Behind the scenes of “America’s attic”

When you hear the words “Smithsonian Institution,” you might think of a hallowed yet fusty single museum in Washington, D.C. But the Smithsonian is much broader and deeper than that — in addition to its 19 museums  visited by millions every year, it encompasses 9 research centers and the national zoo spread across multiple states and countries where active research is happening. Justin O’Neill, the producer of the Smithsonian’s podcast Sidedoor, is trying to bring the many rich aspects of the Smithsonian to life and to share them with the broader public, and Pop Up Archive is a critical tool in his workflow. Continue reading

Experiences of World War II, 73 years later

This June marks the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, “the largest seaborne invasion in history,” that initiated the liberation of Europe from the Nazis and supported an Allied victory along the Western Front. Today, pieces from the archives that examine World War II through the experiences of three different groups of citizens.

Veterans remember  Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois professor Bob Espeseth undertook a huge project to gather oral histories from World War II veterans before they were lost. In this piece, he interviews an 87-year-old veteran named Ed Gordon about his experience as a soldier in the war. (You can find all of Espeseth’s recordings in the Early American Museum in Mahomet, IL.) Listen.

Japanese in California — Pacifica Radio Archives

Not all World War II atrocities took place overseas — in the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese American to be forcibly relocated and incarcerated in camps. All told, between 110,000 and 120,000 were affected, 62 percent of whom were U.S. citizens. This audio piece documents the experience with personal interviews of those who were interned. Listen.

The attack on Pearl Harbor through the eyes of students — KALW Crosscurrents

The attack on Pearl Harbor represented a major turning point for college students. Worried about final exams one day, many were enlisting and joining the army just a few days later. Sam Redman, cultural historian with UC Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office spoke about the effect this had: “For these young men and woman, it really was a major turning point in their lives. Do they stay in school? Do they continue their studies?” Hear firsthand how they felt — and what they did. Listen.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Crunch time: crafting audio news features efficiently

“No one gets into reporting because they like transcribing. …Overall [Pop Up Archive] is very accurate. I’ve seen it improve a lot in the time I’ve been using it and it’s helping us hugely in our day to day management and production of stories.”
—Audrey Dilling, KALW Crosscurrents

Audrey Dilling has been a reporter and producer for “Crosscurrents,” a daily news magazine at KALW in San Francisco. She has primarily produced features about water, reporting stories that are six to eight minutes long. That may not sound like a lot — until you realize that each feature is composed of at least three interviews, plus ambient sound, and that the raw tape for each interview prior to editing can run from twenty to forty minutes long. To help her use time efficiently and streamline the production process, Audrey uses Pop Up Archive to transcribe and organize tape. Continue reading

Three stories of what it is to be a mother

Dorothy Canfield Fisher said, “A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” This Mother’s Day, listen to three stories from our archives about the rich, complicated, one-of-a-kind bond that exists between mothers and their children.


Alfreda Duster, daughter of Ida B. Wells Studs Terkel Radio Archive

Ida B. Wells is a giant in American history. An African-American woman who was born a slave in Mississippi in 1862, she went on to become a journalist, editor, feminist and early leader in the civil rights movement. Her work has been honored in journalistic awards, a museum, a society for investigative reporting by journalists of color, and even a postage stamp. In 1971 her daughter, Alfreda Duster, spoke about the side of her only a daughter would know. Listen. Continue reading

Introducing the new and improved

In 2014, our co-founders — Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith — were very, very busy.

Every day they were commuting from Oakland, CA to 500 Startups’ Mountain View accelerator  as they developed Pop Up Archive, a business then in its infancy. They talked about developing a product that was like Google for all types of audio. Then the podcast “Serial” was released. Continue reading

People and the earth: it’s complicated

Earth Day, which is observed on April 22nd this year, was first celebrated in 1970 an estimated 20 million people attended the festivities. Since then, this holiday has become an important national reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting our environment. Today, we bring you three pieces from our archives that explore various aspects of our relationship with Mother Nature. Continue reading

Pop Up Archive: A partner in production

The Stoop is a forthcoming podcast from Hana Baba, Leila Day, and Julie Caine that tackles oft-ignored aspects of race and identity. They describe the project as “a space where fun, funk, and journalism come together in a podcast that’ll go deep into topics about black identity that aren’t openly discussed.”

Continue reading

Celebrating TryPod one listener at a time

TryPod is a recent effort hatched by industry executives to combat “podcast unawareness.” The goal of TryPod is to grow the overall podcast audience by encouraging people to share their favorite podcasts with those who don’t yet listen.

In 2016, 24 percent of Americans (67 million people) listened to a podcast in the past month, up three percent from 2015, according to last week’s Infinite Dial report from Edison Research.

Nancy Mills is a resident of Washington DC. She’s 67 and retired, and she’s a podcast power listener who is celebrating TryPod in a serious way. We spoke to Nancy about her listening habits and what she’s learned about how to be an effective podcast evangelist.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you become a podcast listener?

My daughter encouraged me to try it, but I don’t remember how I actually got started. Lots of hunting and clicking I think. Continue reading

Innovating new forms of audio storytelling

We’re delighted to share that we’re partnering with BuzzFeed and Stitcher to host Come and Play, a two-day audio storytelling hackathon where artists, storytellers, producers, developers, designers, and others will come together to find new and fun ways to tell stories with audio.

Participants will quickly prototype new tools for interacting with sound. They’ll also be treated to lightning talks from amazing speakers, including Lo Bénichou (Wired), Jenny Radelet (Stitcher), Avery Trufelman (99% Invisible), Kawandeep Virdee (Medium), BuzzFeed Audio’s Ahmed Ali Akbar (See Something Say Something) and Tracy Clayton (Another Round), and’s very own Bailey Smith.

When: May 13 and 14th
Where: BuzzFeed San Francisco (989 Market Street, one block from the Powell Street station)

If you love audio and want to play around with new ways of using technology to tell and share stories, sign up to participate!

Please note that signing up for the Hackathon does not ensure enrollment. Unfortunately, we have limited space and will be selecting candidates based on need for various skill sets. You will be notified if your application has been approved by April 14. Please let us know if you have specific travel requirements that may necessitate an earlier response date.

We’re excited to start playing. Sign up here.

Come and Play is sponsored by BuzzFeed and Stitcher, in cahoots with PRX.



See you in the archive,

The Pop Up Archive team

Creating an audio montage from 50+ hours of tape

Source: Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Presidential primaries are a huge deal everywhere, but they garner particular importance in states like New Hampshire, where their early timing positions them as bellwethers of what is to come. 2016 was one of the most contentious and protracted elections cycles yet, and New Hampshire Public Radio wanted to produce as much excellent primary coverage as they could — and make sure their primary night coverage was picked up by other stations across the country that were also following the race closely. Continue reading