In the WYSO Archives, we have many recorded gems, and one of them has recently been unearthed: a rare recording of Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, oral historian, and Peabody Award winning radio journalist from Chicago. The WYSO tape has intrigued Rediscovered Radio producer Jocelyn Robinson, and some other radio preservationists working to carry on his legacy.
In 1976, the United States celebrated its 200th birthday, and Studs Terkel gave an interview to a Belgian radio show called Radiorama about America.
We’re not exactly sure where this interview was recorded or by whom, but what’s singular about it is that Terkel - famous for his thousands of oral histories and interviews with people famous and otherwise - is the one being interviewed. And as was his style, he talks candidly about class, race, politics, and the American Dream.
More than 40 years later, Terkel’s analysis, critique, and love for this country is as fresh and as pertinent as ever.
The Studs Terkel Radio Archive at WFMT in Chicago, the Chicago History Museum and the Library of Congress, are all part of a project to digitize the thousands of reel to reel and cassette tapes that represent Terkel’s 45-year radio legacy. The project is expected to take years to complete. But none of the researchers involved knew about the tape in the WYSO collection - so our work continues.
Rediscovered Radio is supported in part by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.