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Historic audio from the WYSO Archives

Rediscovered Radio Encore: Studs Terkel in the WYSO Archives

Studs Terkel
via wikimedia commons

October is American Archives Month, and we’re celebrating here at WYSO with a deep dive into our own extensive archives here at the station.

A few years ago, Producer Jocelyn Robinson rediscovered some incredible gems in our library that had gone lost. Including a rare recording of Studs Terkel, the legendary author, oral historian, and radio journalist. But producing a radio story was just the start of this recording’s journey.

In 1976, the United States celebrated its 200th birthday, and Studs Terkel gave an interview to a Belgian radio show called Radiorama about America.  

We’re not exactly sure where this interview was recorded or by whom, but what’s singular about it is that Terkel - famous for his thousands of oral histories and interviews with people famous and otherwise -  is the one being interviewed.  And as was his style, he talks candidly about class, race, politics, and the American Dream.

Studs Terkel's 1976 interview from the WYSO Archive

More than 40 years later, Terkel’s analysis, critique, and love for this country is as fresh and as pertinent as ever.
The Studs Terkel Radio Archive at WFMT in Chicago, the Chicago History Museum and the Library of Congress, are all part of a project to digitize the thousands of reel to reel and cassette tapes that represent Terkel’s 45-year radio legacy. The project is expected to take years to complete. But none of the researchers involved knew about the tape in the WYSO collection - so our work continues.  

Rediscovered Radio is supported in part by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jocelyn Robinson is a Yellow Springs, Ohio-based educator, media producer, and radio preservationist.
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