Oral History Project

Early radio broadcasting in the Pacific began around 1900, with a large number of stations playing music and amateur radio broadcasts from around 1920. The period from 1920-1940 is often called the ‘Golden Age’ of radio as this new medium became a familiar part of everyday life, great entertainers appeared, news and music spread across the world, and vintage radio receivers were designed with the influences of art movements such as art deco.

The people who were involved in these early days of radio are now in their 90’s and 80’s, and are rapidly beginning to disappear, taking their memories, their memorabilia and their stories with them. There is little time to lose, in fact, we know some stories have already gone forever and the gaps they leave will never be properly filled.

The Oral History Project is designed to identify and capture as many original stories as possible from these radio pioneers and bring them within the collections and archives of the Foundation and our Radio Heritage Partners around the Pacific.

The priority period is 1920-1945, this quarter century spanning the beginnings of broadcasting, the Golden Age, and the special circumstances of WWII.

We urgently need volunteers able to contribute towards a series of specific Period Projects by conducting face to face, telephone, email or letter based interviews with broadcasters, technicians and listeners. A number of the projects may also be eligible for grants and other funds from a variety of sources. More than one volunteer is needed in most cases.

We also need a volunteer with professional oral history skills to co-ordinate the Period Projects with some simple guidelines and advice on how to find the people to be interviewed, how to approach them, how to conduct the interview, and how to then bring the results back.

As well as obtaining personal accounts from these radio pioneers, each Period Project includes making arrangements for the protection of any memorabilia the person or their family members may wish to see left to the Foundation or a Radio Heritage Partner, consulting with the Foundation about storage, publishing and other issues which may emerge from the contact, and staying in contact with the radio pioneers afterwards.

This is a project of vital importance, where a lot of people can make an immediate impact and save our sounds and stories from being lost right now. Visit our volunteer section for more information and a list of Period Projects and get involved.

If you’re a radio pioneer yourself, either contact us directly, visit our section which explains how you can contribute your own story, make a gift of memorabilia or other radio heritage items or make a donation to the Foundation. We’d love to hear from you and help you share your story.

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