Preserving personal audio archives with Pop Up Archive

Personal Archives: preserving a storied career in radio


After years of working in audio and video, many reporters and producers find that they’ve amassed substantial, historic archives. But — understandably — most creators don’t know the first thing about how to archive their audio and make it accessible online. Pop Up Archive works with customers like Charlie Meyerson to make this process as simple as possible.

Meyerson is an award-winning Chicago journalist whose career spans radio (WXRT, WGN, WBEZ), print and online (Chicago Tribune), news startups (FM News, Rivet Radio) and his own consulting practice, Meyerson Strategy.

Well into a long and wide-ranging career in radio, with interview subjects that include Carl Sagan, Chicago mayors, and Ray Bradbury, Meyerson realized that if his audio reporting was going to be preserved for the future, he would have to take matters into his own hands. Since he first signed up as a beta tester in 2013, he’s used Pop Up Archive as an opportunity to create a digital, searchable home for his audio archive. Without the training or resources of an archivist, Meyerson knew there would be a long road of digitization ahead of him:

“[My collection] was — and mostly still is — in boxes (and boxes and boxes and boxes) in my basement and my (climate-controlled; don’t worry) attic… What format isn’t it in? In chronological order: 3-inch reels, 7-inch reels, analog cassettes, audio cartridges and DAT cassettes.”

Despite this, Pop Up Archive gave him the flexibility to plan for his digital archive, even before it became a reality:

“I used the [Pop Up] Archive content management system partly as proof of concept, to set up ‘shell’ files for audio I hoped to be able to upload eventually…I saw [Pop Up] Archive as a way to preserve and share bits of history that otherwise might be lost.

In addition to preservation, shareability is a priority for Meyerson, whose interviews could be of interest to future generations of reporters, researchers, and the public. Pop Up Archive’s cloud-based audio hosting and embeddable player allow Meyerson to regularly share his audio online:

I value the opportunity to make available to historians unique sessions with those I’ve interviewed… Beyond that, the Pop Up Archive player works well embedded on my blog, MeyersonStrategy.com, where I share most of this audio socially.”

A recent upload to Meyerson’s Pop Up Archive collection, also embedded on MeyersonStrategy.com

In the future, Meyerson hopes to find the time to digitize his entire collection, as well as add newer audio — such as a recent lecture on podcasting at Northwestern University — that’s already in digital form:

“Although some of [the Pop Up Archive collection] is contemporary — created digitally — my contributions so far tend toward the analog stuff whose decay most concerns me. …The biggest challenge is that analog audio requires real time to digitize… it’s been a challenge to find that time, and I’ve still only scratched the surface.

In the meantime, we’ve collected some highlights from Meyerson’s Pop Up Archive collection for your listening pleasure:

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