Sunday, October 23, 2011

Archives In The Hall

On Friday, I did take my collection of radio show tapes to the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame's library and archives for storage. Many thanks to Archivist Dianna Ford, who took such an interest in the materials, and gave a really great tour of the facilities. As you might suspect, they have some amazing artifacts in there!

My first stop was to WCSB. I'd call it my old stomping grounds, but the studios have relocated from CSU's Rhodes Tower over to the Cole Center. All of my shows were broadcast from Rhodes Tower. The old studios had walls lined with cork, for sound absorption. It had a peculiar smell, and if you spent more than a half hour there, you went home 'smelling like the station'. Student Media Specialist Dan Lenhart left a WCSB t-shirt with Randy Allar for me to wear at the Hall.
Randy Allar once trained me in radio production. Not long after, I was training students in production as well. Here Randy shows me the layout of the 'new' WCSB.

This was a very proud moment for me. I was initially floored to even have the request made of me. My shows were never the most popular when they ran. They were respected, enjoyed, useful, educational- but never the top show. I was always lurking somewhere in the shadow of Steve Wainstead, who always seemed to have the top show whenever he was on. This is a great shadow to be lurking in, to be sure. Second to Wainstead is still high atop the mountain. But while I've foregone popularity in other areas of life, I always felt somewhat under-appreciated... Is that even the right word? Anyhow, I always seemed to want some kind of recognition that, yeah, you're doing good work there, Kole. Well- here it is!

The Library & Archives of the Hall is separate from the main museum, and is attached to Tri-C's campus at 30th & Woodland. I was told that eventually, the library will be open to the public. Visitors will be able to read and listen to stored materials (won't be able to check them out, though), including my shows. I'll be very interested to go back once it's operational!
Archivist Diana Ford accepting the first installment of my collections. The original cassettes and playlists will be kept forever at the Hall's Library & Archives. She and her staff will transfer the music from the CD copies I made of all the cassettes. She was very happy that I saved her a lot of time. I joked that I wished I knew that she wanted the materials two years ago, when I started making the dubs.

When Dianna Ford took us on a tour of the archives, the very first thing I saw was a shelf full of film canisters. I would so love to see this. It's the original!

So- why did I never pursue radio in Indiana upon arrival in 2002? Well, I was spoiled by my experience at WCSB. I always got to play whatever music I wanted to. 100%, absolutely everything was at my discretion. You don't generally get that luxury in commercial radio settings. Why not political talk? It doesn't really pay that well, for one thing. Most starting talkers have to make appearances in order to supplement their radio paychecks. I'd done that before, in Cleveland, when I was doing sports at WHK, ever so briefly in 1994-95. I knew right away that it wasn't the way I wanted to make a living.

So, I podcast when I'm so inspired. It's a beautiful thing. About $300 in equipment gets you up and running, and I can record a show whenever I feel like it. Listeners can subscribe on iTunes and get the show files downloaded when they are issued. My current podcast is definitely just for fun. If it never gets any recognition, I'm very cool with that.

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