Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Radio. Radio is something almost magical to work, it needs naught, but a little imagination. I think of it as the most personal form of communication; more than any other form of mass communication. That’s because radio most approximates how a personal phone call works. For it is usually sound without visuals. Radio at its best is conversation, keyed not only to how people speak, but perhaps most importantly, how they listen. I began working in radio, at local college radio stations, from Temple and Drexel University. I would tie up a studio for hours to complete a commentary that usually lasted about three to four minutes long. I wouldn’t start taping until I got it just right. These stations didn’t pay a penny in pay. But they offered invaluable experience. I use street interviews, demonstrations, phone calls, and even a United Nations audio take to provide material for my work. My basic idea was to cover almost all instances of protest, no matter what the cause. I felt at home reporting on such events as these. I wanted my work to radiate to all audiences the message of revolution. Radio is a communication of intimacy conducted mostly during the dark of night. And while radio happens at all hours of the day, it’s nightlife, in the hotel rooms, bedrooms, and other places of darkness, and quietude explain its unique power. And while TV captures images, radio captures ideas: ideas that flew like night birds flying to new nests, new imaginations of the mind. And while radio was ever the home of the magic of music, commentaries also flew along with unseen frequencies, ascending with ideas and visions of resistance, rebellion, revolution, and freedom. In that spirit, I join you now in Germany, danke ich spreche. Mumia Abu Jamal. These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio