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WAMU Archives

Abstract

Title:
WAMU Archives
Author/Creator:
WAMU
Collection number:
NPBA 93-23
Size:
11.50 lin. ft.
Bulk dates:
1970-1990
Inclusive dates:
1955-1992
Collection Area:
Mass Media and Culture
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

Beginning in 1948 as a student run radio station on the campus of American University, WAMU 88.5 FM has since grown to become the leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington, DC area, providing programming to a growing audience that now totals more than 575,900 listeners in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The WAMU Archives documents the history, programming, organizational information, advertising and marketing of the station.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Preferred citation:

WAMU Archives, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1208
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

WAMU 88.5 FM is the leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington, DC area. It is member-supported, professionally-staffed, and licensed to American University. Since 1961, WAMU has provided programming to a growing audience that now totals more than 575,900 listeners in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Beginning in 1948, students at American University used homemade transmitting facilities to operate a campus radio station, WAMC. In 1950, the station was robbed of every possession, but by the following year, the station was back on the air as WAMU-AM, a 25 watt campus station. In 1953, American University and the Evening Star Newspaper joined to build a television building on campus, and WAMU secured new studios within the building. In 1961, WAMU moved from AM to FM and signed on from the campus of American University at 4 pm on October 23rd, using a 4,000-watt transmitter purchased from WGBH Boston. As the sixth member of the Educational Radio Network -- the predecessor to National Public Radio -- WAMU's founding vision was to "provide attractive, challenging programming that involves our listeners as completely as possible in the learning experience..."

In 1963, WAMU hired its first paid employees -- among them, Susan Stamberg and George Geesey. Armed with equipment secured through donations and scavenges of military surplus stores, WAMU covered some of the biggest events of the 1960s, including John F. Kennedy's assassination, the 1963 the March on Washington led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 1964 Presidential election.

In 1978 the station moved off the American University campus, and was removed from American University subsidy due to financial constraints and a need for campus space. WAMU formed a new, non profit organization to run the station: Public Radio Services, Inc. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, WAMU made efforts to create a more consistent line up of programming, eliminating classical, rock, and big band programming, and focusing on bluegrass, jazz and news/talk.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, WAMU fundraisers brought increasing funds into the station, and in 1994, WAMU moved in to new, state-of-the-art facilities. In 1997, the station launched its website, wamu.org, and within two years, began streaming all of its programming online.

In the 21st century, WAMU continues its commitment to provide a unique mixture of news, public affairs talk programming, and traditional American music both to the D.C. Metropolitan area, and to the world via the station's website.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The WAMU Archives include material from 1952 to 1992 with the bulk of the materials dating between 1970 to 1990. Materials in this collection include clippings, correspondence, program guides, legal documents, photographs, press releases, advertisements, and reports.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The WAMU Archives was donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives by WAMU in multiple accessions from 1992 to 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Rachel Telford, February 2007. Guide revised by Karen E. King, May 2007

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Rachel Telford, February 2007

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: History, 1954-1970 (7 folders)

This series consists of materials documenting WAMU's transition from a small campus radio station, to a leading public radio station. Type of materials include correspondence, press releases, clippings and administrative materials and are arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
History, 1954-1960 series 1box 1folder 1
History, 1960-1961 series 1box 1folder 2
History, 1961-1962 series 1box 1folder 3
History, 1961-1970 series 1box 1folder 4
History, 1962-1971 series 1box 1folder 5
History, 1972-1976 series 1box 1folder 6
History, 1977-1985 series 1box 1folder 7

Series 2: Organizational Information, 1975-1985 (14 folders)

This series contains personnel and staffing information, documentation regarding the relationship between WAMU and American University, and a manual published by NPR. It is arranged roughly by topic.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Public Information Manual, 1975 series 2box 1folder 8
Information Book, Index, Section I, 1975 series 2box 1folder 9
Information Book, Section II, 1975 series 2box 1folder 10
Information Book, Section III-IV, 1975 series 2box 1folder 11
Information Book, Section V, 1975 series 2box 1folder 12
Information Book, Section VI, 1975 series 2box 1folder 13
Information Book, Section VII-IX, 1975 series 2box 1folder 14
Transition Information, 1977 series 2box 1folder 15
Organization Chart, 1979 series 2box 1folder 16
Organization Information, American University, 1985 series 2box 1folder 17
Community Advisory Board Minutes, 1980-1985 series 2box 1folder 18
Susan Harmon, 1975-1976 series 2box 1folder 19
Ed Walker Clippings, 1979-1980 series 2box 1folder 20
Debra Silimeo, 1981 series 2box 1folder 21

Series 3: Programming, 1968-1995, undated (1.50 linear feet)

This series documents WAMU programming over the years. It is divided into three subseries.

Subseries 3.1: General, 1977-1995, undated (11 folders)

This subseries includes clippings, schedules, press releases concerning music and news/talk programming. It also includes materials concerning the station's 1982 change in format. There is no arrangement.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Celebration of Women, 1977series 3.1box 1folder 22
Programming, 1978series 3.1box 1folder 23
All Things Considered Clippings, 1978-1979series 3.1box 1folder 24
Morning Edition, 1979-1980series 3.1box 1folder 25
Bluegrass America, 1982series 3.1box 1folder 26
NPR Playhouse, undatedseries 3.1box 1folder 27
Forecast!, 1982series 3.1box 1folder 28
Program Clippings, 1978-1980series 3.1box 1folder 29
Special Programs, 1978-1980series 3.1box 1folder 30
Program Changes, 1982series 3.1box 1folder 31
WAMU News Stories Rundowns, 1992-1995series 3.1box 1folder 32

Subseries 3.2: Program Guides, 1974-1992 (8 folders)

This subseries contains monthly WAMU program guides. It is arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Program Guides, 1974-1977series 3.2box 1folder 33
Program Guides, 1978-1979series 3.2box 1folder 34
Program Guides, 1980-1981series 3.2box 1folder 35
Program Guides, 1982-1983series 3.2box 1folder 36
Program Guides, 1984-1985series 3.2box 1folder 37
Program Guides, 1986-1987series 3.2box 1folder 38
Program Guides, 1988-1990series 3.2box 1folder 39
Program Guides, 1991-1992series 3.2box 1folder 40

Subseries 3.3: Awards, 1968-1983 (0.75 linear feet)

This series includes award applications and information, correspondence, and internal communications regarding potential submissions. It is arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Media Awards Handbook, 1968series 3.3box 1folder 41
Contacts, undatedseries 3.3box 1folder 42
Information, 1974-1977series 3.3box 1folder 43
Submissions Past, 1974-1979series 3.3box 1folder 44
Responses from Request, 1976-1978series 3.3box 1folder 45
Submissions, 1977series 3.3box 2folder 1
Submissions, 1978series 3.3box 2folder 2
Golden Mike Award, 1978-1979series 3.3box 2folder 3
CPB Development Award, 1979series 3.3box 2folder 4
Awards -- Sent, 1979series 3.3box 2folder 5
Awards, 1979-1982series 3.3box 2folder 6
Awards, 1979-1982series 3.3box 2folder 7
Chesapeake APB Awards, 1980-1981series 3.3box 2folder 8
CPB Awards, 1981series 3.3box 2folder 9
Programming Awards, 1982series 3.3box 2folder 10
Applications, 1982-1983series 3.3box 2folder 11

Series 4: Events, 1978-1986 (11 folders)

This series consists of photographs, advertisements, promotional materials, correspondence and other materials documenting WAMU concerts, celebrations and fundraising events. Materials are arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Annie, 1978 series 4box 2folder 12
Bluegrass Festival, 1982 series 4box 2folder 13
Birthday, 1981 series 4box 2folder 14
Birthday Picnic, 1981 series 4box 2folder 15
Showboat, 1982 series 4box 2folder 16
Remotes, 1982 series 4box 2folder 17
Bluegrass Winter Festival, 1984 series 4box 2folder 18
Bluegrass Winter Festival, 1984 series 4box 2folder 19
Bluegrass Winter Festival, 1984 series 4box 2folder 20
Bluegrass Winter Festival, 1984 series 4box 2folder 21
Bluegrass Winter Festival, 1986 series 4box 2folder 22

Series 5: Advertising, Marketing and Budget, 1972-1990 (0.75 linear feet)

This series consists of materials documenting WAMU fundraising efforts, endowments, audience information, advertising in print, radio and television media, and an advertising and marketing handbook. There is no arrangement

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
"Public Relations at WAMU-FM: Proposals and Recommendations, Nora Bear, 1972 series 5box 2folder 23
Advertisements, 1980 series 5box 2folder 24
Paid & PSA, Earle Palmer Brown, 1980-1981 series 5box 2folder 25
Earle Palmer Brown TV Schedule, 1982 series 5box 2folder 26
Advancement Fund, 1984-1985 series 5box 2folder 27
Fundraising, Endowments, & Audience Information, 1976-1985 series 5box 2folder 28
Fundraising, Endowments, & Audience Information, 1976-1985 series 5box 2folder 29
Fundraising, 1985-1986 series 5box 2folder 30
Public Service Campaign, 1980 series 5box 2folder 31
Cassettes, 1980-1986 series 5box 2folder 32
NPR Cassettes, Other Public Radio Stations, 1984-1985 series 5box 2folder 33
Cassette Production, 1985 series 5box 2folder 34
Children at Risk Cassettes, 1985 series 5box 2folder 35
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 36
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 37
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 38
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 39
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 40
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 41
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 42
Tune In Advertising & Marketing Handbook, 1986 series 5box 2folder 43
NPR Advertising Communication and Copy Testing, 1989 series 5box 2folder 44
Maximizing Your Markets, 1990 series 5box 3folder 1
Maximizing Your Markets, 1990 series 5box 3folder 2
Maximizing Your Markets, 1990 series 5box 3folder 3
Correspondence, 1980-1982 series 5box 3folder 4
Advertisements, undated series 5box 3folder 5
Brochures, Magazines and Publications, 1990-1992, undated series 5box 3folder 6

Series 6: Clippings, 1980-1982 (8 folders)

This series consists of clippings from local and national newspapers and magazines compiled by WAMU staff. It is arranged roughly chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Clippings, 1978-1979 series 6box 3folder 7
Clippings, 1980s series 6box 3folder 8
Clippings, 1980s series 6box 3folder 9
Clippings, 1980s series 6box 3folder 10
Clippings, October 1981 - January 1982 series 6box 3folder 11
Clippings, 1982 series 6box 3folder 12
All Things Considered Clippings and PR Materials, 1981 series 6box 3folder 13
All Things Considered Clippings and PR Materials, 1981 series 6box 3folder 14

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1952-1984 (6.00 linear feet)

This series consists of scrapbooks containing clippings, press releases and other materials documenting the history and activities of WAMU. There is no arrangement.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Scrapbook, 1952-1953 series 7box 4folder 1
Scrapbook, 1961-1965, 1971-1972 series 7box 4folder 2
Negatives and Proof Sheets, Halloween, Christmas, Spring Fundraiser, circa 1980 series 7box 4folder 3
Advertising and Program Artwork, undated series 7box 4folder 4
Scrapbook, 1973-1976 series 7box 5folder 1
Scrapbook, 1976-1978 series 7box 6folder 1

Series 8: Ephemera, 1968-1986, undated (2.0 linear feet)

This series consists of plaques, awards, and WAMU promotional materials, including bookmarks, bumper stickers, and a canvas sign.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
WAMU Bumperstickers, undated series 8box 7folder 1
Bookmarks, Important WAMU Phone numbers, undated series 8box 7folder 2
Canvas Sign, undated series 8box 7folder 3
Plaques -- The Salvation Army, undated series 8box 7folder 4
Plaques -- Washington Area Broadcasters Association Member, undated series 8box 7folder 5
Plaques -- Gary Henderson, 10 Years of Bluegrass on WAMU, 1977 series 8box 7folder 6
Certificates -- Golden Mike Award, 1978 series 8box 7folder 7
Certificates -- Mental Health Achievement Award, 1977 series 8box 7folder 8
Certificates -- International Preventative Medicine Appreciation Award, 1976 series 8box 7folder 9
Certificates -- American Cancer Society Certificate of Merit, 1982 series 8box 7folder 10
Certificates -- CPB Local Radio Development Award, 1981 series 8box 7folder 11
Certificates -- San Francisco State College Broadcast Media Award, 1968 series 8box 7folder 12
Proclamation -- 88.5 FM Public Radio Day, 1986 series 8box 7folder 13

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.