The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress, WGBH Boston and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, announced on April 7, 2015 that it has launched a new website at americanarchive.org, providing the public with access to a collection of American public radio and television content dating back to the 1950s. These audio and video materials, created by more than 120 public broadcasting organizations across the country, have been digitally preserved, and will be a resource for scholars, researchers, educators, filmmakers and the general public to delve into the rich history of public broadcasting across America. One of the contributing radio stations is UMass Boston’s WUMB, which contributed information describing 3,257 media items to the AAPB project inventory . Of those, 108 cassette and reel-to-reel tapes were delivered to AAPB to be digitized, including recordings of 1980s programs such as Black Perspectives and From the Source, in-studio musician interviews and performances, call-in programs on topics ranging from the Boston Public School Committee to campus events, interviews with local political and cultural figures and much more. All of the 3,257 archival media items documenting WUMB’s past programming are preserved in University Archives and Special Collections in the Healey Library, and they may be listened to by scheduling an in-person visit to the department. Better yet, as of this coming fall, the media files themselves will be accessible online to the global community as a rich source of information about local issues and local history. Stay tuned!
Along with WUMB’s contributions, public radio collections from around the U.S. have contributed interviews and performances by local and national luminaries from a broad variety of professions and cultural genres. A few examples include Public Television’s interview with Olympic runner Jesse Owens, recorded in 1979, the last year of his life; KUSC’s (Los Angeles) broadcast of commentary by George Lucas on the original three Star Wars movies; Twin Cities Public Television’s recording of a 1960 interview with presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey; and WGBH’s 1967 interviews with then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.
More information is available on the American Archive blog at americanarchivepb.wordpress.com.