Radio activist Lorenzo W. Milam died in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico on July 21, 2020 at the age of 86. He is survived by over 300 community radio stations, including WERU.
Milam was fascinated with radio since his childhood in Jacksonville, Florida where he listened for hours to broadcasts from Nashville, New Orleans and other faraway cities. He ‘felt like a spy’ he said, listening in to other cultures’ music and opinions.
He started his first radio station, KRAB, in Seattle, Washington in 1961 at the age of 28. His goal was lofty: All programming would be provided by community volunteers, with no restrictions on how esoteric the content.
Just a few short years later, Milam was ready to share his knowledge of community radio with anyone interested. It was never Milam’s intention to own a radio station. His mission was to help bring them into the world, nurture them until they could stand on their own two feet, then leave and hope that they became independent, unruly adults.
(This article was written by Susan Sheldon, Listener Sponsor Liaison, WORT 89.9 FM Community Radio in Madison, WI.)