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Kauffman Museum to present Outlaw Radio program

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Kauffman Museum will present Newtonian Levi Goossen as disc jockey Paul Kallinger in the one-man show, "A Renegade Broadcast on Outlaw Radio: Re-creation of XERF Radio of the ‘40s and ‘50s." The program is planned for 3:30 p.m., Sunday, June 1 at the museum. Admission is free and open to the public. The historical spoof re-enacts a program of the "Evening Gospel Hour" and its songs and pitches as heard on XERF. The outlaw radio station, located in Del Rio, Texas, beamed its colorful programming from across the border near Ciudada Acuna, Mexico, and beyond the reach of the Federal Communications Commission. XERF presented an odd mixture of gospel and hillbilly music, fundamental Pentecostal preaching and fraudulent advertising.

XERF was the originator of "Pay to Pray" radio, which, according to Goossen, started the radio ministry movement in both legitimate and illegitimate forms. Many radio ministries learned their broadcasting techniques from XER, as the station was called during the ‘30s. Though disliked by the Mexican people and government, the fundamental preaching was allowed as a retaliation against the United States’ and Canadian governments’ domination of frequency treaty negations under Herbert Hoover, then director of Commerce.

Called a "border blaster," XERF had at one time as much as 1 million watts of power and was considered the most powerful transmitter in the world. At its peak, the signal was so strong that telephone and fence lines would pick up the broadcasts. Under ideal conditions XERF was heard worldwide.

Listeners never knew of the shenanigans to keep the station on the air -- the bribery, fraud, medical quackery and violations of postal regulations.

Goossen’s show includes his own performance, with guitar accompaniment and audience sing-along, of Southern gospel songs popular at the time and the outlandish sales pitches heard on XERF and other border radio stations for more than 40 years. His portrayal of Kallinger introduces the audience to a variety of colorful characters, including a Pentecostal preacher, politician and quack doctor. Kallinger was the main evening DJ and commercial pitchman from 1947 to 1968.

Goossen practices law in Newton and is municipal judge of North Newton and Whitewater.

Kauffman Museum is located at 27th and North Main on the Bethel College campus in North Newton. Call (316) 283-1612 for more information.

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