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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Theatre Department recently acquired some audio tapes containing an entire semester of lectures for the course Appreciation of the Drama.

The course was recorded in 1971 by Professor Gloria Link who began teaching at Oshkosh in 1959. UWO Theatre Professor Kathleen Donnelly said she often meets former students who took the class under Link and they fondly remembered it as one of their favorite courses.

Donnelly approached UWO Director of Radio Services Randall Davidson to see if WRST had the equipment necessary to transfer and digitize the materials—and he agreed to take on the project. Davidson was pleased to find the tapes were in excellent condition and was surprised at some additional content: most of the tapes had introductory material indicating they were used in radio broadcasts. It turns out the entire course aired statewide as part of the Wisconsin College of the Air series over the Wisconsin State Broadcasting Service (now Wisconsin Public Radio). Moreover, some of the announcements tell listeners about how to enroll in the class and use the radio lectures to receive two college credits. The fact that the course was offered over the radio—and for credit—was unknown to the theatre faculty.

Davidson contacted his former colleagues at Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison to check for the course in program guides of the era. The listings show the 45-minute lectures aired Mondays and Tuesdays at 2:15 p.m. for the entire 1971 spring semester.

The digital files were converted to 27 compact discs, which will remain as part of the Theatre Department’s permanent collection of reference materials. After the project was complete, the theatre staff said they had no need for the original tapes, so Davidson contacted the University of Wisconsin Archives in Madison, which has a large collection of audio recordings from Wisconsin Public Radio and its predecessors. The archives staff was pleased to add these 27 tapes to that collection for future study.

Radio TV Film is often called upon to transfer audio, film and video materials and is able to handle most media formats.

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