The Library and WGBH Celebrate 50 Years of Preserving Public Television and Radio

The Library of Congress and Boston public broadcaster WGBH will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 with a series of panels featuring pioneers and experts in public broadcasting Friday, Nov. 3, 2 p.m.–6 p.m.  The symposium—“Preserving Public Broadcasting at 50 Years”—will be held in the Montpelier room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, D.C.

The event is free, but tickets are required and there may be special restrictions.  To secure tickets, visit this event-ticketing site: 

The event also will be livestreamed on the Library’s Facebook page at and its YouTube site (with captions) at

Signed by President Lyndon Johnson, the act established public broadcasting as it is organized today and also authorized the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to establish and maintain a library and archives of non-commercial educational television and radio programs.  CPB established the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) in 2009 and, in 2013, the Library of Congress and WGBH assumed responsibility of AAPB, coordinating a national effort to preserve and make accessible significant at-risk public media.

A Library report on television and video preservation in 1997 cited the importance of public broadcasting:

“[I]t is still not easy to overstate the immense cultural value of this unique audiovisual legacy, whose loss would symbolize one of the great conflagrations of our age, tantamount to the burning of Alexandria’s library in the age of antiquity.”

The initial AAPB archive, donated by more than 100 public broadcasting stations, contained more than 40,000 hours of content from the early 1950s to the present.  The full collection, now more than 50,000 hours of preserved content, is available on-site to researchers at the Library in Washington, D.C., and WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts.  Nearly a third of the files, however, are now available online for research, educational and informational purposes at

During the symposium, panelists will examine the history of public broadcasting, the origins of its news and public affairs programming, the importance of preservation and the educational uses of public broadcasting programs for K-12 and college education, scholarship and adult education.  Also highlighted will be some of AAPB’s most significant collections, such as the “PBS NewsHour” and its predecessors, which are currently being digitized for online access, and full interviews conducted for “Eyes on the Prize” and “American Experience” documentaries.

The program schedule is subject to change, but confirmed participants include:

2 p.m. –      Introductions and Welcoming Remarks

  • Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress
  • Jon Abbott, President and CEO, WGBH
  • Patricia Harrison, President and CEO, CPB

2:15 p.m. – Origins                    

  • Nicholas Johnson, FCC commissioner, 1966-73
  • Bill Siemering, NPR co-founder, creator of “All Things Considered”
  • Newton Minow, FCC chairman, 1961-63, via video
  • Ervin Duggan, FCC commissioner (1990-93); President of PBS (1993-99)
  • Cokie Roberts, NPR and MacNeil/Lehrer contributor; AAPB adviser (moderator)

3:10 p.m. –  News and Public Affairs Talk Shows

  • Jim Lehrer, co-anchor, “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour”
  • Dick Cavett, host of “The Dick Cavett Show,” 1977-1982
  • Cokie Roberts, NPR and MacNeil/Lehrer contributor; AAPB adviser
  • Hugo Morales, co-founder, Radio Bilingüe
  • Sharon Percy Rockefeller, CEO, WETA-TV
  • Judy Woodruff, “PBS NewsHour” (moderator)

 4:10 p.m. – Documentaries: Style and the Use of Archives

  • David Fanning, creator, “FRONTLINE”                              
  • Clayborne Carson, founder and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute; senior adviser, “Eyes on the Prize”
  • Stephen Gong, director, Center for Asian American Media
  • Margaret Drain, former executive producer of “American Experience”
  • Patricia Aufderheide, university professor of Communication Studies at American University (moderator)

5:10 p.m. –   Educational Uses of Public Broadcasting

  • Lloyd Morrisett, co-creator, “Sesame Street”
  • Paula Apsell, executive producer of “NOVA”
  • Debra Sanchez, Senior Vice President for Education and Children’s Content                Operations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Kathryn Ostrofsky, instructor, Angelo State University, Department of History
  • Jennifer Lawson, founding chief programming executive, PBS (moderator)

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at

WGBH Boston is America’s pre-eminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the web, including “Masterpiece,” “Antiques Roadshow,” “FRONTLINE,” “NOVA,” “American Experience,” “Arthur,” “Curious George” and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH also is a leader in educational multimedia, including PBS LearningMedia, and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards … even two Oscars. Find more information at

Join Current for “Get with the program!: Shows that shaped public television”

2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act. Join Current for Get with The Program!: Shows that Shaped Public Television, a series of online events looking at some of the most influential public TV programs of all time. First up: Firing Line, the legendary public affairs program hosted by conservative intellectual William F. Buckley. Watch clips of Firing Line, courtesy of the Hoover Institution Archives, and discuss the impact of this groundbreaking show on American culture and public TV itself. Guests include Heather Hendershot, author of “Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on The Firing Line” and former ABC News analyst Jeff Greenfield. This free event is Wednesday, May 24 at 1 pm ET. Reserve your spot here:

Image courtesy Hoover Institution Archives

Register for our upcoming webinars

We have two free webinars coming up in January from our AAPB NDSR residents!

Challenges of Removable Media in Digital Preservation (Eddy Colloton)
Thursday, January 12th, 3:00 PM ET

Removable storage media could be considered the most ubiquitous of digital formats. From floppy disks to USB flash drives, these portable, inexpensive and practical devices have been relied upon by all manner of content producers. Unfortunately, removable media is rarely designed with long-term storage in mind. Optical media is easy to scratch, flash drives can “leak” electrons, and floppy disks degrade over time. Each of these formats are unique, and carry with them their own risks. This webinar, open to the public, will focus on floppy disks, optical media, and flash drives from a preservation perspective. The discussion will include a brief description of the way information is written and stored on such formats, before detailing solutions and technology for retrieving data from these unreliable sources.

Register for “Challenges of Removing Media in Digital Preservation”

Demystifying FFmpeg/FFplay (Andrew Weaver)
Thursday, January 26th, 3:00 PM ET

The FFmpeg/FFplay combination is a surprisingly multifaceted tool that can be used in myriad ways within A/V workflows.  This webinar will present an introduction to basic FFmpeg syntax and applications (such as basic file transcoding) before moving into examples of alternate uses.  These include perceptual hashing, OCR, visual/numerical signal analysis and filter pads.

Register for “Demystifying FFmpeg/FFplay”

AAPB Presentation at IFLA News Media Section Conference

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) News Media Section held a two-day satellite session on  “News, New Roles, & Preservation Advocacy: Moving Libraries Into Action” in Lexington, KY on August 10-12, 2016, hosted by the University of Kentucky Libraries. AAPB Library of Congress project director Alan Gevinson participated remotely with a PowerPoint that surveyed news-related materials in the AAPB collections and discussed the project’s history and goals. 

Alan’s full presentation is now available online, and more presentations from the conference can be viewed and downloaded on the University of Kentucky Libraries website.

View Alan Gevinson’s presentation here:

Kicking off the AAPB National Digital Stewardship Residency

The 2016-2017 AAPB National Digital Stewardship Residencies residencies have now officially kicked off, starting with our AAPB NDSR Immersion Week. From July 25-29, hosts, residents and mentors gathered at WGBH to learn, discuss, and review information about digital preservation and archiving audiovisual materials.

Immersion Week presentations covered a wide array of topics, including the history of public media and the AAPB, an overview of physical and digital audiovisual materials, anintroduction to audiovisual metadata, and instructional seminars on digital preservation workflows, project management, and professional development.  Each of our host mentors also delivered a presentation on the history of their station and their goals for the course of the residency.

On the more technical end of digital preservation, attendees participated a full-day session on “Thinking Like a Computer” and a hands-on command line workshop.

Immersion Week also included visits to MIT’s Digital Sustainability Lab and Northeastern University’s video digitization center, as well as a thorough tour of the WGBH archives, production facilities, and the Media Access Group.

All slides from Immersion Week can be found through the NDSR GitHub account, and several full filmed presentations will be available soon through WGBH Forum Network.

Around the edges of the planned instructional programming, residents still had the energy to check out some of Boston’s famous sites, like the JFK Presidential Library, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Fanueil Hall.

The hosts and residents have now dispersed to begin their public media preservation projects. Visit our NDSR website for updates from the residents as they document their work throughout the residency, and follow along on the #ndsr hashtag on Twitter!

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AAPB @ NFCB 2016

Earlier this month, the AAPB team traveled to Denver, Colorado for the 2016 National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) conference. This was our first year to attend the NFCB conference, and we were all very inspired by the attendees’ commitment and dedication to their work, their stations, their community of listeners, and their advocacy for community broadcasting. We left the conference excited to continue collaborations with community broadcasters to preserve and provide access to stations’ historic content.

As part of the conference break-out sessions, Karen Cariani, Alan Gevinson, Rachel Curtis, and Casey Davis led a panel discussion titled “Archiving Radio History.” During the session, Karen gave an update on the AAPB initiative and projects; Alan gave an overview of the AAPB Online Reading Room and spoke to the significance of the collection for historical research; Rachel discussed preservation activities at the Library of Congress; and Casey talked about how stations can get involved in the AAPB.

The slides above include links to the documents we referenced in the session, such as our inventory template, Collections Acquisitions Form, Deed of Gift and technical specifications, which you can also find on our website.

aapb_teamIt was an amazing conference overall, and we hope to attend again in the future. And we couldn’t leave Colorado without doing some hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park!

The Past Made Present: The 2016 WYSO Archives Digital Humanities Symposium

This announcement has been cross-posted from WYSO’s Rediscovering Radio Archives blog.

The Past Made Present: The 2016 WYSO Archives Digital Humanities Symposium

The first WYSO Archives Digital Humanities Symposium will convene on October 20-22, 2016, in honor of American Archives Month.

Sponsored by public radio station WYSO-FM in partnership with Antioch College, Central State University, Wittenberg University, and Wright State University, and hosted at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the symposium will feature speakers, exhibits, a showcase of digital humanities projects, related presentations, and faculty workshops on Digital Humanities and Pedagogy.

Call for proposals:

WYSO-FM and its academic partners invite submission of abstracts for the WYSO Archives Digital Humanities Symposium. This symposium seeks to examine the interdisciplinary nature of digital humanities scholarship as we look back on the Vietnam War period. Panels, roundtables, multi-media presentations, and posters are welcome from all areas of scholarship and from museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions. Scholars at all levels and affiliations are invited to submit proposals. Sessions may be on any topic related to the use of digital humanities, but in recognition of the significant anniversaries associated with the Vietnam era as reflected in the WYSO Archives, proposals utilizing primary sources related to the 1960s and 1970s are strongly encouraged. While the focus is primarily on audio projects, all media are welcome.

Each presentation will be limited to fifteen (15) minutes with Q&A to follow.

Proposal Deadline – June 30, 2016

Topics may include:

  • Reflecting on Sixties Activism through Oral History
  • Vietnam Veterans Remember the War
  • Using Digital Humanities to Teach Recent History
  • Digital Archives and High School Student Research
  • Radio Preservation and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

Presentation types:

Sessions will be divided into the following categories:

  • Paper/Multimedia Presentation
  • Pecha Kucha (15-20 slides shown for 20 seconds each; 5 – 6:40 minutes)
  • Poster Presentations

We encourage both scholars and students at the secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels to submit abstracts for presentations.

Submission process: 

Submissions are due by June 30, 2016. Email abstracts as an attachment to with the following information:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Institutional affiliations, if applicable
  • Session type
  • Session abstract of 250 words
  • Audiovisual needs
  • Biographical information on presenter of 250 words

Notification of acceptance or decline will be made via e-mail. Scholars with accepted proposals are expected to register for the symposium.

For additional information, contact symposium co-chair Jocelyn Robinson at or 937-241-4618.