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.
From the March, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
The magic of radio has broadened the ranks of the Metropolitan Opera audience until it extends from coast to coast and beyond to the countries of South America. But radio has not been able to bring back to our stage the great voices of the past which were stilled before opera performances went on the air, nor can it repeat an opera again and again to satisfy the appetite of the enthusiast.
From the January, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Ganz is conductor of the Young People's Chorus of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society. He is a pioneer in the field of children's concerts, having directed such concerts for the past eighteen years. The Young People's Concerts from Town Hall, New York, January 13th and February 17th at 3:45 P.M. will be broadcast by WQXR.
The late Paul Fussell (1924-2012) was a noted cultural and literary historian, who taught at Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote about such diverse subjects as Samuel Johnson, travel, and the American class system. His numerous books include Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, The Great War and Modern Memory (for which he won a National Book Award), and The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-45. Fussell was a veteran of World War II, fighting in Europe, where he was wounded and decorated with a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
One thing about the Cold War: It made for some great radio.
From the April, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Hutcheson is President of the Juilliard School of Music in New York. In addition to being a great pianist and teacher, he is the author of numerous books on music, including the recently published "A Musical Guide to Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung."
From the October, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
The success which has attended the presentation on Broadway of new forms of music of great composers such as Bizet, Johann Strauss and Grieg has aroused a certain amount of resentment among music purists. As one of them remarked about Carmen Jones: "The orchestration of Bizet's music was expert and adequate, but I still prefer my Bizet straight, if you don't mind."
The following essay was written for the December, 1942 WQXR Program Guide by the Elliott M. Sanger, Executive Vice President and Co-founder of the Interstate Broadcasting Company, Inc., WQXR's owner.
The following statement was published in the May, 1944 WQXR Program Guide.
From the October, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
We asked Mrs. Lytle Hull to write this because she is in close touch with efforts to bring more and better music to the public. She is the Director of the Philharmonic Symphony Society, the President of the New Opera Company, and the Acting President of the Musicians Emergency Fund.
Thomas Edison's 'right hand man' praises WNYC's static-free sound in this 1936 missive.
From the October, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
The author of this peek behind the scenes at WQXR is one of our program editors. His specialty is the lighter classics, and he knows that kind of music from Arensky to Ziehrer. Among the WQXR programs Mr. Simon produces are Just Music, The Maxwell House Dinner Concert, The American Express Cavalcade of Music and The Operetta Scrapbook.
From the February, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
Prof. Moore as head of the Music Department of Columbia University is not only famous as an educator but also well known as a composer and writer. He is the composer of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and as the author of "From Madrigal to Modern Music," is particularly well qualified to write on this subject.
In the '60s, WNYC tried to bridge the cultural Cold War-divide by periodically airing some Radio Moscow programs. Among them is a celebration of Cosmonautics Day and Moscow Mailbag, a segment devoted to debunking common myths about Russia.
From the July, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
Mrs. Sternberger has been a WQXR commentator for over four years, presenting her "Washington Front" program each Monday through Friday at 5:15 P.M. Before coming to radio she was a newspaper-woman whose travels had taken her to all major European countries, most of Asia and part of South America.
Because of the great interest in the news at this time,we have asked Mrs. Sternberger to give her views on what she feels a commentator's responsibility is to the listening public in this crisis.
From the September 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
On a certain afternoon in June, WQXR broadcast about eight minutes of the 30-minute 'Lyric Suite' by Alban Berg. As this is an ultra- modern work, we asked the audience to write and tell us what they thought of it and whether they wanted us to play it in full at some future time.
In this archival interview, the famed author defends his fiction against critics who to pan his writing, comparing his detractors to “circus geeks” who “bite the heads off chickens for the amusement of the rubes who walk by.”
In the April, 1942 WQXR Program Guide, distinguished American pianist and composer Abram Chasins wrote about the obligations of performers, composers and listeners to the art of music. In July, 1943 he was appointed WQXR's Music Consultant, and in 1946, its Music Director, a post he held for nineteen years.
The great Russian-born composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff died at the end of March, 1943 at the age of 70. Charles O'Connell, then RCA Victor's Music Director, composed this personal tribute for the May, 1943 WQXR Program Guide.
From the August, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
Editorial Note: Occasionally we receive letters from listeners who protest angrily against our broadcasting German music either orchestral or vocal. Because of the democratic implications of the problem, we have asked Ernest Angell, President of the Council for Democracy, to present his views, which he does in the following article. The Council for Democracy is dedicated to a fighting faith in democracy, and hence Mr. Angell's comments represent the considered opinion of real fighters for our present way of life.