BONGO’s BIO “WORD, SOUNDS AND POWER FROM THE TOP OF KILi TOWER, A HUNDRED THOUSAND WATTS OF VICIOUS LAKOTA POWER”, opened the REZ ROCKIN REGGAE SHOW from Porcupine South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation over the hill from Wounded Knee, one of the most infamous locations in American history. Rasta themes of unity in struggle for survival and resistance to the Babylon system of oppression were well received in four states by the American Indian Movement and grandmas who have been resisting the shitstem their entire lives, praying in the old ways even when it was against the law.
To keep the show relevant I would visit among family and friends in Oglala, Pine Ridge and Slim Buttes practicing monologues. When I said loudly ,YOUTMON YOU KNOW YOU BEEN DRINKING SO GIVE UP DE K.EYS AND DON’T SCRASH DE CYA AND MAKE THE GRANDMAS CRY! Grandma Celene Not Help Him, a descendant of the Wounded Knee massacre said, “Yes. Yes, say it, I’ll be listening, and so were thousands of Indians in rezes spread out over four states.
I know you want to hear more Indian radio stories because not to many of us washichu* know what Indians are like, what they do and how they think and I am the conduit for you.
In my first radio days I only had tapes recorded in Jamaica to work with, so it took nearly two hours to cue up the show. So I pulled into the station and Buzzy Two Lance said, Bongo, I’m glad you’re here. I been here since dark, the relief dj never showed and I’m tired and hungry. Start your show two hours early. It was ten minutes to twelve and he had a reel to reel large tape playing, told me to turn it off play the promos and begin with de reggae ryddims
The transmitter was an old US surplus army job from WW2 with huge knobs, and my training was non existent. When I turned off the reel to reel, opened the show with the words at the beginning of this blog, hit the button on the small tape machine, nuttin happened. In a panic of dead air, I tried to get the reel to reel back on, failed, so alls I had to work width was my small boom box and two mikes. I swung mike two over to the boom box and said”Hey KILI djays, Bongo needs help Me cyant get the Bomboclat mac\hine to work, and by the time two songs played I could hear the roar of a Chevy 350sliding up the icy hill to the station. A long hair Indian youth ran in, clicked some switches and turned some huge knobs, and heavy like lead, AND DREADER THAN DREAD Reggae recorded in Jamaica rocked the speakers of Skins all over South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming
So gentle readers, please mention the Blogapus to your friends and I promise weekly true stories of early radio days.
*Lakota, “stealer of the fat”