Government officials praise pubcasting at American Archive ceremony

By Andrew Lapin

Markey (Photo: Christyn Enser)

Markey (Photo: Christyn Enser, Current)

Pubcasting execs and elected officials welcomed the American Archive of Public Broadcasting to the Library of Congress Feb. 10 with a celebration ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The archives, a partnership between the LOC and Boston’s WGBH, comprise more than 40,000 hours and 2.5 million items of public TV content from stations across the country. More than 90 percent of the archive’s initial material has been digitized to date and will be physically stored at the LOC’s Packard Campus for Audiovisual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., according to Librarian of Congress James Billington.

“The American Archives project will ensure that this creative history will be safely available to future generations,” Billington said at the ceremony, where he was joined by CPB CEO Pat Harrison and Patty Cahill, chair of CPB’s board of directors.

Attendees at the ceremony viewed a montage of selections from the archive, including part of a James Brown concert that WGBH broadcast April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Speaking at the ceremony, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said the broadcast helped keep the peace in Boston that night.

“All of these memorable and historic moments and programs are now going to be preserved, and they won’t be in some dark basement with [their] dusty tape eroding, being destroyed,” Markey said.

Other legislators in attendance included Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a founding member of the Public Broadcasting Caucus, and former Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.).

Questions, comments, tips? lapin@current.org

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