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Columbia University Libraries' Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML).

Columbia University Libraries' Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) has acquired the archive of "Radio Unnameable's" host Bob Fass. The archive contains an extensive collection of radio broadcasts, original photographs, and personal correspondence that showcases the impact and ingenuity of Fass's work in the 1960s and '70s.

First aired in 1963 on New York's WBAI, "Radio Unnameable" was a groundbreaking departure in format and philosophy from traditional radio programs: Fass connected ordinary callers with each other as well as with studio guests--cultural icons of the era including Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Timothy Leary, the Grateful Dead, and Hunter S. Thompson--in an unscripted fashion that anticipated contemporary social media.

Fass earned a reputation as "the midwife at the birth of the counterculture" for his commentary on the culture and turbulent politics of the 1960s and for live coverage of such landmark events as the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the Columbia University student protests, and the Tompkins Square Riots. Highlights from the 600,000 minutes of broadcast footage include interviews with Abbie Hoffman, as well as performances by and in-studio visits with Bob Dylan, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Arlo Guthrie. The recordings are relics of an era of widespread change in America, offering unique, in-depth, and unfiltered insight into the '60s and '70s. Fass's broadcasts speak to a wide range of scholarly interests, from the relationship between music, art, and activism, to how the counterculture of the '60s began to fragment in the face of the identity politics of the '70s and '80s.

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Publication:Fontes Artis Musicae
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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