The American Archive, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) initiative, is a comprehensive effort to inventory, digitize and preserve local and national public media content produced over the last six decades. The Archive will ensure that the public investment in non-commercial media, totaling billions of dollars over the years, is fully protected for, and accessible to, generations to come.
“We are proud to have a role in creating the American Archive,” said Perry Metz, General Manager at WTIU and WFIU. “As part of this initiative, public radio and television stations across the country are not only contributing to a historical record of public media in the 20th century, they are also re-connecting audiences, present and future, to the media that holds the memory of the events, people, and landscapes of their communities.”
Since the project launched two years ago, public television and radio stations across the country have identified nearly 2.5 million records, including completed local and national programs, raw footage, unedited interviews, recorded speeches, scripts and photos. This totals more than one million hours of video, film, and audio recordings from more than 100 stations.
WTIU and WFIU will contribute historic archival content to the American Archive. WFIU discovered unique materials during their inventory process that include performances and lectures by many notable musicians, such as Beverly Sills, Janos Starker, Sylvia McNair and Joshua Bell at the Jacobs School of Music; tapes from the program Ostrom: The Quest to Understand Human Affairs; and various raw footage and interviews from significant university functions, athletic contests, and newsworthy events at Indiana University and around Bloomington. WTIU finds include video of Alfred Kinsey, Mark Spitz, the 1967 Rose Bowl trip, and folklorist Abe Martin.
This material will be digitized and included as part of the Archive’s first 40,000 hours of content.
“The American Archive is one of the most important responsibilities facing our public media system,” said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of CPB. “Taxpayers have funded more than half a century of local, regional and national television and radio programming, and the American Archive will serve as a return on that investment.”
Public radio and television stations participating in the initiative have completed the initial phases of the project, including inventorying their archives and selecting the content to be preserved. As a next step, CPB is preparing to transition the American Archive to a new permanent home that will sustain and expand the work of the Archive moving forward.
WTIU, a PBS television station owned and operated by Indiana University, serves over 350,000 households in 29 counties in West and South Central Indiana. WTIU airs programming on four digital channels 24 hours a day, and produces local, regional and national programs.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.