National Recording Preservation Foundation Distributes $50,000 in 4 Grants for Audio Preservation

For immediate release

October 30, 2018

Press Contact: Gerald Seligman (


The National Recording Preservation Foundation Grant Program announced today $50,000 awarded in 4 grants for the preservation of music, broadcast and spoken word. The grants cover collections, culture and history from throughout the United States. The grants are made possible by funds authorized through The Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2016, secured through the leadership of the Library of Congress, and the contributions of public-spirited donors.

“It is our commitment to help preserve audio recordings in a broad variety of areas by partnering with the country’s most effective archives, not-for-profit media outlets, libraries and foundations,” said NRPF Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “For this series of grants, we sought to support projects in broadcast, music, journalism and spoken word, all the areas of our concentration.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation mission is to help find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States and help recuperate collections housed within the United States.

The grants went to the following organizations:

WYSO / Survey of the Broadcast Archives of Historically Black Colleges / Universities

“Nearly a third of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have radio stations,” says Jocelyn Robinson, project director, “and many went on the air during the Civil Rights era, fifty or more years ago. Much of the material created at these stations during the struggle for equality and beyond is now at risk, as magnetic tape and other obsolete formats deteriorate. But we won’t know what needs preservation until we survey the content and conditions of the radio archives on HBCU campuses. What we discover could have enormous potential for podcasts, radio and film documentaries, and museum exhibitions, allowing students, researchers, media producers, and communities to remember, honor and be inspired by the voices of this important legacy.”

Thirty radio stations in thirteen states and the District of Columbia have been identified. They are as diverse as HBCUs themselves – public/private, large/small, rural/urban – and range in geography from the Deep South to the Midwest, from the Eastern Seaboard to the Great Plains. The report will be accessible to the radio stations, the various campus communities involved, and to all students, faculty, scholars, researchers, and media producers wishing to access these important and as yet untapped resources.

Arhoolie – The Harry Oster Collection of Field Recordings

“The funds will allow us to digitally preserve and create selected online access to a one-of-a-kind collection of field recordings made by the late folklorist and independent producer Dr. Harry Oster between 1956 and 1980,” says Adam Machado, Executive Director/Project Director fo the Arhoolie Foundation. “Captured on reel-to-reel tape, primarily in Louisiana and Iowa, this documentary collection features well-known regional musicians such as Gary Davis, Son House, Robert Pete Williams, Fred McDowell, and many obscure deep tradition artists.”

“Arhoolie is a national – and international – treasure, toiling away for decades to record and now preserve regional music from the United States and Mexico,” says NRPF Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “Chris Strachwitz and his team are models to follow in how to value and pass on milestones in popular music.”

On the Media / WNYC

The funds will allow WNYC Archives to continue cataloging On the Media broadcasts and to make the contents accessible to scholars, journalists and the general public through the website, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB).

On the Media has been the only weekly radio program on both public and commercial radio to consistently address the impact and influence of media and the changing media landscape on contemporary western culture for the last 25 years.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized and supported by the NRPF and the Library of Congress for our project digitizing the On the Media archives,” says Andy Lanset, WNYC’s Director of Archives. “This funding will ensure that a pioneering broadcast collection will continue to illuminate and provide a context to history that scholars can draw upon for years to come.”

“The NRPF is honored to help preserve the interviews from two of the finest journalists at work,” says Gerald Seligman, “Week after week, year after year, Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield turn in some of the best, most incisive and extensive interviews on radio. Preserving them is a necessity for future historians, scholars, students, the public.”

Other Minds for preservation of interviews from the Composer-to-Composer Festival

Other Minds in San Francisco will digitize, catalog, and preserve a collection of DAT tapes dating from 1988-1991 documenting various conversations, lectures, interviews, and performances presented at the Composer-to Composer Festival in Telluride, Colorado.

“The collection comprises approximately 120 hours of recordings as well as numerous ephemeral items related to the festival,” says Charles Amirkhanian, Executive & Artistic Director of Other Minds. “During those four years, the festival hosted numerous emerging and illustrious composers including John Cage, Lou Harrison, Joan La Barbara, Laurie Anderson, Anthony Davis, Terry Riley, Conlon Nancarrow, Pauline Oliveros, and many more.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation is an independent 501(C)3 mandated by an act of Congress to find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States – its music, broadcast, speeches and spoken word. The Foundation helps develop strategies, coordinate policies and fund the preservation of “The Sound of America.”


About the NRPF

The National Recording Preservation Foundation (NRPF) is an independent, charitable organization and registered 501(c)(3) entity. The NRPF works across the United States to foster awareness of the diverse perspectives and communities documented in audio, to support the preservation of historical and at-risk audio collections, and to coordinate resources for the digital preservation of audio recordings. The NRPF was mandated through federal charter by the U.S. Congress under the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-474) and was thereafter duly incorporated in 2010.

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