KPFT's “The Prison Show”

Tales from death row: Justice for Rodney Reed by Caitlin Adams

As of this writing, 3/5/12, injustice time is 130,807 hours. 5,450 days, and to my knowledge there is still no resolution to Rodney's property issue.

One Friday night in 1999, Rodney was "surfing" the radio dial when what seemed to be a normal conversation caught his attention. He tuned the station in and listened, and to his surprise learned that it was a program for Texas prisoners, their friends and families. Rodney listened with great interest as wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends called in and "shouted out" to their loved ones. Rodney said to me at a recent visit that he cherished being surrounded by all the love that was expressed on the show. Needless to say, Rodney has listened to “The Prison Show” every Friday night at 9 p.m. since that fateful day.

“The Prison Show” has been around for over 30 years. Ray Hill, the founder of the show, was its first host and only recently passed on the host responsibilities to David Babb. I first listened to the show on May 6, 2011, after Rodney had written me about the show. That was the first night I called in to "shout out." I didn't get through that night, much to my disappointment (and Rodney's). However, I have been very successful since then and it is now a Friday night ritual for me as well.

The show is completely staffed by volunteers, including David, who each week bring important news concerning TDCJ, legislative action, criminal justice stories from around the country, services for prisoners and parolees, and an occasional proxy wedding. Texas is one of only a few states that permits proxy weddings and KPFT's “The Prison Show” has served as wedding chapel and reception hall. The show also often has guests — authors, attorneys, activists, and service providers — live in the studio or live on the phone line.

For Rodney the show has many memories, and provides a much needed connection with the outside world. In 2006, during a fund drive (KPFT is solely supported by contributions from individuals), Renee Feltz, a reporter who had done an interview and story about Rodney and his case, called in to the show and made a pledge in Rodney's name. For the first time Rodney was able, through the generosity of another person, to become a member of the station he had come to value so highly. A station that had become "family" for Rodney. 

Another of Rodney's earliest memories of the show is of a 5-6 year old little girl, Alexis, singing "You are my Sunshine" to her father. On the first occasion of hearing Alexis sing, Rodney recalls how at the end of the song, instead of singing the lyrics "please don't take my sunshine away," Alexis sang, "please don't take my daddy away." Each Friday night, Alexis still sings to her father, who goes by Tokyo, and I have to say, it is no doubt something I look forward to each week as well. Alexis' sisters, Brianna and Stacey and their grandma also "shout out" too.

I knew that my "shout outs" each week were really important to Rodney. I came to understand just how important one day, at a Friday visit, when Rodney said to me as our visit was coming to an end, "Don't forget shout out tonight. Those 2 minutes that you are talking to me is like I really have you with me in my cell."

Thanks to “The Prison Show” staff for all their work, their commitment to improving the lives of so many and especially for my 2 minutes with Rodney each Friday night.

“The Prison Show” airs on 90.1 FM in the Houston area, or online at

Caitlin Adams is a resident of Bastrop, Texas. After meeting the family of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed outside of their home in early 2011, she began writing with Rodney. She has developed a friendship with Rodney's mother Sandra and his family in Bastrop, as well as making regular trips to death row to visit Rodney. 

After learning about the facts of Rodney's case, Caitlin has become an advocate for Rodney Reed – here we present Caitlin's story about her journey for justice.