHO Works, 1986. ISBN 9780917320194
- Milam, Lorenzo W. Cripzen: A Manual for Survival. San Diego, Calif: MHO & MHO Works, 1993. ISBN 9780917320026
- Milam, Lorenzo W. Sex and Broadcasting: A Handbook on Starting a Radio Station for the Community. Los Gatos, Calif.: Dildo Press, 1975. WorldCat Link
- A Cricket in the Telephone at Sunset
- The Blob That Ate Oaxaca (as Carlos Amantea)
- Gallant, Jonathan A, and Lorenzo W. Milam. Gringolándia: A Guide for Puzzled Mexicans. San Diego, CA: MHO & MHO Works, 1997. ISBN 9780917320064
- The Fessenden Review (Editor: 13 issues)
- Kendrick, Walter (1984-05-06). "CUTTING THROUGH MY SOUL". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-11.
- Armstrong, David. A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America, p. 77
- Crowley, Walt. Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995)
- "The Bader Award". San Francisco, California: National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- Armstrong, David (1981). A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America. South End Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-89608-193-1. Retrieved March 29, 2009.
- "Mail Fearing Religious-Shows Ban Deluges FCC". New York Times. February 18, 1976.
- Corbett, Larry (September 2000), "Lorenzo Milam:Surviving Geezerhood", New Mobility, retrieved September 26, 2013
- Ralph (The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities)
- KRAB Archive (Audio, program guides, photos, and history)
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