wbai.net Pacifica/WBAI history   events   links   archive   bylaws etc
iPNB   PNB   LSB   elections   contact info   opinion   search

DAILY REPORTS and Documents | iPNB Houston meeting info
Archives report at iPNB meeting in Houston

Presented at the iPNB meeting in Houston September 20 - 22, 2002

[ from http://pacificaarchives.org/report.html ]


Submitted to Dan Coughlin, Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation
By Brian DeShazor, Archives Manager
September 6, 2002


Over the past two months, The Pacifica Radio Archives (PRA) has made a great leap forward in developing an actionable long-term plan for improved preservation, digitization, cataloging, and electronic (web) and physical access to Pacifica's archived recordings. With assistance from grant consultant Adi Gevins, PRA recently completed and submitted a heritage and preservation grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The initial phase of creating an archives advisory group for the project has been met with enthusiasm from academics, historians, archivists, documentarians, Pacifica veterans and current staff. PRA continued its support to stations during fund drives and assisted programmers and producers with special programming, such as the KPFK Chicano Moratorium anniversary program and the national and local governance and bylaws specials. During the summer fund drive, KPFK granted PRA an hour of on-air time to raise emergency funds for the purchase of a new air conditioner for the cold storage room (estimated at $5,000). Listeners responded to the call with $8,000 gross in pledges ($10,000 with KPFK commitment) proving listener concern for the safety of the recordings. The increased awareness of the collection has attracted skilled volunteers who have assisted PRA staff with operations during the sales record-breaking month of July as well as the purchase, installation and set up of a new backup server and operating system that replaced the previous corrupted system. Although the physical condition of the collection continues to rapidly deteriorate and the lack of storage space poses serious problems, the support this interim board has created and encouraged throughout the network has given PRA opportunities for growth unprecedented in its 32-year history. We are grateful and request your continued participation in the struggle to save the valuable history we protect.


In the final FY2002 quarter, PRA will break all previous quarterly sales records expecting to process more than $32,000 in tape sales. This is in part due to consistent on-air mention of the archives on national network programs, mention of the archives on station programs, and website promotion and development. PRA projects an increase in future Democracy Now! tape sales since the September 3rd implementation of an 800 number service processing listener orders. In the first two days of this new process 234 orders were processed representing $5000 in revenue. PRA is grateful to Democracy Now! by being the largest part of tape sales subsequently sustaining PRA operations. Projections of tape sales for FY2002 budget was estimated at $45,000 for tape sales; by the end of September PRA will exceed $78,000. The steady growth of PRA revenue this past year has allowed national office to defer the estimated $231,000 in central services that PRA did not receive in FY2002. This will be shown as a surplus in PRA FY2003 budget. Thanks to the collective and unanimous interest of this interim board, executive management and station managers, PRA will hold its first national day of fund raising in October that will help address the urgent needs the archives has been reporting on this year that require funds. These in part include preservation equipment, new computer workstations, web upgrade, and new staff positions.


The Pacifica Radio Archives (PRA) historic collection is still at a critical stage, losing valuable time in arresting the current level of deterioration to the tapes. This past quarter PRA has worked diligently to; stabilize the storage environment; create a strategy for dealing with tapes found to be in danger; and maintain minimal cataloging standards. The current collection growth rate is largely daily archiving of Democracy Now!. A collection development plan including rescuing additional historic Pacifica recordings, surveying station and producer holdings, and solicit stations and current producers to deposit selected programs with the archives is on hold until resources for storage space, conservation and restoration practices, and catalog entry and access can be actualized. Relationships forged with Larry Applebaum (Library of Congress), David Seubert (University of California, Santa Barbara) and field experts in audio archive preservation and access are increasing visibility of the collection and constitute valuable resources for analyzing current standards and practices, and developing "best practices."


PRA still has the urgent need to hire a professional cataloger and an office administrator. These positions have been included in the FY2003 budget. PRA hopes to begin personnel search as soon as budgets are approved. The PRA staff deserves recognition for their hard work and care for the health of the collection as well as maintaining services to Pacifica stations, affiliates and listeners. PRA has enjoyed more positive support than at any other time but has not been immune to the struggles that continue to plague the network. The staff has remained cheerful, supportive and dedicated to the principles and ethics of archiving which is to collect and preserve what is and will be an alternative recorded history. The staff is: Marianna Berkovich, Business Manager; Arline Chang, Sales Administrator; Maria Kim, new PRA Web Developer; Edgar Toledo, Production Coordinator; Mark Torres, Operations Director, Producer; and the 10 or more new skilled volunteers that help us daily.


This quarter, PRA played an important role in providing new and archival programming to Pacifica and affiliate stations for broadcast and fund drive premiums. 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, KPFK Morning Show, Background Briefing, and other local programs as requested.


In addition to the new CD format editions of archival compilations such as the Voices of Feminism, Malcolm X, Noam Chomsky and James Baldwin PRA played a larger on air role in fund drives, particularly during the KPFK summer fund drive.


This month PRA completed a successful original 12 program series, A Passion for Survival with Dr. Helen Caldicott narrated by Lily Tomlin. The programs featured both archival tape and new recordings of Dr. Helen Caldicott in dialog with such activist - intellectuals as: Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, Michio Kaku, Julia Butterfly Hill, Blasé Bonpane, John Sellers, Ramona Ripston, Greg Palast and Amy Goodman. The series was produced by PRA staffers, Brian DeShazor and Mark Torres with help from KPFA. The series constituted a significant national programming offer to stations and affiliates; in addition to bolstering PRA's credibility as a national unit vital to both the network as a whole and to the individual stations. Following initial distribution the series will be offered to Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for broadcast broadening PRA presence in other markets. Continuing its association in the literary radio series, A Clear and Present Danger, hosted by Steve Rohde and produced by the PEN Center USA West, PRA distributed a special program on the anniversary of TWA flight 800. This was the first program offered to stations and affiliates as a downloadable file from the PRA website.

PRA participation was vital to the success of the KPFK summer fund drive. The station preempted regular programs in favor of long-form subject-driven programming which was supported with both archival materials including rare recordings of June Jordan, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Wounded Knee anniversary, Dennis Banks, Dr. Margaret Mead, etc., and PRA staff participtated in on-air pledge efforts.


PRA has continued to strengthen relationships forged in larger arenas such as the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) and the Association of Recorded Sound Collectors (ARSC). Outreach has gathered a diverse group of PRA friends concerned with the health and preservation of the PRA collection, generally regarded as a premier resource for audio documentation for 20th century political activism, thought, arts and culture, from the Leftist and Progressive perspectives in the United States. These friends include veteran Pacifica programmers, documentary producers, archivists, political analysts, authors, scholars, historians, cultural workers, and activists.


The immediate goal is to create a plan for archives preservation and access that will acknowledge and reward Pacifica's contribution to the record to the history of the 20th century and beyond. In the NEA heritage and preservation grant proposal, PRA manager Brian DeShazor and grant consultant, Adi Gevins developed a 2 year project that will bring PRA to the forefront of sound preservation. The project focuses on the arts-related recordings. Experts will be contracted to conduct preliminary assessment of both the physical state of the collection, and the public access catalog/database. They will recommend and instruct PRA staff in best practices for preservation, description, and purchase of critical equipment and supplies. One hundred (100) key Art Heritage tapes including poetry, literature, drama, spoken word, radio documentary and radio art will be selected for preservation and description. Other grants prospects in development are NEH Preservation and Access, National Archives NHPRC Collection and Preservation; Washington DC Humanities Council; The Recording Academy Grant Program; California Council for Humanities; and the Paul Robeson Fund for Media.


In September, PRA will launch a redesigned website (www.pacificaradioarchives.org). The site will focus on four main objectives: Accessibility to archive records; online sales/fundraising; station and affiliate communications; and service as a resource for education, a source for production elements, and as a library of programs suitable for rebroadcast. The 1964 radio documentary, The 1934 San Francisco Waterfront and General Strike produced by Ernest Lowe was broadcast on KPFK celebrating Labor Day.


The immediate goal for the entire PRA staff is to work as a team to bring the collection’s physical environment up to proper standards safeguarding further damage. We look forward to actionable support from this interim board of directors and executive management in the coming months. With respect to the financial burden the foundation is still experiencing, there must be a discussion regarding minimum payment of central services to PRA during times of foundation crises. PRA will continue its growth by developing its website, creating grant proposals, and developing fundraising mechanisms. PRA will maintain station relations and services by seeking new and vibrant premiums for fund drives and increasing communication with stations’ management, staff, producers and programmers, with emphasis on acquisitions. This quarter will also require PRA teamwork to restructure the office space and equipment placement for new permanent and contracted staff additions.

top of page
DAILY REPORTS and Documents | iPNB Houston meeting info
iPNB index | home