Late November Gregory Whitehead visited New York City’s New School to participate in a panel on “Radio Communities: The Other Side of the Electronic Divide.” (i confused the schedule & arrived long after he’d ended… Although i got there in time to see a man praise community radio using powerpointed Smiling African Children tourist snapshots and vague, rosy statistics about the social benefits of FM broadcasts among unspecified half-literate people pioneering their own future in unspecified sunny countries.)

Gregory – I’ve written about him here & here – passed me a PDF of his talk for the evening. MuddUp exclusive! Excerpt below. Or grab the whole thing.

In summary, Gregory’s one of the only people writing about radio’s artistic and political potential with sensitivity to the medium’s uncanny & unique essence. (I’m always hungry to hear more radio art, broadcast activism… so many unexplored possibilities. any good shows/artists to recommend? terrestrial fm, podcasters, whatever)

“After twenty some odd years in and around the world’s cacophonous airwaves, I have been there, many times over, inside that inscrutably ambiguous envelope of the simple dot dot dot … because it turns out that the artist’s dream of radio eros and the dictator’s dream of radio thanatos are one and the same, the first being the finger puppet, the second its dancing shadow, or bouncing echo. Or is it the other way around?

Demagogues may well create radio stations to disseminate their monomania, but radio stations may also create demagogues, possibly even from the ranks of those who used to call themselves radio artists, once upon a time, and it is the pure hypnotic power of the beautiful dream, the dream that communication equals community, the dream that everyone is coming, in all races, and all languages, that sets the stage for the power mad despot to do his thing, in a major key.

Radio eros, and radio thanatos: the two vibrational drives, always present, always in the air, on the loose, saving and sinking, laughter and oblivion, whispers and screams, so humbling in their persistence, and their power. For the broadcast activist and the radio artist, the question is always the same. Can we hear the truth in their seductive and dangerous interplay, and what do we make of it?”

-Gregory Whitehead, Here Comes Everybody


  1. thanks for the pdf! (but what? no pitched-down preview button?)

    &of course, you know my recommendation for radio in this realm:

    but alas, poor benjamen, he’s been too well-employed of late to crank out the crankpot radio. he promises more soon come, however. and there are the archives, of course.

  2. maybe that mp3 is a gift for those who bother to check out the pdf… (although it wouldnt be pitched down, as it was encoded at 44.1 skHz and thus plays well with the flash player…) TOE!!

  3. There’s a month long festival every year in Toronto called Deep Wireless which is dedicated to radio/sound art, micro-FM activism etc. Website is Not sure what’s going on with 2007 yet, though the site itself is pretty interesting. Last year’s festival was great.

  4. Yes, Deep Wireless is happening AND we have Gregory Whitehead speaking at the Radio Without Boundaries conference that is a part of it. Even though technically the registrations are closed, I do in fact have room for a small few if anyone is interested in registering for the conference ( Along with Gregory, speakers include Robyn Ravlich (Australian ABC radio executive producer); Heidi Grundmann (Austria, the founder of Kunstradio), R. Murray Schafer (Canadian founder of the world soundscape project) and Hans Ulrich Werner (Germany from WDR radio) to name a few.


Leave a Reply