Bob Fass

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A groundbreaking radio personality who utilized free form commentary, a blend of non-commercial music, spoken word, listener talk, audience participation "events" in what he referred to "Radio Unnameable" on his overnight slot of New York City's WBAI Pacifica Radio station (FM 99.5) from 1962 to the present. Frequent guests from the early years of Radio Unnamable included Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie and Abbie Hoffman. Fass frequently refers to his audience as "The Cabal."

1977 Station Take-Over

During the 1970s WBAI took a direction to support programming that would feature "balkanized" programing based on identity politics giving programming slots to shows producing content specifically for groups such as gays, feminist, African Americans, Puerto Ricans,and other identity groups. Fass and other long time staffer resisted these programming changes in favor of what they saw as undermining the broader counter-cultural character of the station's programming.

This struggle came to a head in 1977 when Fass and several like minded staff and volunteers staged a takeover of the station. Fass and other were arrested and the station was padlocked for 35 days. Fass was "banned" from the station until 1982 when he returned with his Radio Unnamable program in its overnight slot.

Lasting Impact

Fass is credited with being a major influence on th "Alternative/Progressive" FM radio as well as "Shock Radio" jocks such as Howard Stern.


  1. Voice of the Cabal, Marc Fisher, The New Yorker, December 4, 2006.
  2. Fisher, Marc. Something in the Air. New York, NY: Random House, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-375-50907-0.