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Radio Program Fund, Accession 2001-052-MMC, 1992-2000

 Series 8

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Radio Program Fund encouraged proposals for new ideas in public radio, including minority and other specialized programming. This series includes audio from the mid-1990s to 2000, as well as some interim reports and pilot proposals in audio format. Formats include cassette tapes, DATs, CDs, and some video cassettes.

Areas of particular interest in this collection include programs by and about African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Youth. Numerous programs offer profiles of individuals normally excluded from media during this time.


  • 1992-2000

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.


586 Sound Cassettes (579 plastic cassette cases inside 16 flat cassette boxes of 34-35 each, 7 plastic cassette cases inside 1 CD box) : 586 audio cassettes ; 4" x 2.75"

49 Sound Cassettes (49 plastic cassette cases inside 1 CD box) : 49 DATs (Digital Audio Transcription tapes) ; 3" x 2.25"

88 Sound Discs (87 plastic CD cases inside 1 CD box and 1 plastic CD case inside 1 CD box) : 87 audio CDs ; 4" x 2.75"

4 Videocassettes (4 VHS containers inside 1 CD box) : 4 VHS tapes

1 electronic_discs (1 floppy disc)

Scope and Contents

The CPB Radio Program Fund series includes audio cassettes, CDs, DATs, and VHS tapes of minority and specialized programming, as well as interim reports and pilot proposals in audio format. The purpose of the Radio Program Fund was to make funds directly available to local stations and independent radio producers, encouraging innovative programming and programming that served under-represented communities. Areas of particular interest in this collection include programs by and about African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Youth. Numerous programs offer profiles of individuals normally excluded from media.

Africa News Service was a non-profit organization that produced print and broadcast reporting for media outlets such as National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and the BBC in operation from 1973 to 2000. This collection holds a copy of 2 radio broadcasts (1 cassette).

African-American Music Tree II was a four-part program exploring the work of black composers and featuring the Black Music Repertory Ensemble. Produced by South Carolina Educational Radio, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Radio International, and broadcast nationally in February 1996. (Another four-part African-American Music Tree series was previously broadcast in February 1995.) 4 audio cassettes.

Afropop Worldwide is a Peabody award-winning radio program, podcast and online magazine dedicated to music from Africa and the African diaspora. 2 audition CDs.

All About Sports: Amina Hassan, an independent scholar and an award-winning public radio documentarian produced this 13-part series for National Public Radio about how race, class and gender shape American sports. 6 programs on 3 audio cassettes.

American Folklife Radio Project was a series of interviews produced by David Isay, later the founder of StoryCorps. Aired as segments of Morning Edition and All Things Considered from 1990 to 1994, this series received a Peabody Award in 1992. Excerpts were also published as a book, Holding On, and as a companion CD (1996). 1 audio cassette.

American Profiles was the umbrella name given to this series of radio documentaries, broadcast under their individual titles on Soundprint and other programs. Produced by Gary Covino, an independent producer and an NPR veteran. 5 audio cassettes.

American Roots Fourth of July, recorded live during the fourth annual concert in 1996, offering a spectrum of U.S.-based folk and roots music styles – everything from New Orleans jazz to American Indian flute playing. 2 audio cassettes.

American Talkers was a long-running series produced by Sound Portraits Productions, an independent production company created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience. Interim reports to CPB on 2 cassettes.

American Voices was a five-part series produced by Noel Gunther. "American Voices: Norman Corwin with Charles Kuralt" won the Grand Award, Best Documentary Program at the International Radio Festival of New York. 1 cassette.

American Worker (aka Work Across America) and On the Bus -- Producer Dan Collison specializes in documentaries about people and places overlooked by mainstream media. Many of his documentaries explore the historical dimensions of American life and culture. The American Worker examined the meaning of work in people's lives. These stories profile workers' dreams and aspirations; their goals and motivations. Most stories in this series aired on All Things Considered. 4 audio cassettes.

In 1997, Collison spent a good part of the summer riding a cross-country bus. From New York to Los Angeles by way of Kansas City, the Mississippi Delta and the desert South West, on 27 buses, Collison rode over 6,000 miles. In his nine-part series On the Bus, he introduced the people he met and the stories he gathered along the way. 1 audio cassette.

Beyond Affliction: The Disability History Project was a four-part documentary radio series about the shared experience of people with disabilities and their families since the beginning of the 19th century. The program won a 1999 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. 4 audio cassettes.

Black College Sports Report, a weekly half-hour program that provided up-to-date information on Black college sports activities, including scores, features, news and schedules. The Report, which covered the football and basketball seasons, was heard on an expanded list of public and college stations beginning in September. 38 audio cassettes from 1999-2000.

Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was, hosted by Lou Rawls, highlighted the history of African American radio and won two Gold Medals at the New York Festival's International Radio Competition in 1996. 7 audio cassettes.

Boomer's Guide to Aging – short pieces that ran on NPR's "Marketplace" program. Produced by Reel Women Productions. 3 audio cassettes, one DAT.

California Indian Radio Project -- Thirteen Half Hour Programs. A series featuring the voices and stories of contemporary Native people of California, telling how their lives have been shaped by history, their traditional values and their land. We have a selection of episodes on 3 audio cassettes and 5 DATs.

Classical Public Radio Network was a national, 24-hour classical music service established in 1998. Ceased national broadcast operations on June 30, 2008. Grant report on 1 audio cassette.

Duke Ellington Centennial Radio Project, a 13-part series produced by the public radio station in Newark, N.J., recognized as one of the best jazz stations in the U.S. Jim Luce was the project coordinator. 16 DAT cassettes, 1 audio cassette with interim report.

Earthsongs explores the Native influences that help shape and define contemporary American music – "a weekly one-hour blend of today's contemporary indigenous artists that are setting new directions in blues, folk, jazz, country, reggae and hip-hop." Produced by Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, a nonprofit media center that provides Native radio programming through Alaska Native governance and operation. 74 CDs.

Echoes is a daily two-hour "music soundscape" that brings together a wide array of styles, from acoustic to electronic, jazz to space music, the avant-garde to rock. Hosted by John Diliberto, a writer for Billboard, Pulse and other magazines. 19 DAT cassettes. This collection also includes a copy of 1994's Christmas program, Sonic Seasonings. It features music that "brings a quieter holiday spirit to your radio with intimate, live performances of seasonal music." 2 audio cassettes.

Fertility Race, a 17-part series initially broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition, All This Considered and Weekend Edition. Produced by American Radio Works in conjunction with Minnesota Public Radio. 1 audio cassette, 1 CD.

Images of America's 20th Century, a four-part series produced for Black History Month. Phylicia Rashad was the host of these oral histories that featured African Americans recalling the significant events of the previous 97 years. 5 DATs.

Islam Revisited, news pieces from June 1992 to June 1993, produced by Independent Broadcasting Associates, a non-profit media production company that creates programs on India, Europe and Islam for National Public Radio. 1 audio cassette, 1 DAT.

Jazz Is… In the Arts was a 13 part radio series examining the influence of jazz on the lives of special guests, such as Gordon Parks, Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte and others. Hosted by jazz legend Jon Hendricks. 9 audio cassettes.

Jazz Profiles was an American public radio show produced by NPR and hosted by jazz singer Nancy Wilson from 1996 to 2005. 1 audio cassette, a sample program distributed to subscribers.

Jazz Modes -- Not a radio program, but part of a large national study on listener tastes in jazz involving KPLU and other NPR radio stations with Walrus Research. "KPLU put together short selections of every kind of jazz style available and had listeners rate the selections. Walrus Research then did what is known as "cluster analysis" and created a set of six or seven clusters which listeners seemed to gravitate to the most. Those clusters were called "modes." It was a valuable study for us and we used those concepts to structure our jazz programming." -- Nick Francis, KNKX (formerly KPLU). 3 audio cassette, 1 VHS.

The Jeanes Supervisors… Unsung Educators – Ten half-hour reports that profile the African-American women who supervised black school districts in the rural south during the time of segregation. In this documentary series, the Jeanes Supervisors give a first-hand account of their experiences. Produced, written and voiced by Gwendolyn Glenn. The single cassette in this collection is labeled "Promotional tape ... not for broadcast," and dated 1993.

Just Plain Folks: South Carolina Educational Radio Network produced Just Plain Folks for NPR's Playhouse series. Based on the book by Lorraine Johnson-Coleman, this was a 13-part series on African-American storytelling, poetry, and blues. Johnson-Coleman served as both artistic director and co-narrator. The series won the 1999 Award of Excellence from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts. 14 audio cassettes.

Latino USA, the only national, English-language radio program produced from a Latino perspective, premiered on public radio in 1993. The series has since become the longest running Latino-focused program on NPR. Now produced in New York City, Latino USA originated at the University of Texas at Austin as a partnership between KUT-FM and the university's Center for Mexican-American Studies. This collection contains episodes from December 1995 to June 2000. 276 audio cassettes.

Life Stories – diary-style radio documentaries produced by Jay Allison in collaboration his wife and fellow producer, Christina Egloff. This project gave tape recorders to citizens and supported them in telling about their own lives. The series aired mainly on NPR’s All Things Considered and PRI’s This American Life. 4 audio cassettes.

Línea Abierta – a national live talk and call-in program interconnecting Spanish-speaking audiences and newsmakers throughout the United States and Mexico. Produced by Radio Bilingüe, a non-profit radio network with Latino control and leadership, the only national distributor of Spanish-language programming in American public radio. Radio Bilingüe launched Línea Abierta in 1995. 7 audio cassettes.

Lipshtick – Humorous pieces by Gwen Macsai, an independent writer and producer whose pieces have aired on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition. Many of her radio pieces were included in a book, also titled Lipshtick, published in 2000. 3 audio cassettes.

Living on Earth is a weekly news, features, interviews and commentary program about the world's changing environment, ecology, and human health. Living on Earth is located at the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts/Boston. 1 cassette.

Mississippi: River of Song was a Smithsonian Institution series for public radio and television exploring the richness and vitality of American music at the close of the twentieth century. The radio series was in 7 parts, of which 6 are available here on CD. The project also involved a four-part television series, a companion book and a two-CD set

More by Corwin (referenced in CPB paperwork as "With Corwin"), a series of new radio dramas broadcast from 1995 to 2001. Written and directed by Norman Corwin, longtime radio, television, stage and movie writer, three of these dramas are available in this collection: "No Love Lost" (NPR, 1996), "Writer with the Lame Left Hand," NPR 1997; "The Secretariat," NPR 1997. 3 audio cassettes.

Music Makers, a 13-hour radio documentary series featuring George Clinton, Carlos Santana, Frank Zappa, The Neville Brothers, Patti Labelle and The Roots. Produced by Steve Rowland. 2 audio cassettes.

National Public Radio – Planned Giving Training for NPR Staff, 1997. 5 audio cassettes.

Native America Calling – The Electronic Talking Circle is a live radio show that allows listeners to call in and discuss issues that are relevant to Native communities. Produced by Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, a nonprofit media center that provides Native radio programming through Alaska Native governance and operation. 11 audio cassettes

Paul Robeson: A Tribute to My Friend – a radio documentary featuring Lloyd Brown, former Robeson biographer, produced by North Star Communications in cooperation with WBGO-FM and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Robeson's birth, the documentary gave a personal account of the music career of this noted singer, stage and screen actor, scholar, athlete and controversial political activist. Archival interviews with Robeson were included. 2 audio cassettes.

People Next Door, part of the Soundprint series, explored the changing nature of social well-being at home, in neighborhoods, and in larger communities. 16 audio cassettes.

PowerPoint was the first and only live program to focus attention on issues and information of concern to African American listeners using the popular interactive, call-in format. The show aired weekly on Sunday evenings, from 9-11 p.m. in over 40 markets. 111 audio cassettes.

Radio Diaries (aka "Teenage Diaries" and "American Diaries") is a documentary series that works with people to document their own lives — in their own words — for public radio: teens, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard. Produced by Joe Richman, the audio documentaries were broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, This American Life, the BBC, and on the Radio Diaries Podcast. 7 audio cassettes.

Rockin' the Boat, a 3-part music documentary that chronicles the power of music in movements for social and political change around the world. Each part won radio awards, including one from the United Nations Department of Information (for #1, "The Long Road to Freedom"). 5 audio cassettes, 1 CD.

Satchmo: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong, a 13-week centennial tribute to jazz master and American icon Louis Armstrong. Heard on NPR member stations as part of the Jazz Profiles documentary series, each one-hour program presents a variety of original and archival interviews, performances, and history in honor of what would have been Louis Armstrong's 100th birthday. A co-production of NPR and the Luce Group, in association with WRTI-FM, Philadelphia. 3 CDs. Sense of Place -- From 1994 to 2004, Helen Borten traveled the country interviewing people for her independently produced, Peabody Award winning NPR series, which Bill Moyers called “A superb concept for radio – timely, too, given the longing in America for community and connection.” 6 audio cassettes.

Solid State University took a look at education "as it was, is, and might become" (winning the Golden Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters). Produced by the Great Northern Audio Theatre which later received the 2017 Norman Corwin Award for Excellence in Audio Theatre, given annually by the National Audio Theatre Festivals. 1 audio cassette.

Spirits of the Present: The Legacy from Native America, a 13 part radio show on American Indian History, aired on 410 stations in North America during 1992. The first comprehensive series to explore and illuminate the rich and diverse cultures of Native America, specially produced to mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the New World. 1 CD.

Stories on the Wind – Short stories written and read by American actor, artist, and author Gardner McKay. Stories on the Wind aired weekly on Hawaii Public Radio from 1995-2001. Later collected in book form. 4 audio cassettes.

Sunshine Hotel – 30 min. radio documentary by David Isay with Stacy Abramson. This is an audio portrait of New York's notorious skid row and the Sunshine Hotel, one of the last of the no-frills establishments. 1 CD.

Thin Air, a monthly, half-hour news magazine based in Telluride, CO. Subtitle: "High Country Radio with an Altitude." Distributed throughout Colorado in the four corners area (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah) via the High Country Community Radio Coalition. Producer: John Kovash. Stories contributed by stations in the coalition and then distributed in magazine format on CD or cassettes. 12 audio cassettes.

Universal Un-Coverage: The Fear of Living Shamelessly – Soundbites '94. One in a series of programs featuring comedy skits written and produced by Michael Dalby and George Wilson. 1 CD.

Where Are My Headphones? Live from Studio A is a compilation of session tracks recorded at WCBE 90.5 (Columbus, OH), 1994. 1 CD,

World Cafe is a two-hour-long, nationally syndicated music radio program that originates from WXPN, a non-commercial station licensed to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 2 DAT cassettes.

World Views, a series of long-form, first-person narratives, produced by Homeland Productions. 1 audio cassette.

Youth Radio, founded in 1993, is a Peabody award-winning nonprofit that provides the resources and platforms to produce national youth-driven digital and broadcast content. Offering stories from young essayists and reporters, they serve as NPR's official youth desk. The CPB Radio Program Fund collection contains 18 cassettes with samples of programming from 1996 to 2000.

-- Note: There is some overlap between this collection and that of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters

Biographical / Historical

In the mid-1980s, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) founded the Radio Program Fund in order to change the way public radio would be funded. In previous years, all funding for national programming would have passed through National Public Radio (NPR). Instead, CPB withheld a portion of the money in order to create a separate fund, administered directly by CPB, available directly to local stations and independent radio producers.

The aim was to create innovative programming as well as programming that served under-represented communities. The Radio Program Fund included programs by and about African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Youth. Numerous programs offered profiles of individuals normally excluded from media. Other funding went to programs of more general interest. This effort continued into the early 2000s.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742