About Way Back

New York City has a rich and storied history, one that has played out on WNYC’s airwaves since 1924. Way Back on WNYC is a fortnightly portrait of the city's past as heard through archival audio.

The program is produced by WNYC News with the assistance of the New York Public Radio Archives and draws exclusively on material that has been broadcast by WNYC over the last 89 years. We say that only because we have no station audio earlier than the June 13, 1927 recording of Charles Lindbergh on the steps of City Hall with Mayor Jimmy Walker. 

The WNYC Archive Collections
Since there was no centralized Archive Department at WNYC prior to July 2000, the station had a limited amount of archive material on site. Over the last sixteen years a large amount of WNYC broadcast material has been digitized and repatriated for our use from other institutional collections, personal collections, auction sites and just plain detective work. We especially want to thank the New York City Municipal Archives for access to a significant number of WNYC broadcasts between 1938 to 1970.
Other WNYC broadcasts have generously come from The Library of Congress, The National Archives, The Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland, The J. Walter Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, The G. Robert Vincent Voice Library at the University of Michigan, The New York Academy of Medicine, The New York Public Library Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The Paley Center for the Media, The Smithsonian's Moe Asch Collection, The Smithsonian Archives of American Art, The Public Art Fund, The Municipal Art Society, The Guggenheim Museum, The Womens City Club, Mary Hume, Peter Canby, Patricia Marx Ellsberg, and many former WNYC producers and reporters.  
For more about the Archive Department and the work we do see: ARCHIVES and PRESERVATION.