The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) contains more than 100,000 items of digitized public broadcasting programs and original materials. Some notable collections are featured in Special Collections with a finding aid that provides detailed information about the content, recommended search strategies, and related resources.
Below are four collections preserved and recently contributed by ThinkTV, WGBH, and the University of Maryland Digital Collections. These collections include historic interviews and public broadcasting coverage of local, national, and global topics spanning the 1940s to 2010s. View all AAPB Special Collections online at americanarchive.org!
National Federation of Community Broadcasters Programs
The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) Programs Collection contains approximately 600 radio broadcasts, made available in the University of Maryland Digital Collections. The files make up about 20% of the NFCB Program Archive held at UMD’s National Public Broadcasting Archives (NPBA). The NFCB, founded in 1975, helps public media community radio stations get and stay on air, advocates for stations and minority radio producers, and fights for policies that ensure the support and continued existence of community stations. The collection, which includes materials from the 1940s-1980s, contains historic broadcasts from stations and independent producers in the U.S. and Canada, and includes music and performances from around the world, as well as speeches and interviews from influential and historically-significant figures.
Rock & Roll
The Rock & Roll Special Collection features 166 raw interviews from the 10-part series of the same name, also known in the UK as Dancing in the Street: a Rock and Roll History. The series, which focused on the progression of rock music from its beginnings in the 1950s to its contemporary forms in the 1990s, was co-produced by WGBH and the BBC. The series used interviews with artists and industry insiders to examine the influence and growth of musical styles like R&B, jazz, soul, heavy metal, glam, reggae, country, and rap on the rock and roll scene.
Traditions: Ohio Heritage Fellows
The Traditions: Ohio Heritage Fellows Special Collection features elements from the first three seasons of the ThinkTV series of the same name, which celebrates the arts in Ohio and provides a spotlight for artists engaging in folk and cultural artistic traditions from the US and abroad. The collection includes a total of 223 files, including seven full 30-minute episodes, 139 raw interviews, and 77 performances. Each episode includes brief profiles of various Ohio Heritage Fellows, including samples of the artist’s work, as well as interviews with the artist and with art scholars knowledgeable about the artist’s work and genre. Traditions: Ohio Heritage Fellows has been produced by ThinkTV since 2009 and derives its name from the numerous winners of the Ohio Arts Council’s Ohio Heritage Fellowship Awards who are featured throughout the series. The series is hosted by writer and performer Chiquita Mullins Lee, Arts Learning Coordinator with the Ohio Arts Council.
A note from Miranda Villesvik, AAPB Archivist:
Working on this collection was a revelation for me. I had no idea that Ohio had such a wealth of artists, artisans, and musicians working in such a variety of fields, and it was really great to hear directly from them about their work. Because this collection is so rich in content, it was important to us that we make access as clear as possible for users, so a lot of preparation work for this collection included linking various parts of interviews together and transforming PDF transcripts into a format that the AAPB could read. Of course, working on the collection also included curation of the featured items. Since I was so interested in learning about the breadth of artists in Ohio, I wanted to make that a main feature of the collection, so I made a point to include artists working in a variety of media and representing a variety of cultures.
War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
The War and Peace in the Nuclear Age Interviews Collection includes 334 full interviews from the PBS series of the same name. The series, originally broadcast in thirteen parts in 1989, examined the nuclear competition between the US and the Soviet Union spanning the period between World War II to 1989. Weekly episodes took a chronological look at specific periods during the nuclear arms race and the Cold War, including the launch of Sputnik, the negotiation of SALT I, the MX Missile, and the global arms race in the UK, France, China, India, and Pakistan. War and Peace in the Nuclear Age was a co-production between WGBH, Central TV in the UK, and NHK in Japan.
A note from Miranda Villesvik, AAPB Archivist:
War and Peace in the Nuclear Age (known around the WGBH office as WAPINA), was a challenging collection to write, because of both the topic and the content. The series itself was large, and a fair number of the files that were on OpenVault weren’t available on the AAPB, thus requiring data harmonization before the collection could go up. The large number of files also meant that I had a large number of interviews to pick from for the Featured Items section, but it was also a positive since I was able to pick a relatively representative bunch of interviews to feature, including speakers of various nationalities and positions on nuclear weapons.
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a national effort to preserve at-risk public media and provide a central web portal for access to the programming that public stations and producers have created over the past 70 years. To date, over 100,000 items of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized, and the Archive aims to grow by up to 25,000 additional hours per year. The entire collection is available for research on location at WGBH and the Library, and currently more than 50,000 programs are available in the AAPB’s Online Reading Room at americanarchive.org to anyone in the United States.