Commemorating Presidents’ Day through AAPB Programming

George Washington’s birthday, also known as Presidents’ Day, is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. The day honors presidents of the United States, past and present, and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) has preserved historic public radio and television programs that highlight the lives and legacies of America’s presidents.

From President Washington to President Trump, public broadcasting has captured and shared commentary on the contributions of those in America’s highest position. Below is a chronological selection of programs related to, or featuring, most of America’s 45 presidents. All programs are available in AAPB’s Online Reading Room at americanarchive.org thanks to AAPB’s contributing stations.

1789-1797 | George Washington

His Excellency George Washington (2004) produced by WILL Illinois Public Media (Urbana, Illinois) speaks with the Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Joseph J. Ellis on the life of America’s first president.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-000000084f

1797-1801 | John Adams

Produced by Rocky Mountain PBS (Denver, Colorado), an episode on Foreign Policy and John Adams (1987) details John Adams presidency and international relations.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_52-75r7szs2

1801-1809 | Thomas Jefferson

Interview with Karen Hughes White (1998), archivist and founder of the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County, from WGBH‘s (Boston, Massachusetts) Africans in America.

Ms. White is interviewed about Thomas Jefferson as a man of his time and the owner of her slave ancestors.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-7m03x84j26

1809-1817 | James Madison

Produced by Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University (Stanford, California), this 2010 program explores Bob Barr: James Madison and the Original Federalists – Where Are They When We Need Them?:

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_514-z02z31pn0t

1817-1825 | James Monroe

Form 1961, Contemporary revolution in Latin America; United States and Latin America, part 1, a radio program produced by University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland), discusses the initial reaction of Latin America to the Monroe Doctrine.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_500-00003k7q

1825-1829 | John Quincy Adams

Elderly Care; Adams produced by WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts).

WGBH Journal reports on the birthplace of John Quincy Adams, home to two of America’s presidents — John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, in this episode of Elderly Care; Adams (1978) produced by WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-73pvmvcv

1829-1837 | Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson (1987) produced by Rocky Mountain PBS (Denver, Colorado) discusses the major differences of Andrew Jackson as compared to his predecessors.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_52-89280rcp

1837-1941 | Martin Van Buren

New York NOW‘s episode titled Caption Master #38 (2010) was produced by WMHT (Troy, New York) and visits the home of Martin Van Buren, and focuses on why Van Buren’s presidency was perhaps one of the most unsuccessful during his time.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_131-0966t2hw

‘New York NOW’ is New York State’s Emmy-nominated, in-depth public affairs program, featuring news, interviews and analysis from the Capitol. Each week, the program probes politicians, civil servants, journalists and others as they examine the impact of public policy on residents of the Empire State.

1845-1849 | James K. Polk

Landmarks of the Old Oregon County (1991) produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland, Oregon) examines the ramifications of James K. Polk’s decision to sign a bill making Oregon a territory.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_153-46d25bh4

1849-1850 | Zachary Taylor

Workshop in practical politics, The role of minority parties in American Politics (1954) produced by WNYC (New York, New York) looks at 1848, when the Free Soil party formed from the Liberty party and swung the election to Zachary Taylor.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_510-696zw19b2j

1850-1853 | Millard Fillmore

New York NOW’s Caption Master #45 (2010) produced by WMHT (Troy, New York) discussed Millard Fillmore as the last Whig president in the White House.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_131-98z8wm7

‘New York NOW’ is New York State’s Emmy-nominated, in-depth public affairs program, featuring news, interviews and analysis from the Capitol. Each week, the program probes politicians, civil servants, journalists and others as they examine the impact of public policy on residents of the Empire State.

1861-1865 | Abraham Lincoln

This programming includes a recorded lecture by Dr. Eric Foner on The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and the Rights of Black Americans; Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (2010) produced by WUSF (Tampa, Florida).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_304-3331zrwh

1869-1877 | Ulysses S. Grant

In the tumultuous years after the Civil War (1863-77), America grappled with how to rebuild itself, how to successfully bring the South back into the Union and how to bring former slaves into the life of the country. Among other things, Dr. Eric Foner talks about the election of Ulysses S. Grant in American Experience‘s Reconstruction: The Second Civil War ((c) 2004-2017), WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-qf8jd4qs46

1877-1881 | Rutherford B. Hayes

North Carolina People with host William Friday (2004) speaks with an historian Kenan, Professor of History from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, from UNC-TV (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_129-bc3st7f19c

North Carolina People is a talk show hosted by William Friday. Each episode features an in-depth conversation with a person from or important to North Carolina.

1881| James Garfield

This 1987 episode from Iowa Press of Iowa Public Television (Johnston, Iowa)Presidential hopeful Richard Gephardt discusses Democratic nominations in the 1998 presidential election with an historical footnote to James Garfield’s jump from the House of Representatives to the White House in 1880.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_37-182jmb6n

1881-1885 | Chester A. Arthur

In this episode of Pantechnicon, political historians draw parallels to Chester Arthur who had become president on the death of President Garfield. Pantechnicon from WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts) is a nightly magazine featuring segments on issues, arts, and ideas in New England.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-032287k6

1885-1889 / 1893-1897 |Grover Cleveland

Chrysti The Wordsmith from KGLT (Bozeman, Montana) tells the public how the term ‘Baby Ruth’ originated with President Grover Cleveland.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_309-43nvx4j7

1889-1893 |Benjamin Harrison

This segment of Oklahoma Heritage Film on the Land Run from OETA (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) discusses the legal basis for opening the Oklahoma District, now called the Unassigned Lands put into effect in 1889 when the U.S. Congress and Illinois Representative William Springer amended the Indian Appropriations Bill to authorize Pres. Benjamin Harrison to proclaim the two-million-acre region open for settlement. This covers the land run for the unassigned land in Indian Territory, David Payne and his Boomers, the Chisholm Trail, and Cowboys. Native American life prior to the land run is covered and addressed.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_521-zk55d8pq3m

1897-1901 | William McKinley

This program focuses on songs that tell stories of historical interest from the turn of the 20th century. In 1966, the program discussed the assassination of William McKinley, produced by University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_500-mk658d16

1901-1909 |Theodore Roosevelt

From WMHT (Troy, New York), ‘New York NOW’ (2009) discusses the life and contributions of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_131-38w9gndg

1913-1921 |Woodrow Wilson

From Wisconsin College of the Air (1973), Wisconsin Public Radio (Madison, Wisconsin) discusses American history from 1876, including the The Progressive Movement including Woodrow Wilson.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_30-773tz9cc

1923-1929 |Calvin Coolidge

In this 1997 segment of People Near Here from Mountain Lake PBS (Plattsburgh, New York), “meet a fellow with one of the rarest and almost priceless collections of autographs to be found anywhere; from Abraham Lincoln to Dr. Seuss.” Including tips on how to collect famous signatures and how to spot the forgeries of famous presidents such as Calvin Coolidge.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_113-472v74k2

1929-1933 |Herbert Hoover

Assignment Iowa produced by Iowa Public Television (Johnston, Iowa) is a magazine featuring segments on a different aspect of Iowa culture and history each episode including this segment on the Hoover Library (1976).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_37-322bvt3f

1933-1945 |Franklin D. Roosevelt

The television series Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. was a venue for debate and discussion on political, social, and philosophical issues with experts of the day. Guest Mr. Prichard was a “dazzlingly Bright Young Man” when he went to Washington in 1940; he never came to the prominence predicted for him because in 1949 he was convicted of vote fraud for stuffing a ballot box. Contributed by Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University (Stanford, California), this 1982 talks about the days he made it to Washington D.C. and worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_514-r49g44jn80

1945-1953 |Harry S. Truman

Guests in this 2002 episode of Evening Exchanged from WHUT (Washington, District of Columbia) discuss Harry S. Truman’s involvement with the Civil Rights movement and the speech he gave at Howard University.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_293-tm71v5c08d

1953-1961 |Dwight D. Eisenhower

This 1961 from KUHT, contributed by the University of Houston (Houston, Texas), includes Dwight D. Eisenhower’s last news conference as President of the United States with reflections on his years as President, presidential term limits, and the incoming administration.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_513-dj58c9s83k

1961-1963 |John F. Kennedy

Contributed by Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University (Stanford, California) (2003), this recording includes a talk on the life and administration of President Kennedy.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_514-sq8qb9w46s

1963-1969 |Lyndon B. Johnson

From WYSO (Yellow Springs, Ohio) (1966), President Johnson spoke at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, Ohio about about how the youth will shape their ideals and philosophy. He voiced concern that willful violence or willful indifference can tear a country apart by slow eroding confidence and regard for each other, and suggested that the nation needed to give youth more than just a right to decent meaning not just give them an opportunity to declare against something but a chance to declare for something.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_27-v40js9hs79

1969-1974 |Richard M. Nixon

“Gavel-to-Gavel”: The Watergate Scandal and Public Curated Exhibit

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/exhibits/watergate

In February 1973, James Karayn, the president of the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT), public broadcasting’s unit in Washington responsible for producing national news-related programming, had the daring idea of broadcasting the Senate Watergate hearings in full, or “gavel-to-gavel,” rebroadcasting each day’s complete proceedings in the evening for those unable to watch during the day. The result was one of the most popular series in public broadcasting history. Viewers were captivated by the memorable personalities behind the senators’ table, the stories—equal parts fantastical, banal, and horrifying—told by the witnesses before the Committee, and the revelations that threatened to force President Richard Nixon out of office. And through it all, they had the steady, balanced commentary of anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, who stowed their editorializing to allow viewers to come to their own conclusions.

This online exhibit presenting the evening rebroadcasts (as well as the subsequent broadcasts of the House Impeachment hearings) will allow contemporary viewers to experience the hearings as so many did in 1973, in full, “gavel-to-gavel.”

1974-1977 |Gerald R. Ford

In An Exclusive Interview with President Gerald Ford (1976) produced by New Mexico PBS discusses topics such as gun registries, increasing home ownership, Boston school bussing and court-ordered racial integration, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union, U.S. military preparedness, and the U.S. providing nuclear reactors to South Africa. The second half of the episode provides excerpts from President Ford’s recent speech. Contributed by PBS SoCaL (Costa Mesa, California).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_221-94vhj11d

1977-1981 |James Carter

This 1977 episode of the The MacNeil/Lehrer Report features a discussion on Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Style with guests such as Helen Heller, Jim Black, Elizabeth Erfle, Mike Russi, John Cullen, Toni Nash, Delores Shannon, Barbara Bishop, Henry Szulinski, Terry Schmidt, Helen Williams, Jim Wesley. Contributed by National Records and Archives Administration(Washington, District of Columbia).

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-ks6j09ww93

1981-1989 |Ronald Reagan

Iowa Public Television (Johnston, Iowa) re-broadcast 1982 coverage of Ronald Regan’s address to the Iowa legislature.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_37-94vhj07f

1989-1993 | George H. W. Bush

Below is a curated selection of programs with, or related to, George H.W. Bush beginning with his role as CIA Director, then on to his presidential campaigns, moderated debates, and the local reactions to his impact as a leading politician. All programs are available online thanks to the listed contributing stations.

Direct link: https://americanarchivepb.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/remembering-george-h-w-bush-through-public-broadcasting/

1993-2001 |William J. Clinton

This 1987 interview with Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas from South Carolina ETV (Columbia, South Carolina), captures a moment when Clinton was in his fourth term as the state’s governor and was considering a run for the democratic nomination for president.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_41-881jxfq8

2001-2009 |George W. Bush

From The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer contributed by the NewsHour Productions(Washington, District of Columbia), this 2000 episode includes an interview from the campaign trail in North Carolina with Governor George W. Bush who discusses American political culture, Social Security, and his qualifications for President.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-rr1pg1jf90

2009-2017 |Barack Obama

From New Hampshire Public Radio (Concord, New Hampshire) in 2007, Illinois U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, took host and caller questions about his campaign and policy positions. Obama addressed criticisms about his lack of experience to be president, his plan to end the Iraq War while ensuring the region remains safe and stable; resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict, healthcare reform vs. universal healthcare, funding his clean energy plan, investing in scientific research, federal recognition for civil unions, and his readiness to combat Republican attacks should he be the Democratic nominee.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_503-q23qv3cs75

2017-present |Donald J. Trump

Contributed by Internet Archive (San Francisco, California), President Donald Trump delivers an address to a joint session of Congress, telecast from the House chamber in 2017.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_525-251fj2b742

New Special Collection of News and Cultural Programming from Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA)!

“At the heart of this collection, are the people. The resilient men and women who have both contributed to the legacy of Oklahoma as well as the mosaic of our great nation in the area of art, music, science, exploration, politics, religion, architecture, literature, language, etc.”- Evelyn Cox, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow

Collection Summary

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OETA Special Collection

The OETA News and Cultural Programming (1980-Present) Collection includes 74 programs and segments created since the 1980s by Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA). It is a glimpse into the past, covering topics and exploring issues that are relevant to the diverse cultures of Oklahoma. The collection, which includes programs about Oklahoma history, documents issues and events such as the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, the life and career of humorist Will Rogers, the women’s war effort in World War II, and the Oklahoma City Bombing. Also featured are individuals, such as, aviator Wiley Post, Boomer David Payne, the “Hanging Judge” Charles Isaac Parker, and many others. This collection is an eclectic mix of digitized at-risk public media material from the OETA Archive with contributions from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Archive.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/oeta-news-cultural-programming!

Collection Background

The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) is Oklahoma’s only statewide coordinated instructional and public television network. In 1951 the state legislature pioneered the growth of noncommercial educational television in the United States by unanimously approving House Concurrent Resolution Number 5, urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reserve television channels for educational purposes. In addition to offering television programs supplied by PBS and acquired from various independent distributors, the network produces news, public affairs, cultural, and documentary programming; the OETA also distributes online education programs for classroom use and teacher professional development, and maintains the state’s Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) infrastructure. The OETA network’s main offices and production facilities are located at the intersection of Kelley Avenue and Britton Road in northeastern Oklahoma City. The collection was digitized in 2018 by Evelyn Cox and Laura Haygood, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellows, in collaboration with Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, through a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Featured Programs

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AAPB Launches New Special Collection of Radio Programs from Georgia Public Broadcasting, 1992-2007

Collection Summary

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The Georgia Gazette Collection consists of 102 Georgia Gazette radio programs produced by Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta, Georgia from 1992-2007. Georgia Gazette started under the name Georgia Journal as an hour long weekly call-in radio magazine that covered a wide array of Georgia topics. It is unclear when the title Georgia Journal changed to Georgia Gazette. The main host of Georgia Gazette was Bruce Dortin. After 2007, the program became a daily thirty-minute broadcast hosted by Rickey Bevington. Georgia Gazette is considered to be the longest running Georgia focused radio program in the country. Each episode focused on a variety of topics with reports from all across the state. It covered Georgia legislative issues and political events including the Georgia general assembly and elections. Common segments that were featured throughout the magazine included sports briefs, the arts calendar, fictional legal advice, and commentaries. Guests often included well-known and lesser-known Georgian writers, comedians, journalists, scholars, lawyers, artists, psychologists, and doctors. Major topics included the 1996 Olympics, teen pregnancy, race issues, and local protests.

Along with the weekly show, the Georgia Gazette team also produced an hour long monthly call-in program called Georgia Gazette Consumer Call-In, which featured guests who would give advice and inform the public on a single consumer-related topic. The Georgia Gazette Consumer Call-In program focused on the single topic of consumer rights. From time to time the program focused on a particular consumer issue such as auto recalls, credit card scams, and telecommunication development. Some guests featured in the program were the Secretary of the State of Georgia Lewis Massey and later, Cathy Cox as well as representatives from the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, Berry Reed and Trilis Halford. During this program, Georgians could call in and get help and advice directly from the experts about their consumer issues. Occasionally, the program would re-release popular segments from past shows together in an episode titled Best of Georgia Gazette.

Collection Background

The Georgia Gazette Series was contributed to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) by GPB during the AAPB Public Broadcasting Digitization Fellowship, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2018. Collection digitized by Virginia Angles and Riley Griffin.

Featured Radio Items

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Eric Saxon, Public Broadcasting Fellow at KOPN

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KOPN’s transmitter, located east of Columbia, MO

Greetings gentle reader, I’m Eric Saxon, a Masters of Information and Library Science student specializing in archives at the University of Missouri – Columbia, and part of the second cohort of the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF). This summer, I embarked on a deep tape diving expedition at the radio station, KOPN.

KOPN 89.5 FM, community radio from Columbia, Missouri, broadcasts to antennas throughout the central part of the state and via online at kopn.org. KOPN has transmitted information and music since 1973 AD. As part of the PBPF mission to record local histories across the nation, I set out to discover Columbia and KOPN as it existed in the first twenty or so years of the station, through a media format heretofore unfamiliar to me, the ¼ in. audio tape reel.

The idea was to give these audio reels new life through digital preservation, and, subsequently, new access points to the history of community radio in Columbia, MO in the era of the ¼ in. magnetic tape.

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A ¼ in. magnetic audio tape reel

What I ended up recording is only a small piece of this history, but the audible trace there tells a story of a community radio station being born out of the progressive ethos of the 1960s, open to and actively exploring all available ideas during the 1970s, and incompletely mutating into new wave ideals of the 1980s. During the era of the magnetic tape, KOPN filled a void in mid-Missouri left by mainstream broadcast radio and television, serving across an intersection of race, class, gender, style, sexuality, attitude, and musical preference.

The collection is particularly strong in broadcasts that represent feminist discourse and practice of the time, and my predecessor (Rebecca Benson, PBPF Spring 2018 Fellow) had already begun work that focused on feminist community radio. Having inherited her excellent start to the project, I built upon the theme and expanded it to include live music broadcasts and a wide range of programming, all under the umbrella of feminist community radio.

To convey an idea of this breadth, some titles of the audio broadcasts I digitized include Betty Friedan in Columbia (1973); Don Cooper Live at KOPN (1973); Consciousness Across the Void (1973); Angela Davis in Columbia (1974); Political Gayness (1974); National Women’s Music Festival (1975); The End of “Alternative Radio” on WGTB (1976); Off Our Backs (1976); The Fabulish Winotones Live (1977); Numerology (1978); The Booty Band: Demo Tape (1978); Reasonably Polite New Wave (1981); Program on Lesbian Separatism (1981); DuChamp Live at the Blue Note (1981); Bella Azbug at MU (1984); Gloria Kaufman, “The Politics of Humor: A Feminist View” (1992);  City Council Meetings; and discussions by the Women’s Health Collective.

I transferred only a few reels from the 1990s to a digital format, and none from the 2000s. (By that time, the station had switched to digital machines.) However, a quick listen to KOPN today will tell you that the community values and open radio format there in the beginning continue to be the guiding forces of the station.

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Kansas City new wave band, DuChamp. Handmade collage on tape reel box.

The digitization process not only transferred content but also often recorded the unique physical characteristics of the tape and its interaction with the reel-to-reel tape machines, which, in the University of Missouri – Columbia KOPN Digitization Station’s case, are the Studer A807 (mono) and the Studer B67 (stereo). These were hooked up to a PC and a Mac desktop computer, respectively, where both utilized the audio editing software, Audacity. I could have removed some tape hiss, a sizzle of magnetic particles here and there, and other imperfections, but I left in all but the most egregious content obfuscators, not only to digitize as much as possible in the time allotted, but also as an aesthetic choice and to preserve the unique qualities of the tape medium itself.

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The Studer A807

Emancipating the tape reels from their media-specific obscurity required multiple other steps, with some reels needing more TLC and resuscitation than others. After vigilant cleaning of the machines between reels, this process might entail repairing splices that popped off during the recording process, adding leader tape to the heads and tails of reels, re-housing tapes with broken parts, periodic demagnetizing of the tape machines, untangling and re-spooling tape that had become curled and twisted, and baking/dehydrating tapes exhibiting “sticky-shed syndrome” where deteriorating binder material becomes unfixed in the tape path and gums up the machine’s moving parts. In addition to the more physical aspects of the project, there was also record creation for each reel, inventory production, metadata researched and added, checksum generation, audio file conversion, and ingest into the mothership servers at WGBH.

Although I worked independently, at every stage I had a network of experts and mentors to turn to when encountering an obstacle, from the immersion week of audiovisual preservation training in Boston to the final handoff of the files. Thanks go out to the amazing folks at WGBH and all involved in immersion week, including George Blood and Jackie Jay for introducing me to legacy A/V equipment, all my fellow Fellows, host mentor Jackie Casteel and everyone at KOPN, faculty mentor Dr. Sarah Buchanan and the scholars at MU’s Allen Institute, local mentor Jim Hone, and every one else involved in this far-reaching project.

Going forward, I’m excited to bring forth more untold and seldom heard stories from their various limbos, utilizing what I learned as a PBPF fellow to help make a more complete historical record that is inclusive of the entire spectrum of human experience.

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Minimal audio preservation setup: computer, reel-to-reel tape machine, human

Written by Eric Saxon, PBPF Summer 2018 Cohort

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About PBPF

The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports ten graduate student fellows at University of North Carolina, San Jose State University, Clayton State University, University of Missouri, and University of Oklahoma in digitizing at-risk materials at public media organizations around the country. Host sites include the Center for Asian American Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, and KOPN Community Radio. Contents digitized by the fellows will be preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant also supports participating universities in developing long-term programs around audiovisual preservation and ongoing partnerships with their local public media stations.

For more updates on the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship project, follow the project at pbpf.americanarchive.org and on Twitter at #aapbpf, and come back in a few months to check out the results of their work.

 

Steve Wilcer, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow at WUNC

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I was thrilled to experience the myriads of different programs from WUNC over the years and be able to directly contribute to their preservation for the future.

Hello! My name is Steve Wilcer. I coordinated with WGBH and WUNC Radio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as a member of the second cohort of fellows for the AAPB Public Broadcast Preservation Fellowship. I am currently working towards a Master of Science in Library Science at the University of North Carolina and plan to graduate next spring. Prior to my time in North Carolina, I studied musicology at the Ohio State University and was exposed to a wide variety of media formats and materials, ranging from microfiche to medieval manuscripts. I developed a strong passion for libraries and archives through these experiences, which led me to pursue a second master’s degree in library science.

Learning as I work

As someone who just entered North Carolina last fall, my work with WUNC Radio offered me a unique opportunity to learn about the area and its people. Public radio provides a versatile platform for education, entertainment, and awareness programming. I was thrilled to experience the myriads of different programs from WUNC over the years and be able to directly contribute to their preservation for the future. During my portion of the fellowship, I was able to digitize approximately forty assets, with most of them being digital audio tapes. I also continued to develop the cataloging and documentation for WUNC, allowing me to experience the digitization and preservation process from a more holistic standpoint.

One particularly informative component of the fellowship for me was the North Carolina Voices special collection: This collection contains materials from two of WUNC’s special program series: Understanding Poverty and Civil War. Understanding Poverty offered a wide assortment of programs and features on various financial and social issues in the state, as well as how North Carolina has developed over the last several decades. The Civil War series contained family stories of ancestors that lived during or served in the United States Civil War. Both series provided me a valuable, more tangible insight into the people of Chapel Hill and North Carolina as I listened to their stories and firsthand experiences. I also had the artistic opportunity to design our thumbnail image for the special collection as it appears on the AAPB.

Building up foundations

Being the second UNC fellow for the project, I was fortunate that our digitization station was already set up and operational. Getting the station to work was a significant challenge for the first round of the fellowship, but fortunately, the station operated without any issues for me, thanks to all the hard work from everyone involved. One of my duties in the project was to build upon the records for the digitized materials and ensure that WUNC’s personal records were uniform and easy to understand. I frequently consulted with WUNC’s Keith Weston to confirm dates, names, and programming details. In some cases, newly rediscovered items forced us to reevaluate how we defined a particular series or piece of programming, and I would edit our records as necessary.

UNC SILS Digitization station

While the fellowship focuses on digitization, cataloging the physical DATs and cassettes I handled proved to be equally important. Without proper labeling and documentation, a given asset could be unknowingly re-recorded and cost extra time. In addition to our digital master table of records, I was responsible for labeling the physical objects and their cases with the newly-determined local identifiers for WUNC. With these markings, the cases can be quickly scanned for items that are yet to be digitized, which will make future digitization projects easier for WUNC.

I developed a strong personal connection to these items as I cataloged and marked them. Each DAT and cassette had a story to tell, and it was up to me to piece together their metadata and see that they were digitized and made publicly accessible so others could listen to them. Being one of the first North Carolina-based organizations to be included in the AAPB was very exciting for me, as our work here was not only a foundation for WUNC and its archives, but for North Carolina as a state, as well. Materials like the WUNC 1953 sign-on event reminded me how long ago some of these recordings were made, and how many more there may still be at WUNC, waiting to be digitized and heard once more.

Overall, the fellowship has been a wonderful opportunity for me. It allowed me to not only develop my abilities handling audio materials and digital records, but also provide me a way to learn about the area and its people and history. I am incredibly grateful for all the support and effort from everyone that allowed this project to be realized: my advisor, Dr. Helen Tibbo, Erica Titkemeyer from the Southern Folklife collection for her technical assistance, Dena Schultz, our first fellow for the project, Keith Weston at WUNC, and all the staff at WGBH for their supervision, planning, and feedback.

Written by Steve Wilcer, PBPF Summer 2018 Cohort

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About PBPF

The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports ten graduate student fellows at University of North Carolina, San Jose State University, Clayton State University, University of Missouri, and University of Oklahoma in digitizing at-risk materials at public media organizations around the country. Host sites include the Center for Asian American Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, and KOPN Community Radio. Contents digitized by the fellows will be preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant also supports participating universities in developing long-term programs around audiovisual preservation and ongoing partnerships with their local public media stations.

For more updates on the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship project, follow the project at pbpf.americanarchive.org and on Twitter at #aapbpf, and come back in a few months to check out the results of their work.

 

Riley Griffin, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow at GPB

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When we toured WGBH, we took turns holding an Emmy Award trophy (Image: Riley Griffin, author, holding an Emmy Award)

Hi, everyone!  My name is Riley Griffin (xe/xir).  I am just now entering my second year of graduate school in Clayton State University’s Masters of Archival Studies program.  I am the second fellow, after Virginia Angles, to be a part of the American Archives of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF).  My part of the project focused on digitizing Georgia Public Broadcasting’s (GPB) Georgia Gazette under the incredibly trusting supervision of Ellen Reinhardt, Kathy Christensen, and Joshua Kitchens.  I was looking for summer opportunities when a chance at following a career path in my new-found love for preservation presented itself through the AAPBPBPF.  I was overjoyed by the scope of the fellowship, the organizations working with it, and the special collections it included.

Every fellowship starts with certain expectations only to end with different lessons and new perspectives.  At the start of my fellowship, I spent a lot of time comparing. There were a lot of things I was not expecting, my reactions being one of them.  As we visited Boston and learned about all the different types of digital media we could be working with I couldn’t help but begin to feel this sort of jealousy–wishing I could work with as many formats and topics as possible.

Of course, this hunger decreased to a low rumble as I became humbled by the Georgia Gazette materials.  I quickly realized I craved difficulty; so, I became grateful instead of jealous.  In training, we were prepared to scrub and scrub our machines clean, take precious time delicately fixing things, and balance everything to be just perfect.  However, my project was given a bit of grace by being a more modern collection. Digital Audio Tapes (DATs) are often considered one of the most fragile media formats. However, most of them were recorded at a decent quality from the 1990’s to the 2000’s, rewound to the beginning, and left alone and undisturbed in an air-conditioned radio station.  So, please forgive me when I am grateful that the worst of my worries is how many times I dropped the (very loose) pinch roller into the machine that day.

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GPB Digitization Station (Image: Two desks with 2 computers, a DAT machine, cleaning materials, and various electronics everywhere)

The topics of everyone’s materials had me curious, too.  I was wondering what it was like to have video–as my project was only audio–and to have materials like oral histories to work with.  I quickly counted my blessings as I heard what my colleague was working on–images of war, tragedy, death, and disaster. I thanked GPB for having forward attitudes towards topics, reporters who were nearly-emotionless in comparison, and pert news reports.  I am a very sensitive soul and could imagine having to wait the tears out before being able to see what you’re working on. I also realized I was having a hard time with some of the Georgia Gazette material.  One thing I experience as an archivist who moves all over is major culture shock.  I think being an archivist is one of the best ways to learn about the place you have just moved to. But it also exposes you to things much quicker than you expect.

I’m from upstate New York, which has a different demographic and historical context; although I’m not unfamiliar with racism, being deeply embedded in Georgia’s racial history as I digitized GPB’s daily news was a new experience for me. I had moments of weeping at work as I listened to news reports about the Georgia General Assembly holding expensive special sessions in order to redistrict purely based on race, schoolchildren being prevented from going the schools they want as a result of segregation, and segregation’s long-term effects on Georgia school districts, which I still hear about today. Although I knew about these issues in the abstract, hearing them firsthand was very emotional for me and adding visuals might have been overwhelming.

I would be lying if I were to say I came away from this project without any further attachment to Georgia.  Although it has exposed me to some of the ugly parts I try to avoid in my daily life, it has also exposed me to so much more.  Even the drive to work showed me the oldest drive-in movie theater in the area that is still working.   I also got the opportunity to listen to all of the preparation and execution of the 1996 Olympics.  I am a huge fan of all things Olympics, so

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Indeed, this was the “WORST Gazette ever” (Image: close-up of a DAT labelled “Maxell DAT; Gazette 01-20 95; WORST Gazette ever”)

this was a special treat for me. The Georgia Gazette has given me a sort of pseudo-pride of Georgia; every guest and topic on the show had a relation to Georgia.  Learning about popular historical figures like Blind Tom Wiggins or popular events like the National Grits Festival in Warwick gives me a great appreciation for where I live and the opportunities available to me here.  It has also given me a deeper and fuller appreciation for public broadcasting, something that had already been instilled in me.  In a time where everyone is flocking to Georgia for jobs, often displacing long-term Georgians, I remind myself that my brief time being here must be purposeful.  I hope to help make their history more accessible so that they can feel that true sense of pride they deserve.  With the Georgia Gazette, I hope I did just that–even if it was just a little bit.

 

Written by Riley Griffin, PBPF Summer 2018 Cohort

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About PBPF

The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports ten graduate student fellows at University of North Carolina, San Jose State University, Clayton State University, University of Missouri, and University of Oklahoma in digitizing at-risk materials at public media organizations around the country. Host sites include the Center for Asian American Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, and KOPN Community Radio. Contents digitized by the fellows will be preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant also supports participating universities in developing long-term programs around audiovisual preservation and ongoing partnerships with their local public media stations.

For more updates on the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship project, follow the project at pbpf.americanarchive.org and on Twitter at #aapbpf, and come back in a few months to check out the results of their work.

AAPB Welcomes Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship Spring 2018 Cohort

Following up on our post this past September announcing our IMLS-funded Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF) project, we’re very excited to introduce our first cohort of Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellows!

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PBPF fellows, mentors and project staff at Immersion Week in Boston

The PBPF supports students enrolled in non-specialized graduate programs to pursue digital preservation projects at public broadcasting organizations around the country. The Fellowship is designed to provide graduate students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in the practices of audiovisual preservation; address the need for digitization of at-risk public media materials in underserved areas; and increase audiovisual preservation education capacity in Library and Information Science graduate programs around the country.

Over the spring semester of this year (and summer semester for our second cohort), each fellow will inventory, digitize, and catalog a small collection of audiovisual media; generate technical and preservation metadata; and process the digital files for ingest into the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The fellows will collaborate with a faculty advisor at their university to document their work in a 3-5 page handbook and video demo. The fellowship will also support a digitization station at each university for the use by the fellows and future students enrolled at the universities.

Please welcome the members of our PBPF cohort:

Fellow: Virginia Angles

  • Program: Clayton State University
  • Host Organization: Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Host Mentor: Tanya Ott, Vice President of Radio and News Content, Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Faculty Advisor: Josh Kitchens, Director, Master of Archival Studies Program
  • Local Mentor: Kathy Christensen, former VP of News, Archives and Research at CNN

 Virginia Angles is an aspiring archivist with a background in Art History and Chemistry. She is currently pursuing a second masters in Archival Studies with a focus in digital preservation.

Fellow: Rebecca Benson

  • Program: University of Missouri
  • Host Organization: KOPN Community Radio
  • Host Mentor: Jacqueline Casteel, KOPN Community Radio
  • Faculty Advisor: Sarah Buchanan, Assistant Professor, Library and Information Science
  • Local Mentor: James Hone, Digital Archivist, University Libraries, Washington University in St. Louis

Rebecca Benson is a graduate student in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Missouri, where she works in the Special Collections and Rare Books department of Ellis Library. Her research interests include digital communities, story-telling and reception, and the preservation of ephemeral narratives.

Fellow: Evelyn Cox

  • Program: University of Oklahoma
  • Host Organization: Oklahoma Educational Television Authority
  • Host Mentor: Janette Thornbrue, Vice President of Operations, Oklahoma Educational Television Authority
  • Faculty Advisor: Susan Burke, Interim Director and Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Studies
  • Local Mentor: Lisa Henry, Curator/Archivist, Political Communication Center, Julian P. Kantor Political Commercial Archive

Evelyn Cox is a graduate student enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) Program at the University of Oklahoma.  She obtained her undergraduate degree in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a wife and mother of two. She was born on the beautiful island of Guam but currently resides in Oklahoma. Evelyn has been a public school English teacher for over seventeen years. She has earned her National Board Certification in English Language Arts, has been a Great Expectations Instructor, has coached track and field, and has served on multiple grant writing and curriculum development teams. Upon graduation of the MLIS Program, Evelyn seeks to pursue a career in archives where she can combine her love of literature, history, and culture. Through archiving, she plans to take an active role in documenting and preserving history that adds to the cultural identity and awareness of the Chamorro people of Guam.

 Fellow: Dena Schulze

  • Program: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Host Organization: WUNC
  • Host Mentor: Keith Weston, Web Producer and Back Porch Music Host, WUNC
  • Faculty Advisor: Helen Tibbo, Alumni Distinguished Professor, SILS
  • Local Mentor: Erica Titkemeyer, Project Director/AV Conservator, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dena Schulze  is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Library Science with a concentration in archives and records management. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s in English. She is a major movie buff and that’s what got her started on the road to a/v archiving and preservation. Dena’s dream would be to work in a film archive when she graduates. When she is not working, reading, or watching movies, she is playing with her new puppy, Bodhi who just turned six months old! Dena is very excited about this opportunity and being a part of saving audiovisual material for future generations.

Fellow: Tanya Yule

  • Program: San Jose State University
  • Host Organization: Center for Asian American Media in collaboration with the Bay Area Video Coalition
  • Host Mentor: James Ott, Director of Finance and Administration, Center for Asian-American Media
  • Faculty Advisor: Alyce Scott, Lecturer, School of Information
  • Local Mentor: Jackie Jay, Preservation Technician, Bay Area Video Coalition

Tanya Yule is a current MLIS candidate at San José State University, focusing on archives and photography preservation; she received her BFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, with a background in traditional darkroom methods, and photomechanical printing. Tanya is an intern at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University, and resides in San Francisco with her husband and adorable dog Otto.

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PBPF Fellows at Immersion Week in Boston – from left to right – Tanya Yule, Dena Schulze, Rebecca Benson, Virginia Angles, and Evelyn Cox.

WGBH Awarded Grant by Institute of Museum and Library Services for Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship

Grant of $229,772 will fund students’ work on digitization of historic, at-risk public media content from underrepresented regions and communities

BOSTON, September 28, 2017 – WGBH Educational Foundation is pleased to announce that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded WGBH a $229,772 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant to launch the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship. The fellowship will fund 10 graduate students from across the United States to digitize at-risk audiovisual materials at public media organizations near their universities. The digitized content will ultimately be incorporated into the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between Boston public media station WGBH and the Library of Congress working to digitize and preserve thousands of broadcasts and previously inaccessible programs from public radio and public television’s more than 60-year legacy.

“We are honored that the Institute of Museum and Library Services has chosen WGBH to lead the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship,” said Casey Davis Kaufman, Associate Director of the WGBH Media Library and Archives and WGBH’s AAPB Project Manager. “This grant will allow us to prepare a new generation of library and information science professionals to save at-risk and historically significant public broadcasting collections, especially fragile audiovisual materials, from regions and communities underrepresented in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.”

WGBH has developed partnerships with library and information science programs and archival science programs at five universities: Clayton State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Oklahoma, University of Missouri, and San Jose State University. Each school will be paired with a public media organization that will serve as a host site for two consecutive fellowships: Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, KOPN Community Radio, and the Center for Asian American Media in partnership with the Bay Area Video Coalition.

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

The first fellowship will take place during the 2018 spring semester, from January to April of 2018. The second fellowship will take place during the summer semester from June to August of 2018. The grant also will support participating universities in developing long-term audiovisual preservation curricula, including providing funding for audiovisual digitization equipment, and developing partnerships with local public media organizations.

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About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent 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 www.wgbh.org.

About the Library of Congress
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 loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provide a central web portal for access to the unique programming that public stations have aired over the past 60 years. To date, nearly 50,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and more than 22,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.

About IMLS
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.