Home Notice Box Top Stories WYSO radio receives over $5 million for preservation efforts

WYSO radio receives over $5 million for preservation efforts


YELLOW SPRINGS — WYSO has been awarded $5 million from the Mellon Foundation to support The HBCU Radio Preservation Project.

The Mellon Foundation has provided WYSO with four grants during the last four years with the latest bringing the total amount to $5.6 million. The HBCU Radio Preservation Project is a collaborative effort between the WYSO Archives and the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) focused on supporting radio stations at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, preserving their legacies and cultural heritage.

The NEDCC was the first independent conservation laboratory in the nation, founded in 1973, that specializes in treating collections made of paper or parchment. The center now offers conservation treatment, digital imaging and audio preservation services, as well as consultations and assessments for preservation efforts.

Now, with the additional funding from the Mellon Project, the HBCU Radio Preservation Project plans to expand all 29 HBCU radio stations and their campus archives or libraries, according to a press release from HBCU.

“This is sacred work,” said Jocelyn Robinson, the project’s founding director and the director of radio preservation and archives at WYSO. “And now we can help every HBCU station save precious primary recordings and other historical source materials that document the diversity of the Black experience. And we’re not just preventing the loss of invaluable historical records — we’re encouraging institutions in developing a culture and practice of preservation. That will ensure they never face the looming preservation crisis this project was created to prevent.”

Robinson serves as the director of radio preservation and archives and created the HBCU Radio Preservation Project in 2017.

The project’s approach to preservation includes three main parts: Preservation training and education; preservation; and public history and preservation praxis.

Preservation training includes workshops for campus stations, archivists and community members, mini-grants for professional development, and hiring a fellow and intern each year of the grant cycle.

Preservation includes field archivists collaborating with station and campus archivists on collections assessments and follow-up field services.

Public history consists of oral historians interviewing community members with ties to respective radio stations as well as oral history training, digital content creation, public presentations, and annual symposia.

According to the press release, a collection of reformatted historical HBCU radio material will be available at the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, and an oral history collection will be housed at Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Center.

The next phase of the project is set to begin Feb. 1 at 3 p.m.

Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.