Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Bombing of KPFT

KPFT was founded by journalist Larry Lee, who convinced Pacifica Radio to establish an independent radio station in Houston, TX. His dream became a reality in March of 1970. In that same year, KPFT became the first, second and only radio station in the United States to have its transmitter bombed by terrorists. More here

The first sound to emanate from 90.1 FM in Houston was the song Here Comes The Sun from the then-brand-new Beatles album, Abbey Road. About two months later on May 12 members of the KKK blew up the KPFT transmitter, and the station was off the air for weeks.

Several months after completing repairs and returning to the air, the transmitter was bombed a second time! The October 6th bombing caused much more extensive damage. KPFT was off the air for more than three months. They went back on air January 21, 1971. Arlo Guthrie performed live in studio opining his set with Alice's Restaurant. This was the song that they had been playing when the October bombers struck.

A decade later, the KKK's Grand Wizard claimed that his greatest act "was engineering the bombing of a left-wing radio station," hinting none-too-subtly at KPFT. In 1977 Bomber Jimmy Dale Hutto was ratted out by FBI informant Russell Rector. Russ has been in the witness protection program since the bombing beause the KKK was pretty peeved about his tattling.

Despite the actions of these right-wing terrorists, The Pacifica Network grew to five stations: KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in New York, WPFW in Washington, and KPFT in Houston.

Short Documentary here:


  1. I have been on the air at KPFT for twenty years now. I am proud of our station and our history. There is a fragment of the bombed transmitter in our building. It's on the landing half-way up the stairs.

    Thanks for the article and spreading the word about KPFT.

    Jay Lee
    Technology Bytes Radio

  2. Gavan Duffy4:43 AM

    I was associated with KPFT from 1970 to 1976. The bomber, Jimmy Dale Hutto, was also infiltrating SDS, the KKK, and the OCAW (Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers). No one asks, "for whom?"

    By the way, after considerable media pressure on the FBI, Hutto was arrested on Interstate 10 -- on his way to blow up the KPFK transmitter.

    Your post implies that KPFT was the first of the five Pacifica station. It is actually the fourth. Only WPFW is younger.

  3. When I re-read stories like this I realize that American conservatism has a 30+ year history of terrorism.