Immense Studs Terkel radio archive Kickstarts to digital; RAIN gets exclusive listen

Just about anyone working in the broadcast or media worlds should be familiar with Studs Terkel. The Pulitzer Prize-winner made his name on his probing interviews with both the leading thinkers of the day and the average workaday citizens of the United States alike. Now, an exciting new project spearheaded by Chicago’s WFMT Radio Network aims to preserve and digitize Terkel’s vast collection of radio shows. RAIN News readers have also been granted exclusive access to a pair of his interviews from the late 1960s.

The plan is to create the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, which will showcase more than 5,600 pieces of his work. That’s 9,000 hours of content pulled from Terkel’s daily radio show that broadcast on WFMT from 1952 to 1997. However, with the content mostly recorded on reel-to-reel, few of his conversations have been available to the general public, much less a digital audience, before.

The project has the support of the Chicago History Museum and the Library of Congress, but the vast scope of the archive’s goals requires additional funding to complete. WFMT is using Kickstarter to help fund the first stage of the project. The $75,000 goal will go toward audio archiving, transcribing, and uploading the first thousand of Terkel’s interviews by 2017.

Once online, Terkel’s radio legacy will be available for listening, creative reuse, and education, all free. For a sneak peek at what the archive will offer, the team have granted RAIN News an exclusive listen to two of Terkel’s interviews with Eric Burdon, the famed vocalist whose skills spanned rock, R&B, blues, and funk as a solo artist and as front man for The Animals and War.

The 1967 interview:

And the 1969 interview:

Anna Washenko