Famous WBAI caller passes away: RIP Monroe

Like Elvis or Madonna, some people are famous and prolific enough to be known by only one name.

If you ever listened to WBAI 99.5FM in NYC, or attended board meetings, you couldn’t help but brace yourself when you heard the name “Monroe”. Monroe Litman was a constant presence on community radio station WBAI. He was often critiquing, suggesting, or just criticizing. He had famous interactions with Grandpa Al Lewis. And, he was sometimes indulged for time by Hugh Hamilton.

Monroe Litman passed away this holiday season. I first heard the news on-air from the stand-in host on the Hugh Hamilton Show. The news was confirmed to me by a WBAI insider who I correspond with, as well as a local activist who sent around an RIP e-mail. There is sadness over his loss. And, I am also feeling the shock of realizing that someone who is so persistent can be suddenly gone.

So, yes. Rest In Peace, Monroe. And, may WBAI continue to learn from and grow with other fans and critics who find their way into the listening community.

Stay tuned to 99.5 FM in NYC/WBAI, or this website, for updates. It is expected that there may be a public memorial service planned, but there are no announcements yet.


For a small taste of Monroe’s praise and criticism of WBAI, you can see the following Youtube, where he makes a somewhat cranky appearance at 7min 13sec:

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7 Responses

  1. He will NOT be missed by me! I think he was the # 1 reason that WBAI pledges have been down. I would switch stations whenever I heard his voice. There is a fine line between persistent and annoying. You can guess what side I thought he was on.

  2. I miss Monroe vs. Grandpa!

    Their dueling, and other Grandpa goodness, was featured underneath this collage I did on WFMU a few years ago:


    Starts around an hour an 18 minutes in, and comes and goes for a long time:

  3. will you be missed when you go / Probably not.Which side are you on smaRT OR DUM

  4. I liked Monroe. I thought he was entertaining, especially when he pissed off the hosts.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Ray.

      I definitely think that Monroe had a likeable streak. And, he accomplished things by sharing ideas and building community.


  5. I tend to like Monroe also. Yes, he was annoying, but that was entertaining in an otherwise boring show!

  6. Saw an article in today’s online NYTimes which mentioned someone named Litman. *That* brought the beloved Monroe to mind. Six years! No more live Monroe, ever. A decent felliw.

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