November 30, 2015

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05/09/05 Will Radio Be Remembered?
Tens of thousands of broadcasting hours take place each week across the globe, yet the words uttered on your radio station will fade with your listeners' memories. All that preparation; all that great programming; all those wonderful jokes, pranks, listener calls, moments of pontification: They all disappear, never to be heard again, never to be remembered by generations to come. Unlike the shows from radio's golden days, when scripts from the ongoing series' were archived, radio from our era will fade from memory.

I spent months researching my book, Blast from the Past: A Pictorial History of Radio's First 75 Years (Streamline Press), which I authored about 10 years ago. During that process, I sought to document radio from its beginnings through its present day. The early days were difficult to document, as I scoured private papers from long-gone radio stars, club archives, newspapers, magazines and museums. But once I got past 1950, it was almost impossible to find information in a single place. Updating the book today would be nearly impossible, because no photo files exist anymore. Even at Radio Ink, it's all digital, and those photos may not be archived, as were files from previous generations. Broadcasters today must think to the future about preserving our past.

For more than a decade, I've been involved with The Museum of Broadcast Communications, headed by Bruce DuMont in Chicago. Dumont's vision - to build a world-class museum to remember all eras of broadcasting - was realized years ago, and has touched the lives of tens of thousands of tourists each year. His annual Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is by far the most elegant black-tie event in radio.

Now, Dumont has another vision: to erect a new, world-class building that will house the ultimate museum documenting the history of radio and television. Featuring elaborate displays, the new Museum of Broadcast Communications will be all radio and television. Radio, the museum's hallmark, will not be ignored, as it has been in other venues. This museum will include the most extensive archive of radio audio to be found on earth, from all eras, including broadcasts preserved today.

Each person in the radio industry must play a part in radio preservation. You can:

1) Give money to build the new building (set to open in 2006, see photo). An envelope is enclosed. Give what you can - even $20 will help. If radio has made you rich, consider giving more, or perhaps making a major donation.

2) Remember The Museum of Broadcast Communications in your will. Leave part of your estate to the museum, and will your personal archives of radio-related materials (such as the items noted below).

3) Provide the museum with your historical materials. If it's worth remembering (radio collateral, radio premiums, promotions, T-shirts, airchecks, photos, digital photos, radio station ads etc.), send it to the museum as your personal donation.

4) Do a broadcast from the museum's wonderful studio facilities.

The impressive new Museum of Broadcast Communications will preserve radio's past for generations. Don't let today's radio memory fade like a distant signal. Help radio remember you, and your contributions to this industry.

Send donations and materials to:
The Museum of Broadcast Communications
400 North State Street, Suite 240
Chicago, IL 60610-4624

Donations can also be made online at www.museum.tv, or by phone at 312-245-8200.

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