Matt's Blog

Weblog of New York City based Jewish Musician.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Sound Archive Find
The other day while cataloging LP's in the YIVO sound archives I came across this amazing find. Two acetate on aluminum radio transcription discs from 1960. 1960! and they where labeled as disc to disc transfers from NBC radio. One would think that by 1960 NBC would have switched to using tape for their transcription recordings. If you didn't listen to the Yiddish Radio Project , radio transcription recordings are made for FCC, and advertisers to prove what was recorded. Most radio transcriptions discs are 16'', but these were only 14''. They run at speeds from a slow as 9 rpm to as fast as 78 rpm. These ran at 33 1/3 rpm, and that meant that they could be played back on any turntable. One last detail of note, disc one had sides 1 and 3, and disc 2 sides 2 and 4. This meant that if you had two turntables you could play this program back in order to be able play the program back for airplay.

So what was this great find? It was a copy of the "Eternal Light" a program on NBC that was overseen by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS). This episode was from April of 1960 and told the story of how the YIVO archive in Vilna made its way to New York where it is to this day. It is really an amazing story. And after spending some time listening to it while I was cataloging I can say that their isn't much radio or TV that is like it today.

Even though it was a dramatic recreation of events, the level of detail that they went to isn't found much today. On radio you can listen to NPR, but for the visual details you have to turn to programs like Real Sports and On the Record on HBO. PBS is good, but for some reason the Newshour just doesn't do the say thing for me.

It is a shame that people don't spend the time to hear or tell the complete stories anymore. One could say it is great that we have all these media options, but as viewers we have to make sure that we as exposing ourself to great programming.

And on this last note, I am a huge fan of Baseball Tonight . But the change to most shows being a half hour this year doesn't do it for me. I miss the organ to much, and the old Going, Going, Gone was so much better to be able to use to keep track of who on your fantasy team was hitting the long ball. At lest the didn't mess at all with the web gems.

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