Announcing the 28th Annual KPFA Grateful Dead Marathon

Article Contributed by Tanya Pinkerton | Published on Saturday, January 4, 2014

Berkeley's pioneering listener-supported radio station, KPFA, presents its annual Grateful Dead fund-raising marathon on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 9:00 am to 1:00 am. Host David Gans promises a bounty of unreleased and previously-unheard music by the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, and related artists. There will be a live performance (musicians TBA) from the KPFA studio.

David Gans is a well-known expert in Grateful Dead music. He has produced a nationally-syndicated radio program, The Grateful Dead Hour, since the mid-'80s, and he has been a programming consultant and on-air host on SiriusXM's Grateful Dead Channel since its inception in 2007. He has published three books on the subject and is at work on a fourth, and he has produced several important boxed sets and compilations of Dead-related music. He has hosted a weekly program (known as "Dead to the World" since 1995) on KPFA since 1990. "I did my first Grateful Dead fund-raiser at KPFA in 1986," Gans recalls. "I think the first few were four hours or so, but somewhere along the line we decided that this musical world – and this generous audience – merited a whole day. And if you're gonna do 12 hours, you might as well do 16!

Gans is a KPFA listener as well as a KPFA programmer: "I listen to Letters and Politics, Visionary Activist, America's Back 40, and many more," he notes. He has served on KPFA's local station board for several years, and is active in station governance. "I am as passionate about the importance of community radio as I am about the music I play in my two unsupervised hours of air time. I see this annual marathon as a gift of service to both the station and to the listening community, and I am deeply thankful to the Dead organization and the Garcia family for the opportunity to broadcast unreleased music from their archives."

In the weeks leading up to the 2014 marathon, as in 2013, Gans will auction photos and other desirable objects via the Facebook page of his weekly program Dead to the World. "Several of our community's finest photographers have donated prints of their favorite photos, and I've got some other interesting items lined up, too," says Gans. "I'm going to offer up one of my own laminated backstage passes – all for the benefit of KPFA."

Oakland's Barlovento Chocolates will once again offer a truffle-making session in the auction. "Last year this prize was won by Jim LeBrecht of Berkeley Sound Artists," says Gans, "and I got to spend the day with Jim and chocolatier Peter Brydon creating and manufacturing delicious treats!"

The San Francisco Chronicle ran a feature article by Carolyn Jones on the morning of the 2011 marathon:

KPFA is the nation's first listener-sponsored, non-commercial radio station, founded by the Pacifica Foundation in 1949. From the station's Facebook page:

"Founded in 1949 by Lewis Hill, a pacifist, poet, and journalist, KPFA was the first community supported radio station in the USA. KPFA broadcasts on 94.1 FM and KPFB 89.3 FM, Berkeley, and KFCF 88.1 FM, Fresno, California. Our signal reaches one third of the state, utilizing 59,000 watts.

"Much of our programming is local, original and eclectic, with a well-produced mix of news and in depth public affairs, an ongoing drama, literature and performance series, interviews, and reviews. Our music ranges from folk to hip hop, Bach to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. We travel the region to broadcast live music, demonstrations, and cultural events. The majority of our staff are unpaid community volunteers donating their time and energy to bring you our programming."

Learn more about the History of KPFA

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