Columbia University Archives: WKCR

University Archives

Butler Library postcardColumbia University Archives
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Butler Library, 6th Floor
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027

Phone: (212) 854-3786
Fax: (212) 854-1365
E-mail: uarchives@columbia.edu

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Related Collections

Barnard College
The Barnard Archives and Special Collections serves as the final repository for the historical records of Barnard College, from its founding in 1889 to the present day. For more information, please contact archives@barnard.edu.

Health Sciences Library
The Archives and Special Collections at the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library of Columbia University can help you find information about the schools of the Medical Center: College of Physicians & Surgeons, School of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine (formerly the School of Dental & Oral Surgery), Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. For more information, please contact hslarchives@columbia.edu.

WKCR

How to find information about WKCR

  • To start your search about Columbia's student radio, check out there are two history websites to give you a general introduction:
  • Look for the Fall 1986 issue of Columbia College Today. The CC alumni magazine devoted an entire issue to the radio station on its 45th anniversary in the Fall 1986 issue (Volume 13, no. 3). This commemorative issue included articles about Edwin H. Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio, WKCR through the decades, and the antennae used for broadcasting. To read the issue online: Look for CCT Volume 13 on the Internet Archive. The Fall 1986 issue starts on page 169.
     
  • To hear WKCR audio highlights: The CCT issue included a special insert, a playable vinyl-like record, with Highlights of King's Crown Radio, now digitized and available online. Some of the highlights include the station break in 1941-42; an interview with Fidel Castro, 1958; the first stereo sign-on, 1964; President Grayson Kirk on academic freedom, 1964; Columbia vs. Princeton Ivy League basketball championship game, 1968; Louis Armstrong station promo, 1970-1971; and some live coverage from the "bust" of campus occupation in 1968.

If you are looking for information about the Columbia University Radio Club (CURC) and the radio station WKCR, here are the most popular sources available online.

  • WKCR Archives
    There are a number of audio clips from interviews and in-studio recordings made by WKCR throughout its history now available online. Program tapes and production materials created by WKCR are likely with the radio station. Please contact the radio station directly to ask about their holdings.
     
  • Columbia Daily Spectator
    You can search the issues of the student newspaper, either by date or by keyword, by visiting the Columbia Spectator Digital Archive.This online resource is fully searchable and includes the issues of the student newspaper from 1877 to 2015. Search on "WKCR" or "CURC "and you will  find both articles and advertisements about the station.
     
  • Columbia University Record
    This is an online resource of fully searchable issues of the University newspaper from 1973 to 2016. Search on "WKCR" and you will find articles about the station and its programming.
     
  • 1968: Columbia in Crisis
    During the student protests in April 1968 WKCR was the only source of live news from the campus. The staff committed itself to reporting the events and News Department programmers in particular, including Bob Siegel (now at NPR), tirelessly worked to broadcast to the public. The New York Times called the station's reporting "clear and concise with a sound of informality and immediacy." In an online exhibit about Columbia 1968, we have posted a short audio tape we acquired that beautifully summarizes WKCR's activities during the 1968 protests. The tape was used as a recruiting tool in the fall of 1968.

Archival collections are non-circulating and can only be viewed in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's reading room (RBML). In order to use the University Archives collections at the RBML, you will be required to register your own Special Collections Research Account before your visit and to validate the account in person with government-issued photo identification or Columbia ID card. Once you have created your Special Collections Research Account, you will be able to request materials directly from the finding aid: click the check box located on the right for the box(es) you need, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red-rimmed box at top. This should lead you directly to your Special Collections Research Account to complete the request form.

  • Historical Subject Files
    The Historical Subject Files consists of clippings, press releases, programs, and other printed matter compiled over the years by curators of the Columbiana Collection and staff of the University Archives. You can find relevant materials in the following folders:
    • "WKCR Radio, 1950s-2000s" - Box 237, folder 12
    • "WKCR Radio- Program Guides, 1950s-1980s" - Box 238,  folder 13
    • "CURC (Radio Station), 1940s-1990s" - Box 221, folder. 4
       
  • Central Files, 1890-1984
    Central Files contain the core administrative records of the University. Central Files chiefly contains correspondence (sent and received) between Columbia University administrators and other University officers, faculty, trustees, and individuals and organizations from outside the University. You will find, for example, correspondence with William A. Wood, director of the Office of Radio and Television Relations and Fred W. Albertson, whose correspondence includes materials related to Columbia's application for an FM radio license and a proposal for operating a radio station. If you search the entire container list (click on "View all" on the left) on the term "WKCR," you will find a number of relevant files mostly  from the 1970s (WKCR (Columbia Radio Station)), though there is some info from the 1950s-1960s.

For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website. If you have any questions about how to find materials or how to access materials, please contact uarchives@columbia.edu.

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About the images

Top - Group photo of students broadcasting on WKCR (1940s-1950s) (Scan 1686) Wide World Photos. Historical Photograph Collection, University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Right, top - Broadcast over campus radio station. CURC; 1942. (Scan 491) Jack M. Lewis Livingston Hall, Columbia University.  Historical Photograph Collection, University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Right, bottom - Portrait of WKCR announcer Phil Schaap (Scan 2560) Eileen  Lianeza for Office of Public Affairs. Office of Public Affairs Photograph Collection. University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.