May 25, 2022

Exciting! American Archive of Public Broadcasting Launches With 7,000 Items Available to Stream Online

Note: Some very exciting news about a project we’ve been following for a few years and have posted about many times. Links to several background posts are found below today’s news.

What’s new today is that along with a formal launch is that some streaming content (approx. 7,000 items with more to come) is available online via the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) database. The database itself became available (with metadata only) during April 2015.

Congrats to the AAPB Team!

From Today’s (October 27, 2015) Launch Announcement:

With contributions from more than 100 public media organizations across the country, programs that for decades have gathered dust on shelves are now available to stream on the AAPB website. This rich collection of programs dating from the 1940s to the 2010s will help tell the stories of local communities throughout the nation in the last half of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st.


Initially launched in April 2015 with 2.5 million inventory records, the AAPB website has added nearly 7,000 audiovisual streaming files of historical content from public media stations across the country. The Library of Congress, WGBH Boston and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have embarked on an unprecedented initiative to preserve historical public television and radio programs of the past 70 years.

The Content

Nearly 40,000 hours, comprising 68,000 digital files, of historical public broadcasting content have been preserved. On the website, nearly 7,000 of these American public radio and television programs dating back to the 1940s are now accessible to the public. These audio and video materials, contributed by more than 100 public broadcasting organizations across the country, are an exciting new resource to uncover ways that common concerns over the past half-century have played out on the local scene. Users are encouraged to check back often, as AAPB staff continue to add more content to the website. The entire collection of 40,000 hours is available for research on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress.


The collection includes interviews and performances by local and national luminaries from a broad variety of professions and cultural genres. Just a few examples of the items in the collection include: Pacifica Radio Archives’ 1956 interview with Rosa Parks during the Montgomery Bus Boycott; KCTS 9’s 1999 live broadcast from the opening reception of the World Trade Organization’s Seattle Summit; and New England Public Radio’s 1974 debate between U.S. Rep. Martha Griffiths, sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, and Phyllis Schlafly, the main opponent of the ERA.

Read the Complete Launch Announcement

Direct to American Archive of Public Broadcasting Database

Searching the AAPB

  • Results can be focused/limited using one or more of the following facets:
    • Media Type
    • Genre
    • Asset Type
    • Organization
    • Year
    • Access (Three Options: View Online Reading Room (Default) All Digitized Records, All Records)

Background, Updates, and Resources

See Also: Direct to American Archive of Public Broadcasting Blog

See Also: Learn About PBCore (Public Television Metadata Dictionary)

Selection of Other Television Archive Projects (with Video Streamable Online)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.