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Community radio collects stories from many voices. NFCB is partnering with the Radio Preservation Task Force to deepen these efforts.

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters represents community radio stations around the nation. Many are their region’s radio town halls, providing broadcast space for arts, culture and conversation. The Radio Preservation Task Force is devoted to archiving history.

RPTF is reaching out to community radio stations in an effort to bring each outlet’s recordings into the larger archive. In the letter below, Prof. Neil Verma, network co-director of the Radio Preservation Task Force, seeks involvement from NFCB member stations and the larger community system.

Each station interested in RPTF and its archive efforts for community radio is asked to work with RPTF, which will assign graduate students and archivists to connect with community radio and ascertain the extent of these recordings.

Those interested in working with the Radio Preservation Task Force are asked to fill out a google form describing your records as broadly or as narrowly as you can. Many affiliate archives simply provide a contact name and phone number, stating the general size of their archive (ten boxes of cassette tapes, etc). In some cases, graduate student volunteers who might follow up with a question or two. Station information will be entered into a database that will be used by scholars seeking material for research projects or historical work.

“NFCB and RPTF want to make the collection, documentation and archiving process as simple and rich as possible for all participants,” said NFCB Membership Program Director Ernesto Aguilar. “Community radio is a living tapestry of American history, and together NFCB and RPTF hope to make that diversity part of the record.”

The letter from Prof. Verma reads, in part:

Our mission is to bring together radio stations, archives and museums that have holdings of recorded radio from all periods – in whatever format, and any stage of processing or organization – into a national network that will protect endangered collections, share best practices, provide content access to scholars, and (most importantly) collaborate on funding grants for preservation of valuable historical recordings. You can see a list of some of our affiliate institutions here

We feel that community broadcasters serve a vital purpose in preserving local and activist culture, and documenting underrepresented and alternative voices. We are especially hopeful that NFCB members might be interested in joining the effort to share the historical sound records of their communities toward our goal of increasing cultural recognition of all dimensions of U.S. history.

NFCB, the oldest organization for community radio, represents and provides services to almost 200 community radio stations. NFCB member stations include rural to urban organizations, as well as those affiliated with the Latino Public Radio Consortium. NFCB was recently profiled among organizations bringing diversity to public media.

The Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF), created early in 2014, grew out of the Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan (December 2012), and seeks to support collaboration between faculty researchers and archivists toward the preservation of radio history; to develop an online inventory of extant American radio archival collections, focusing on recorded sound holdings, including research aids; to identify and save endangered collections; to develop pedagogical guides for utilizing radio and sound archives; and to act as a clearinghouse to encourage and expand academic study on the cultural history of radio through the location of grants, the creation of research caucuses, and development of metadata on extant materials.

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