Richard Owen Moore was one of the original founders of listener-supported KPFA, along with Lewis Hill and Eleanor McKinney, in Berkeley, California—the first station in what is now the Pacifica Foundation.
Throughout Moore’s long and multifaceted life and career, he worked as a poet, filmmaker and documentarian, television executive, peace activist, conscientious objector, and even a former dancer.
On April 15, 1949, Moore was the presenter of the first program on KPFA’s air: Anglo-American Folk Ballads.
Moore was a published poet and a close associate of Kenneth Rexroth’s intellectual circle in San Francisco; in fact, it was Moore who persuaded Rexroth to undertake what became a celebrated series of ad lib monologues.
Moore went on from his work in radio to a long career as a pioneering television broadcaster, including work at KQED in San Francisco, PTV Inc. and KTCA in Twin Cities
Moore died on March 26, 2015, a week before the official publication of his new book, Particulars of Place, by Omnidawn. His previous book, published in 2010, was the Northern California Book Award nominee Writing the Silences, collecting the previous 60 years of his work.
A comprehensive obituary on Moore is available at Current.org, including “Lately Removed,” a poem from his last book Particulars of Place.
You can read an homage to Moore published by The City Lights Booksellers & Publishers Blog here, which includes an installment of his 1965 documentary series USA: Poetry.
Below is a video of Moore in 2009 reading his poetry, recorded by University of California Television as part of their Lunch Poems series.