Friday, May 17, 2013

NEA ❤ Pacifica Radio Archives

In 2011, Pacifica Radio Archives received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to preserve 150 programs from our vaults, with preservation assistance from George Blood Audio and Video in Philadelphia, PA. Early programming on Pacifica stations was at times truly radical. They remain the only radio network to have been bombed by a right-wing group. Capturing this content and archiving it properly contributes to our understanding of the times. They were a wunderkind of radio. More here. Pacifica described the grant as follows:
"Where previous grant projects have focused on specific themes and topics in our collection, the NEA 2011 collection represents the sheer depth and breadth of Pacifica’s vaults, a place where over sixty years of history, politics, and the arts blend together. We are pleased to once again partner with the Internet Archive to bring this unique collection to a wider audience."

But what's surprising is how recent some of the audio is; and that serves as a reminder of how cutting edge Pacifica continues to be. Some of the programming it includes are two speeches by revolutionary poet Sonia Sanchez in 1992. It also includes on site recordings from a march of of gay activists in NYC’s West Village to protest the shooting of William Friedkin’s Cruising; a 1982 report on the role of video games in American culture.

This follows a prior 2011 NEA grant to preserve fragile and deteriorating reel- to-reel recordings of Gore Vidal, Dylan Thomas, Bishop Desmund Tutu, Pete Seeger, Dizzy Gillespie, Odetta, Judy Chicago, an Edith Piaf Memorial, Mind’s Eye Theater radio drama, Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara , Memorial for Phil Ochs, the 1964 Student Free Speech movement at the University of California Berkeley, and Pacifica’s coverage of the Watergate scandal.

That was preceded by a 2007-2008 grant to preserve key recordings including 1962 recordings of the poetry of Charles Bukowski, audio experiments by Bill Butler and Bob Fass, a 1968 interview with Jerzy N. Kozinski, live performances by the Last Poets group, 1958 news coverage of the Salton Sea disaster and recordings of Lorraine Hansberry and Duke Ellington, and hours more.