The KTRU digitization project has been humming right along. Thankfully, there were few tapes suffering from sticky shed over the past year. KTRU generally used good tape until the early 1980s.
Then, a few AMPEX Pacific Stereo 1800 tapes popped up. Starting in 1985, all of a sudden the tapes switched to AMPEX 406. When either of these are played on our OTARI, the machine starts to squeal and slows down to a crawl or just stops. As an added bonus, the tapes leave behind a sticky black residue.
There are currently 49 tapes from the original KTRU donation that will need to be sent out to professionals to bake and digitize.
This does not include a new batch of tapes that we picked up a couple of weeks ago. There were five boxes worth of tapes, small and large, still hanging out at KTRU. Of those five boxes, two have sticky shed tapes. The new issue with these is that it is unclear what if any information is on these reels. So we’ll have to test a few of the tapes to determine if they contain any content and if the content warrants digitization.
Beyond the sticky shed issue, the last five boxes of the KTRU tapes are undated. So far, Dr. William Masterson used his bullhorn to speak to students, Tom Russell and Nanci Griffith sang a duet at Anderson Fair, and Houston residents addressed city council about the Memorial Park drilling issue. Now, the new task is not just describing these new tapes, but also dating them.
Stay tuned for more updates and more audio clips. Also, the KTRU finding aid/inventory contains detailed descriptions for the tapes from 1962-1985. It will be frequently updated.