Presenting the Past: Exploring the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Podcast

In collaboration with the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), “Presenting the Past” features a series of informed conversations with scholars, educators, industry professionals, researchers, archivists, and others about significant events, issues, and topics documented in the more than 70 years of programming available in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting collection.

Episode 06: National Public Radio with Bill Siemering

Jan 11, 2022

The sixth episode of “Presenting the Past” features Bill Siemering, a radio innovator and advocate, who was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in October 2021. As a founding member of the NPR Board of Directors, Siemering wrote NPR's original mission and goals, and as NPR’s first director of programming, led the development of All Things Considered. Siemering developed Fresh Air with Terry Gross at WHYY in Philadelphia, managed WBFO in Buffalo, NY, and KCCM in Moorhead, MN, was the executive producer of the documentary series Sound Print, worked with the Open Society Foundation, focusing on Eastern Europe, Africa and Mongolia, and founded Developing Radio Partners to enrich the programming of local stations in Africa. In this discussion, he reflects on the influences that helped shape his ideas and approaches to public radio programming throughout his career.

Highlighted in this program are clips from Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), including the inaugural FM broadcast in 1947, the Peabody Award winning series Afield with Ranger Mac, and the write-in radio program Dear Sirs. Be sure to also listen to “Strasburg, North Dakota” (1977) from Minnesota Public Radio. Co-produced by Siemering, it highlights his interest in incorporating soundscapes and compelling storytelling into radio programming.

This discussion is led by Neil Verma, assistant professor of sound studies in Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University, and a member of the AAPB Scholar Advisory Committee.

Credits:
Hosted by Neil Verma
Recorded and edited by Christine Becker
Produced by Ryn Marchese
Post-production and theme music by Todd Thompson

Content mentioned in this episode:

Episode 05: Latino Empowerment through Public Broadcasting

Nov 23, 2021

Part 1 featuring Dolores Inés Casillas, Jesús Treviño, and Gabriela Rivera Marín

Part 2 featuring Hugo Morales

The fifth episode of “Presenting the Past” explores the history of Spanish language public radio and television programming and its roots in community activism. The discussion features activists Hugo Morales, Executive Director and co-founder of Radio Bilingüe Inc., and Jesús Treviño, television director, author and creator of Latinopia.com, along with scholars Dolores Inés Casillas, Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies and Director of the Chicano Studies Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Gabriela Rivera Marín, a doctoral student at the University of Florida studying Hispanic Linguistics and co-curator of the AAPB Latino Empowerment through Public Broadcasting exhibit.

Credits:
Hosted, recorded, and edited by Christine Becker
Produced by Ryn Marchese
Post-production and theme music by Todd Thompson

Content mentioned in this episode:
Radio:
Television:

Episode 04: Broadcasting in the Public Interest with Newton Minow, former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Sept 14, 2021

The fourth episode of “Presenting the Past'' features Newton Minow, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President John F. Kennedy from 1961 until 1963. Minow would become a key figure in the establishment of public broadcasting in the U.S., and in this conversation, he reflects on his early vision for public service television.

Highlighted in this program are clips from the AAPB collection, including Minow’s famed “vast wasteland” speech to the National Association of Broadcasters in 1961, his lesser known address to the same organization the following year, as well as a panel discussion with former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on the role of television in society.

Joining the discussion is Mr. Minow’s daughter, Mary Minow, Presidential Appointee to the National Museum and Library Services Board at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and current member of the AAPB Executive Advisory Council.

Credits:
Hosted, recorded, and edited by Christine Becker
Produced by Ryn Marchese
Post-production and theme music by Todd Thompson

For more context to the topics discussed in this episode, explore relevant content in the AAPB below:

Communication Satellite:
Educational Television Facilities Act of 1962:
JFK Assassination and 9/11 on Public Broadcasting:

Episode 03: Indigenous Public Media with Shirley Sneve, Vice President of Broadcasting for Indian Country Today

Aug 10, 2021

In the third episode of "Presenting the Past," Shirley Sneve, Vice President of Broadcasting for Indian Country Today, reflects on her work with Indian Country Today, Vision Maker Media (VMM), and archiving with the AAPB. Sneve also comments on the history of Native American public broadcasting and presents excerpts from a few of the documentaries that VMM has supported that present a diversity of perspectives on traditional and contemporary Native American culture.

Credits:
Hosted, recorded, and edited by Christine Becker
Produced by Ryn Marchese
Post-production and theme music by Todd Thompson

Content mentioned in this episode:
Indigenous Collections in the AAPB:
Additional Prominent Broadcast Outlets for Indigenous Programming:

Episode 02: On the Right: NET and Modern Conservatism with Allison Perlman, PhD

June 8, 2021

In the second episode of "Presenting the Past," Allison Perlman, assistant professor in the departments of film and media studies and history at the University of California, Irvine, compares two National Educational Television (NET) programs created to educate the audiences on the modern Conservatism party in the 1960s. Perlman also provides background on NET, the predecessor of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) leading up to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.

Content warning: this archival content contains descriptions of violence and racial slurs.

Credits:
Hosted, recorded, and edited by Christine Becker
Produced by Ryn Marchese
Post-production and theme music by Todd Thompson

Episode 01: Eyes on the Prize with Michelle Kelley, PhD

May 10, 2021

In the first episode of “Presenting the Past,” film scholar Michelle Kelley highlights a collection of 127 unedited interviews conducted for the landmark PBS documentary series Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965, first broadcast in January 1987. Kelley provides context to the making of the series and explores examples of interviews that give different, yet valuable, perspectives on the civil rights movement than the one presented in the final cut of the series.

Content warning: this archival content contains descriptions of violence and racial slurs.

Credits:
Hosted, recorded, and edited by Christine Becker
Produced by Ryn Marchese
Post-production and theme music by Todd Thompson

Content mentioned in this episode: