Library Acquires Radio Personality Bob Fass's Archive

Bob Fass and studio guests
Bob Fass (standing, center) with a group of in-studio guests. Photo courtesy of Lost Footage Films.

Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library recently purchased the archive of influential talk-radio host Bob Fass, whose program on New York City’s WBAI in the 1960s and ’70s, Radio Unnameable, routinely featured candid, hours-long conversations with counterculture icons such as Allen Ginsberg ’48CC, Bob Dylan, Abbie Hoffman, Timothy Leary, and Hunter S. Thompson. The archive, which consists of some six hundred thousand minutes of broadcasts along with photographs of radio sessions and Fass’s personal correspondence, will soon be digitized and made available to library patrons.

“These were not structured interviews so much as casual hangouts that placed heroes of the counterculture in direct contact with listeners and one another,” says Sean M. Quimby, the director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. “The archive is a vast untapped resource that will support term papers, dissertations, and books for years to come.”