Portland, OR — Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) will distribute more than $2 million in grants among 22 public television and radio stations to enable them to restore, digitize and archive valuable historical content they have gleaned from their vaults. OPB is the initiative manager for the American Archive Pilot Program initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

This summer OPB supervised the process as 25 public broadcasting radio and television stations searched through hundreds of hours of historically significant broadcast material that might otherwise have been overlooked, neglected or lost. The pilot program focused on historical media related to the American Civil Rights Movement or World War II.

In their search, stations uncovered several long-forgotten gems: documentaries on busing and school desegregation, and on racial strife in Cairo, IL; unique recordings of Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshall, and Gloria Steinem; Harvey Milk and the gay rights movement; the Ku Klux Klan in Northern California; 16mm news film outtakes unseen for over 30 years; and much more.

Researchers also realized what had been lost. Many learned of interviews, documentaries, and even series they could no longer find. In some cases stations can’t be sure what they have. The tapes or film must be restored before they can be viewed and catalogued.

This pilot project will lead to CPB establishing the American Archive that will house thousands of hours of public broadcasting media with a goal of making this historic content available to educators, students and the general public.

Twenty-two stations now move forward into the second phase of the program, preserving and archiving selections of their content.

Phase II television stations include: WTVS, Detroit; WNET, New York; WHUT, Howard University in Washington, DC; LPB, Baton Rouge, LA;
KCPT, Kansas City, MO; IPTV, Johnston, IA; and AETN, Conway, AR.

Phase II radio stations include: WYSO, Antioch University, Yellow Springs, OH; MPR, St. Paul, MN; and KPFA, Berkeley, CA.

Phase II joint licensees, radio and television, include: WSIU, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL; WPT/WPR, Madison, WI; WGBH, Boston; WVIZ/WCPN, Cleveland; WQED, Pittsburgh; WOUB, Ohio University, Athens, OH; WKNO, Memphis; WILL, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; WCNY, Liverpool, NY; WMPN, Jackson, MS; KQED, San Francisco, CA; and TPBA, Texas.

About OPB
OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 120,000 contributors.