‘New Dimensions’ Host Michael Toms Dies at 72

San Francisco, CA - Michael Toms, longtime host of the radio program “New Dimensions,” died peacefully in his sleep on January 24, 2013. He was 72.
Michael Toms Headshot
Michael Toms Headshot
Feb. 13, 2013 - PRLog -- For four decades, Toms broadcast his dialogues with the world’s leading-edge thinkers on the weekly series, New Dimensions Radio which he co-founded with wife, Justine Willis Toms. Called “the Socrates of Radio” Toms hosted widely acclaimed interviews with such luminaries as H.H. the Dalai Lama, Joseph Campbell, R. Buckminster Fuller, President Jimmy Carter, J. Krishnamurti, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Dr. Andrew Weil, Huston Smith, and thousands more, bringing innovative ideas into mainstream culture. Toms’ sensitive, engaging interviewing style was heralded by many in the industry.

“In this day of fortune-cookie philosophies and bumper-sticker politics,” said public-television producer and host Bill Moyers, “it is refreshing to find a sanctuary for sustained conversation where two people truly communicate, with a large audience leaning across the electronic sofa eavesdropping. ‘New Dimensions’ is a safe haven for that kind of sharing.”

In 1973, after Michael left a successful advertising career, he and Justine were inspired to produce a six-week public lecture series, “Horizons of Consciousness,” at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco, to bring attention to the powerful grassroots revolution of consciousness taking place at that time and continuing today. While that lecture series was still underway, Michael was invited to host live programs on San Francisco public radio station KQED-FM, and those programs soon evolved into “New Dimensions.” By 1980 the series was being distributed nationally. Relying primarily on listener contributions, the Toms continued, over the decades, to produce and distribute the series, now broadcast online and on radio stations in over 300 communities worldwide, with over 1.3 million monthly listeners.

In 2007, Stanford University Libraries acquired the entire archive of Toms’ audio interviews of approximately 3,000 individuals, recognizing the “New Dimensions” series as one “whose guests rank among the world’s leading voices of wisdom, learning, faith, science, the arts, social change, hope and healing, and having been responsible for the launching of trends, revealing wisdom of the ages, and pushing the boundaries of form, language and spirit.”

Besides his ongoing work as “New Dimensions” host, over the years Toms served on the board of directors of KQED, Inc.; was a founding director of KZYX-FM (Philo, CA); and was co-founder and executive director of Audio Independents, Inc., a national organization supporting the interests of independent radio producers and audio artists. He also served as board chairman emeritus for the California Institute of Integral Studies and as senior acquisitions editor for HarperSanFrancisco, for whom he acquired more than 50 titles, including The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Lama Sogyal Rinpoche.

Toms was also the bestselling author of A Time for Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy and An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms, as well as seventeen additional books based on his “New Dimensions” interviews, including The Well of Creativity; The Soul of Business; The Power of Meditation and Prayer; Buddhism in the West; and At the Leading Edge. He joined Justine as the co-author of True Work: Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do.

Toms received numerous awards for his broadcast endeavors, including an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2009 from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. In 2011, Michael and Justine Toms were both inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

The work of “New Dimensions” continues under Justine’s guidance. Michael is also survived by grandchildren Meghan and Jeremy Toms, of North Carolina, and stepson Robert Welch, of Mandeville, Louisiana.

A public memorial service will be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco on Saturday, March 9, 2013, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. Please contact Suzanna Gratz at (415) 250-1380 or inspiringpromotions@gmail.com for more information about the event, and to coordinate media availabilities for Justine Willis Toms.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to New Dimensions Radio (www.newdimensions.org).


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