BUCKSPORT — Northeast Historic Film has been awarded a $214,918.00 grant from the Council of Library and Information Resources as part of the 2020 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Awards. The grant was one of only 16 awarded nationwide out of 151 applicants.
The project is called More Than the News: The Local Television Programs of WCVB Boston and will pay for NHF to catalog, digitize and make accessible, over 2,400 programs produced by WCVB TV in Boston.
WCVB launched in 1972 with a goal of redefining the conventional wisdom of what a television station could do. They originated 60 hours of programming a week, more than twice that of any other station. They created shows which changed the face of television across the country. The project includes recently donated master videotapes and reels of 16mm film consisting of over 2,400 programs produced by WCVB between 1972 and 1997. These range from the first legal affairs program (Miller’s Court), to a sitcom (Park Street Under which was taken by NBC and renamed Cheers), to groundbreaking children’s programming like Jabberwocky and Captain Bob, and youth and minority produced programming like Aqui and Rapmatazz.
Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Digitizing Hidden Special Collections program is a national competition administered by CLIR to support access to rare and unique cultural content in archives, libraries and museums. This year’s two competitions awarded over $4 million to 28 recipients including NHF, and will support projects related to music, fashion, history, and science from around the country.
Preserving television programs is still a new priority for media archives. Many original copies of local television programs were taped over, discarded, or otherwise lost. The More Than the News project will offer a unique look at the early days of local television, and the ever-changing media landscape of New England.