7-May-18 More than 5,600 radio programs created by Studs Terkel will soon be available online.
Chicago History Museum says it will have the programs, created over 45 years, on The Studs Terkel Radio Archive at studsterkel.org by May 16, what would have been the author/historian/actor/radio personalitys 106th birthday.
Terkel is arguably best known for his oral histories of common Americans. His one-hour weekday radio show, The Studs Terkel Program, was produced at WFMT between 1952 and 1997.
Terkel is a legendary figure in the worlds of radio and oral history, says the museum. The scope of his work has few peers and ranges from his award-winning, best-selling books that helped establish oral history as a popular genre, to his daily radio show in which he conducted free-flowing, humanities-inspired conversations with an astonishing range of people such as Martin Luther King, Simone de Beauvoir, Bob Dylan, Cesar Chavez, Toni Morrison, and many others.
The archive also includes the voices of thousands of people who were not famous.
In any given week, Terkel might interview civil rights activists, poets, scientists, Chicago public school children, opera stars, Soviet dissidents, political philosophers, stand-up comedians, and blues and gospel singers.
The museum says the archive will be a unique resource for educators, journalists, artists, activists, media-makers, scholars, and people from all walks of life seeking to connect the voices and ideas of 20th century luminaries with contemporary social issues.
The Library of Congress helped with the cost of digitizing the reel-to-reel tapes on which the programs were recorded, a body of work reportedly valued at more than $900,000. The museum also received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and private donations raised through a Kickstarter campaign.