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Early Ampex reel-to-reel

KPFA Folio October 1984

The cover for the KPFA Folio is pictured here.
It features the Köln (Cologne) cathedral seen within a span of the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. Both bridge and church are resting on a pair of KPFA tape reels The German word for ‘bridge’ is Die Brücke and it represents the vision of this acoustical alliance between San Francisco and German radio.

Bill Fontana would later implement the theme by mounting a sonic mix of San Francisco, Golden Gate sounds, with the Rhine River, which flows through Köln. It was heard simultaneously on the waterfronts of both cities.

HÖRSPIEL/USA 1981 – 1992

Radio drama in the USA, following WW2, began its decline under the dominating new medium of television, but it was during that same period, in Europe, that radio drama developed to become a major artistic medium, ranging from popular drama in all its forms to serious acoustical experiments. BBC productions were regularly heard on American non-commercial stations, such as the Pacifica network, but because of the language difference, the accomplishments of other European radio artists were largely unknown here. German radio (West Deutsche Rundfunk, WDR Köln) was one of the leaders of this new art. Literary, theatrical and musical artists, world wide were commissioned, including American artists such as John Cage, and were brought to Germany to create works with German directors in their highly developed acoustic studios.

Listed is a short selection indicating the variety of work produced during that period.


What is Hörspiel? Schöning/Bauersfeld
The First Casualty of the Trojan War Wolfgang Hildesheimer
Monologue, Terry Jo Max Benze & Ludwig Harrig
Breakfast Conversations in Miami Reinhard Lettau
Gertude Wolfgang Schiffer & Charles Durr
The Other and I Gunter Eich
Ophelia and the Words Gerhard Ruhm
Houses Jürgen Becker
Centropolis Walter Adler


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