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 1992.
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.
This last of four interviews of Vonnegut by Walter James Miller took place on October 1, 1979, and it’s the crown jewel of the set. Vonnegut had just published his “Watergate novel,” Jailbird, in which he abandons the sketchy sci-fi plot lines that had made Slapstick such a punching bag for critics in favor of a sharp-eyed historical/political realism that marks the second major phase of his career.
This May 1, 1978 interview was the third Vonnegut had with Walter James Miller for WNYC’s “Writers’ Almanac.” This time, Vonnegut shares the microphone with journalist/novelist L. J. Davis. The topic was “the novelist’s relationship to community.”
Vonnegut talks about his strange sci-fi tale of fraternal twins who are brilliant when they can interact with each other but only “dull normal” when separated. He reveals that his portrait of these fictional twins was based on his deep real-life bond with his only sister, Alice.
After years of obscurity in the 1950s and early 1960s, Vonnegut now found himself one of the handful of most-talked about writers in America. This interview reveals him at the top of his game—confidently proclaiming the novelist’s ability to “make up new myths that people will believe.”
From the December, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
When you think of interesting approaches to music you think of Mme. Stokowski, whose Layman's Music Course at Town Hall, New York, has been famous for years. To know why she is so successful in her method, we suggest you listen to her WQXR program every Sunday morning at 10 A.M.
On April 17, 1937 WQXR invited Evan Roberts, the Managing Director of the WPA Federal Theatre Project Radio Division, to talk about the wonders of radio and its potential to be entertaining, educational, amusing, exciting and appealing to the intellectual as well as the average person.
From the October 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Spaeth, radio's famous "Tune Detective" , is an author, music critic and commentator of wide reputation. He addresses this message to WQXR's listeners as President of the National Association for American Composers and Conductors.
From the February, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
You or we may not agree with everything [or anything] that Sir Thomas Beecham says about women in music, but we know his comments will interest you. This article is condensed from the original which appears in the recently published "Vogue's First Reader." We wish to express our thanks to the publishers for their permission to reprint it.
From the September, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
Alec Templeton is one of the few great artists who is equally at home in the realm of the popular as he is among the classics. His thorough musicianship has won for him an outstanding place on the air and in the concert hall, and we know that his thoughts on the music of today will be stimulating. When we asked Mr. Templeton the other day what we should say about him in this introduction, he said, "Say I am a devoted listener to WQXR." We say so proudly.
From the March, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
Irwin Edman, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and author of Philosopher's Holiday, Fountainheads of Freedom, and other books, has on various occasions spoken over WQXR and is, as the following indicates, one of its devotees.
With sadness we note the passing on October 11th of former WQXR Chief Engineer Zaven “Doc” Masoomian. Doc had visited us here recently and was always available to answer questions about WQXR history. He joined WQXR in 1941 as a studio engineer before serving as a B-17 bomber pilot and enduring a German POW camp.* He returned to WQXR after the war and worked tirelessly through till 1986 when, after 44 years at the station, he retired as WQXR's Chief Engineer.
From the May, 1944 WQXR Program guide:
Roy Harris, who is well known to our audience, is a Westerner by birth and upbringing. He resides in Colorado Springs, where he holds the post of Composer-in-Residence to Colorado College. Rated by such publications as Time, Life and The Christian Science Monitor as "America's Leading Symphonic Composer," Harris has written six symphonies and a great deal of choral and chamber music. He has been recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Because National Music Week is celebrated this month, we asked Mr. Harris to write about American music and we feel sure his opinions will arouse your interest in contemporary composers.
From the letterhead of New York City's Municipal Broadcasting System to the new design today, WNYC has gone through a number of logos. While each logo represents WNYC in a specific period of time one thing remains constant: WNYC is "The Voice of the City."
From the August, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
The Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra tells in this article how music appreciation is spread through the use of records. Though Russian by birth, he has done much to advance the cause of American composers during his years of conducting orchestras in the United States and Europe. This month New York welcomes him as guest conductor at the Stadium Concerts.
In 1941 John Barbirolli was the Conductor of The New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society Orchestra. In February of that year he wrote the following for the WQXR Program Guide.
Pioneering news commentator Quincy Howe (1900-1977) was on WQXR between August, 1939 and June, 1942. His essay for the September, 1941 WQXR Program Guide was introduced this way:
Mr. Howe needs no introduction to the WQXR audience for he has been the station's news commentator since the outbreak of World War II. In addition to his radio duties, he is Editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster, and is the author of numerous books, the latest being "The News and How to Understand It."
Polish composer, pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski died June 29, 1941. The following tribute was published in the August, 1941 WQXR Program Guide. Here is its introduction:
Mr. Steinway, President of Steinway & Sons, was an intimate friend of Paderewski. The following is based on a talk he gave over WQXR on the evening of July 1st, 1941 during the broadcast of a program honoring the memory of the great pianist-composer.
[Editor's Note] Composer Aaron Copland wrote the following for the WQXR Program Guide in June, 1942. It was, of course, the early months of the United States' involvement in World War II and the reader should keep that in mind. As well, Copland's use of 'Negro' for 'African' or 'African influenced' was common for the time in which he wrote, as was the phrase, 'serious music' for what is now generally referred to as classical music. The program guide prefaced the article with this introduction:
Aaron Copland, gifted American composer and writer on music ("Our New Music" and "What to Listen for in Music") writes about the place of Latin American countries in the world's musical scene, and of the increasing influence being exerted by the composers of our sister republics.
WQXR News Commentator Lisa Sergio wrote the following article for the WQXR Program Guide in April, 1943. As a woman in the almost exclusively male domain of news commentary, Sergio distinguished herself as the only woman Variety included in its 1945 analysis of 30 popular radio news commentators. Her essay is a brief reminder of just how far women have come in the field of journalism. The guide prefaced the piece with this introduction:
Because many people wonder how it feels to be a woman radio commentator, we asked Miss Sergio to write the following article. She need no introduction to the WQXR audience, which listens to her regularly at 7 o'clock every evening, Monday through Friday, nor to her morning audience at 10 A.M. on Monday and Friday.
For the January, 1944 of the WQXR Program Guide, the station's announcers got together and wrote the following:
Have you ever thought: "I could be a radio announcer. My friends say my voice over the telephone is good"? Maybe you could--and then again maybe you couldn't. And after reading this article cooperatively written by members of the WQXR staff--maybe you wouldn't even if you could.