Last June, KOPN staff dug deep into the archives to bring you a rebroadcast of THE ESCAPE TAPE. In 1981, two escaped inmates from the Missouri State Penitentiary located in Jefferson City called into KOPN while they were on the lam. State officials were actively trying to locate the escapees while KOPN had them on the line, airing their grievances against the prison conditions while they hid out. Back then, KOPN was home to the program Zebra Sunrise, a prisoner advocacy and education show. Jim Ellinger, former KOPN programmer and a member of the Zebra Sunrise team, joined us in June 2020 to recount the events that led to The Escape Tape, and the wider project of prisoner advocacy at KOPN.
Ellinger is a longtime community media activist based in Austin, Texas and founder of Austin Airwaves. He is interviewed in this segment by Mallory Daily, KOPN Operations Assistant, and Tim Pilcher, Station Manager. It was recorded during the Summer 2020 Pledge Drive.
Pictured above: Members of the Zebra Sunrise team (left-to-right): Butch Grace, Octavia Hayes, and Jim Ellinger.