The old-timers wandered curiously among the shelves, munching cookies and poking into file boxes, looking casually for their footprints in the history of public broadcasting. It was the concluding field trip of this month’s Public Broadcasting Reunion [related article] — a bus ride from Washington to nearby University of Maryland at College Park, where the new National Public Broadcasting Archives is open for business. Donald R. McNeil, the founding director, and Thomas Connors, his designated successor, showed off a facility that already has:
2,500 shelf feet of corporate records from CPB, PBS, NPR and other organizations;
360 shelf feet of personal papers and dozens of oral histories of the field;
5,600 audio tapes from the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM and WETA-FM; and
3,000 videotapes from PBS, WETA-TV, Maryland PTV and other sources, among other things. Five hundred file boxes from Children’s Television Workshop are on the way, and 800 more reels from NPR. Standing in the high-ceilinged, half-empty room in the basement of the university’s Hornbake Library, Connors invited the visitors to talk with the archives about old correspondence, reports and other items that might make the day of some future historian.
Public radio last month used an old Ted Turner technique to launch a 24-hour
bilingual radio network for Latinos. The superstation in this case is KSJV-FM in Fresno, Cal., flagship of Radio
Bilingue’s noncommercial station group. WSJV’s schedule officially went up on the public radio satellite system
Sept. 16 , the anniversary of several Latin American countries’ independence
from Spain. The network—named with the Spanish word “Satelite”—gets
its operational funding from the CPB Radio Program Fund and matching funds
for satellite equipment from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program.
The man who put New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia on the radio, reading the comics during a newspaper strike — M.S. “Morrie” Novik — talked the other day about his first trip west of Chicago. That excursion to Iowa more than 50 years ago was also the first time the head of New York’s municipal radio station, WNYC, had much contact with the midwesterners who were big in “educational radio.” Novik recognized they were up to the same thing he was, and he joined a fellowship that continues today. He was among his fellows again Oct. 8-9 , during a Public Broadcasting Reunion, where a big roomful of admitted idealists reminisced, ribbed each other, tut-tutted about things these days, and unabashedly proclaimed their values.