|Chopped Liver Productions||
"Uhuru, brothers and sisters. Asalaam alacheim. This is Mama O'Shea and we are shoutin' out and fightin' back, in our common struggle to survive."
Mama's standard greeting to radio listeners
|THE MAMA O'SHEA PAGE|
|Internet News Satire Video Commentary|
Meet Mama O'Shea, talk radio pioneer and hero
I first heard Mama's voice coming out of my radio sometime in the 1980's. My imagination concocted a skinny, white-haired, dirty-minded little black lady. But when I walked into the studio I encountered a fat, white-haired, dirty-minded big white lady.
I was already in love with her so it didn't matter. And I was determined to make Mama love me back -- which was easy, because Mama's heart was as big as her voice, and her voice carried all over Northern California for over 25 years.
Mama passed away in 1998. Every year since then, my dear friends Mary Moore and Barry Korengold and I have done a tribute to Mama on KPFA, bringing back her voice and her spirit to people who remember her fondly, and others who never heard of her before. We've always gotten great response from our program, and yet every year it gets harder to get the air time on KPFA. We just don't have the connections we used to.
But we still have a web page. Right here. And we are also the keepers of the radio archives of "Shoutin' Out With Mama O'Shea," so we're all set to make this Mama O'Shea's home in cyberspace and will regularly add audio clips of Mama's show.
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Oh typical, typical. Mama was feeling her oats one afternoon and decided to poke fun at her loyal engineer. That would be a lot of fun if I wasn't the engineer in question.
The date of this broadcast was January 7, 1994. Her other regular engineer, Barry Korengold, was out of town and Mama had a disturbingly clear idea of what he was doing in Las Vegas.
Original air date: January 7, 1994
The whole state of California was horrified by the murder of sweet, innocent, 12-year-old Polly Klaas by a career criminal. The Republican governor, Pete Wilson, was quick to advocate an authoritarian bill into law ensuring that if someone is convicted of a crime after two prior convictions, they'd be thrown in the pokey. He made a point of exploiting xenophobia in his campaign.
The "Three Strikes You're Out" law was on Mama's mind this day.
Original air date: November 6, 1992
Thanks For Listening, and I'll Dig You Later!
We will be adding plenty more clips and, we hope, videos of Mama O'Shea right here on this page after we've settled in. Please feel free to be a part of our tribute to Mama! If you remember Mama, or if you have thoughts about her based on these clips, please drop us a line at web @ chopped liver productions dot com (no spaces -- you know what to do).
This is one thing that drove me nuts about Mama O'Shea: Huge football fan. Don't even think about calling her while a game was going on. And she encouraged listeners to call in and talk about the Forty-Niners throughout football season.
Fortunately, this was Berkeley and plenty of listeners agreed with me that football was a big stupid waste of everyone's time. That provoked some interesting conversations.
Here's another one where Mama gets utterly outrageous and I'm sitting there waiting for Management to stalk in and throw her off the air. But it was her honest opinion, expressed in that inimitable way that only Mama O'Shea could.
KPFA is always on the brink of one crisis or another, and community groups in the Bay Area often rally to discuss what can be done to bring the radio station back to its mission of speaking truth to power. This short clip was recorded at a "Take Back KPFA" community meeting in 1995 and gives you a taste of Mama's fearless determination.
copyright 2011 * Janice Leber, Chopped Liver Productions