Sound Recognition of Historical Visibility: The Radio Preservation Task Force of the Library of Congress: Introduction
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Journal of Radio & Audio Media
This issue of Journal of Radio & Audio Media serves as a gesture toward increasing attention to many untold cultural sound histories. The “question” of radio preservation, we’re just coming to realize, closely equates to our responsibility to identify gaps within our historical record, as those gaps are delineated along race, class, orientation, and gendered lines. Sound preservation turns out to be one strategy for how to reconcile failures of recognition. It’s widely accepted that a historian must not project a different meaning upon historical materials than its author intended. Yet at the same time historians might now play the role of advocates, by increasing representation through digital preservation. Sound history is one of the last frontiers to build paths of visibility among scattered records. The Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF) of the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress represents one such project. National in scope but local in focus, the RPTF is currently in the process of constructing several interconnected initiatives that will culminate in a detailed mapping of the cultural history of radio, so as to reveal previously hidden experiences, events, and perspectives.