My RNW colleague Martien Sleutjes writes: Radio Netherlands Worldwide is currently in the process of creating a digital Historical Audio Archive. In working with material from the 1940s and 1950s, we have discovered that some programmes, especially in English, that were produced for the Programme Export department, or Transcription Service as it was then called, are no longer in the archive. With the arrival of stereo production, the old mono recordings were discarded and, unfortunately, destroyed.
Via the Netherlands Information Bureau (NIB) in New York, programmes were distributed on 16 inch discs. For financial reasons the production of these discs was done in the USA or Canada, and unfortunately copies were seldom sent back to Hilversum. It would be great if we could get hold of some of these old discs to make digital copies of the programmes, but we don’t have the time or the budget to conduct an extensive search.
But there’s one exception! In 1955, Radio Nederland produced a programme about the refugee camps in Europe, which still existed at the time. The purpose was to raise money for the UN High Commission for Refugees. Top radio personalities of the time, such as Stéphane Pizleel (France), Dan Schorr (CBS New York), Richard Dimbleby and Wynford Vaughan Thomas (BBC), Horst Siebecke (Hessische Rundfunk) plus two members of staff from the Spanish and Dutch departments of Radio Nederland were taken on an organised tour of the camps lasting a couple of weeks.
They produced their material at Radio Nederland in the form of six programmes which were then distributed by the Transcription Service. The Spanish discs were made in the Netherlands, and a copy of the Spanish version is available, together with the Dutch version. According to the 1955 Annual Report, the US production by Dan Schorr wasn’t very successful, but money began to come in from the US and Canada when the programmes by Dimbleby and Vaughan Thomas were subsequently offered to stations by the Transcription Service.
So there must have been two versions of the six programmes (probably contained on three discs each) distributed by the NIB. Does anyone have any idea how we might be able to get hold of a copy of either or both versions for digitization? The French version is also missing, in case anyone knows where we might find it.
Thanks in advance for any help. You can leave a message here and/or in the Historical Audio Archive blog.