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Progressive Radio Network News Blimps

BMPAudio January 8, 2021

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New releases from the archives and legacy of BMP’s founder Ben Manilla:

The News Blimp ( was a syndicated radio feature created in the early 1970s. Free-form rock radio was emerging on the FM dial, pushing aside classical music stations. This was the time of George Carlin’s “seven dirty words you can’t say on TV”. The young hippie-types programming these rock stations bumped up against the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC dictated not only what COULDN’T be said on the radio, but also what HAD to be said, that included a percentage of airtime for news and public affairs. On the dominant AM stations, announcers read tele-typed reports from the major agencies along with local sports, all presented with the reverb set on overdose — the antithesis of cool FM radio. A pair of radio rebels got a new idea. They interviewed experts on then-outsider topics like the environment, the underground economy, and home computers. Mixed those with snippets of popular songs and contemporary comedy to create a kaleidoscope of sound that met the FCC’s news and public affairs requirement. The News Blimp was born.

News Blimp January 8, 1978: Five months after Elvis Presley’s death, we bemoan his passing.

Now, some of the News Blimps are being re-released after being unheard for nearly half a century.

See more at

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