It's pretty astonishing to me that Los Angeles-area college/public radio station KCRW (Santa Monica College) has made so much progress in digitizing its music library. So far they've digitized 50,000 CDs, 15,000 vinyl albums (including material from as far back as the 1940s), and 1200 live KCRW performances. Not only is KCRW lucky to have funding and sponsors for its digitization project, but they also employ a music librarian to oversee the collection. Starting this month they will be highlighting special selections from the music library over the air and on their website. You can also see a short documentary about their record library (used to help them pitch for funds to preserve it) on their website.
Like many stations, KCRW has rare recordings that they would like to preserve for the future. No doubt some of these are on dying formats like reel-to-reel tape, cassettes, DAT and carts (not all that long ago my current station still played the 8-trackesque cart), which may not even have playback equipment in studios anymore.
Additionally, KCRW encounters the same space issues that most college stations have to deal with: too many records, not enough storage. I've worked at places with an appreciation for vinyl and CDs, which means that with each passing week more and more material has to somehow get squeezed into shelves that are already jam-packed with material. Other stations probably address the space issue by just not adding CDs or vinyl, instead acquiring music primarily in digital formats. At some stations there may even be DJs who do entire shows without touching CDs or vinyl records.
How does your station archive its music? Do you purge things from your record library to make room for new items? Do you digitize music? Do you regularly acquire mp3s for DJs to play or do you primarily play vinyl and CD recordings? How would you feel about switching to an all-digital format?
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