ARSC’s 53rd annual conference will be held May 8-11, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. The conference programs will take place at The Benson, a historic hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon. Memnon will present together with KEXP and Columbia University challenges, approach and lessons learned in Radio Preservation Projects. Here the description of both presentations:



Saturday 11:00 – 12:30pm Session 2

Panelists: Jonah Volk, Sean Quimby (Columbia University) Ari Swartz, Conner Maddern (Memnon Archiving Services)

For this presentation, representatives from Columbia University and Memnon will discuss the ongoing project to preserve sound recordings from the collection of counter-culture icon and radio personality Bob Fass. The collection, which was acquired by Columbia University Libraries’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 2016, includes recordings from the 1950s to the 2000s, many of which are from Fass’s long-running WBAI show “Radio Unnameable” and feature appearances by figures like Bob Dylan and Abbie Hoffman as well as live reportage from the ‘68 Democratic National Convention and the Columbia student protests.

With support from a CLIR grant, Columbia contracted with Memnon Archiving Services in 2017 to digitize a large portion of these recordings at its facility in Bloomington, Indiana, focusing on ¼” reels and audio cassettes. As the tapes had been stored in poor conditions for many years, there were numerous condition issues that the Memnon staff had to deal with: including mold, dirt, and other debris; poor/unwinding tape pack; and squealing tapes. In response, they deployed a series of creative solutions to ensure that the tapes could be digitized.

In this presentation, Columbia University will dig into the collection and share rarely-heard clips. We will discuss the acquisition of the collection and the selection and preparation of the materials for digitization, as well as next steps for quality control, description and access. Memnon will showcase the innovative solutions that were developed to address tapes with mold and non-sticky shed squealing, sharing audio examples and images of problems and solutions.



Saturday 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Session 2 Panelists: Dylan Flesch (KEXP), Auston Germany, (Memnon Archiving Services) 

KEXP is continuing a multi-stage project to preserve our history through the digital reformatting of materials from our audio archives. The project includes a combination of live performances, interstitials, and broadcast archive materials held on DAT, NAB broadcast cartridges, cassette and open-reel audio tape. The collection includes items from KEXP, the Jack Straw Foundation, current and former volunteers and staff, and our listener community. A key part of KEXP’s contribution to Pacific Northwest music culture has been recording and broadcasting original recordings of musical acts from the Northwest, throughout the country, and around the world.

Beginning in the early 90’s KEXP’s Live Room has hosted thousands of performances by emerging and established musical acts. The resulting recordings form a body of work that traces the arc of contemporary independent music, particularly Pacific Northwest independent music, through the past 25 years. KEXP will discuss their library and archives, the role of their on-staff media asset librarian, project timeline and goals, RFP process, and digital asset management. KEXP will also explain their post-digitization plans for handling rights and providing access.

The presentation will feature audio samples throughout. Our digitization partners at Memnon will explain the process of creating a solution for KEXP to digitize nearly 4,000 items in less than two months. They’ll discuss the digitization workflow, metadata schemes, production metrics and the unique challenges of digitizing DATs and NAB broadcast carts. Collectively, we will also share some tips and lessons learned for other organizations with similar collections and resources.

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