Search public broadcasting from 1940 to today

American Archive launches multimedia “Reading Room”


Public media fans, rejoice! The American Archive of Public Broadcasting recently made over 7,000 items from their database available for streaming in an online Reading Room. The Reading Room includes audio and video from more than 120 public media stations and archives, with broadcasts dating from the 1940s to the present day.

Don’t know where to start? AAPB has already done some fantastic work to make the collections discoverable with categories and curated collections. Dive deep into topics like broadcasting history, climate change, and civil rights.

Documenting and Celebrating Public Broadcasting Station Histories

“Every public broadcasting station starts their history with a first broadcast, but these first moments on the air are only the beginning in terms of important milestones in a station’s history. Public broadcasting stations have continued to grow and evolve throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, implementing new technologies, building new facilities, and working tirelessly to address the expanding needs of their audiences.
Many stations were able to record and preserve these moments, some of which we are fortunate enough to have in the AAPB, and which we want to share with you in this exhibit.”

Climate Change Conversations: Causes, Impacts, Solutions

“Climate scientists and activists have used the venue of public broadcasting to discuss climate change for more than a quarter of a century. They have repeatedly communicated the science of human-driven climate change and its impacts in interviews, call-in radio shows, debates, public lectures, news programs, and documentaries.

While scientists and activists have consistently used public broadcasting to disseminate information about climate change, the conversation has changed over time. In the 1980s, focus was primarily on communicating the potential threats of global warming. Since then, programming has increasingly examined the actual impacts, and in addition, struggled to keep the American public informed and engaged. This exhibit highlights public broadcasting recordings of conversations on climate change—its causes, impacts, and proposed solutions—from 1970, the first year that Earth Day was celebrated, to the present.”

Voices from the Southern Civil Rights Movement

National leaders, local leaders, community organizers, students, clergy, lawyers, educators, academics, writers, and even a comedian and a documentary filmmaker relate often riveting stories that document a range of individual and group experiences and perspectives. The exhibit presents accounts from a variety of locales, each a distinct piece of the complex history of the struggle to integrate the segregated South and achieve full citizenship rights for African Americans.”


What’s Next?
The 7,000 items now available for streaming are just the tip of the iceberg. With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Pop Up Archive is set to transcribe and analyze over 40,000 hours of media from the American Archive in the coming months! Stay tuned as we work with AAPB, WGBH, and HiPSTAS to build a robust digital archive that’s searchable to the second. Read more.