University of Houston Libraries is pleased to announce that it has received a $348,751 grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program to support the Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Digitization and Access Project. The grant will allow for the creation of detailed archival finding aids, digitization, transcription, description, online publication, and an online exhibit documenting over thirty years of Houston-area radio and television history created for and by local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans communities.
Four series — After Hours, Lesbian & Gay Voices, Wilde ‘n’ Stein, and TV Montrose — are included in the project, totaling over 5,000 hours of content not heard or seen publicly since its initial broadcast decades ago. The recordings are currently inaccessible to researchers, and due to fragile audiovisual tape formats, are at significant risk of loss due to deterioration.
The unique audio and video recordings are drawn from UH Libraries Special Collections and through a partnership with the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History, Inc. (GCAM)
Judy Reeves of GCAM, the project’s primary partner, said that “On September 6, 1987, Jimmy Carper, a gay activist/volunteer in Houston, TX popped a cassette into the recorder and taped the inaugural broadcast of a show called After Hours on KPFT 90.1 FM because he realized it was groundbreaking for the local GLBT community. He recorded the show for nearly 30 years until his death in 2014. He had no idea that the tapes would be a significant part of his and the communities’ vast history. We are grateful to Jimmy Carper and to UH for having the foresight to preserve, collate and make available the thousands of hours of GLBT history.”
Whitney Cox, lecturer at Rowan University and member of the project’s advisory board, said “I’m thrilled that this will not only preserve some of the key pieces of Houston’s queer history, but that it’ll make them accessible to so many people.”
The project will be managed by Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist, and Bethany Scott, coordinator of digital projects. Grant funds will allow for the hiring of three project staff members and is slated for completion in 2023.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.
Thanks to Emily Vinson and Bethany Scott for contributing this story.