Summer in the City - 1965

Trouble Comin’ Every Day – Five Nights In Watts – August 11-17, 1965

Click on the link here for Audio Player – KMPC-AM – 2-Way Communications – Watts Riots – August 11-17, 1965 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Forty-nine years ago this week, an L.A. suburb called Watts exploded in five nights of violence and mayhem – and the whole country paid attention.

In what was to become a symbol of life during the 1960s, scenes of burning buildings, depictions of widespread violence and shootings, the appearance of National Guard troops patrolling streets, descriptions of choking smoke spread over a city became almost commonplace for life in America during the Summer.

Perhaps Summer in the city, with a perfect storm of sweltering heat, smoldering frustrations and simmering anger – but perhaps just the times and the coming-to-a-head of things. It was the bad moment in bad times.

So on five nights in August in 1965 Los Angeles became the object of rage – and it became one of a series of wakeup calls. Those wakeup calls which keep repeating over and over. Even now.

But as a reminder of uncertain times, while we were in the midst of them – here are some never-before-heard two-way communications between field reporters, covering the Watts riots for KMPCAM radio in Los Angeles. It’s raw tape – nothing has been edited out and, with the exception of the actual live broadcast of field reports, nothing else has ever been broadcast.

Scary times – particularly when you don’t know the outcome. Especially when you’re right in the middle of it.

It’s a little bit like life on this particular August 14th in 2014.

Here is roughly 78 minutes of raw reports from between August 11th and 17th, 1965.

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1 Response

  1. mike gray says:

    I watched the TV coverage from KTLA in Delano that summer … unbelievable, but it happened.

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