In spring 2016, the University of Michigan School of Information received a grant to fund ethical access to the radio show Music Time in Africa, which is the oldest continuously operating broadcast to the African continent. The $260,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant will help make an archive of African music and radio programming available to US and global audiences. The grant period began on June 1, 2016 and ends May 31, 2018. Co-principal investigators include Kelly M. Askew, U-M professor of anthropology and Afroamerican and African studies, and University of Michigan Associate Professor Paul Conway. Shannon Zachary, head of preservation and conservation at MLibraries, and Robert McIntyre, digital asset management consultant at the MLibraries, will also work on the project along with teams of UMSI students.
The University of Michigan has chosen the Pittsburgh-based audiovisual laboratory MediaPreserve™ to digitize audio files for the Voice of America’s Music Time in Africa radio program as part of an initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. MediaPreserve™ was founded in 2006 as a specialized laboratory focused on the digital reformatting of the full range of heritage audiovisual resources. MediaPreserve’s parent organization, Preservation Technologies, has become a trusted source of mass digitization for the University of Michigan.
In 2015 the Voice of America loaned the African Music Collection of the Leo Sarkisian archives to the University of Michigan School of Information for study, cataloging, and digitization.Two tons of material was transferred on January 22, 2015.These four pallets of material contain original field recordings, the Music Time in Africa radio broadcasts, and various other records. The University of Michigan has laid plans to digitize many of the radio programs and then produce an extensive online archive over the next few years.