RPTF/ARSC Sound Collections Database

Black Radio : Telling It Like It Was

Production materials documenting Smithsonian's thirteen-part program on the role of radio in transforming the African American community in the twentieth century. The program was produced in 1996 by Jacquie Gales Webb for Smithsonian Productions, with assistance from the AAAMC. The collection contains over 400 hours of interviews and historical aircheck tapes in addition to articles, research files, program scripts, and transcripts. The audio interviews feature conversations with over 150 well-known disc jockeys, radio professionals, record company executives, journalists, and scholars. The historical airchecks include station identifications and jingles, radio interviews with prominent Black figures, coverage of historical events, and programs highlighting or influenced by the contributions of Black performers, disc jockeys, and other important persons in radio.
Smithsoinan Productions and National Museum of American History (U.S.)
Archives of African American Music and Culture
Repository/Collector Type:
College or university
United States
Collection ID:
SC 39
4.3 linear feet (10 boxes) + 297 audiocassettes (DAT : digital, stereo), 168 audiocassettes (analog), 9 8mm data cartridges, 7 audio discs (CD-R), 3 data disks (1.44 MB floppies)
Content types:
Performed music, Spoken word, Still image, and Text
Analog audiocassette, Digital Audio Tape, Data cartridge, Optical disc (Including CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, VCD), Text document, and Data disk (floppy disk)
Carrier types:
Audiocassette, Audio disc, Computer disc, and Computer tape cartridge
Indexing terms:
Smithsonian Institution, Webb, Jacqueline Gales, Rawls, Lou, African Americans and mass media, Mass media and race relations--United States, African American disc jockeys, African American radio stations, Radio broadcasting--United States--History, Radio audiences, African American radio broadcasters, Radio in community development, Radio producers and directors, Civil rights movements--United States--History--20th century, Advertising--Sound recordings, Rhythm and blues music, Gospel music, Radio station identifications, Amos 'n' Andy (Radio program), Sam 'n' Henry (Radio program), Beulah (Radio program), Destination freedom (Radio program), Freedom's people (Radio program), Jack Benny program (Radio program), King Biscuit flower hour, New world a-comin' (Radio program), Radio programs, and Interviews (Sound recordings)
Interviews, Interviews (Sound recordings), and Public service radio programs
Access statement:
This collection is open for research. Audiovisual materials require the creation of listening and/or viewing copies. Advance notice of your visit is highly recommended to ensure that requested materials will be ready for use upon your arrival. Contact the AAAMC staff for more details.
Usage statement:
Permission required from the Smithsonian Institution to duplicate or publish any material from interviews; individual permission/release forms on file and may vary for each participant. The provenance and intellectual property rights for the historical airchecks are unclear. Materials may be used in-house at the AAAMC; permission to duplicate must be secured in writing from the rights holders. Contact AAAMC staff for further details.
Inventory description:
EAD finding aid
Supporting documentation:
Contracts between interviewees and interviewers/production company.
Historical relevance:
Interviews with many prominent figures in Black radio.
Condition note:
Playable with proper equipment
Online finding aid:
View on webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu
OCLC record:
Local catalog record:
View on iucat.iu.edu