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Posted May 9, 2014

Tuning in to Studs: a preview of great things to come

Over the past few months, Jell Creative has begun a close working collaboration with The WFMT Radio Network and Pop Up Archive to revive the archived recordings of Studs Terkel and give new life to his legacy. The beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning author, oral historian, and radio personality spent over 46 years at WFMT, where he talked with the 20th Century’s most notable movers and shakers — as well as everyday folks struggling to make a living in Chicago. If you’re not familiar with Studs and his work, suffice it to say that his innovations in interviewing and sound experiments preceded NPR and may have inspired much of what we now take for granted in public programming.

Until recently, the thousands of reels holding these interviews had been kept safely in the hands of our friends at the Chicago History Museum. Now the Library of Congress is moving quickly to digitize the entire collection. In an effort spearheaded by WFMT’s Steve Robinson and Tony Macaluso, these historically-rich interviews will find their new home at the re-vamped StudsTerkel.org site in the months ahead. (The current preview site launched to coincide with Let’s Get Working, a three-day festival presented by The University of Chicago, UChicago Arts, and Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.)

Jell is deeply honored to be a part of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive project, and will keep you posted as things develop. In the meantime, follow the official site blog to learn about progress on the website, new partnerships, and mentions in the media.


We’ve had a lot of great news over the past few weeks. Ira Glass featured the project on This American Life; the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded WFMT a planning grant; and audio from the archive is being explored by Joe Richman of NPR’s Radio Diaries and Jane Saks of Project&. The project is moving ahead at full speed.