Radio Free Georgetown

Lost and Found Sound: Radical Broadcasters in the '60s and '70s

Ken Sleeman, the manager of WGTB-FM in the 1970s, seated at a microphone.

hide captionKen Sleeman (seated at the mic) manager of WGTB-FM from 1971-1975.

Ken Sleeman

Community radio stations, many run as radical, left-wing collectives, sprouted up across the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Among the most outrageous was WGTB-FM at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

The hippies, students, and activists who ran the station took on Georgetown's Jesuit administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and the power elite of Washington, DC. What started out as a low-power operation mushroomed into a station that broadcast at 6,700 watts and reached an audience of almost 100,000 people in the nation's capital.


Produced by Guy Raz.

In 1971 Georgetown tapped Ken Sleeman, a 25-year-old radio engineer, to manage the station, hoping he could eliminate the anti-war missives and left-wing rhetoric from the air. It only became worse.

In this edition of Lost and Found Sound, Sleeman shares some moments from his time at WGTB.

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