In well-mannered public radio, an airwaves war

From the Boston Globe – June 3, 2017

Over the past five years, WGBH’s audience has grown more than any other major NPR news station in the country, says Ken Mills, a Minneapolis broadcast consultant who writes about noncommercial radio. Its weekly listeners have nearly doubled since the spring of 2012, rising from 235,200 to 445,200, according to Nielsen data aggregated by Mills. By that measure, WGBH now ranks 10th in the country among NPR news stations…

Perhaps the most remarkable part of WGBH’s ascent is that it largely spared its chief rival, steadily building a base without damaging WBUR, or even swiping their monogrammed umbrellas…

Their simultaneous success says something telling about Boston, which may well be more devoted to the decorous purr of public radio than any other American metropolis.

If the audience shares of the two stations were combined, it would create the No. 1 radio station in Greater Boston, according to Nielsen audience estimates. Taken together, WGBH and WBUR command a bigger local market share than San Francisco’s KQED, the public radio station with the most weekly listeners in the country, according to Mills and Nielsen.

In the realm of public radio, the Boston situation — close quarters combat between well-off rivals — is extremely rare.

Steve Schwartz, 74, Radio Jazz Host

Excerpts from the Boston Globe – April 24, 2017

Steve Schwartz began his last radio show like he had so many others, cuing up pianist Horace Parlan’s “Wadin” — the song’s bass line striding purposefully out of the speakers, backed by the subtle swish of brushes on cymbals. “Good evening and welcome to jazz on WGBH,” he said as the song’s last notes faded.

For jazz fans throughout Greater Boston and beyond, there was a hint of sadness in every tune he played during “Jazz from Studio Four” on July 6, 2012, as he edged closer to signing off a couple of minutes past midnight.

“As you may or may not have heard, this is my last program for WGBH radio — starting here back in 1985 and working my way towards bringing you jazz on a Friday night. And this will wind it up,” Mr. Schwartz said, before turning to the business at hand: more than three hours of carefully chosen music.

“The gentleness of his voice made his show easy to listen to, but he wasn’t just a great voice. He was knowledgeable about the music, too,” said Eric Jackson, a longtime colleague and host of WGBH-FM’s “Eric in the Evening” jazz show. “He knew the music. There are some announcers I’ve heard who I thought were abrasive, arrogant. Steve was this warm presence who invited you in when he was on the air with the sound of his voice and the music he played.”

Mr. Schwartz, whose tastes in jazz were first shaped by an interlude he spent in California as a teenager, died in Seasons Hospice in Milton March 25 of multiple myeloma. He was 74 and had lived in Jamaica Plain.

“My father wanted to make a change, so when I was 15 we moved to Los Angeles,” Mr. Schwartz said in an interview published on The Arts Fuse website. “It was there that I first heard jazz on the radio, and I was hooked.”

During those years, Mr. Schwartz “heard different musicians, Charlie Mingus, Chet Baker — people who really moved him,” said his wife, Constance Bigony.

Indeed, when Mr. Schwartz began hosting jazz radio programs after returning to Boston, “he advertised his show, especially in the earlier years, as ‘acoustic jazz,’ which says a lot about his musical tastes,” Jackson said.

“In later years, he would surprise me when I’d hear something with a little electric piano in it,” Jackson added with a laugh. “I’d think, ‘Wow, he’s playing that.’ ”

In 2012, WGBH eliminated Mr. Schwartz’s Friday show. Jackson, who had been on weeknights, is now on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

After the public radio station announced the changes to make room for more news and information programming, jazz fans were so upset that they protested and held a jazz funeral.

“It wasn’t a total surprise, but it is a loss,” Mr. Schwartz told the Globe a couple of weeks before his final show. Boston’s jazz community, he added, “is losing an important venue for musicians to promote their events.”

In a February 2014 video interview that is posted on YouTube, Mr. Schwartz said that “to me the best part of doing radio was being able to promote the local jazz scene: Who’s coming into Scullers? Who’s coming into the Regattabar? Who’s got a new CD out? Local talent, playing here and there. Online, you know, it’s — I hate to say the word — just jazz.”

Of all the perks of hosting a radio show for nearly three decades, he added, “I just want to say that promoting the local jazz scene one night a week was most, most gratifying.”…

WGBH hired Mr. Schwartz to run the equipment for a taped overnight blues show. Then he suggested launching a jazz show to fill the time between the end of the blues program and the beginning of Robert J. Lurtsema’s “Morning pro musica.” Mr. Schwartz eventually was hired as program manager, and also was the engineer for live jazz broadcasts at WGBH…

For Mr. Schwartz’s many fans, his last show was a eulogy of sorts — played out in favorite jazz tunes — though no one could have guessed he would be diagnosed with multiple myeloma only a few months later. He ended with a set of songs sung by Karrin Allyson. Ever the professional, he signed off as if it were any show, not his last.

“Thank you for your phone calls earlier tonight. They do mean a lot to me and it’s great to hear from you,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Have a good weekend. Thank you for listening.”

By Tom Reney – From Jazz News You Can Use

Friday night, as I was noting Day 30 of a cold virus, my friend Steve Schwartz was admitted to Seasons Hospice in Milton, Mass.

Yesterday morning, while driving east for lunch with my niece in Beverly and afternoon drop-ins at bluesman Peter Ward‘s 60th birthday gig in Cambridge and a visit with Jack Woker at Stereo Jack’s, I checked my messages during a routine stop at Natick Plaza on the Pike. There were several, but only one that mattered, the one with word that Steve died around four o’clock Saturday morning, one month shy of his 75th birthday, and several years into combating cancer and other grave health matters.

I last spoke with Steve two weeks ago. He was fairly upbeat with the latest on his wife Constance Bigony’s art work, reports on his three kids, Eric, Peter, and Jamie, and his grandchildren, and curious to hear more about our grandsons Bisbee and Atlas. It ended, as most calls did with Steve in recent years, with the hope that we’d be off gallivanting sometime soon.

Alas, today I know that Steve’s been released from a great deal of pain, and those of us who knew him have lost a good, kind, warm-hearted man.

I knew Steve for about 25 years. Before we met at a Joe Lovano concert that he emceed at the DeCordova Museum around 1990, I would hear him on WGBH where he hosted Jazz from Studio Four. I spent many Sunday nights returning from the Cape with Steve guiding the way, always with his mellow, down-home theme song, Horace Parlan’s “Wadin’,” kicking things off at 7 p.m., and often with the word that he’d returned from the Cape a few hours earlier.

Perhaps more than any other experience I’ve had as a listener to radio, it’s the memory of Steve’s references to Fisher Beach in Truro and the details of a meal he’d had in P-Town that give me a sense of why I needn’t be surprised when listeners tell me about some seemingly trivial bit of personal material that I’ve shared while hosting Jazz a la Mode. “Oh yeah, but how about the night when I played those rare 1941 airchecks by Lester Young?” Alas, it’s usually a personal anecdote that resonates most.

Steve and I shared a love of jazz, movies, fresh seafood, and bike rides. He’d owned a bike shop in Mattapan before his radio career began. He was a great fan of Preston Sturges films, especially Sullivan’s Travels, which he relished sharing with friends.

He grew up in Dorchester and spent a few years in Los Angeles during his mid- to late-teens. That’s where his love of jazz took root, and he was fond of recalling the day when Gerry Mulligan walked by as he was listening to a new Mulligan LP in the listening booth of a Santa Monica record store.

During his Boston youth, he sang in a street corner doo-wop group, and maintained friendships with his harmonizing homies Jeffrey and Hal. Like a true Bostonian, he didn’t know my hometown of Worcester at all before we met, but he was eager for a tour, and we finally got that done a few years ago. I got to show him the Valley too, and in recent years, we would meet halfway in Sturbridge for lunch.

Steve was the best kind of friend, one who was eager to hang on the next unscheduled day on the calendar. His opening line was often, “Two Jews sitting on a bench;” his favorite tag was, “News at 11;” and in notes, he borrowed from Thelonious Monk for his closing salutation, “Always know.”

While courting Meg fifteen years ago, I had occasion to spend dozens of weekends with her near Boston, and during that time Steve and I got together frequently to hear jazz and to ride bikes. In addition to negotiating the city’s busy streets, we took trails to Lexington and Concord; rode the East Bay trail south of East Providence; the Emerald Necklace of Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, and Brookline.

We ate all over too: Belle Isle in East Boston, Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet, Red Wing in Walpole, Summer Shack in Cambridge, Twin Seafood in West Concord, always in pursuit of great seafood at establishments hospitable to bike shorts. Steve had a bead on every pop-up lunch spot in Boston, and while attending jazz conferences and festivals, we maxed-out per diems in New York, New Orleans, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Toronto, and Montreal.

Steve was a gourmand of informal dining spots here, there, and everywhere. When word came down that Uglisich’s, a no-frills purveyor of alligator stew and oysters by the dozen was closing, Steve and his beloved Connie flew down to New Orleans for one last hurrah.

Steve’s was one of the great voices of Boston jazz radio. In that capacity, he also engineered and produced scores of concert broadcasts for WGBH and for Jazz Set, Jazz Alive, and other series on NPR. He engineered the Jazz Decades with Ray Smith, which for years preceded Jazz From Studio Four. He produced state-of-the-art profiles on such New England-based jazz greats as George Russell, Jackie McLean, Gunther Schuller, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, and Yusef Lateef. And he conducted several highly memorable panels at IAJE, including interviews with Dan Morgenstern and Nat Hentoff. Steve knew and was known by everyone in the business.

I’ll miss Steve more than I can say at this sad hour for I’m grateful to have enjoyed such an agreeable friendship with this truest of true friends. Rest in Peace, my man.

From Josie Patterson

For the 5 years or so that I was the business and marketing head of ‘GBH radio, Steve was a major presence at the station beyond his show, Now’s the Time. He, Eric Jackson, Ron Gill, Mai Cramer, Holly Harris, and Ron Della Chiesa pushed for jazz and the blues to be recognized as the amazing and genuinely American art forms that they are.

Steve and Margot Stage recorded Jazz Portraits, which Margot said were amongst some of the best of her work. Steve produced an Ellington concert at Berklee featuring Danilo Perez on piano; today Danilo heads the jazz department at the school. He guided the recording of the New Orleans annual Jazz Festival and other important jazz concerts. All of this was under the guidance of Marita Rivero, now the director of Boston’s African American Meeting House, and, I believe, the only female person of color to reach the Vice President level at WGBH.

I liked working at WGBH, on both the documentary and the radio side, and always felt it was a 12 year graduate program. The local public radio station was the part of the foundation where for awhile people could and did experiment with different art forms based on their own cultural traditions. Radio productions are less expensive to produce than film, and radio is an intimate medium that distinguishes it to this day from other kinds of media. I can only hope that ‘GBH Radio will once again embrace music from many cultures. People love music!

Stereo Television: Origins

By Jack Caldwell

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.44.13 AM“OK RCA, if you build a stereo television transmitter and TV sets, we will prove to you that you need to.”

I can take no credit for this. Credit goes to Hartford Gunn, the visionary in whose shadow many of us have built our careers.

He believed, and I concurred, that, back in the late 1960’s, the absence of stereo sound for television was not a feature WGBH management, staff, listeners, or viewers would wish to endure for a very long time. Indeed, WGBH-FM was already attracting listeners who cared about the quality of sound. Why just radio? Why not television?

“Why not” became a buzzphrase that Hartford passed on to me … and I have embraced it ever since.

Back then, all TV sets had mono sound.

All TV transmitters transmitted mono sound.

TV set makers and transmitter manufacturers pointed fingers at each other. If the transmitters only delivered mono sound, why build TV sets that could deliver stereo … and vice versa?

So, Hartford, with me in tow, went to Hollywood to observe and learn — in a few days — how the recording of stereo was being accomplished in the film and LP recording businesses. (I did my thesis research on AMPEX — another story of how the video recorder came into being)

When we returned to Boston, I reorganized part of our engineering department to create a sound department. Bill Busick, engineering leader for WGBH FM was a reluctant player in this new undefined pursuit to establish WGBH as the leader in sound production for any media. Tom Keller was the EIC (Engineer-in-Charge) and welcomed the challenge.

Why wait to follow? Get out and forge new ground. That was WGBH. That is WGBH. We had two TV stations, a film department, and a radio station. Where would this pursuit of stereo sound for television take us? We didn’t know. We had bright people on staff, and Boston was rich with talented new companies that were focused on sound. KLH was founded by Henry Kloss in the late 1950’s. He came in to help. As did others.

24NETI came to WGBH from Ann Arbor where the-then NET (National Educational Television network) had the largest videotape duplication center in the world. I managed the national distribution to all public (then educational TV stations) of all kinescope, film and videotapes. And I managed the duplication of all film and kinescopes.

There were various processes to put sound on film products. And key producers of video programs would often come to Ann Arbor to edit sound and pictures. So, I had some background in putting sound with pictures for television distribution. But I was not the engineer/tech guru. That was Howard Town. He and I were the two VPs of NET, based in New York, that oversaw the Ann Arbor based duplication and distribution center. (On any given day we had 10,000 program units bicycling through the system)

Shortly after I left to join WGBH, my old buddy and colleague Howard Town left NET for AMPEX. (Back then, an AMPEX quarter inch tape recorder was the best there was.) Howard’s assignment was to develop a 24-track audio recorder using two-inch tape. All the “mechanics” for the VCR were in place. Why not use the concept for audio — where multiple tracks could be edited down to mono, stereo and four-track composites for the recording industry?

Naturally, Tom Keller, WGBH chief engineer, Howard Town, and myself (and Bill Busick, I think) started a conversation about syncing the AMPEX device (finally, I believe, named an MM1000) with a two-inch VCR. That took us to New York to talk to the folks who used the Selsyn Interlock system for syncing sound and pictures for motion pictures. Was there something we could learn?

While the technology development was underway, the creation of program material — and ultimate delivery of same — was front and center. The Boston Pops quickly became the lead contender for the experiment.

With all of “players” working as a team, we reached out to England to purchase a Neve audio board. We bought a truck to house it as a mobile sound recording facility. And we arranged with Howard Town at AMPEX to acquire an early MM1000. Serial number two, I believe, and that, too, went into the truck with the Neve board.

Someone, probably Bill Cosel and Hartford, worked with the Pops, Fiedler, the union and stage hands, et. al., to allow us to put cameras and lights and staging on the stage of the Pops. I remember Fran Mahard creating flats that would help us with the sound and the pictures. Back then, the lights were bright and hot. We needed the musicians to wear blue tucks instead of black, and we had to dig up the street in front of Symphony Hall to put in special transformers to handle the power we needed for lighting.

Yes, we had our big mobile television truck already in hand. Think Tennis.

A genius gentleman — Bill Pierce — produced the mix. We saved a track for mono TV, two tracks for stereo, a rehearsal track or two, and the rest of the 24 tracks were dedicated to the various sections of the orchestra. I’m sure Bill Cosel has a lot of memory and details to fill in.

After a concert by the Pops, the video came back separately (with a mono track) and the sound came back to WGBH in the sound truck. In post production, even a single note could be corrected — and was. The sound was edited to perfection. Then the video was edited to match. Now, remember, back then, editing video was done with a razor blade and a very expensive “splicer” where the cut two-inch tape was joined with aluminum adhesive tape. And the splice mark pulse was revealed by applying stainless steel “dust” in an alcohol base to the tape. (That’s another story!)

With some trial and error, we learned that we could place the video tape on machine A and the take up reel on machine B — some 20 feet or so to the right — in order to get the MM1000 and the VCR in sync. I don’t remember what it was we developed to sync the VCR and MM1000. It was a “black box.”

The broadcast, finally, was mono to channel 2 and stereo to WGBH FM. Viewers were taught to put their stereo speakers on each side of their TV set, turn off the TV sound and turn up their stereo FM amps. And the press in Boston was encouraged to watch and listen. They did … and they liked it. The new clippings were then delivered to RCA — who made both TV sets and transmitters. They “got it.” And, you know the rest of the story.

Hartford Gunn was the one who dreamed about what isn’t happening — and could or should be — and then made it happen. And that took a team of folks who had no experience of failure. Indeed, all we had was the thrill of inventing a then better “tomorrow” in the evolution of our chosen career of television.

Among the manny lessons taught to me by Hartford — from almost my first day at WGBH — was a critically important message on leadership. The first principle was, without reservation, to have no interest in WGBH being a follower or a second place player. Then, secure the most advanced technology the world has to offer, let the world know you have it, and the most talented will beat down your door to gain access to it. Hire the most creative who come forth, give them objectives and goals to be met, give them the necessary financial resources, give them encouragement and mentoring, — and get the hell out of the way!

Why is WGBH what it is today? Look around WGBH, then and now, and consider pioneering stories like this one. That’s why.

Do you have other memories of stereo television at WGBH? If so, send them to jay.collier@thecompass.com or post below.

Help us catalog WGBH “firsts” in national public media

Dear WGBH Alumni:

PBS is putting together a list of significant national “firsts” for PBS and public media. We already have a timeline covering WGBH from 1946 to 1978, and many entries include national innovations. Now, we’re looking for your recommendations and verifications for more!

Please remember, the following are not yet verified, so add your recommendations, corrections, and confirmations in the comments box at the bottom of this post.

Recommendations (to be verified)

  • 1958: WGBH acquired  an  VR-1000A and became the first NET member to use videotape recording techniques. (More.)
  • 1960: WGBH produced A.R. Gurney’s first TV drama, Love Letters. The only recording was destroyed in the fire.
  • 1963: WGBH received its first Academy Award for Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World Fred Barzyk reports that it was the first and only Academy Award to ever be given to an educational television station.
  • 1966: Julia Child was the first educational television personality to receive an Emmy Award.
  • 1968: Martin Luther King’s death almost caused a city wide riot, except for WGBH and city government broadcasting a James Brown concert. Watch the video here: James Brown in the Boston Garden – April 5th, 1968
  • 1968: WGBH produced the first double-channel TV show, What’s Happening Mr. Silver? Viewers were asked to put two TVs six feet apart, tune one to Ch. 2 and the other Ch. 44. Six months after the first broadcast, WNET WNDT (Ch. 13) and a commercial station (Ch. 9) were the only other stations to do the same thing.
  • 1972: PBS pioneers the development of captioning, making television programs accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.
  • 1972: Nam June Paik, renowned video artist, creates the worlds first video synthesizer. During the broadcast of one of his works, Paik blew out the WGBH transmitter. It is now on display in a German Museum.
  • 1974: NOVA, the first weekly science documentary series, joined the PBS lineup.
  • The Chicken that Ate Columbus
  • 1980: WGBH Workshop and QUBE, the largest interactive service in the country, produced a live interactive drama, The Chicken that Ate Columbus.” From David Atwood: QUBE was launched in 1977, I joined them as Manager of Production and Operations in the fall of 1980 in time (as I remember) to be there for “The Chicken that Ate Columbus.”
  • 1980: This Old House, the first home-improvement program on U.S. television, tackled its first fixer-upper
  • 1987: Created the first digital audio broadcast.
  • 1990: PBS makes television accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences through the launch of the Descriptive Video Service (DVS).
  • 1994-95: Created the first audio streaming server (featured Frontline Waco: The Inside Story) and the concept of the web as the companion to the TV program.
  • 1998: PBS Digital Week features the first national broadcast of a high-definition and enhanced digital program, Ken Burns’s Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • 1998: PBS becomes the first national broadcaster to distribute high-definition (HD) programming to member stations for broadcast.
  • 1999: Created the first live radio and television streams and established a presence on Apple’s QuickTime TV.

Undated recommendations

  • Henry Morgenthau’s Negro and the American Promise is first to have an all black discussion on race in America. Featuring James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Dr. King, the interview made the front page of the New York Times when broadcast, and was later made into a book.
  • Catch 44 was WGBH’s first public access series.  Although only broadcast locally, it made the front page of the WSJ and the BBC emulated it, calling their series “Open Night.”
  • The first environmental documentary was Austin Hoyt’s “Multiply and Subdue the Earth” on PBL.
  • Vietnam, a Television History, was the first long-form doc coverage of the Vietnam War.
  • The first coverage of tennis on TV was WGBH’s coverage of Longwood.
  • ZOOM was the first show created by kids (they supplied the content), for kids (who sent up to 30,000 letters per week).
  • Did Al Potter and Greg Harney do the first trans-atlantic broadcast for ETV?
  • The Victory Garden was the first series to follow the planting and growing of a garden in real time.
  • This Old House was the inspiration for the commercial sitcom Home Improvement.
  • WGBH was the first broadcast station to air stereo sound on their FM station which was in sync with he BSO concert on Ch. 2. This engineering feat was then taught to other PBS stations by our engineers.
  • Was NOVA the first PBS station to produce an IMAX film?

In protest, jazz-style funeral for Eric Jackson’s show

From the Boston Globe7/6/2012

Eric Jackson hosted his last weeknight show on WGBH-FM (89.7) Thursday night, and thanks to local saxophonist Ken Field, he went out with a funeral.

Field, who hosts a show on WMBR-FM (88.1), led a New Orleans-style funeral outside the WGBH building in Brighton to protest the station’s recent cuts in jazz coverage.

Jackson, a jazz radio host in Boston for 30 years, will now be on the air on weekends only. WGBH cut Steve Schwartz’s Friday program from the schedule altogether.

From YouTube

Jazz Funeral for WGBH, 2012 July 05

Microphone maestro

Ron Della ChiesaRon Della Chiesa, 73, voice of the BSO, sounds off on musicians from Beethoven to Lady Gaga

Over your 50 years in radio, which job has been your favorite? My MusicAmerica show at WGBH.  Starting in 1978, it ran for 18 years. I played an eclectic blend of music, incorporating live interviews with people like Dizzy Gillespie and Andre Previn. I could never have done that show in a commercial setting.

Who was your best interview? Tony Bennett, about his painting, philosophy, the business. He’s a renaissance man. Continue reading

Eric Jackson marks 30 years at WGBH

If you had your radio dialed to 89.7 FM most any weeknight over the past three decades, you probably heard the mellifluous baritone of Eric Jackson intone that signature phrase. This week Jackson, 61, celebrates 30 years hosting his jazz program, “Eric in the Evening” (changed a couple of years ago to “Jazz on WGBH With Eric Jackson’’), with events tomorrow and Friday at Scullers and Arlington’s Regent Theatre, respectively.

Turmoil in the air waves

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Public Radio Rivalry

Public radio not only wants taxpayer dollars to back it up. One local station manager also wants a monopoly….

Any business would be happy if its rivals disappeared. But those wishes run up against an economic reality called capitalism. Competition is its core underpinning. It leads to fierce fights everywhere, especially in the world of Boston media….

Some listeners are apparently gravitating to WBUR’s new rival because WGBH is offering more local programming, including talk shows. That’s not a bad development. It illustrates how starved the Boston area audience is for serious, news-driven conversation about important local issues. Competition only helps their cause.

WGBH changes sting public radio rival

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Public Radio Rivalry

WBUR-FM 90.9 has long been a Boston Goliath, with a news-and-talk schedule that’s been a model for public radio nationwide.

But now it appears that thousands of listeners are leaving WBUR and tuning into WGBH-FM 89.7, which last year replaced music programs with news and talk shows very much like WBUR’s — sometimes running the same National Public Radio shows at the same time. …

Since January 2010, when WGBH changed formats, to this past January, the WGBH audience grew by 16,000 listeners, or 6 percent, to 269,000 people, according to the Arbitron ratings service.

James Spruill, 73, actor, teacher, “Say Brother” host

A few months after launching the New African Company, a groundbreaking black theater troupe in Boston, James Spruill sat in the living room of Globe theater critic Kevin Kelly nursing a gin and tonic, amber-tinted glasses on his face, a cigarette in his hand.

“There must be a black theater for the black community, our own voices in our own playwrights, and the more black rage the better,’’ Mr. Spruill told Kelly in October 1968, speaking in a resonant, stage-trained voice which was as restrained as the words were fierce.

“Black people,’’ he added quietly, “refuse to go around not being recognized any more.’’

With New African Company, which performed everywhere from resplendent venues to abandoned buildings, he brought plays highlighting the black experience to white audiences and professional acting to black audiences who might never venture into Boston’s Theater District….

Mr. Spruill, an influential theater teacher at Boston University for 30 years and an actor who shared the stage with the likes of Morgan Freeman and Al Pacino, died Dec. 31 in his son’s Roxbury home of pancreatic cancer. He was 73 and in retirement resided in Winchester, N.H., fulfilling a longtime wish to live in a log cabin on 40 acres….

In 1968, the year he founded the New African Company, he began serving as a host of WGBH radio’s “Say Brother,’’ which became “Basic Black.’’