The National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) Collection, now available on the AAPB website, consists of more than 5,500 radio programs from the 1950s and 1960s, created by over 100 NAEB member stations. The collection includes radio documentaries, coverage of events (hearings, meetings, conferences, and seminars), interviews, debates, and lectures on public affairs topics such as civil rights, foreign affairs, health, politics, education, and broadcasting.
These broadcasts, mostly stemming from university and public school-run radio stations, provide an in-depth look at the engagements and events of American history, as they were broadcast to and received by the general public in the twentieth century. Interview subjects and/or program participants feature a “who’s who” of mid-20th century public figures, including Hubert Humphrey, Betty Shabazz, Robert Frost, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alistair Cooke, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Margaret Mead, Studs Terkel, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Marshall McLuhan, and Aldous Huxley. The collection also contains a notably large percentage of local content and voices, from a WDET Detroit series about local civil defense plans and policies called “Prepare for Survival,” to a series entitled “Document: Deep South,” a documentary series produced by WOUA at the University of Alabama depicting the increasing importance of the South in the economic development of the United States, to a show entitled “Search for Mental Health,” a series of talks about advances in psychiatry from the University of Chicago.
The NAEB was established in 1934 from a precursor organization, the Association of College and University Broadcasting Stations, that formed in 1925. The mission of the NAEB was to use communications technology for education and social purposes. It was an extremely successful and effective trade organization that, throughout its 60 years of existence, ushered in or helped to enable major changes in early educational broadcasting policy. In 1951, NAEB established a tape duplication exchange system in Urbana, IL, where programs produced by university radio stations across the country were copied and distributed to member stations, an early networking scheme that influenced the history of later public radio and television systems. The forerunner of CPB and its arms, NPR and PBS, the NAEB served as the primary organizer, developer, and distributor for noncommercial broadcast production and analysis between 1925 and 1981.
The NAEB Collection was contributed to the AAPB by the University of Maryland’s National Public Broadcasting Archives. The paper records of the NAEB are housed at University of Maryland and additional related materials are located at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) has launched a new digital exhibit titled “Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting.” Historic preservation is more than just saving old buildings from the bulldozer. Histories can be shared or silenced depending upon the preservation of places that represent a larger story. AAPB Digital Exhibits Intern Kara Zelasko uncovers how people have used public broadcasting to advocate, negotiate, or protest historic preservation efforts across America. Kara is currently a public history graduate student at Northeastern University interested in exploring history as a tool for placemaking and community engagement.
Using a diverse range of public radio and television content from 1950 – 2012, more than 100 digitized, historic public broadcasting programs, local news reports, radio call-in shows, and interviews document the important relationship historic structures have fostered between people and their neighborhoods. These visual and audio records digitized and preserved by the AAPB reveal the ways people have used or rejected preservation in the ever-changing American landscape to share local and national histories, illuminating the ways Americans have envisioned their communities through buildings and sites that connect past to present.
Bill Inge, host of WILL’s radio call-in broadcast “Focus,” asks Richard Moe “how do we decide what buildings are worth saving?” Moe, then president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, answers that the decision essentially lies within the community and what will best serve its current and future needs. This answer underlines the struggle historic preservationists encounter between saving a building to share the past while also serving the community of the present. Listen to the full episode here.
This segment from New Jersey Nightly News explores the Victorian buildings that have come to define Cape May’s community. The interview reveals how Cape May, like many other places, have come to recognize the economic incentive in preserving buildings and landscapes that speak to the neighborhood’s character. Watch the full segment here.
This interview from South Carolina Educational Television’s “Connections” discusses the disappearing cabins of enslaved people in South Carolina. Historic preservation can be a way to uncover marginalized stories that have been previously ignored. This record and others found in the exhibit reveal how histories have been both erased and uncovered in the American landscape over time. Watch the entire episode here.
Oklahoma mentor Lisa Henry (left) cleaning a U-matic deck with Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow Tanya Yule.
This Thursday, February 15th at 8 pm EST, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) staff will host a webinar covering quality control tools and technologies used when ingesting digitized collections into the AAPB archive, including MDQC, MediaConch, Sonic Visualizer, and QCTools.
The public is welcome to join for the first half hour. The last half hour will be limited to Q&A with our Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellows, who are just now beginning the process of digitizing at-risk public broadcasting collections to be preserved in the AAPB.
Historic WRVR-FM Archives Receives CLIR
Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Award
More than 4,000 hours of cultural and political radio programming from the 60s and 70s to be made public
Morningside Heights, NY – The Council on Library and Information Resources has awarded a grant of $330,000 to digitize, preserve, and make publicly accessible previously unavailable archives of the Peabody Award winning radio station WRVR. Public Radio as a Tool for Cultural Engagement in New York in the 60s and early 70s: Digitizing the Broadcasts of WRVR-FM Public Radio is a joint project between The Riverside Church in the City of New York and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation. The collection includes culturally significant non-commercial programming, including interviews, speeches, and musical interpretations on matters such as civil rights, war, and fine arts, from laypersons to famed scholars, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Pete Seeger.
Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Digitizing Hidden Collections program supports the creation of digital representations of unique content of high scholarly significance. This award will support the preservation and digitization of over 3,502 recordings representing 4,000 hours of programming from WRVR from the 1960s and early 1970s. Owned and operated by The Riverside Church from 1961-1976, WRVR was the first station to win a Peabody for its entire programming, in part for its coverage of the Civil Rights movement in 1963 Birmingham. In addition to featuring progressive religious and philosophical discussions with Riverside clergy, theologians, and scholars, such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., WRVR programming included culturally significant topics, speakers, and performances, such as Langston Hughes’ “Jericho-Jim Crow” directed by Alvin Ailey, and interviews and readings by Robert Frost, John Ashbery, and Allen Ginsberg. The station also featured the program “Just Jazz with Ed Beach,” which collection currently resides at the Library of Congress.
Preservation of these materials will enhance study in many disciplines, including theology/religion, political science, and communications, especially related to American Christianity, homiletics, progressive responses to the Civil Rights movement, contemporary issues of race and sexuality, the cultural impact of the 1960s, and public radio as a tool for cultural engagement and social media precursor.
These recordings will be made publicly available at the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH. The AAPB coordinates 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 70 years.
Sample recordings include:
“Back to School in Birmingham; Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence, Part 4 [1 of 2].” May 1963 Riverside Radio, WRVR
Robert Polk (Riverside Church) interviews teenagers recently released from jail for participating in the 1963 Children’s Crusade in Birmingham. Over 1800 children, some as young as six years old, peacefully protested and were met with fire hoses and police dogs.
“The American People; What is Patriotism, Part 1 [1 of 2].” 1964 Riverside Radio, WRVR Interviews with various Americans exploring attitudes about patriotism in the middle part of the twentieth century through discussing flag waving, nationalism vs. patriotism, and critically thinking about one’s country.
Arthur Miller. Statement for World Theater Day, March 27, 1963 Riverside Radio, WRVR, Riverside Archives (The Riverside Church) Arthur Miller remarks on theater’s ability to speak universal truths and understanding in art, and how this particular art form, above many others, informs society’s response to war, politics, freedoms, and all matters of the human condition across nations and cultures.
“Listen! William Sloane Coffin Jr.: Conscience, Protest & War.” Interview on WRVR, March 31, 1968 Riverside Radio, WRVR. Riverside Archives (The Riverside Church) William Sloane Coffin Jr., chaplain at Yale University (later Riverside Senior Minister, 1977-1987), discusses his indictment for conspiracy to encourage draft evasion and the politics of the Vietnam War; peace activism, civil rights and Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign, and how Dr. Coffin’s privilege informs his work as a clergyperson, activist, and American.
About The Riverside Church Located in Morningside Heights on the Upper West Side, The Riverside Church in the City of New York is one of the leading voices of Progressive Christianity, influential on America’s religious and political landscapes for more than 85 years. Built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and currently led by The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, the interracial, interdenominational, and international church has long been a forum for important civic and spiritual leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, President Clinton, the Dalai Lama, and countless others. Visit www.trcnyc.org or find us on social media to learn more about our rich history and the latest news and events.
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 70 years. To date, over 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 the Library of Congress and WGBH, and more than 30,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.
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 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 CLIR The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.
About the Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at mellon.org.
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) has launched a new digital exhibit about newsmagazines, a popular form of news presentation spanning five decades of radio and television broadcasting. Departing from mainstream examples such as 60 Minutes and All Things Considered, the exhibit brings together unique programs produced by independent stations from across the country for the first time as a unified collection. The newsmagazines showcased in “Structuring the News” cover topics from labor strikes to a day in the life of an air traffic controller, and emphasize conversations and voices often overlooked by network news shows.
“Structuring the News” is curated by Digital Exhibits Intern Alejandra Dean, and highlights 42 definitive examples representing both metropolitan producers and smaller, regional studios. Many of the shows in the exhibit prioritize local issues and communities, providing a window into American daily life from 1976-2016. In addition to defining the format, the exhibit looks at important precursors during the 1960s that experimented with news reporting.
To celebrate the launch of “Structuring the News: The Magazine Format in Public Media”, the exhibit’s curator, Alejandra Dean, AAPB Project Manager Casey Davis Kaufman, and Mark Williams, Professor of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth College, will be discussing newsmagazines in a Facebook Live event at 12pm EDT on Thursday, July 6th. Don’t miss this inside look at over fifty years of broadcast newsmagazines, and the chance to ask questions about the exhibit! To watch, head to WGBH’s Facebook page at 12pm EDT on July 6th.
Earlier this month, the AAPB team traveled to beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia to attend the annual Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) conference. AAPB team members Karen Cariani, Casey Davis, Lauren Sorensen, and Sadie Roosa gave multiple presentations and coordinated events throughout the conference, including Karen’s presentation on WGBH’s new open-source digital repository, HydraDAM; Lauren Sorensen’s Github 101 presentation and her coordination of the annual DLF/AMIA AV Hack Day; Casey’s presentation and committee updates on the work of the AMIA PBCore Advisory Subcommittee; and Sadie’s leadership and coordination of the AMIA News, Documentary, and Television Committee meeting. And on the last day of the conference, Karen, Lauren, and Casey — along with AAPB participants Margaret Bresnahan from Minnesota Public Radio and Nadia Ghasedi from Washington University’s Film and Media Archive — gave a presentation on the progress of the AAPB initiative.
Karen, AAPB Project Director at WGBH, kicked off the presentation by providing an overview of the current grant project’s goals and timeline, as well as goals for the future of the AAPB initiative.
Casey, AAPB Project Manager at WGBH, followed Karen’s presentation by giving an update on the efforts to date at WGBH, including the near conclusion of the digitization project; WGBH’s experience of digital media failure when contributing WGBH files to the AAPB; challenges regarding the submission of digital files from other stations; outreach; PBCore efforts; navigating issues regarding access to the collection; and project proposals.
Lauren, Digital Conversion Specialist for the AAPB at the Library of Congress, then discussed the AAPB work happening at the LOC. Lauren explained collaborations with WGBH on improving metadata and cataloging; PREMIS modeling for preservation metadata at the LOC; mapping PBCore to LOC’s MAVIS system; and the development of a preservation plan.
Then, Margaret Bresnahan (MPR) and Nadia Ghasedi (Washington University) described their experiences as an AAPB contributing institution, including MPR’s participation in the Content Inventory, Digitization, and Born-Digital phases of the initiative, and Washington University’s participation in the Born-Digital phase of the initiative as an academic institution.
The team received excellent feedback from the audience and from AMIA members throughout the conference, and we look forward to sharing more updates on the project at next year’s conference in Portland, Oregon!
The American Archive team from WGBH presented at the PBS Annual Meeting in San Francisco. We had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of our station collaborators in person and gather tremendously useful feedback from participants. Many thanks to all of those who attended the session and reception, as well as those who took the time to meet with us at other moments during the conference. Additionally, we are sincerely grateful to our co-presenters, Sandy Schonning from KQED and Laura Sampson from Rocky Mountain PBS’ Stations Archived Memories program.
Below we’ve provided our Annual Meeting slideshow, divided into three sections: 1) history and progress of the American Archive, 2) stories from stations, and 3) discussion. During the discussion section, we asked a series of questions, and in this version of the presentation you will find a summary of the answers. If your organization is participating in the American Archive, please feel free to comment on this post with your answers to these questions (or questions about these questions!).
Feel free to email any of our session presenters:
Karen Cariani, Director WGBH Media Library & Archives
karen_cariani [at] wgbh [dot] org
Casey E. Davis, Project Manager, American Archive
WGBH Media Library & Archives casey_davis [at] wgbh [dot] org
Laura Sampson, Rocky Mountain PBS
Stations Archived Memories
laurasampson [at] me [dot] com
Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air today as we share with you a clip from the American Archive, contributed by Chicago Public Media (WBEZ), featuring Little Milton singing “I Want to Love You” at the Chicago Blues Festival in June of 1987.
“The Chicago Blues Festival has been a Chicago institution for over 30 years and has grown to hold the title of the largest free blues festival in the world. Held every summer in Chicago’s Grant Park, the festival has consistently featured blues legends alongside the future stars of the genre and, despite Chicago’s embarrassment of riches when it comes to blues artists, features performers from around the world. If they’ve sung the blues, chances are they’ve appeared at the festival,” says Chicago Public Media’s Director of Studio and Broadcast Operations Adam Yoffe. “WBEZ has been lucky enough to capture some of the earliest years of the festival to tape, and are excited to bring them to the archive in the coming months.”
Chicago Public Media’s music archives feature interviews and live performances with many of the most revered jazz and blues figures in the country and includes hundreds of reels that date from the mid-1980s to the early ’90s, such as performances of jazz greats Etta James and Dizzy Gillespie and blues legends Lonnie Brooks and Koko Taylor.
This program we’re sharing today was originally recorded on 1/4″ audio tape and was digitized in the first 40,000 hours of the American Archive collection, which are now being preserved at the Library of Congress.
And while your in the Valentine’s Day spirit, you should check out today’s Google Doodle. WBEZ’s This American Lifehas collaborated with Google on today’s Doodle, featuring candy hearts and Valentine’s Day-themed stories produced by This American Life.
**Audio clip courtesy Chicago Public Media (WBEZ). All rights reserved.
Thanks to American Archive intern Bill Nehring for editing today’s clip.
This post was written by Casey E. Davis, Project Manager for the AAPB at WGBH