Norm Gregory Radio Scrapbook: Earth Day, Seattle, 1970

by Norm Gregory on April 22, 2012

in 1969, 1970, Audio, KJR, Radio Scrapbook

It has been mostly forgotten but Earth Day was announced in Seattle at a environmental conference in September 1969. Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The Wisconsin Senator remembers: “The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air – and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office. ”

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day is observed in Seattle with teach-ins at the University of Washington and at the Seattle Center. A noon rally at Westlake Mall drew only 50 or so participants, but later that evening, some 3,000 persons crowded together at Seattle Center to look at exhibit booths, view films, listen to speeches and panel discussions, and to collect signatures and money. Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman challenged the audience to go to the next demonstration in buses instead of in private cars, to fight pollution.

A little over six years after graduating from Roosevelt High School I return to the school in north Seattle. I found the kids, a month after the announcement of Earth Day, excited about this new ecology movement that was just getting under way. It’s hard to believe now but littering, air pollution, gas guzzling cars, etc, were not much of issues until the ’70s. In October 1969 we were still some seven months away from the first Earth Day but you could feel the momentum building.
Scarpbook NormGregory RHS 100369 510


KJR, Norm Gregory, September 1969

What is going on here? I have been digging through My Collection of photos, news clippings and other documents from my 35 years in radio. The daily postings began on May 19, 2011. The Collection can be sorted:

By radio station: KPUG • KJRB • KJR • KZOK • KQFM • KOMO • KJR-FM

By year: 1961 • 1963 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972
1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1994

1 Dan Packard April 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

The first couple years of Earth Day (1970 and 71) were so strong and powerful with the younger generation taking note of this new ecological awareness.

Just heard “Runnin’ Blue” by the Doors at eight minutes, 30 seconds into the aircheck. Neat song that I haven’t heard in years. Part of the creative mix of music and personality that top-40 radio possessed in that era. Thanks for sharing, Norm.

2 Norm Gregory April 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Today, I am not all that sure that our big, wide, playlist was smart. But it was what it was.

3 Lynn Root April 22, 2015 at 10:07 pm

hahaha. I do remember Levity Limelight. You guys made us laugh. I believe you even read one of my jokes.

4 Norm Gregory April 23, 2015 at 12:22 am

How old were then Lynn? I ask because I hope you can remember the joke . .. and how mature you were!!!!

5 SteveD July 30, 2015 at 9:54 pm

Hi Norm: Definitely remember you @ KJRB/Spokane during my HS years! Enjoyed this KJR on-air collage immensely. When I came to Seattle in mid ’69 there you were again. However, soon my taste in radio changed as the listening turned more underground with the old KOL-FM. Guys like Pat McDonald (awesome!), Bruce Bols and John Chambliss (also one of my college instructors) became the “NORM” for me. That era of radio sure was short lived. regards, Steve.

6 Norm Gregory July 30, 2015 at 11:26 pm

I liked some of the music KOL-FM played (maybe not the 30 minute Fat Mattress tracks). . . Even though Pat and Bruce were friends of mine . their on-air presentation bored me. No recorded commercials were allowed. So the less than professional DJs read the spots. And the pay was crap.

In 1974 I moved to KZOK and we started playing the FM hits. It really worked. It was a Seattle radio revolution. By 1977 we were huge.

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