Night of 1,000 PSAs

OK, here’s the deal.

KBOO’s long-time News and Public Affairs director Kathleen Stephenson is retiring later this month. Kathleen’s office, already tiny, was packed to the gunwales with boxes, filing cabinets, shelves with more boxes, etc.  It’s like a Mercury space capsule, with just about enough room for her to sit at her desk.

Over the years she’s accumulated this gigantic horde or radio PSAs, boxes and boxes of them, in fact. KBOO’s had this longstanding policy of not airing any of the traditional PSAs sent to commercial and noncommercial radio stations from The Ad Council, the U.S. Military,  Center for Disease Control, and countless church organizations, etc. – in favor of those produced in-house at the station.

But what to do with all of them? When cleaning out her office, Programming Director and host of Life After Wartime Erin Yanke thought something should be done with them – but what? We talked about it. Some of us, Erin, Dr. Zomb (of Dr. Zomb’s Stereo Obscura), Jim ‘Mr. No Soap Radio’ Larrance, Becky Meiers (Union of Time Thieves), initially thought we’d cut them up and make some kind of audio assemblage – but agreed that that would take forever. There were easily a thousand or more of them, all on disc, some of them as audio CD and some as computer files. We finally arrived at the conclusion that we’ll just play as many of them as possible in the time allotted. We figured an hour would work best. If it was an unlistenable mess, at least it would be an endurable mess at an hour.

So here it is. A few made preassembled pieces from their respective piles of discs. Much of it was mixed on the fly – some of it played on digital players and manipulated in real time.

We hope you enjoy the Kathleen Stephenson Retirement PSA Orchestra’s tribute to Kathleen and the art of the public service announcement!


The participants were: Dr. Zomb, Erin Yanke, Rolf Semprebon, Becky Meiers, Rich Lindsay, Jim Larrance.



    1. Sadly, we pitched all of them in the garbage! But they keep sending them to the station.
      Early on in the planning of this show, I had planned on having a metal trash can rigged up with a contact mic and when we played a CD, we’d throw it in the trash and you’d hear it. It turned out to be way too complicated, so we didn’t. But I thought it was a funny idea. Sometimes they don’t translate well to radio or are just too impractical to pull off.

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