My name is Virginia Angles. I am currently a graduate student at Clayton State University working towards at Masters in Archival Science. I was super excited when I first heard about the American Archives of Public Broadcasting’s (AAPB) Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF) with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). I had never worked in digital preservation. I felt like this would be a fantastic way to learn about a whole new branch of archiving. My archival training has, up to this point, focused on traditional records handling and preservation methods. During this fellowship I partnered with Clayton State University and GPB to preserve a collection of DAT Tapes of old broadcast materials. During this project I digitized over 80 hours of broadcasting material to be made accessible at the AAPB and preserved at the Library of Congress. Stay tuned for a Special Collection of this material to be made available at americanarchive.org.
The Background of Georgia’s Public Radio:
Georgia Gazette is thought to be the longest running Georgia focused Public Radio program ever produced in Georgia. The Gazette was born out of a similar show called the Georgia Journal. It came into its own in late 1994 and continued to air as an hour long weekly program until 2007. Georgia Gazette then became a daily thirty-minute show but still maintained its Georgia focus. This radio magazine covered a large variety of topics as Susanna Capelouto, producer and longtime contributor to the Gazette recalls, “…from the implementation of the H.O.P.E. Scholarship and the Olympics, from urban sprawl to the election of the first Republican governor since reconstruction…,” Georgia Gazette was there to cover all of these stories and much more.
The Georgia Gazette also included a weekly Consumer Call-In segment aired every Friday. This program was focused on helping everyday Georgians with their questions on how to handle bad business deals, faulty products, and their rights as consumers. The Consumer Call-In program featured guests like the Georgia Secretary of State and representatives from the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs.
All told, the Georgia Gazette and the Georgia Gazette Consumer Call-In give you a good look at vibrant life and culture of Georgia during the early 1990’s and 2000’s.
My main challenge with this collection was finding context for it. When I was first handed these DAT Tapes many of them were unlabeled and other were labeled with words like “Trial” or “Juvenile Piece.” As I popped each one into the tape deck I took notes on topics covered and the names of hosts, contributors, and producers. It was pretty cool trying to figure out when a tape was recorded just by listening to the current news. I then reached out to GPB to try to locate as many of these people as I could. Most people at GPB did not remember the Gazette, but as luck would have it, some of the old crew are still doing great work at GPB! I had a great time getting to know the team that created the Gazette decades ago. We had a great time walking back through GPB history and putting it together piece by piece.
So much to learn!
The Georgia Gazette featured such a diverse range of topics, I learned a lot more than I expected. There were features about how to care for your garden with homemade mixtures and everyday items. There were discussions about the many uses of kudzu and the brilliance of Chinese medicine. The Gazette often covered some of the most colorful and diverse cultures in the Georgia community. Georgia Gazette reported pending legislation and important issues of the day. It was fascinating to go back and listen to reports about many of the same topics we deal with today and also to hear public sentiment on legislation change over the years as bills are passed and become a part of our lives.
The Georgia Gazette Consumer Call-In edition was a great way to step back in time. These shows allowed people from all over the state to call into the studio and talk directly with experts who could answer their questions. This program gives us a glimpse into the concerns of everyday Georgians and the changes of the consumer landscape. Being born in the early 90’s I had forgotten the difficulties of dial-up, fax machine telemarketers, and the price of long distance calls.
Written by Virginia Angles, PBPF Spring 2018 Cohort
The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports ten graduate student fellows at University of North Carolina, San Jose State University, Clayton State University, University of Missouri, and University of Oklahoma in digitizing at-risk materials at public media organizations around the country. Host sites include the Center for Asian American Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, and KOPN Community Radio. Contents digitized by the fellows will be preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant also supports participating universities in developing long-term programs around audiovisual preservation and ongoing partnerships with their local public media stations.
For more updates on the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship project, follow the project at pbpf.americanarchive.org and on Twitter at #aapbpf, and come back in a few months to check out the results of their work.