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Request for Proposal for WYSO Digital Audio Archives Strategic Plan

The Center for Community Voices at WYSO Public Radio seeks a proposal from consultants with proven experience in digital archives to develop a strategic plan for the WYSO Archives.

RFP Issuance: August 2, 2021
Deadline for Response: August 31, 2021

Questions regarding the RFP should be directed to Jocelyn Robinson, Producer for Emerging Initiatives, Education, and Archives, The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO, at jrobinson@wyso.org.

Project Description

The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO seeks a qualified archival consultant meeting appropriate federal professional qualifications as published in A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections (3rd edition, December 2007) by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) OR those listed under the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) to work with the Center staff and other interested parties to develop a strategic plan for the ongoing development of the WYSO Archives.

The consultant along with the project director will coordinate the development of the plan, prepare materials, and gather input from organizations and archives with similar missions. A team that will include a professional archivist, an audio preservation expert, a humanities scholar, a representative from our partner, the Greene County Public Library, and a public radio representative will analyze our collection and draft the plan. These archives will fill in blanks in our region’s narrative, allowing us to deepen our understanding of who we are and how we have evolved. It will give the community an opportunity not only to hear voices that might otherwise be lost to history but to learn from those who first confronted issues that continue to challenge us today. The budget for this project is $14,400.00.

Background and History of the WYSO Archives

The mission of WYSO is to amplify the voices of our community, our nation and our world with independent news, music and storytelling.
We began broadcasting with 10 watts of power in February 1958 as a student-run station on the campus of Antioch College, and we were on the air for only four hours a day. Today we are a 50,000-watt station that broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reaching 13 counties in Southwest Ohio with a potential audience of over two million.

In 2019, after six decades of being owned twice by Antioch College and once by Antioch University, we raised the money to buy our license. We now are community-owned, which gives us the freedom to change and adapt quickly and to focus our energy on the needs of the community and on being the greatest small public radio station in the country. In a major expansion, we launched the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices on July 1, 2020. It is a production and training center, teaching local citizens (non-journalists) to make radio projects. At the same time WYSO expanded the size and scope of its local news department. These are huge achievements for a small public radio station with about 20 employees.

Work on creating a formal infrastructure for the station’s archives was begun in 2016 but not completed due to lack of funds and competing priorities. An additional product of the project will be a white paper documenting project highlights and lessons learned.

With nearly 300 assets digitized and cataloged from a collection of 5,000 assets, it’s a significant beginning to the development of our archives. Because of work we’ve done to date, we have a sense of how rich this collection is. But there are hundreds of hours not yet cataloged or digitized. We plan to unlock the contents of the collection and continue this work. It will attract scholars and radio producers with an interest in local history to our organization which thrives on collaboration with individuals and organizations.

These archives fill in blanks in our region’s narrative, allowing us to deepen our understanding of who we are and how we have evolved. It will give the community an opportunity not only to hear voices that might otherwise be lost to history but to learn from (should we choose to) those who first confronted issues (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) that continue to challenge us. In these times of political polarization, we believe that the study of history is one way for citizens and scholars to educate themselves in order to be creative, productive citizens and contribute new ideas and solutions to our myriad problems.

We will work with preservation experts—such as those from the Society of Ohio Archivists, the Radio Preservation Task Force, Wright State University, the Library of Congress, and others—to understand audio preservation best practices and procedures to guide the team as it makes recommendations for safeguarding the current collection, and for digitizing more when funds are available. This expert will visit the collection for the sole purpose of examining the assets and assessing their physical condition, and s/he will be able to recommend appropriate third-party professionals as digitizing and restoration vendors. The plan will establish policies and practices that will govern the use of the archives and establish appropriate preservation practices for the collection. We will work with trusted digital repositories, such as the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, where some portion of our collection will be accessed, to establish practices to guide the long‐term preservation of our holdings. We will also create and extend partnerships with Antiochiana (the archive at Antioch College) and other institutions like the Greene County Library system to guarantee access to our collection.

Content and Significance of the WYSO Archives

The archives contain audio recordings and related materials that reflect key experiences in the social, political, and cultural change that shaped American life in the late twentieth century. The collection has 5,000 audio recordings, primarily on 1⁄4” tape, and related assets in many formats. Produced between 1958 and roughly 1990, the recordings describe life in and around Yellow Springs, nearby Dayton, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and the Miami Valley, as documented by WYSO staff, Antioch College students, and community volunteers. The contents include anti‐Vietnam war activities, Civil Rights protests, the women’s movement, prison reform, and United Farm Worker concerns. They also captured the music of the Appalachian migration, African American life and culture, and a broad scope of social justice activities in documentaries, lectures, poetry readings, concerts, and radio programs. The collection is especially meaningful as it recorded social experiences that occurred not in the urban centers on either coast, but in Ohio, America's heartland. Also, Dayton regional history is typically represented as a parade of inventors and entrepreneurs, but the WYSO collection documents the “people’s history” of our region. We hold recordings, for example, of the “Gegner barbershop incident,” a community protest that resulted in a clash with police that made national news. It includes concerts of prominent bluegrass musicians like the Allen brothers, the Dry Branch Fire Squad and the Duffee brothers, many of them Appalachian migrants to this community. They formed a large percentage of the post‐war working population, migrating here from Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia after WWII. A large Black population was arriving, as well, drawn to manufacturing jobs and military careers at nearby Wright‐Patterson Air Force Base. Their struggle for social justice and cultural understanding is amply represented.

Two hundred and seventy-seven (277) hours of the collection have already been digitized and catalogued with significant support from the American Archives project, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But the longer we wait to create a plan for archiving the rest, the more we risk losing the assets to physical deterioration or unsupported digital formats. Also, for the first time in many years, due to our newly gained independence, we have the chance to expand our scope and lay the foundation for the growth our mission demands.

Project Objectives

In 2013, we entered into an agreement with the Greene County Public Library in Xenia, Ohio, to host our digitized content on its public-facing servers, thus, some of our content is easily accessible to the public. We want to expand this offering eventually, making even more of our content available and accessible to the public, and having a strategic plan will allow us to methodically and logically reach that goal.

The general public, as well as scholars, journalists, artists, students, and others, will then have access to this important historical material. The hours we’ve already digitized have provided an outright educational experience for our diverse listening audience of almost 70,000 people on the air and thousands more online. We’ve heard from local history professors who want to expose their students to our collection because it “brings the 1960s alive.” Finally, it brings the collection to the attention of writers, documentarians, archivists, filmmakers, and artists in our region and nationally.

Scope of Work

Over the course of the grant period, the consultant will assist the project director and advisory team in creating a strategic plan for the archives that will describe the ongoing activities of the archives, create policies and procedures to support those activities, and recommend a governance structure. Key components of the strategic plan will include:

1. Analyze and evaluate the humanities content of the archives. With leading guidance from humanities scholars, the group will review the current holdings of the archives using Excel spreadsheets that describe the assets inventoried during the American Archive project and all the audio gathered for preservation subsequently, including two local oral history projects initiated by WYSO in 2010 and 2014. (Data related to assets accessible through the Greene County Public Library are held in CONTENTdm.) They will be able to listen to key, relevant audio samples that exemplify the holdings, and we will capture their discussions in recordings and gather their written comments as well, for future reference.

2. Develop selection criteria and prioritize the historic audio content for digitization and cataloging. The team will create a digital collections policy that will describe why and how individual assets should be selected for preservation and then create a prioritized list of those assets, recommending them for digitizing and cataloging based on that policy.

3. Recommend a management and advisory structure separate from the radio station and the Center for Community Voices to oversee the archives and guide its smooth functioning and fundraising. The strategic plan will include a proposed management structure that will allow the development and work of the archives to continue for at least five years. It should also provide names of specific recommended advisers. The team will consult with public radio stations and related organizations with archival collections such as the Radio Preservation Task Force and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting for guidance.

4. Draft procedures and policies for public access to the collection. The team will recommend procedures and policies for public access to the collection. This will include a digital projects mission statement, a policy on access, a copyright and licensing policy, use and reproduction, and donor agreements for any materials (audio recordings, promotional materials, etc.) and releases for oral histories.

5. Develop plans and protocols for cataloging the WYSO born‐digital audio collection. The team will take into consideration what born‐digital content exists on servers at WYSO and on the WYSO website and recommend an approach to making it available for long‐term access and preservation. Currently, there are multiple servers and storage is added as needed, due to the large volume of assets. The team will assess WYSO’s online digital asset management system and recommend changes or upgrades.

6. Recommend fundraising strategies for cataloging and digitizing and provide a list of potential funders. The team will recommend fundraising strategies separate from the radio station and the Center for Community Voices to insure the long‐term sustainability of the archives and its activities.

7. Recommend future uses of the collection. The team will recommend future uses of the collection, both for radio and web content.

Work Products

The primary outcome of the project will be to complete “A Strategic Plan for the WYSO Digital Audio Archives.” It will be addressed to the executive director of the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices and the Board of Directors of Miami Valley Public Media and will contain:

  1. 1. A Mission Statement containing the mission, vision, goals and core values for the WYSO Archives.
  2. A recommended structure and governance
  3. Policies and Procedures
    1. Digital Collections Policy
    2. Policy on Access, Use, and Reproduction
    3. Policy on Copyright, Licensing, and Donor Agreements
    4. Long‐term preservation, policies, and procedures, including recommendations for periodic review
  4. Collection Assessment and Digitization Recommendations
    1. Scholarly assessment of the archives’ contents
    2. Prioritized list of assets for digitizing and cataloging
    3. A plan for the cataloging of and access to born‐digital audio
  5. Recommended future uses of the collection
  6. Recommended fundraising strategies and list of potential funders

Suggested Project Schedule

  • August 2, 2021: Issue RFP
  • August 31, 2021: Submission date for Response to RFP
  • September 15, 2021: Enter into contract with consultant
  • November 1, 2021: Gather, review, summarize and share selective examples of strategic plans, mission statements, collections policies, donor agreements, etc. Assess physical condition of the analog audio assets and determine the extent of the WYSO born‐digital assets
  • December 31, 2021: Share draft proposals on initial strategic plan sections, according to schedule. Deliver 6-month progress report
  • April 31, 2022: Assemble first draft of strategic plan and solicit feedback
  • July 31, 2022: Finalize strategic plan and present to WYSO
  • January 22, 2022: Mid-project Report submitted.
  • October 31, 2022: Outline implementation plan, conduct evaluation and deliver final report
  • December 1, 2022: Final Report, all forms and electronic data submitted

Submissions should include

  • A brief overview of the company, length of time in business, and location of office(s), including contact person for this RFP.
  • Describe firm’s experience in historic preservation including ability to meet completion schedules and performance standards.
  • Detail which staff/subcontractor will be assigned to this project and in what capacity, including qualifications. Consultants must meet the appropriate Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards (48 FR 44716).
  • Include name, address and telephone number of 3 (three) project references of similar projects completed. Give a brief description of each project scope including size and nature of work.
  • Describe proposed methodology to accomplish the required tasks as outlined in the scope of work. Include the organization and management plan for this project. If the firm plans to use subcontractors explain their roles in carrying out this project and provide detailed information on each.
  • Work schedule including estimated time frame to complete the project, detailed by milestone or activity. Target dates completion of draft and final documents should be included, allowing 3 week review time at OHS for each draft work product developed.
  • Not-to-exceed cost proposal, including all personnel and benefit costs, travel expenses, printing costs, and all other costs associated with the work.

Selection Criteria

The successful applicant will be selected using the following selection criteria:

  • General quality and responsiveness of proposal
  • Degree to which proposal addresses all items in Scope of Work and Work Products
  • Methodology and approach to project
  • Qualifications of key personnel
  • Documented past performance conducting intensive level survey
  • Cost of services

Terms and Conditions

  • Proposals shall be valid for 60 (sixty) days from the proposal due date. WYSO reserves the right to request an extension of time if needed.
  • WYSO reserves the right to accept or reject, in part or in whole, any or all proposals for any reason, to cancel in part or in whole the Request for Proposal, to re-advertise for new proposals, and to waive minor irregularities and informalities.
  • WYSO reserves the right to require an oral presentation from consultants who respond to the RFP to provide an opportunity for the firms to clarify or elaborate on the proposal but in no way change the original submission. A request for an oral presentation shall not constitute acceptance of a proposal.
  • All proposals must be signed by a duly authorized individual.
  • All proposals become the property of WYSO and WYSO may, at its option, request oral presentation prior to selection. No public bid opening will be held.
  • No applicant will be compensated for submission of a proposal or for any times or services provided as part of the proposal, evaluation or negotiation process.

Submission Process

Consultants/firms are to submit 3 copies of their proposal. Sealed submissions must be received no later than 4 PM EST Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Faxed and emailed submissions will not be accepted.

Deliver or mail all proposals to:

Jocelyn Robinson, Project Director
150 East South College Street
Yellow Springs, OH 45387

All proposals should be clearly marked: “WYSO Digital Audio Archives Strategic Plan.”