Turn Your Radio On: Michael Toms Is Interviewed by George Leonard

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In this hour and 50 minute program, the microphone is turned around, and Michael Toms becomes the guest of New Dimensions. He gets personal about his own mystical experience and the synchronicities that led him to his life’s assignment. This revealing dialogue describes the initial beginnings of New Dimensions, which looked at the emerging cultural consciousness from various viewpoints. He also describes how he doesn’t prepare questions for his guests: “If I prepared questions, I’d find myself thinking of the questions I wanted to ask rather than being there with the person who was across the microphone from me. What I found is most important is to practice being there all the time. In a very real sense, the practice of doing a New Dimensions interview is a meditative experience for me. It is a practice of being in the moment and being with the person. And that is an experience all of us need to have more of in our life.” This was a live radio program and includes call-ins from listeners. (hosted by George Leonard and Phil Catalfo) 


Michael Toms (1940-2013). In 1973, after Michael left a successful advertising career, he and his wife 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. 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 Radio. By 1980 the series was being distributed nationally. Relying primarily on listener contributions, Michael and Justine continued to produce and distribute the series, now broadcast online and on radio stations across the U.S. and worldwide. 

Besides his ongoing work as New Dimensions host, 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. 

He is the editor of several publications based on his work with New Dimensions including:

Topics explored in the dialogue includes: 

  • What is the origin story of New Dimensions
  • What Toms learned about the “aliveness” and spontaneity of radio
  • What is the personal difference between watching television and listening to radio
  • How television can be overly produced and loses it spontaneity
  • How hosting New Dimensions is a meditative practice of being present in the moment
  • How deep communication happens
  • How George Leonard had a mystical experience in a call-in radio program
  • What are the roots of Toms’ spiritual practice
  • Who Jesus is to Toms 

Host: George Leonard & Phil Catalfo                        Date: 10/24/1982                        Program Number: 1722