Podcast #249 Documenting & Preserving Radio at HBCUs
Welcome to radio survivor. We're here for the love of, radio, and sound my name is Mundell Everybody Eric Klein here and hi I'm Jennifer weights. So today, we're going to dig into college radio, but we're going to dig into a set of colleges and universities. We haven't ever really touched on on specifically and those are historically black colleges and universities, which it should surprise nobody many of them also have radio stations, and then we're also dipping into their archives as they may or may not exist Jennifer what brought this on this topic onto your radar Lou. There was an article about an amazing project that's happening right now being led by Jocelyn Robinson and she is basically doing a survey reaching out to learn more about collections of archives at historically black colleges and university radio stations. And that piqued my interest because I am interested in college radio archives generally, and so I was excited to hear about this project that's taking a look at it very specific slice of college. Radio. Yeah. In one of the things the Jocelyn will explain to us is that. HP. As they're known often play this very pivotal role in in community life and in cultural. Life. For African Americans wear in places where these universities are situated, which sort of adds an. Additional layer additional magnification. I think to the to the importance of that work. So it's it's really great that just took some time to talk with us about that project. Yeah. I mean it's it's like everywhere you go a college station, I mean or a community radio station on a college campus or Integrated into a college campus is going to be a very useful way to understand a community to understand a place, and so the notion of preserving the sounds of college radio at historically black colleges and universities is definitely a very exciting story for us it radio survivor and what a great guest run the line with Jocelyn. Robinson the project director of the HP YOU radio station Archival Survey Project, Jocelyn, welcome to radio survivor. Thanks for having me. So you're in midst of a really exciting project to document a very specific type of college radio material audio at historically black college and university radio stations. I wanted to just first of all have you explain? What a historically black college and university is to our audience. Well, it's a designation that was established by the Higher Education Act of nineteen sixty five hsbc us, our colleges that were established prior to hundred, sixty four and their mission is to educate African Americans. That's that's pretty much it. So, Hec, you is the acronym, and so you're looking specifically at radio stations that are at HSBC us and so I'm curious what prompted the project? It's kind of a long story. I have a background in African American history and culture I. have. Worked with the African American Museum community for some time and at a certain point I switched to higher education and I. Have a master's degree in cultural studies with a concentration in race gender identity, and I have eight years of experiences a title three director at Historically Black College. title three is a an institutional development grant that's made through To to ABC's it goes through the president's office and it really is an. Influx of resources of federal resources across divisions in the universities and in two thousand thirteen, I took a production course at ISO. And got. Bit by the. Bug, the radio bug. What kind what kind of radio station is Waso? WASO is a public radio station that was originally founded at any college by students in one, thousand, nine, fifty eight, and there's a very robust community based program to train. Local people to make content for the radio. It's called community voices and got started in two thousand eleven and it's still going strong and has has trained probably several hundred people to make to make radio and of that. Those those folks you know a handful of us. are are devoted Automakers at this point in. In Two Thousand Fifteen I quit my day job to do it more. consistently, and at that time I had been working with WASO's archival. Material through the American Archive of public broadcasting. Pilot Project back in two, thousand, nine, ten, or so w ISO was able to digitize about three hundred hours of historical audio going back to the nineteen fifties but most. Most of it was in the sixties and Seventies. And also that into the eighties and was that. So that was like student radio material. For the most part, but you know there was it more from a student station into more of a community station and then into a public station. So had a bit of A. Trajectory in that that direction. So, much of the material was Civil Rights Era and into the Vietnam era. So really interesting stuff a lot of national figures. He came to the Antioch campus to speak with students to give lectures, etc, and the materials really fascinating. So I served as the as the station's archive fellow for several years and I produced a show called. Rediscovered radio. In which I used the archival audio to. Provide context for things that are going on in the world today and So it was a combination of interviews, the archival material in my own take on on things to some degree. And I just felt like. if Waso has such a rich. Trove of of historical material because frankly many of the voices in that collection are Martin Luther King Ralph Abernathy. stokely. Carmichael Alice. Walker. Gwendolyn Brooks Flow Kennedy the list is long. Wow And I've made pieces of around all of these folks and. So I felt like if Waso has a collection like this, what might exist at Is. Knowing that. Out of the hundred and five or so HPC's that's that still exist. There are about still in existence twenty, nine radio stations. And so a third of US have radio stations and I knew this because working at central state were WC issue is located. It is credited with having the first FCC license of an HBO. Station in nineteen, sixty two. So So I, I had a little bit of a connection there but I it was curiosity and so that curiosity was really Nurtured when I. Went Back to school after I. Quit my day job to get a Grad cert in archives and went to Wright state, universities, public history program, which is of very fine program and In the course of doing a class assignment I learned about a guy named Sam Br. Allow Ski. Who worked at the the Library of Congress and WHO had was quoted in a very interesting article that was in the rolling stone about digital preservation of of materials at a music recording studios, how reissues of the best of kind of albums was getting difficult because in the early digital era? there was very little Meta data attached to these early digital files and masters were being lost. And it was. It was difficult to to reissue some of these materials because various tracks were missing anyway. I thought that was fascinating and I thought he he sounded interesting. So when I googled him I found out that he was giving the keynote address at the very first radio preservation task force conference in Washington that's right. Yes I was there So I made a deal, I found out about it. I made a deal with my faculty to give me my midterms early. So I could go to the the conference with the promise that I would do a presentation on it when I got back and when I got there I sort of fell into that community of radio preservationists and Met Sonia Williams who is currently chairing the Communications Department at Howard University a longtime producer in Washington DC and I was invited to serve on the African American Civil Rights Radio Caucus of the of the task force which she chairs. And it so that you know the rest is history kind of thing I've I've been involved with that larger group talking about the issues of preservation of audio preservation and Just's. Having that curiosity again nurtured by. By folks who are curious themselves. Well and what I like about your project is you know I'm very interested in College Radio Archives in history and it's a bit overwhelming. So I liked that yours is at least finite, you know the number of stations that exist and and you can actually try to track them. So so that's what you're doing. You're you're trying to survey the landscape of what is housed at different historically black college and university radio stations. Could you could you describe a little bit? Is there a typical hp cu college radio station or are they just as diverse as every other college radio station? Well, they're just as diverse as HCC US they're incredibly diverse, they're large, they're small rural, urban, their public private. the radio stations are sometimes public radio affiliated with NPR sometimes commercial based. Some of them have a very strong relationship with their institutions as a teaching tool. some of them are a little bit more removed from that but. It. So they're diverse and and they'll the number is finite. It is a number that is something of a moving target and a shifting target because. in the I, know of at least three radio stations that have sold their licenses. and. One of them was Shaw University that was only in two thousand eighteen fit Ville State University in the in the UNC system sold theirs to WNYC in a two thousand fifteen. So there's a bit of urgency around at least identifying the the the landscape is you say Because, the FCC license is an institutional asset. And when an institution is at risk. which some HPC's are and many colleges are in this day and age that's that's not something that's unique to HPC's. But those assets can be turned into cash to keep the lights on and keep the doors open of of a college. So. which is one of the reasons why Waso Did the the the work put in the effort to? fundraise and and. Their own license and and Kinda strike off on their own, not so much because any college is at risk but. But the the landscape for Liberal Arts colleges is is sometimes pretty bleak. So Yeah that that doesn't have to be a factor in what goes on at the station. So Jocelyn Robinson is on the line we're talking about her project. Well, she is the project director of the HCC radio station archival survey project and and we're talking about what you're up to with with understanding this landscape of College Radio, Station Archives at historically black colleges and universities why why do you think it's so important to catalog the audio at these college radio stations Well there's a couple of different reasons and one of them is that HEC US tend to be keepers of culture in our communities in in black communities. particularly in the southeast, they are you know they to to my mind they are hallowed ground and believe it's incredibly important to to. Preserve and protect the legacy that that the institutions have and and as and as they are represented in their in their radio stations You know I. I think it's as simple as that they're they're important to their communities they're important to a larger Higher Ed the higher, the larger Higher Ed, universe and reporting to American history and culture. So you know. I think it's for me. It's it again it's kind of a a sacred. Duty to protect and preserve. Them. And can you can you give us a glimpse of some of what you've found so far as you've been going out visiting radio stations, interviewing people about their collections. Well. I. I have to say that I'm not finding what I had hoped to find initially which was. would have been collections. what I'm finding is I guess I use that word loosely? Yes. What? I'm finding is that it's in a number of cases fee institutions don't have the infrastructure for. Collecting. Historical materials that are related to their radio stations. the radio stations themselves I think are very much dependent on the general manager at the time. In some cases, there's two one or two professional staff. And keeping the service on the air is the priority. The next priority is is serving students. So. Everything else is peripheral everything else as auxiliary. And that. So that preservation piece. at. At a higher at instinct institution really falls to the Institute archives. And in many cases. I don't know if it's the ephemeral nature of radio or what? Exactly. But there isn't a relationship between the institutional archives, which primarily collects paper materials and and collections that are readily identifiable say as the president's papers or what have you. They aren't. Audiovisual materials necessarily, sometimes, some a few items might make it into the formal collections but that's been rare that I have have noted so far. And I have not had one hundred percent response rate with the initial survey. So there could be. Collections out there that I just don't know about yet. But for those that have responded and those that I have visited thus far. If there are. outdated his materials. They generally are few and far between they may be stored in an offsite location that no one has time to really go to or take me to at this point. And so I, I have found a handful of things but It's it's what it has done for me. Has, pointed out the incredible need for the radio staff and the Institutional Archives Staff. The. Library staff whomever is doing the the collecting on on campus to begin a dialogue. So that A preservation plans and disaster plans and all sorts of of of conversations can take place between the two. One of the things that is is doubly important is in addition to these historical materials these radio stations are producing content right this moment as we speak and at they have for the most part all switched to a digital platform so. That means that digital preservation is an added a need as well, and even having those conversations about about workflow about Metadata Schema about redundancy in in backing up, and that sort of thing those are conversations that also need to be had. So it's not exactly what I had thought it would be but it's This other thing that's really great because I've been able to to to spur these conversations on on various campuses and in some cases, the radio, the station manager and the institutional archivists have never met and never spoken and and now they're thinking of ways that they can write a grant together to. Start Thinking about? You know how they're going to to preserve the radio stations materials. So I in many ways it's even more fruitful and and interesting and exciting than finding. You know forgotton tape of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. Right. Jocelyn it rings true rings true for me as somebody who visited called radio stations all over the country as well and I think you're absolutely right that often those conversations are happening between radio stations and and college archives it it's sort of a rarity when there is an established archive in special collections or in the library and the university archives. And I asked agree that the day to day work of a radio station can be overwhelming and so the archival projects get pushed aside. I think often often these collections are housed elsewhere too. So alumni often have tapes squirrelled away and so that adds to the complexity for you is that. You know there may be some of this material but it it may be it may not be on campus anywhere right all right that was part that's been part of the conversation everywhere we've gone and it's not just students it's former programmers you know that may have been professionals or you know station managers who thought well, this would be important to keep a take it with me when I go and. You know. I think that is the case almost everywhere and certainly during periods of time when the. To record a show and and keep it, you weren't. It's not like it was going to get. It will wasn't a podcast that could be played multiple times or something like that. So who else was what? You know. What you need Jocelyn. Robinson. Is like cart that you can produce that they could play on all these stations to ask the community of anybody has any cassette tapes in their closets I know we Jennifer. You brought a guest on earlier in two thousand, hundred where. The, the the clue, the missing clue for that detective as far as radio archives goes wasn't found until that guest was able to get onto the radio station and ask a elderly listeners if they remembered anything. I think this was. This was a specific latin-american mystery but we're on the line today with Jocelyn Robinson, project director of the historically black colleges and universities radio station, archival survey project here on Radio Survivor Mine Eric Klein with me as always been. Just so now I want to kind of dig down here because I think you have a unique position if unique experience. To me in my mind and my experience W. Y. S. O. stands out as unique in having an archives project and that's that's Antioch College in Ohio in Ohio Yellow. Springs Ohio. Yes. And Unique Radio Station College public radio station much more. So I think I in its functioning these days but still with a lot of community involvement and it stands out as unique is having a formal archives project I would say that Those don't tend to be in the majority and you've had experience to work there. and I wonder if you have a sense from from both working in higher education working at. An historically black college. And then working there it w why. So if you have a sense for for why a place like any college and to be a wire, so heads this archives project if that illuminated all why then perhaps. These. Other colleges and universities both HP US and. Just in general don't I don't know if you if you have any insights there. Oh, absolutely do and it's not what you think. Well full disclosure I also worked at Antioch College for a time in a higher ed capacity, the an in administration and. Back in. Believe. It was nineteen ninety-one. The radio station moved from the second floor of the Student Union to building on campus. And when it moved, the tape library was pulled off the shelves and thrown into bags and boxes hauled across campus to this other building stuck in a musty storeroom and there it lay for nearly twenty five years That is why Waso has a collection to a large degree. It was almost A. Benign neglect, would you say that? Yes, they. So at the very least, they didn't throw it. Away Right. which, which is often what what happened or that didn't get somewhere where you wouldn't ever find it again if it was California real estate instead of Ohio right. warehoused somewhere where I guess it also wasn't subject to many environmental threats. Well it it it had a bit of threat you know the. It was an older building, musty mildew, e There was a a mold bloom after it had been stabilized, and there were some difficulties with environmental apparatus, but You know for the most part the fact that it was still there in one, thousand, nine, hundred, ninety, one. is a testament to a a student run operation that. Had the wherewithal to have a tape library and again also remind listeners of the depth of of that historical record like tapes. Encompassed a lot. Right, they date back to the February of Nineteen fifty-eight. When the the radio station went on the air, we do have a recording of the very first broadcast. And using it really is it really is and and there were I wanna say around three thousand tapes. And that's not the tapes that folks have squirreled away and their in their closets because I'm sure that that many of the shows that were student produced and community produced have been had been recorded and those cassettes most likely they were cassettes by that point you know went home with somebody. and. and there are also a lot of debts that there aren't as many cassettes in this particular collection but there are some and they're floppies. At there are there is a very transitional. Yes. So so so it's very transitional and I think You know only having. nearly three hundred hours of digitized means that there is a quite a. Great deal more material that really hasn't been. Looked at in terms of its use or as a you know resource outside of the of what we we have available to us right now digitally, and that's just at one college. Just at one college. One College, that at at its height may have had two thousand students. So what you're saying that you know through the industry of student leaders and managers at W. Y.. So from the fifties to the the eighties, they managed to amass his collection of tapes there that then through benign neglect. was sort of preserved and kept and then and then rediscovered how many years later when we were these tapes on Earth and folks thought to do something with their at Waso in Yellow Springs Ohio. Well. Again, when when Nina Ellis was hired as the general manager in two thousand nine, she wasn't on the job for but a few weeks when the RFP for the the American. Archive of public broadcasting. came across her desk and that was the catalyst was You know we have these tapes maybe this is a funding source to do something with them at least to get them out of the storeroom and and stabilize them, and that's what happened. So they are now housed in a climate controlled humidity controlled, UV, controlled space, and so they are stable although of course, there's deterioration and the those that were professionally digitized in the course of the project had to be baked had to be you know th, they had to go through the tapes get. In an oven. Controlled in order to make sure that they don't fall apart, which means that they will fall apart. Once they're digital, it's a, it's a one time Riley. It's a very exciting and risky form of preservation. So I mean kind of. What you lay out here Jocelyn is is, is that does it isn't very hopeful in some ways in general for a lot of community and in college radio. Because it seems as though. It sort of reflects my experience in I think what? What Jennifer sort of mentioned as well is that much of the time having an archive having some type of The News Resources and assets stored is more often by accident than by program or sometimes it seems to have been In fits right. There are certain periods represented because as you mentioned, maybe student leadership or station leadership for period. decided it was important put some effort into it but but you know students graduate. Professionals move on their career and cycle through, and they're not always turned into long lasting programs that reflect kind of what you're learning and what you're seeing. Oh absolutely absolutely even in the the HBO that I visited when there's been a particularly charismatic and and forward thinking GM there there might be. Something, not necessarily archival material, but but growth in the station more wattage more equipment a a stronger relationship with the academic program I mean it it. It should trickle down into the the historical record but at I haven't really found that to be the case quite yet but I wouldn't rule it out because again, we're. Even a few steps away from really identifying whether or not a station has archival materials. We. As you're mentioning some of those trajectories I think A lot of stations aren't even aware of just their general history so. Even I found you know I found in my research that that sometimes I'm digging into student newspapers to learn more about a radio stations history that often the students aren't aware of. So I think they're often there are these. An incredible accomplishments that that go unnoted? So yeah, not only the audio. Not, only the audio that you're talking about whether or not that's been preserved, but even just the goings on of station and right it's program guides. All right. You know posters from concerts that the the the the radio station help sponsor or MC or whatever I mean. Yeah. There's. There's a lot of that. That's the voice Sir Jocelyn Robinson Project Director at the historically Black College and university radio station Archival Survey, project we're talking with radio on radio survivor today about preserving the sounds of historically black colleges and universities radio stations. Our guest has informed us that about thirty percent of the existing H. have. Radio stations or have had radio stations. So that's like a about less than three dozen existing possibilities to archive or or to hear these sounds and what's very exciting. About today's topic for me, is that the history of radio in this country and college radio are extremely Interlinked, and in fact, in a Lotta ways called radio is is is really like the. The the foundational moment of of Radio in the country and so to think about college radio on campuses of historically black colleges and universities, and the you know what what has gone on at those stations and how how the every story at every station Is such a unique portrait of those communities It's very exciting I'm glad that Jocelyn Robinson somebody's on the job now it's a, it's A. It's a, it's a unique, but it's very interesting that you had to that you had to write your own job description to get this someone needed to do it Thank you for begging for taking up that That Mantle Jocelyn you mentioned you mentioned learning about the first FCC licensed radio station at an HP see you so I'm curious if. What you're if you're looking at radio stations that don't have licenses as well. So are you? Are. You taking a look at at at schools that might have an online station or that might have have had a carrier current am unlicenced station in the past starting in the nineteen sixties or are you purely focused on stations that have that have FCC LICENSES You know this research is really did the gift that keeps on giving That's. That's a direction to take. I think ultimately I hadn't planned to look at radio stations that no longer have broadcast licenses during this round of of research but I have found that I really needed to do that to get. A better context for for what I was finding. And I think that ultimately the streaming stations low watt stations, you know all of that sort of thing is another another pass through. The the the research but. I yeah. Because a lot of these stations have. They sort of in college radio they've morphed over the years and they may have started out as. Carrier current and then maybe they were able to get an FCC license. and. So yeah, that's Their. College radio stations can be quite nimble and take all these different forms. So I'm not surprised that you're starting to notice that as well. Right but I do WANNA go back to to talking about radio stations that no longer exist and the one that I think is kind of interesting and exciting and I visited on this trip was WDC you which had been at the University of the District of Columbia UDC and interestingly they haven't archives. WDC You was the Premier Jazz station in Washington DC for many many years and there are a lot of old jazz heads in DC and it was well loved and. During the. Mid Nineties UDC fell on hard times There was a subsidy that they were no longer getting that caused a huge deficit. At one point they were unable to start the schools, sue the the the semester on time I believe in the spring semester. And faculty lost their jobs. It was a it was a a really dire situation. And they the they decided to sell the the the license and they had a buyer. It was a Christian broadcaster I believe they were commercial, but they were able to somehow finagle a at the opportunity to purchase an educational license. And it all fell through at the last minute. So the thirteen million dollars that the the university was was hoping to to receive on the sale was about to go up in smoke essentially and C. Span stepped in. And they were, they were the the next time bidder. And they decided to go ahead and pay the the the higher bidders price, and they bought the station. The UDC has a pretty good and and robust archival program and There is a collection jazz archives at at Ud see now and the radio stations materials are part of that. So it's not everything and it certainly isn't something that people are well aware of, but they have many recordings that have been digitized. They have interviews, they have public affairs programming, and they have a lot of of three dimensional materials, awards, and and framed photographs and all sorts of things too. So it's a very complete archive. Of A radio station that no longer exists and even they were thrilled to sit down and talk with me this week because it gave them an opportunity to figure out what to do next with their materials and and what the possibilities might be for research for public programming for producing as I have done with Waso's collection. So it was very heartening because they can also serve as a model for others to here's how you can catalog these materials here your best practices in their in their care and preservation so. So it was all good. So I guess I've questions here in DC, which is a station no longer exists but was at the University of District of Columbia Jazz station, Justin Robinson, do you know was this a student run station 'cause my I know a little bit about it. I have some recollections from growing up on the east coast and troubling lot to that area or was it more professionally run was it or more kind of community volunteers I'm trying to I'm always trying to get at this ineffable difference right between one station has an archive in another doesn't and it seems to me that there was some sense there at ud seed, university district Columbia that they were. Something historical was happening because of its place in the jazz community of that city as well as probably arguably in in the in the national jazz community is my perception. Correct was was there was there more of that sense of history at that station in part because of its focus on on jazz, which is such an important Music Forum in the United States history. Well I I believe it was a student initiated station they talked about you know some of its genesis. One one of the things that I have come away. From this project with as a as an interest in seeing stations, collect oral histories from those folks who are still around who were there when the station was in its early years whether it's still on the air or not and You DC at I think is is looking. To do something like that to kind of make the memory of the station come alive. And I think that because it's in the nation's capital because it's it has this unique role as the only public hbu in in the district that there is this this. Acknowledgement of of their their role and their historical. And I think when that is present. preservation happens. And I think that's Much. What was happening Waso Antioch College has always seen itself as as a place that is. As unique and and important to the the Higher Education Universe and and I an, it's not. It's no wonder to me that people there felt that these materials were important and needed to be kept. and I think that one of the things I do run into at HCC us is even though the institution is a keeper of Culture. and has that that that takes that mantle. So often in in the community and at the at the institution itself. That you know just knowing that that what you is important and worthy of of of preservation and worthy of of passing on two generations you know in the future is. it's it's a mindset and and I don't know that oftentimes when particularly in the African American community when and particularly in the south that You know. Getting that mindset that Y-. That are materials need to be? Preserved and protected and celebrated Sometimes, it's an uphill struggle for that and Justin Robertson. You're the project director of the historically Black College University Radio Station Archival Survey Project and you know, and we've the conversations come to this point in which we're talking a little bit about you know why and how stations particularly college stations have an archive may not have an archive to even go to even look at and you know you mentioned earlier on that that you. Worked in administration, right? You've you've been at radio stations, but you've also worked administration and I think that that's a side. We often leave out because we talk much about what happens at the radio station right in terms of the student management maybe or professional who's makes the radio, the radio whether or not they're saving it but you know the other side of it you've mentioned that in relationships that you're trying to foster at many of these huge is with. A, university. Archive, which often sits in a library. In different places in in the university but you know has ties to the administration and I. Wonder if you have a sense for why an archive or university administration college. Administration. Isn't you know also isn't paying attention to the radio station it is it because it has sort of looked at like a student club and right you know and and maybe is not. Serious. And for lack of better one of the things that's behind Paul's question today is that. We've learned on raise survivor over the years. Is that a lot of time? Especially universities don't see the radio as part of their task. Yeah it's IT'S A it's like a new. It's a new. It's a new item on the list to preserve sound text is more of their historical task. Absolutely. Absolutely I think that that that's the old school way of archives management, but it's increasingly changing and it's but it's been a little slow. You know But I do think that that is something that's changing as the the digital environment becomes that the environment that is most prevalent in terms of the records and information management on a college campus. So there was a time when the that the the archives generally is the place where the institutional records are ingested and. When that happens. There could be reams and reams and reams of paper. But that's becoming less and less. So so that that whole notion that we have to have servers and we have to have computers and we have to have knowledge of Meta data and knowledge of of retrieval and all of those kinds of things that archivist didn't have to bother with before. The those that's be increasingly becoming part of the job and you know and I don't know if it's because of the. Nature of Radio, and if you don't walk into a radio station and see how it works, you may not know. And so and also you know we're in this this culture now where all of us are documentarian 's so we carry around all you know archives of our lives in our phones and that's not how people fought in the past you know. That that preservation piece was something that and particularly in our You know our American Puritan way of of seeing that to preserve your own materials how you know what Hubris. To. To preserve something because you did it you know so I think that they're all kinds of layers to to the preservation puzzle. preservation question and certainly you know being humble and and and having humility and feeling like Oh what I do is not that important. Is is a factor that leads me to the question Jocelyn. Robinson have you uncovered any sort of musical programming that's been archived in any decade at all at these historically black colleges and universities Yes. I have I haven't listened to it because we didn't have the capacity to play it back where I where we were. But at a South Carolina state, there is a Sunday morning radio show that features choirs from black churches in the in the region, and they come in live and and perform. And there's a whole stack of of You know a whole spindle of. CDs. So there's some of them are fairly recent, but they go back years and And there are a few folks who have recorded their own shows here and there have said, yes, I have tapes of of of my of my shows but that's that's something that does exist. Yes. Yeah. I'm thinking about an episode of survivor where we spoke with an individual that was running their own. Like I don't know off the Books Archive, how do we put it? It was RIMAC Michael with his hip hop Radio Archive where there was just There's just these bootleg tapes essentially that fans had made sometimes college radio sometimes community radio especially of hip hop in the late eighties and early nineties, and just you know how it was played that day on the radio by that DJ is really a unique. Archive. Because it's not just the list of songs. It's it's how they're mixed and how they're presented and and what people say about them when they played them on that particular day Joe so you know we we've learned how the college radio in particular played an enormously important role in in the early days of hip hop. And I wonder if you've uncovered any connections to hugh stations in particular these archives. I haven't really and I think that's probably because I have been focusing on at risk materials. So, our conversations have tended to be do you have open reel tapes? Do you have cassettes and not really looking to you know later formats and the music that would have been. You know naturally going along with that but that's not to say that that doesn't exist for sure. A suggestion. I'm curious what you know you've been kind of serving the landscape and visiting stations and obviously learning. That a lot of introductions need to be made between Arcus and radio stations. So what what's next? What's the next phase for you after you can complete the survey? Well, I think my findings are. As, I said not exactly what I was hoping for but I think that it does lay the groundwork for agencies and foundations and. institutions to begin to do some thinking around how can we support these stations and these institutions and get something going. So the good work that's being done today can be preserved as well as the legacy of the work. That's that's taken place in the past. So I I really see it as as more of a of a narrative a story that needs to be told as opposed to here's a list of of materials that I found. It's really much much bigger than that. And do you have From, these visits do you have any immediate advice to college radio stations that have materials lying around? Well. Meaning audio materials so that might have real to reel Zain. Old Yeah old real reels that are in a closet somewhere which should they do? Well, they should take advantage. I. Of the of the expertise that exists on their college campuses and and. Open relationship with their institutional archives. If they don't have time even if they don't have the expertise is the journey they can start on together and that's kind of been the case in in certain situations. And You know the the the first thing is you know make sure that it's cool dry dark and and if you can get the material stable than. You have you buy a little time and and can have some conversations about what to do next and particularly if it's material that is identifiable as to its content if it's significant, a case can be made to to try to ameliorate the situation for that material is as quickly as possible. So. You know, as far as the other parts of it are are concerned they don't have time to to to really undertake. A, you know a large scale You know purge of that storage closet that's that's filled with with boxes of all sorts of things including a bunch cassettes. so You know part of it is, let's all stay in touch. Let's figure out how we might be able to pull together some workshops and do some rudimentary trainings on best practices in audiovisual archival preservation and and see what happens. So and and and everyone's been onboard. Even those who really don't have the time or the resources They know that that it's a it's an important thing and that the fact that they've been alerted to its importance and and realize their their role in this continuing legacy, this continuing broadcast legacy then they start to say you know that what I'm doing today is important too. So we have to make a plan for all of this. Are there. So you know I visited radio stations where people have told me. Things to the effect of you don't WanNa know the sorts of things we've thrown away. So have what sorts of things should people not throw away maybe maybe you can send the battlecry people about the types of things they should be keeping at radio stations. Well I guess. You know any. Material that is that you can't play back. Until you figure out what what the content is. Don't throw it away. and. Don't throw away the playback equipment that you have at this point I was just at Elizabeth City. State University and they have cart players. They have at least two huge reel to reel machines they. They have other equipment that's in the storage area. This offsite storage area that also houses some of their. Media and. You know that the one of the librarians who has an R. Archives background was a part of our our conversation. You know that that material is now not going to be thrown away. Don't throw it away. Even if it doesn't work, someone might be able to use parts from it for a another unit that that actually can be used at a library and the good thing is. That most state archives associations are really good at sharing information. The Society of American, archivists is good at sharing information. There's list serves for all of them. You can. You can find somebody who can and resurrect an old piece of equipment or you at least try to find somebody who can re read an old piece of equipment and there's another institution that may be able to help you out with playback to figure out what you got. So I mean I think part of it is don't feel like you exist in a vacuum. There's a an incredible network of of of institutions and people who can and will. Help if you know, they know that there's a need I think archivists are some of the the most generous generous colleagues I've ever worked with. So you know. Don't don't throw it away until you talked to somebody no matter what it is. Jocelyn Robinson. You're the project director at the Stork Lee Black Colleges and university radio station. Archival Survey Project Thank you so much for joining us today on radio survivor to scratch the surface of preserving the sounds of each. Radio. Thanks it's been my pleasure. Jennifer thanks again for getting a hold of Jason Robinson. For that amazing interview and we covered so much I think about college and community radio. In, general about this, pressing question of preserving the legacy in addition to obviously the topic at hand, which was preserving the legacy at historically black colleges and universities. Yeah I'm really excited about these these partnerships that I think she's starting to form here at at individual stations and universities, and I think it's it's really the first step and a step that can be it can be an example for many other college radio stations, community radio stations just to get these conversations started about preserving your history and preserving your present and I. I. Really like that I appreciate that she understands the challenges not only with preserving the past but also preserving current content. Yeah I mean we're living through very interesting times right now and college radio stations around the country are certainly worth listening to now, and in the future well, we covered a lot of territory on this interview So if you want to kind of. Dig Deeper on the topics and loud advice that was given out. You can go visit our show notes at Rayo. SURVIVOR DOT com slash podcast. It's also of course where you can listen to this episode and all the past two hundred plus episodes of Radio Survivor, which is available every week, and that's where you can learn how to subscribe in Apple podcasts or Stitcher or spotify whatever your favorite way to listen to. PODCASTS are, of course you may also be enjoying us there on a on your local community radio station, and we really appreciate that you tune in and support your local community radio station. 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