Digital Stewardship at KBOO Community Radio

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 2:30pm

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Two weeks have passed since the start of the 2016 American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) NDSR fellowship program, and I am so glad that I applied and received a spot as one of the seven fortunate residents!


Kate McManus, Tressa Graves, Adam Lott, Eddy Colloton, Andrew Weaver, Selena Chau, Lorena Ramirez-Lopez. Stay updated via Twitter: @amarchivepub

Immersion week provided a chance for residents and host site mentors to meet in person for the first time, with WGBH as our host all week for day-long sessions. Immersion week offered workshops, training sessions, and tours of workplaces responsible for digital preservation of audiovisual archival materials (and more). Sessions were led by Jacob Nadal of ReCAP, UCLA Moving Image Archive Studies's Snowden Becker (also my NDSR Advisory Board mentor), the WGBH's Karen CarianiCasey Davis, and Rebecca Fraimow, Carnegie Hall Digital Asset Manager Kathryn Gronsbell, AAPB Metadata Specialist Sadie Roosa, Library of Congress Digital Conversion Specialist Rachel Curtis, Stephanie Sapienza of the Maryland Institute for Technology, and Joey Heinen at Northeastern University. A tour to the MIT Libraries allowed us to meet the current SAA Vice President/President Elect Nancy McGovern and Kari Smith for a session on digital preservation workflow.


We had some fun too, exploring the Boston area.

On my first day at KBOO Community Radio in Portland, Oregon, I toured the studio, met staff and volunteers, and attended a few meetings. One of the prominent points at a programming meeting covered the important FCC regulation on obscenity, indecency, and profanity. Because of the hefty fines associated with violating the strict regulation (even accidentally), KBOO suspends shows from the air and continuously tries measures to prevent hosts from letting any profanity slip. Amusingly, this was my first meeting using and talking about many, many expletives. At the end of the day, I joined the development director and program director for a meeting with representatives from Radio Survivor and Freeform Portland, one of the local low-power FM stations. The mission and goals of local, community radio stations overlap so it was nice to be introduced to collaborative Portland radio work.

At KBOO, I will aid in the design and development of a process for the digitization, preservation, and cataloging of 7,500 historic KBOO programs dating from the late 1960s. KBOO Community Radio went on the air in June of 1968 and according to current metadata Excel sheets, archival holdings include 5, 7 and 10" reels from the late 1940s.

KBOO has 13 staff members, a few regular contractors, and couple hundred volunteers. There is such lively energy to get this radio station to run 24 hours a day without automation. KBOO offers audio production, podcasting, and digital editing training to volunteers who create its programming. Some volunteers I've met in my first week have been working at KBOO for over 10 years. Some staff also started as volunteers, and Board of Directors similarly are committed to the work it takes to keep KBOO on the air. I felt the collaborative, welcoming, respectful environment in meetings and interactions with people at the station.

Types of audio at KBOO include 5, 7, 10" 0pen reel, CDs, cassettes, DATs, minidiscs, LP, and born digital audio files. Physical audio archival materials are stored in a designated archives room. Cassettes, DATs, and minidiscs have been digitized in-house, while open reels have been sent out to BAVC for digitization in the past. Corresponding digital files may be in dispersed locations on the networked shared drive. For current broadcast audio, the website acts as repository for radio programs. A script auto-archives the audio files so that listeners can find past programs with an online search. KBOO would like to have an online, integrated search of current radio programs and digitized archival audio materials. Providing a system to document the condition and digitization history of original assets would allow greater preservation management of archival audio.

An review of KBOO's technology infrastructure is key to determine how their volunteer-driven organization can sustain new tools and technology. Additional meetings are set for the upcoming weeks to learn more. KBOO's specific needs will be kept in mind with discussions of the pros and cons of open source solutions. How will archival work be integrated into KBOO's existing volunteer-run model? What will be outsourced, what will be administered in-house, and how will digital preservation be funded long-term? The week of training in Boston provided me with knowledge that I will utilize for this project, including project management, designing workflow, standards in digital preservation and audiovisual archiving, computing and processing, and metadata management.

The station manager and program director were both receptive to the idea of me providing archival and digital preservation literacy workshops. This will allow me to share why audiovisual archiving is important and go further in-depth into what it takes to achieve digital preservation of KBOO's culturally valuable collection.