Historic Standard Hour radio broadcasts now accessible in SearchWorks

Image of a printed program from a Standard Hour broadcast

The Archive of Recorded Sound, in collaboration with the Stanford Media Preservation Lab, recently completed the digitization and cataloging of 684 analog recordings of The Standard Hour radio broadcasts that occurred between 1938 and 1955.  This extensive project was generously funded through the Recordings at Risk program sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).   

These historically significant programs were the first broadcast radio series in the US devoted to symphonic music, and they won the George Peabody Medal for exceptional contributions to music in America in 1942. Live performances of the San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland Symphony Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Hollywood Bowl Symphony were broadcast throughout the Western United States with acclaimed  conductors, such as Pierre Monteux, Alfred Wallenstein, Gaetano Merola, and Carmen Dragon prominently featured throughout the series of broadcasts.  The collection is a significant primary source for how the orchestras of the period actually played in concert and how cultural programming was received by the general American public.

The program content, originally recorded on 609 lacquer transcription discs and 75 tape reels, has now been digitized and deposited into the Stanford Digital Repository. Descriptive information for all of the recordings is available for discovery in the Stanford Searchworks catalog without restriction. A title search on “Standard Hour” with the access facet limited to “Online” and the resource type facet limited to “Music recording” will retrieve all of the metadata records for the recordings digitized in this project.