Memories and Music: Archeion's First Audio Records

21 Oct 2013 6:24 PM | Danielle Robichaud

This is a guest post written by Shanna Fraser1, City Archivist for the City of Greater Sudbury.

“Now friends and neighbors, we have a real treat. We’re going to talk to…”2 And so began Sudbury’s local radio program Memories and Music. Memories and Music was sponsored by the International Nickel Company (Inco) and broadcast Sundays at noon on 92.7 CKSO-FM, later CIGM, from 1974 to 1982. The show featured a host who conducted an interview every week with a different Sudburian (or individual from the outlying areas, normally an Inco pensioner) about his or her life story while interweaving older music from the 1920’s, 30’s, and40’s into the broadcast during the interview breaks. 

The interviews were pre-recorded with the host either visiting the featured person at his or her home or in a neutral, quiet location such as a hotel room.; Interview topics normally included family, immigration, mining, lumbering, railways, retail, hockey, religion, education, health care, politics, unions, and community life.
memories and music

The oldest person to be interviewed on Memories and Music was Mary Ivy Reynolds. Born in 1887, Reynolds discussed her early life in Toronto, her adolescent years in North Bay, and her arrival in Copper Cliff in 1913 to work at the hospital as a nurse before the new hospital’s grand opening in 1914.3

World War I veterans interviewed on the program included Alf Pinaud, John “Bob” Brown, John “Sandy” Butler, and John Black. There were also over 25 veterans of the Second World War interviewed on the program4 as well as one person who discussed his experiences in German occupied Poland followed by his forced labour as a construction worker in Southern Germany.5

During the early broadcasting years, Memories and Music was pre-recorded on reel-to-reel tapes, (after 1976 on audio cassette tapes) with the radio station,6 Inco, and the interviewee receiving a copy.7 After the first shows were broadcast, Inco began sending copies of the program to the Sudbury Public Library. While many episodes were missed (sometimes entire years), the episodes that were transferred were transcribed and made publicly available at the library. In 2013, these tapes were transferred to the City of Greater Sudbury Archives (as well as some of the missing episodes from Inco, now Vale8) and we have been working this year at making Memories and Music publicly available on Archeion.9

In order to digitize the reel-to-reel tapes, we had to obtain an old reel-to-reel player from a second hand store. We also purchased a Roland Tri-Capture 24 bit 96 kHz USB Audio Interface10 to connect the reel-to-reel player to a computer and used Audacity software for the recordings. The tapes were first recorded in a WAVE format for preservation reasons with MP3 copies later created for Archeion users.11 Metadata was also embedded in each digital record including identifier numbers, the name of the fonds, the title, the date of the original broadcast, the scope and content, and the name of the archives.12

To digitize the audio cassette tapes, we used a Crosley CR6001A Archiver and Audacity software. They were recorded using the same formats as the reel-to-reel tapes and descriptive metadata was also embedded into each digital copy.

We also scanned the transcripts the public library made for some of the shows as PDFs and made them keyword searchable. As for the episodes without transcripts, we hired a transcription company to create transcripts for them as Microsoft Word documents. We later made PDF, keyword searchable copies of these transcripts for Archeion.

Since the transcripts were not created by the radio program Memories and Music, we put them in Archeion as items 13 under each episode without an identifier number and created additional links to the transcripts in the Other Notes field. We also included title pages for all of the transcripts stating the name of the interviewee, the radio program, the broadcast date, and who made the transcript with the transcript creation date.

The radio program Memories and Music ended in 1982. While the music may be lost, the memories shared on the program remain as vivid today as the day of their first broadcast. They are also now more accessible to researchers in both digitized audio and typed transcription formats on Archeion.

[1] I would like to take this opportunity to thank the summer students who worked tirelessly on this project, especially Jenna Guse, Aaron St. Pierre and Heather Wilson. I would also like to thank Archivist Alyssa Gallant for her endless work, Vale Information Retrieval Specialist Rachelle Safronetz for sending copies of some of the missing tapes, Local History Librarian Kristen Bertrand for transferring the records, Manager of Libraries and Heritage Resources Claire Zuliani and Director of Citizen Services Ron Henderson for their continual support and everyone at the Greater Sudbury Public Library for listening to my stories of trying to process these records.

[2] 037-1-1-113, Mary Ivy Reynolds, Memories and Music Fonds, City of Greater Sudbury Archives

[3] Ibid

[5] 037-1-1-40, Ted Kucharuk, Memories and Music Fonds, City of Greater Sudbury Archives

[6] The radio station no longer has any copies of this program.

[7] Since these tapes were made before the broadcast, the music or commercials were not normally included on the tapes.

[8] Unfortunately, Vale does not have copies of all of the episodes. They very graciously sent copies of any of the episodes they had to replace those we were missing, but many remain lost.

[9] Permission has been granted by both Vale (formerly Inco) and Newcap Radio (the current owners of CIGM) to digitize and make Memories and Music available to researchers online. We were also very fortunate to receive a Young Canada Works grant and an Ontario Summer Experience Program grant to hire summer students for this project.

[10] Audio interfaces are available at most music stores.

[11] A good quick reference for standard preservation and access digital formats is Archivematica’s Format Policies (Visited, October 17, 2013)

[12] All of our digital records on Archeion are available to the public to download. Embedded descriptive metadata ensures researchers will know what the digital item is, where it came from, any copyright information, and how to cite it. This also makes ordering higher resolution reproductions easier with the identifier number always with the lower resolution digital copy and also can stop researchers from attempting to donate records back to the archives from where they were originally obtained.

[13] Actually, we included them as items of items or “sub-items” without identifier numbers or any written descriptions. Since these transcripts are not part of the fonds but where created as a reference tool, it would have been more convenient to include them at the same level beside each item, however, Archeion does not allow more than one ‘digital object’ to be linked to a single description.

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