Legendary Free-Form Radio Personality Bob Fass | St. Louis Public Radio

Legendary Free-Form Radio Personality Bob Fass

Oct 5, 2012

Radio personality Bob Fass revolutionized late night FM radio at WBAI in New York City in the 1960s.  His free-form radio show according to John Anderson of Variety was “an icon of free-speech radio… his legacy, and his archives, are as epic as the medium gets.”

Host Steve Potter talks with Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson, co-directors and producers of a new film about Fass called Radio Unnameable.  The movie is described as “a visual and aural collage that pulls from Bob Fass’ immense archive of audio from his program, film, photographs, and video that has been sitting dormant until now.”

Show Highlights

“I think it’s fascinating,” host Steve Potter said, at the conclusion of his interview with co-directors Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson. Fass built a reputation for intimate, late-night conversations with callers, who often narrated the news and events of the day as they unfolded.  “They’re at home, in bed, listening at night, by themselves in an empty office building. It’s very personal,” said Wolfson.

After sorting through and digitizing the more than 10,000 hours of tape reels found in Fass’ attic, Lovelace and Wolfson recognized his style as a sort of precursor to today’s social media. They gathered grainy clips of major and minor events, from a 1968 police riot in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal to a man threatening to commit suicide on the air.

Bob Fass didn’t screen his calls and anyone could call in and ask or say something.  "What was really great is that he let the listeners take the direction of the show. Someone would just call in and say, there’s a police riot on the corner," said Wolfson

Related Event

Webster University’s Film Series Presents “Radio Unnameable” on Friday, October 5th at 9:30 p.m. and October 6th and 7th at 7:30 p.m. at Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium