New York Public Radio Archives

Established in the year 2000, the New York Public Radio Archives are the station's physical link to its rich and storied past. Check out below the best of WNYC’s radio legacy, selected from over 13,000 lacquer transcription discs and 10,000 tapes —featuring arts programming, notable interviews, WWII coverage, and much more. A majority of our older recordings have been digitized with generous funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more about the NEH Digitization project here. Learn more about the NYPR Archives Department here and the New York City Municipal Archives WNYC Collection here

 

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    American Music Festival

    Conceived in 1939, the first WNYC American Music Festival hit the air in February 1940. For more than forty years, it was a station tradition, with live events and concerts, reflecting "the culture of a peaceful people, in a land where men and women of any race and creed were free to compose and perform music based on any and all themes."

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Americans All Immigrants All

    The series highlighted the contributions of different ethnic groups to American society, focusing on their struggles and ultimate achievements within a fledgling, pluralistic society. WNYC would broadcast the series beginning in June 1939.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Around New York

    An early adopter of the news magazine format, this program covers events around the city, from antiques shows to summer reading lists for out-of-school students. This collection of Around New York (1939-1966) is a rich catalog of New York City events, exhibitions, services, and slice of life stories.

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    Around New York with Robert C Weinberg

    In the late 1960s, Robert C. Weinberg produced a series of short audio commentaries, critiques, and reports about architecture and urban planning in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Artists in the City

    Presented each Sunday afternoon at 4:30 PM, Artists in the City, was "designed to introduce you to some of the professional artists who are doing exciting work in the communities and neighborhoods of New York." The show was hosted by Doris Freedman and Jenny Dixon.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Ballad Hunter

    In 1941, the Library of Congress presented a series of ten radio programs for "explaining and illustrating the folk songs of the American people as they are sung by the people themselves." Narrated by legendary folklorist John Lomax, the shows incorporated some of his experiences, from riding "night-herd with cowboys on the Western plains" to joining "farm hands at barn dances in many sections of the American countryside."

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Black Man in America

    This show is "devoted to the history and life of Afro-Americans and the contributions they have made and are making to the material, cultural, and spiritual wealth of this country. This includes ALL of living, not simply the Civil Rights issues we see in the headlines". Produced by WNYC and the City's Commission on Human Rights

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Books and Authors Luncheon

    For more than thirty years, the Book and Author Luncheon provided a forum for authors famous and obscure in one of the largest markets for books in the world, New York City. During the luncheons, authors would provide short lectures and lessons from their lives and literature, while stroking their author egos by basking in the praise of the luncheon's ever-charming hosts. The luncheons began in 1938, and would air on WNYC from 1948 through 1974.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Campus Press Conference

    "For the answers to these and other questions..." Each Campus Press Conference (1951-1962) begins with a slew of questions from the student editors of New York City college newspapers, delivered with the controlled seriousness of a teenager on the radio for the first time. Despite their endearing greenness, the student editors pose sharp inquiries to guests from the fields of science, finance, culture, and politics.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    City Close Up

    WNYC Director Seymour N. Siegel interviews New York City officials about municipal issues. City Close Up (1963-1964) offers a more personal context for sweeping issues like urban planning, political campaigns, public safety, and civil rights. With a strong focus on the function of government, these citizen-centric interviews include both commentary and information.

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    Comic Parade

    At the behest of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, prominent funnymen read newspaper comic strips to the children of New York City during the 17-day newspaper deliverymen's strike.

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    Elmer Davis: Progress Of War

    Presented by the Office of War Information, director Elmer Davis’s weekly report to Americans at home and abroad. A review of the progress of the war, issues of direct importance to the war. Many reports focus on events in Tunisia.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Hadassah Speaks

    Serial drama produced by Hadassah (circa 1940s), The Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah has been called the guardian of Israel's children, and this program focuses on the potential and good of Israel's youth. Using the dramatic radio play format, programs often gently solicit donations to support youth initiatives in Israel.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    How to Have Fun With Your Children

    New York City is a modern Fairyland; offering you and your children something for every taste and fancy if you but know where to find it! Mrs. Becky Reyher interviews distinguished guests on How to Have Fun With Your Children (1945-1948) in the city. The consensus? Fun is where you find it!

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    International Interview

    A progressive, yet evenhanded, presentation of international perspectives on politics and culture. Created in cooperation with the Foreign Press Association from 1956-1959, "this series is presented in an effort to help keep New Yorkers fully informed about changing trends in world opinion. Each week a panel of foreign correspondents representing the press of various countries interviews another distinguished guest."

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    The Lively Arts

    Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective. Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Maincurrents

    1960's panel discussion show with experts discussing major social issues of the day, hosted by Lee Graham

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    New York Queen of Commerce

    Sponsored by the Department of Commerce and New York, this program recasts economic history as an engaging, fun topic. Described by the host as "a new series of transcribed historic educational dramas" (1952-53), these shows reenact moments in New York's history of commerce with flair.

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    Our Stake in the War

    Broadcast in cooperation with CUNY, this 1942 wartime radio show features members of faculty discussing different aspects of Americanism, the war effort, and the threat of un-democratic ideas.

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    Overseas Press Club

    The OPC aired a variety of programming on WNYC between 1940 and the mid70s, including speeches, awards shows, and question-answer sessions, providing an international perspective on news.

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    Pals of the P.A.L

    A community-centric variety show with a special focus on youth, performed by members of the Police Athletic League and children from the city. Featuring innocuous skits and popular tunes, this variety show (1949-1955) features the voice talents of police officers, members of P.A.L., and local children.

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    Plan For Survival

    With surprisingly calm moderators, the Plan for Survival series (1950-1951) goes beyond the usual "duck and cover" advisement and into the details of an A-bomb attack, fallout shelters, the Soviet threat, first aid, radiation sickness, and food and water supplies following a nuclear attack.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Police Safety Program

    A 1949-1950 children's musical variety show for youngsters who need some supervision. Join Mister Narrator, Talking Piano, Mister Singing Safety Police Officer, Old Man Accident, and others in issuing a strict disciplinary stance on crossing the street with safety. Other topics covered include bicycle safety, avoiding strangers, ab rhyming schemes, and general carefulness.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Psychoanalysis and Everyday Living

    The series (1949-1950) is based on the work of Dr. Karen Horney (horn-AY), a German psychoanalyst whose views both relied on and questioned those of Sigmund Freud. Speakers are members of the Association for the Advancement for Psychoanalysis who have taken up Dr. Horney's work after her 1952 death.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Reader's Almanac

    Reader’s Almanac was one of WNYC’s longest running shows, airing for nearly 50 years through hot and cold wars, economic booms and crises, the passage and perseverance of literary trends, and the jolting culture shocks and shifting mores of an era of enormous change.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    Report on Civil Defense

    From public welfare to firefighting to water safety, this program updates the public about disaster preparedness. From 1950 to 1952, Arthur J. Wallander, Civil Defense Director for New York City, interviewed the heads of city departments about the steps their departments had taken to meet the needs of the city's civil defense system.

  • NYPR Archive Collections

    The Role of Science in the War

    News for "when science plays such a large part in supplying our war needs." Talks by members of the City College of New York faculty discussing how their disciplines help the war effort. Topics include astronomy, mathematics, biology, and more. The program aired in 1942.