Unreleased interviews appear on new ‘American Masters’ podcast

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American Masters, the public TV series that profiles cultural icons, launched a podcast this week drawing on hundreds of previously unreleased interviews.

Kantor. (Photo: American Masters)

Kantor (Photo: American Masters)

The first season, “Women on Women,” is available on the American Masters website, iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.

“We decided to curate the first podcast season as a tribute to the great women artists and cultural leaders that American Masters has celebrated,” said Michael Kantor, series executive producer. “We thought it would be interesting to hear women interviewees like Gloria Steinem, Dionne Warwick, Betty White, Carol Burnett and others speak about their inspirations, so we have prioritized the transfer of these tapes to serve as the source material.”

Kantor cited a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the program’s archives as “necessary to access the wealth of material.” The $90,000 also enabled staff to “start the massive undertaking of digitizing all the tapes” for release.

The biweekly podcast will draw on content from 2,156 tapes of more than 800 interviews from the program’s 30-year history.

Episodes will run from 20 to 60 minutes, with Kantor providing introductions. In the first episode, feminist Gloria Steinem talks with filmmaker Gail Levin about the life and career of Marilyn Monroe, drawn from the 2006 American Masters episode Marilyn: Still Life.

The program, produced by WNET in New York City, is also sharing short interview videos from its vaults on its website.

Another PBS icon series, Masterpiece from WGBH, launched its own podcast last year.