STUDS TERKEL RADIO ARCHIVE Keeps the Cat Alive
For almost half a century, Studs Terkel chronicled the lives of workers, artists, authors, students, teachers, actors, and many others from different facets of life. He interviewed them on his daily radio program on Chicago’s WFMT. The launch party, coinciding with his 106th birthday (He died in 2008.), was a celebration of his life and work as well as the successful beginning of the audio digitization of this work.
The magnetic tapes on which these interviews have been kept began to be digitized and the result is the STRA (Studs Terkel Radio Archive) which represents the efforts of individuals and organizations in Chicago and around the country. The Library of Congress, having begun in September, 2011, is taking the cliched “ball and running with it” by providing the technology of digitization. The project is 50% complete as of this writing.
Not only are Studs’ radio interviews in process of complete digitization, but so is the entirety of his oral histories with people from the walks of life in and around Chicago from the latter half of the 20th Century (1952-1997). The whole audio archive will be available soon, but already the website is up and being used in the most creative ways.
STUDS TERKEL RADIO ARCHIVE offers vast opportunities.
Tony Macaluso of WFMT spoke to the ability that users would have in creating their own applications of the vast material in the archive. Researchers, students and teachers will have easy access to Terkel’s work as well as having the gift of actually hearing the master interviewer himself. We as a people will have an ability to recapture the “art of conversation,” according to a curator of the website, by following the interviews as they happened.
Other features in the archive are podcasts – “Bughouse Square with Eve Ewing,” a time travel type perusal of Terkel’s interviews with the larger names in his research. A major part of his work had been with common people in the city, the “et ceteras of the world,” as he called them. For everyone, from the anonymous to the infamous these conversations are preserved, along with Studs Terkel himself, not simply as a photo in an album, but as a painting on a wall – to be admired and studied and imitated, honored and appreciated in a way that uplifts us and those who follow us.
Visit and make use of the archive at Studs Terkel Radio Archive
Joseph Anthony Rulli is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Chicago since the fall of 2006. A 1987 graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, History) and a 1992 graduate of St. Meinrad School of Theology (MDiv) he taught Social Studies, Religion, Philosophy and History at the high school level. He began writing as a career upon his arrival to his second city and has had two short stories published, a stage play performed, an electronic tour book published online and The Chicago Haymarket Affair (History Press/Arcadia Publishing, 2016) his first print book.