January 19, 2022

Audio Archives: Studs Terkel Radio Archive Featuring Over 1,200 Programs, Interviews Spanning 45 Years is Now Live

Direct to Studs Terkel Radio Archive

From an Introductory Blog Post:

2018-05-16_14-08-52This week, the [our emphasis] first installment of that audio treasure trove is finally going live in one massive, accessible, digital collection. It took 21 years and, as it turns out, the timing is just right.

Technical and cultural developments are creating new possibilities for researchers, journalists, students, and podcasters. At the same time, advancements in speech recognition technologies are allowing for widespread, affordable transcription, making their contents searchable.

But perhaps most importantly, Studs, always politically engaged and outspoken, will once again get to join the roiling discussion of issues about which he cared deeply — including racism, organized labor, war, and women’s rights.

Many of his longtime listeners and colleagues are eager to hear his voice and the inquisitive, informed conversation he consistently brought to the airwaves.


The tapes, which span 45 years of hour-long conversations aired on Studs’ daily WFMT talk show amount to an expansive oral history of the 20th century. They include the voices of some of the most influential activists and artists of that time — including Rev. Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, Buster Keaton, Cesar Chavez, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Pete Seeger.  They also feature hundreds of less famous but equally insightful “etceteras of history,” as Studs called them — everyday experts, many of whom made their way into Studs’ best-selling books, including “Division Street: America,” “Working,” and “The Good War.”

Explore the Studs Terkel Archive

Learn More, Including About the Preservation Technology Used

About the Archive/FAQ

See Also: Studs Terkel Radio Archives Resources For Educators (via Partnership with Chicago Public Library and the Great Books Foundation)

See Also: More from a March 2018 News Release

The STRA has five components:

  • Digital Platform (studsterkel.org) – featuring Terkel’s historic radio programs at the time of its launch the platform will continue to expand and will divided into more than sixty topic areas featuring transcripts and a range of innovative new technology such as such as the Hyperaudio Pad that will enable users to quickly and easily re-use and share audio excerpts.
  • Digital Bughouse – this proactive initiative will foster a wide-ranging partnerships with creative people and organizations who wish to license audio from the STRA for use in new ways. Partners who have already used the archive in this way include BBC,Carnegie Hall, Radio France, The Third Coast International Audio Festival, This American Life and dozens of others.
  • Terkel in the Classroom – STRA staff and several key education partners oversee various projects and explore ways of using STRA audio in educational contexts. Two pilot programs already in place at the time of the launch of the archive in May 2018 are a curriculum developed with the Great Books Foundation focused on Civil Rights that is being used by high schools in various cities throughout the United States and project-based curriculum developed forChicagoPublic Library’s YouMedia program.
  • Bughouse Square (Podcast) – Premiering in August 2018, this podcast will be hosted by writer, scholar and artist Eve L. Ewing (eveewing.com) and produced by Katie Klocksin. Bughouse Square will seek to engage a younger audience who may be less familiar with Terkel and the type of radio he created and will provide listeners an audio time machine that intermingles the best techniques from various era of media history to resist the cultural and political amnesia in our society that Terkel so pugnaciously resisted in his own work.
  • Studs Terkel Radio Archive Live Events – A steady series of live, public events in Chicago and around the world will play an important role in raising awareness of the archive and fostering/showing creative use and partnerships. Among events already planned following the launch are happenings at the Chicago History Museum, American Writers Museum, The Hideout, the Library of Congress, and the British Library.

The Studs Terkel Radio Archive team includes director Tony Macaluso and archivist Allison Schein Holmes, Chicago History Museum president Gary Johnson and an active STRA Advisory committee.

Project Partners

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.