Presented at the iPNB meeting in Berkeley June 21 - 23, 2002
PACIFICA RADIO ARCHIVES: REPORT TO THE NATIONAL BOARD
Submitted to Dan Coughlin, Interim Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation
By Brian DeShazor, Archives Manager June 10, 2002
Since our last report the Pacifica Radio Archives (PRA) has made significant progress towards the unit's objectives in many areas of concern, including the most important: Preservation of, and Access to the PRA collection. In the next quarter PRA will develop an updated, actionable long-term plan for improved preservation, digitization, cataloging, and electronic (web) and physical access to Pacifica's archived recordings. The plan, including collection assessment and funding strategy will be undertaken with the assistance of Lawrence Appelbaum, a supervisor in the Sound Division of the Library of Congress, and archives consultant, Adi Gevins.
Outreach activities included: attending the national conferences of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), the Association of Recorded Sound Collectors (ARSC), and the Association of Library Sciences conferences. The archives promoted visibility of the collection, forged important relationships, and made it clear that PRA is widely regarded as a premier source for audio documentation of 20th century political activism, thought, and culture, from the Leftist and Progressive perspectives.
Services to Pacifica stations included: providing programs and programming materials from the archives, creating original programs and new fund drive premiums, and PRA participation in both national fund drives, and station fundraising efforts, including appearances by the Archives Manager. In the new environment at Pacifica, PRA is experiencing an unprecedented atmosphere of support, enabling PRA to work effectively with the Pacifica Radio Executive Team, station management, programmers and local communities. PRA is honored to participate in the process of realizing a more cohesive, responsive, and democratic Pacifica.
PRA has experienced new crises that require immediate attention and funds. Cataloging Crisis: The resignation of our cataloger on (2/28/02) is creating an ever-increasing backlog. New programs, primarily Democracy Now!, the tape most frequently requested by listeners, and acquisitions from stations, are not being entered into the PRA database. No updates are being done to the online database. Operating System Upgrade: The operating system was corrupted following a power outage (5/13/02. Replacing and recovery is estimated at $4,000.00. To upgrade workstations to become more compatible with new operating system will require an additional $6,000 to $8,000. The immediate dangers to the archive tapes require new equipment (convection ovens, CD recorders, Hard drive and digital work stations) to the approximate cost of $10,000 to $15,000.
PRA increased sales 139% in the last quarter [2nd quarter-$6,900, 3rd quarter-16,500] and has exceeded its revenue projections. More consistent on-air mention of the archives on national network programs, mention of the archives on station programs, inclusion of the 1-800 tape order number, and website promotion and development were the keys to this success. During the last year, PRA has not received allotted monies from central services fund. When the now-anticipated payment is made, PRA expects to meet its FY2001budget. PRA is gratified to the network, for committing to hold a national fund drive for the archives in the near future. We anticipate that the drive will allow PRA to quickly move forward on getting past the urgent needs such as the immediate need to begin search process for the cataloger and archivist positions.
The Pacifica Radio Archives (PRA) last reported [March 8, 2002] that the physical condition of the collection is at a critical stage. We projected immediate preservation and conservation costs of well over
$4, 700, 00.00. This past quarter PRA has worked diligently to further understand and assess the problems it faces in this area, and to create a strategy for dealing with them. In May, a leading expert in this area visited PRA, and made informal recommendations. Larry Applebaum is Senior Studio Engineer and Supervisor of the Magnetic Recording Lab for the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress. [Incidentally, Larry Applebaum has been a programmer on WPFW for the past 21 years]. Problems which require immediate action include: deteriorating tape, lack of funding, outmoded duplication and salvage equipment, insufficient staffing and lack of directorship, inadequate storage space. This coming quarter Adi Gevins, archives consultant and longtime Pacifica producer, will be engaged to help PRA develop appropriate grant proposals. Initial meetings were conducted between Archives Manager Brian DeShazor and representatives of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ford Foundation.
In May, PRA hired Maria Kim as (part-time) website developer, focusing on creating a better functioning site, she immediately solved some long-standing problems. A shopping cart function was added to the PRA website, resulting in immediate increase in both online revenue, and communication with PRA's online community of users. As the site develops, and on-air promotion continues, we expect further increases in online revenue. (www.pacificaarchives.org & www.pacificaradioarchives.org]
Marianna Berkovich has taken on the responsibilities and duties of business manager and continues to be one of the point persons for the affiliate stations. For FY2001, Marianna has collected $63,000 from affiliate fees.
Along with the need for a cataloger, the search for Archivist (FT), Office Clerk (FT) and Transfer Technician (FT) is required to move ahead with archives goals and objectives. PRA needs to raise an estimated $90,000 for search costs and annual salaries.
SERVICES TO PACIFICA STATIONS
CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATIONAL FUNDRAISING: This quarter, PRA played an important role in the efforts to decrease the national foundation debt. PRA staff participated in providing archival tape and on-air discussion of excerpts in the "Save Our Signal" national fund drive for KPFK. For the April 20th "Mobilization for Peace" PRA manager Brian DeShazor participated in the coverage and operations director Mark Torres engineered the broadcast. On June 19 PRA produced two hours of programming on the civil rights movement and the pacifist ideology for the "State of the World, 2002: the War on Human Rights" national broadcast, bringing in guests Father Philip Berrigan, Howard Zinn , Matthew Lasar and others to listen to historical archival clips and give commentary on their relevance to history and Human Rights issues.
Feedback from stations and initial orders to PRA fund drive premiums have been positive. Included in offerings were: new speeches by Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky, Helen Caldicott, and Michael Moore; compilations of recording of Malcolm X and Langston Hughes.
After receiving public donations with the help of Los Angeles LAB chair, David Adelson PRA now has a CD recorder, CD duplicator, and cassette duplicator. This has allowed PRA to provide Fund drive
premiums to stations in CD format. This has helped stations in their record-breaking fund drives. One station has already ordered 249 cd's, a significant increase from past orders.
PSA'S: In March PRA distributed public service announcements (PSA's) to the Pacifica stations and affiliates, to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer produced by the FLH 25th anniversary committee using historical tapes provided by PRA.
Archive Programs and Materials Provided to Stations
- PRA provided research and copies of archival recordings for new radio specials on the Los Angeles Riots, the history of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict and others.
- Stations have broadcast PRA specials such as Club Evolution: May Day and Labor and the award-winning Quentin Crisp Memorial Recording proving the positive response to the historical, intellectual content.
- Continuing relations with affiliate stations, PRA provides programming to new independent productions such as Voices of the Elders and local public affairs programs.
In the first week of June PRA released the first installment of an original program series featuring 12 one-hour programs offered weekly for distribution on Pacifica's KU satellite. A Passion for Survival with Dr. Helen Caldicott is narrated by Lily Tomlin and features archival tape and new recordings of Dr. Helen Caldicott with other specialists Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, Julia Butterfly Hill, Ramona Ripston, Dr. Michio Kaku and Blase Bonpane. This series is produced by PRA staffers, Brian DeShazor and Mark Torres, with help from station KPFA. This series has helped increase the national programming offered to stations and affiliates, as well as increasing the visibility of PRA as a national unit as vital to the network as the stations. PRA completed post-production on the pilot literary radio series, Clear and Present Danger, produced by the PEN Center USA West hosted by Stephen Rohde. The series was introduced by PRA to Pacifica sister stations and affiliates at the NFCB conference.
STATION RELATIONS AND SERVICES: Brian DeShazor and Mark Torres made two station visits to KPFA and one to WPFW to meet with staff, management, LAB members, grant writing volunteers, and general public. On these visits, during conferences attended by PRA, and on other occasions, Brian DeShazor had the opportunity to instruct self-selected station staff, management, and producers in using the online catalogue. PRA accounts specialist, Marianna Berkovich continues relations with affiliates covering contract details and collection of funds. Marianna also spent a week at the finance office in Washington, D.C. to assist with PRA accounts. PRA accounts have been transferred to Los Angeles where Marianna will process payments and manage accounts.
PRA continues to collect and make copies available to listeners, at cost and upon request, of current Pacifica programs: Democracy Now!, Explorations with Michio Kaku, This Way Out, and other local programs.
The process of establishing a presence and identity on Pacifica Stations of PRA as a unit of the network is adding to the value of the network, and the local station, to the listener. It is also contributing to the awareness of the nationwide Pacifica community.
PRA broadened its presence in larger arenas by attending the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), Association of Recorded Sound Collectors (ARSC), and Association of Library Sciences conferences. Following the ARSC conference, a visit from a supervisor in the sound division of the Library of Congress (LOC) not only updated PRA staff on current standards and practices for preservation and digitization but in addition provided an informal assessment of the archives and offered his recommendations. Following this and brief meetings by Brian DeShazor and Verna Avery-Brown
with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Ford Foundation PRA hired consultant, Adi Gevins, to complete grant proposals.
CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE:
These challenges involve many areas; preservation, conservation, copyrights and permissions, web-based access and promotion, and marketing. In the next months PRA plans to invite an informal panel of advisors that include academics, librarians, historians, Pacifica staff and concerned friends of the archives to address various areas of concern. In addition to this group, a committee will be created to define the core collection or the materials most likely to be viewed as of historical value. Our intention is to gather a committee from as varied areas of study as there are in the collection, for example: African- American studies, Native American studies, Gay and Lesbian studies, political and cultural studies, contemporary poetry, new music, etc. They will include academics, artists, radio programmers, community activists, LAB members, educators, and listeners (among others). A criterion must be first created from which this committee will work from.
During the next months PRA will focus on these objectives:
- Draw strategy for the final quarter and coming fiscal year,
- Complete grant proposals focused on preservation and access issues,
- Increase website development,
- Maintain service to the stations,
- Create criteria for core collection assessment.
"Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward all research."
- Malcolm X, speech in Detroit, Michigan, February 14, 1965
Pacifica Radio Archives #IZ0925B