From the times when families gathered around the radio for presidential fireside chats to the daily commutes of today, radio broadcasts have been an important part of the culture of the United States.
Later this month, volunteers have a chance to help preserve those broadcasts — from Anchorage, Alaska to Bangor, Maine, and small towns and large cities in between — so that they can be used by researchers for future generations.
The Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, one of three special collections units in University of Georgia Libraries, will host a Transcriptathon on Wednesday, April 28.
During the free virtual event, volunteers will correct computer-generated transcripts of radio programs nominated for the Peabody Awards, a prestigious award similar to the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in broadcasting administered by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The broadcasts range from the 1940s to the end of the 20th century.
The transcripts will be paired with digitized broadcasts, thanks to the National Historical Publications & Records Commission and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, to allow for improved online searchability and better access for hearing impaired patrons.
“These Peabody Award nominated broadcasts are significant because they represent the best programs created by public radio stations across the country. The great majority of these programs were only heard in their broadcast listening areas, and were only broadcast one time. With this project, we can make them available across the country, and they will be accessible at any time, to anyone" said Mary Miller, Peabody Awards archivist for Brown Media.
During the April 28 event, scheduled for 3 p.m., attendees will learn about the grant project and receive instructions on transcription correction. Then, participants will work together to update the transcripts. Registration is required at this link for the Transcriptathon, but volunteers can continue to contribute to the effort after the initial training event.
“This is the perfect project for radio enthusiasts, news or history junkies, or anyone looking to contribute to a volunteer effort in a safe, easy way from home,” said Ruta Abolins, director of Brown Media. “Anyone with an internet connection can help in preserving radio history.”
Volunteers who are not able to attend the event may schedule a training session. For more information, contact Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.