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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Title 24 Carrot Award

24 Carrot Award Trophy

In each issue Vegetarians in Paradise presents the 24 Carrot Award to an outstanding person or organization that endeavors to practice or promote education, natural health, wholesome nutrition, and ecology techniques for the mutual benefit of humans, animals, and the earth.

Vegetarians in Paradise proudly presents its 24 Carrot Award to Bob Linden for his efforts in creating the only vegan radio show in North America and for his diligent humanitarian work in the media to spread the vegan message.

His radio show GO VEGAN WITH BOB LINDEN is currently heard on 870 AM KRLA in Los Angeles, on CBS-owned 1550 AM KYCY in San Francisco, and worldwide on http://www.GoVeganRadio.com. Throughout his career Bob has courageously used the medium of radio to advance animal and environmental causes.

What follows are the questions asked by Vegetarians in Paradise (VIP) and the answers by Bob Linden (BL).

VIP: What got you started in radio? How long have you been involved in this media?

BL: I first became involved with radio at my college station, WQMC, at Queens College (which was when I adopted the love-of-my-life doggie who would share fifteen years with me, many of them for him as a happy carrot-chomping vegetarian). Prior to that I had been a fan of progressive FM radio, WNEW-FM in New York, in particular, which was the soundtrack to a very political era. I marched out of my high school in protest against the Vietnam War and I danced in the mud at Woodstock celebrating how melody can bring people together, not realizing the apprenticeships for the future that they were; for activism and the radio and music biz.

VIP: Sounds like you got hooked on DJ-ing. How much control did you have over what selections were played on radio in the early days? Did you find it rewarding?

BL: I honed my music programming skills at the Friday night parties at my apartment choosing track by track from those relics of a bygone era, record albums, which required a special talent cueing for radio airplay that today's CD button pushers could never appreciate. Oh the good old days of pre-deregulated consolidated radio when one could only own one AM and one FM station in a city, which usually created last place desperate owners open to doing something creative. Those were the openings I created for myself which were most rewarding in my career, which allowed me to construct very different sounding music stations that were community-active.

VIP: In what cities have you held broadcast positions? Tell us about some of those jobs.

BL: Radio is a gypsy life. The houseful of furniture move after move dwindles to boxes of clothes, radio memorabillia, and animal rights leaflets. After college, my dusty radio trail took me to the KIIS BROADCASTING WORKSHOP in Los Angeles where, for a fee, they would teach me how to lose my New York accent ( put R's where they belong, take R's out where they don't belong ) and allow me to make my initial on-air blunders in LA but between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. I lived in Tarzana and commuted to Mojave 168 miles daily for my first real radio job, selling advertising during the week and country music DJ-ing on the weekend...Eeeehaaa...Then, as DJ and Program Director, on to future rock and jazz stations, most of which I totally "remodeled"... KXFM Santa Maria, Z-92 Omaha, LOVE-94 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, STAR 106FM San Antonio, KKLZ Las Vegas, KIFM San Diego, CD 101 New York, 94Q Atlanta, THE SOUND Seattle, JAZZY 100 Washington, D.C., WNND Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill. There is nothing more satisfying to me than presenting a 24/7 meaningful music experience on the radio that creates an active diverse community. Bob Linden

VIP: Have animals always been a part of your life?

BL: I have always loved animals, from reading stories about beavers building a dam in a book in my elementary school, P.S. 152, Manhattan, to hugging Buddha-the-Cow (and slipping him an organic apple) a few days ago at the Gentle Barn sanctuary in Tarzana. Yet I unquestioningly accepted the comments in my 6th grade class at P.S. 152 from my teacher, Mrs. Steckler, of how odd the behavior of people in India was, that even with starvation, they still will not eat cows.

VIP: It's evident that animal rights are an important focus of your radio show? What do you admire most about animals?

BL: There is only one other pursuit I find worthy of my time, and that is activism on behalf of animals. I am in awe of the grace, beauty, strength, intelligence, and love characteristics of animals. They are the miracles on this planet. I truly can't think of anything more beautiful than the face of a deer, or the face of a wolf, or really, just about any species. And then I can't believe that anyone would shoot one, for fun, no less.

VIP: Have your views on animals created any conflicts for you in your career?

BL: When I was program director at KNUA/ THE SOUND in Seattle, I initiated a drive to collect towels for oil-soaked otters in the Alaskan oil spill. When the management decided to accept fur advertising, the general manager and I had a few choice words, and I was invited to leave the station. After that a similar situation arose when I was program director at JAZZY 100 in Washington, D.C. Because I had increased station billing from $70,000 per month to $700,000 a month going from worst to first in the ratings, the station's ownership agreed to donate the amount of the advertising to groups of my choice, like PETA and the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). I have always tried to make my stations active in community service, especially animal and environmental causes.

VIP: Did you grow up in a family that was vegan or vegetarian?

BL: I thought very differently in the 6th grade from what I think now. While then, normalcy was a breakfast of bacon and eggs, lunch was a burger and fries, and dinner was a lamb chop (finally, the animal is named...but even that is no deterrent), I now regard that normalcy as lunacy. How was I born into a family of savage barbarians? They seemed so nice. How were they coerced into the cult of the carnivore? How unevolved I was to salivate over the skin I would pull from murdered birds' bodies, or to feast on tongue sandwich, or snack on intestine. Is there nothing more aberrant than a diet of body parts?

VIP: When did you decide to go vegetarian?

BL: In 1971 I decided to become a vegetarian when I realized that the chicken on my plate was murdered for my eating pleasure. My future ex-mother-in-law screamed, "You're going to die if you eat like that!" She's right but that event should occur in the distant future. I've been vegan for 17 years.

VIP: How do you view those who eat meat?

BL: We may seem modern and sophisticated coming up with the technical feat of the bar code, and the package bought with it may seem innocent and sanitized, but a trip to the supermarket is the gathering of the pack, humans who should know better, growling, "count me in on the violence...you can murder in my name." I always wonder how the first meat salesperson got his first sale, and how it caught on so well. "You want us to eat what?"

Go Vegan Radio Program

VIP: What events led to the Go Vegan! With Bob Linden radio show?

BL: It is the horror that animals face becoming food, clothing, experiments, and entertainers that compels me to create the weekly radio show that is GO VEGAN WITH BOB LINDEN, a totally unexpected broadcasting adventure for me. "Vegan Talk Show Host" was not a career goal for me. I never saw it listed in the classifieds. The seed for the show was planted when I was promoting the first Los Angeles vegan festival, WORLDFEST in summer 2000, after promoting another similar vegan event, SAN DIEGO FALL-FEST in 1999.

VIP: So it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time?

BL: I actually always had a vegetarian TV show in mind for a future endeavor, but while being interviewed on a KRLA pet program for WORLDFEST, that show's producer, Suzanne Lishon (a future producer on my show), suggested pursuing radio, duh, since I had been in it over twenty years. Eventually, word surfaced on the availability of an hour on KRLA, and within two weeks enough advertising was secured to cover the airtime purchase.

VIP: Is finding advertising support challenging?

BL: It's no easy feat in that the universe of potential sponsors is limited to vegan and cruelty-free products and services and no McDevil's, Murder King, When-Dies, Kill's Jr, KFC (Killing For Cash) propaganda dollars welcome here. This does make marketing a fun, constant, and full-time challenge.

VIP: What are the rewards you earn from doing the show?

BL: When I listen to the show in my headphones on Sunday morning, and I hear the remarkable guests and how they are making the world a better place, and I hear the important and fascinating subject matter unavailable anywhere else in the media. it is all worthwhile. I often hear of examples of people who do GO VEGAN as a direct result of listening to the show. Nothing makes me happier!

VIP: Is the show is only heard in Los Angeles?

BL: I am so grateful for the opportunity to try to be of service to the cause of animals, and to be able to do so in such magnificent and responsive communities as the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. (Who knows what future expansion opportunities may develop?)

VIP: With vegan awareness steadily growing, what do you envision 10 years from now?

BL: As awful as the subject matter sometimes is, I have learned that there are so many wonderful and compassionate people all over the world, as I hear from listeners in California and beyond (who log on to www.GoVeganRadio.com), that it gives me hope that given access to the facts and the feelings, sometime soon GOING VEGAN will be natural evolution for any real caring, thinking person. May we meet soon at the padlocking of the doors of the last McDonald's, closing for lack of demand. To the banning of meat, fur, leather, wool, silk, circuses, rodeos, bullfights, and laboratorturies!!!

>Click here for past 24 Carrot Awards

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