Friends Virtual Author Series: WBCN and the American Revolution

Wednesday, December 17:30—8:30 PMOnline

Journalist and documentary producer Bill Lichtenstein will speak about his book WBCN and the American Revolution: How a Radio Station Defined Politics, Counterculture and Rock and Roll. Lichtenstein is the winner of more than sixty major journalism awards, he has written for publications including the New York Times, the Nation, the Village Voice, and the Boston Globe, and produced and directed the feature-length documentary, WBCN and the American Revolution. He worked at WBCN from 1971 to 1977, beginning as a teenage volunteer on the station's “Listener Line.”

The book, which will be released by MIT Press/Penguin Random House on Tuesday November 23, is a companion to the film festival sensation  WBCN and The American Revolution. The popular rock documentary will air on PBS World on Friday, November 19 at 8 p.m. EST and Saturday, November 20 at 1 a.m., 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. EST. The film will also be re-broadcast on public television stations around the country throughout the fall and winter (check local listings). In the Boston area it  will be airing on WGBH2 on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. and on WGBX44 on Sat. Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.

“Two years ago, WBCN and The American Revolution launched an exhilarating tour of film festivals and screenings across the United States. Audiences were uplifted and inspired by the story of how an underground rock radio station and a passionate community of listeners mobilized to change their world for the better,” says Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and former WBCN announcer Bill Lichtenstein, who also authored the film’s companion book. “Now, as we grapple with all of challenges of today’s world, I’m thrilled to bring WBCN’s empowering and hopeful message to a national audience.”

At WBCN, creativity and countercultural politics ruled: there were no set playlists; news segments anticipated the satire of The Daily Show; on-air interviewees ranged from John and Yoko to Noam Chomsky; a telephone “Listener Line” fielded questions on any subject, day and night. From 1968 to Watergate, Boston’s WBCN was the hub of the rock-and-roll, antiwar, psychedelic solar system. A cornucopia of images in color and black and white includes concert posters, news clippings, photographs of performers in action, and scenes of joyousness on Boston Common. Interwoven through the narrative are excerpts from interviews with WBCN pioneers, including Charles Laquidara, the “news dissector” Danny Schechter, Marsha Steinberg, and Mitchell Kertzman.

Registration is required; Zoom information will be sent in your registration confirmation.  Thanks to the Friends of the Belmont Public Library for making this author series possible.

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