Growing up in New Jersey, Archivist Andy Lanset was probably the only 8-year-old who spent all of his paper route money on records and wind-up phonographs at the flea market and then cataloged them all in a 3x5 card file. Since then, he has gone on to amass an archive of his own as well as to collect, organize, and preserve thousands of recordings, photographs, and station-related ephemera for the WNYC and WQXR archive collections.
Since establishing the Archives in 2000, Andy has been working in-house with recordings in nearly every possible format. At the same time, he has been reaching out to former producers around the country for New York Public Radio materials that have migrated over the stations' long history.
After receiving a B.A. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Purchase, Andy began his public radio career in 1981 as the staff reporter for WBAI. By the mid-1980s, he was freelancing reports, features, and documentaries for NPR, CBC, BBC, Monitor Radio, and other public radio outlets. He produced several award-winning documentaries for NPR, including Scottsboro: A Civil Rights Milestone, which aired in 1991.
During the 1990s, Andy worked closely with David Isay and Henry Sapoznik on the Peabody award winning Yiddish Radio Project. He has also evaluated and preserved audio materials for NYU's Wagner Labor Archives, Columbia University, Cornell University, Union Theological Seminary, The Cleveland Public Library, The YIVO Institute, and other specialized and academic collections. Andy also has an MS and archives certificate from The Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Sciences. In October, 2009 he was awarded the Archivists' Roundtable of Metropolitan New York Award for Archival Achievement for his work at WNYC. You can e-mail Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Lanset appears in the following:
Friday, May 10, 2013
Beginning as an office boy for The World, Tommy Cowan went on to be Thomas Edison’s receptionist, greeting important visitors to the inventor’s laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. From there he was the first announcer on the air in the New York metropolitan area when WJZ Newark started broadcasting in 1921. He announced the first World Series broadcast based on descriptions phoned into him from the game, as well as covering the June, 1924 Democratic National Convention from Madison Square Garden.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
During World War II, rationing became not only accepted, but a symbol of patriotism for most Americans. Listen to Oscar Brand in this never-broadcast documentary on how the government —and WNYC— helped foster that sentiment.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
It is April 19th, 1944. Thousands of mourners silently march from a service at the Warsaw synagogue on Rivington Street to City Hall. A few carry signs: "Save Those Jews in Poland Who Can Yet Be Saved!" and, "Three Million Polish Jews Have Been Murdered By the Nazis!" When they arrive at the steps of City Hall, Cantor Moishe Oysher sings El Mole Rachamim, a funeral prayer for the the 40,000 Jews who died a year earlier in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
The broadcast above comes from a rare shellac radio transcription disc dated March 26, 1933. The program, The News Parade, consists of several news stories, including the one above dramatizing the Nazi persecution of Jews. It's particularly notable since Adolph Hitler had only become German Chancellor on January 30th, less than two months earlier.
Monday, March 18, 2013
In March, 1972, reporter Eleanor Fischer interviewed Congresswoman Bella Abzug as she was fighting to hold on to her congressional district in Manhattan encompassing, in part, the Battery, the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, Greenwich Village and Chelsea. Representative Abzug talks about this effort to marginalize her. She also calls for pulling U.S. troops out of Vietnam, endorses Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's campaign for the Presidency and (there may be some debate over it) lays claim to starting the honorific "Ms."
Friday, February 15, 2013
Marcus Garvey, the promoter of Pan-Africanism and black pride, had a vision of economic independence for his people. Those who followed him were called Garveyites. He was the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, (UNIA) the single largest black organization ever. In the 1920s and 30s, the UNIA had an estimated six million followers around the world.
Friday, February 01, 2013
It was the Great Depression. Nine young black men were hoboing, riding a freight train to Memphis, Tennessee in search of work, but their ride was cut short. At Scottsboro, Alabama the police hauled them off the train: the young men, ages 13 to 21, were accused of raping two white women who were on the train. For black men in the 1930s in the Deep South, such a charge could be fatal. Like so many others who had died by trial or lynching, the Scottsboro Boys (as they came to be called) were falsely accused, a fact that meant almost nothing. In March, 1931 eight of them were sentenced to death, while the fate of the ninth, 13-year-old Roy Wright, hovered dangerously close to life in prison before ending in a mistrial.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
In 1961, a radio reporter named Eleanor Fischer spoke to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a CBC called Project 62. As far as we know, these unedited interviews have never been presented in their entirety until now.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
David Durk, the New York police detective who teamed up with officer Frank Serpico to breach the aptly named 'blue wall of silence' died yesterday. His testimony before the Knapp Commission investigation into police corruption in 1971 made for some of the most moving public testimony ever broadcast. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, WNYC Director Mary Perot Nichols said it was largely thanks to Durk's persistence and contacts that their campaign against police corruption became a matter of public record. Above is an excerpt from his remarks on December 21, 1971.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
In 1989 National Public Radio commissioned me to produce a Veterans Day documentary piece on General Smedley Butler, the consummate American soldier.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Between the summer of 1925 and spring 1932, Victor Harrison-Berlitz, the General Manager of 410 U.S. Berlitz language schools, taught French, Spanish, German and Italian over WNYC. The regular classes were a pioneering effort for American radio.
Friday, August 03, 2012
From July 1939 to March 1942, conductor and composer Macklin Marrow led the WNYC Concert Orchestra. The 35-piece ensemble was sponsored by The New York City Music Project, a unit of the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). One of Marrow's earliest assignments at the station was the August 2, 1939, dedication of the WNYC WPA murals when the orchestra performed the scherzo from William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony (audio above).
Friday, July 13, 2012
Morris S. Novik was appointed by Mayor F. H. La Guardia to be the first Director of the Municipal Broadcasting System on February 9, 1938. During the nearly eight years he oversaw WNYC, he tirelessly worked to make the station an innovative and model public broadcaster. In fact, Novik laid claim to coining the phrase "public broadcasting" while at WNYC.
Friday, June 01, 2012
From 1940 to 1942 Ralph Berton hosted WNYC's daily foray into jazz called Metropolitan Review, dedicated to "the finest in recorded hot jazz." The program was radio's first serious jazz music show on the air.
Friday, May 04, 2012
Walter James Miller (1918-2010) was Professor Emeritus at New York University and host of WNYC’s Reader’s Almanac (1970-1985) and WNYC-TV’s Book World (1968-1970). He conducted early interviews with writers such as Nadine Gordimer, Erica Jong, Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Gallagher and Jerzy Kosinski.
Friday, March 16, 2012
"This microphone is not an ordinary instrument,
For it looks out on vistas wide indeed:
My voice commingles now with northern lights and
asteroids and Alexander's skeleton,
With dead volcanoes and with donkey's ears
It swims with minnows and it's in the Sphinx's jaw.
It drifts among whatever spirits pass across the night.
Here is a thought to fasten to your throat:
Who knows who may be listening? And where?"
The conclusion to Seems Radio Is Here to Stay
Friday, February 24, 2012
Al Arkus started at WNYC by producing, directing and reading newscasts. He also directed and announced for Edward Tatnall Canby, David Randolph and Oscar Brand. Children’s programming became one of his favorite genres: he wrote, produced and narrated The Music Maestro, a weekly educational music program, and appeared regularly on The Children’s Story Fair, a show with a cast of 'kids' wandering on a magic midway to adventures in an opera house, a record room, a side show, a concert hall and similar locations. Al also wrote, directed and produced Here's Heidy, a children's program with storyteller Heidy Mayer that moved to WOR in 1949.
Friday, February 10, 2012
On January 3, 1934, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia swore into office Seymour N. Siegel as WNYC's Assistant Program Director. Immediately after Siegel affirmed his commitment to the people of the City of New York, the mayor promptly ordered him to "go across the street and close down the joint." The "joint" was WNYC. One of La Guardia's campaign promises was to close the station and just a few days earlier he had released his cost-cutting program of ten major reforms. Number nine on the list was "abolition of the municipal broadcasting station, WNYC." But after carefully surveying the situation Siegel determined there wasn't anything a little good management and TLC couldn't fix. A panel of experts was convened, a thorough study was done and recommendations were made and implemented. Because of Sy Siegel, WNYC became a political asset for the mayor and a ground-breaking public broadcaster.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Long before language mavens Patricia T. O'Conner or Richard Lederer ever matched puns with Leonard Lopate, WNYC had Frank Horace Vizetelly (1864-1938). Known in his day as the "Dean of Lexicographers," Vizetelly was a major force behind the Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary. The etymologist, however, was not limited to the discussion of words and their origins: on WNYC he covered a wide range of topics. Among his talks were "The Ant and Its Ways," "The Story of the Sneeze," and "The Story of the Garter." Before WNYC he was on WOR, and after WNYC he moved to WJZ and WABC.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Between 1924 and 1925, world traveler, inventor, geologist, archeologist, metalurgical chemist and researcher James Churchward delivered more than two dozen lectures over WNYC. A former colonel in the British Army, Churchward gave talks based on decades of research that focused on what he called, 'the motherland of man,' the lost continent of Mu.