Airwaves & Liberty

Utah Phillips passes away; Pacifica radio memorials
28 May 2008, 8:54 am
Filed under: News & Culture, Programming

Utah PhillipsIn case you missed the news, Utah Phillips died late last week of complications related to congestive heart failure. He was 73.

Utah Phillips was one of my favorite performers and inspirations. I got the opportunity to see him perform in Madison a few years ago one of his last tours, and it was terrific. More than terrific – it filled me with joy, gave me a dose of labor & folk history, and inspired me to do good work. And it was fun! It’s a rare performer who can deliver all that in a single evening performance. In fact, I can’t say I’ve been as impressed with any show since.

Scooter wrote the following comments to the Grassroots Radio Coalition, and I think they provide a great epitaph:

Utah Phillips was the Kind Uncle of the entire human race.

Which is one hell of a thing to be, but I noticed Utah Phillips because he did radio that didn’t suck, which is not easy.

Utah Phillips talked right into the best feelings about yourself and the world. He knew how to make you love yourself. He was just an old hobo, pissed off at the system, and full of love for me and the rest of us. Seek his pissed offedness.

And find his love.

A good start for anyone’s journey

Now for the audio…

KPFA folk show host Robbie Osman did a two hour tribute to Utah Phillips on last Sunday’s “Across the Great Divide.” You can listen to the show here:

On Tuesday’s Democracy Now, they replayed a January 2004 they conducted with Utah Phillips. Listen here:

Utah hosted a show called Loafer’s Glory from KVMR in Nevada City in the late 1990s/early 2000s, which was syndicated on the Pacifica network. Information about the show and CD sales info can be found at Also, Steve Baker from KVMR has posted three classic episodes at the KVMR Loafer’s Glory page.

The family requests memorial donations to Hospitality House, P.O. Box 3223, Grass Valley, California 95945; (530) 271-7144;

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