Arkansas PBS to preserve more than 26,000 tapes


Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council grants $1,163,406 for digitization of 50 years of content

CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — Decades of Arkansas PBS’s content will soon be more readily available due to digitizing more than 26,000 magnetic tapes, thanks to a $1,163,406 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, in collaboration with the Arkansas PBS Foundation. This grant award will save Arkansas PBS’s archives, and in turn, the history it reflects.

“For more than half a century, Arkansas PBS — Arkansas’s only statewide media network — has served as the Natural State’s storyteller and chronicler of history, telling stories of this region from the earliest days of our statehood, through the current events that reflect our place in national and world history,” Arkansas PBS Executive Director Courtney Pledger said. “Our archives — comprising finished productions and programs, as well as a vast treasure trove of additional, never-used footage — form an extraordinary public library of source material.”

Currently at risk of degradation and loss, the tapes will go through a four-step process through the grant to ensure the preservation of this extensive library.

Steps in this process include:

  • Inventory of all tape archival materials
  • Digitization of tape materials
  • Metadata tagging to make the archive searchable for AR PBS staff and the general public
  • Public access and promotion, which will include partnering with organizations that routinely house and promote archival and research material

This material includes finished productions and programs, as well as additional, never-used footage.

Once fully preserved, the archives, comprising decades of Arkansas history, politics and culture, will be accessible to current and future historians, educators, students and the general public.

Accessibility will come in the form of a landing page on the Arkansas PBS website which can be shared or linked to other sites, including other archival centers across the country.

“Our ultimate goal is to preserve this extraordinary resource, and to make it accessible to current and future generations,” Pledger said. “This project will include all existing tape recordings by Arkansas PBS, leading up to the transition to digital recording which began approximately eight years ago.”

About Arkansas PBS

Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, empowers learners of all ages by educating, informing, entertaining and inspiring communities. Arkansas PBS serves as a daily and essential resource for Arkansans by creating, sharing, celebrating and driving conversation around Arkansas stories and classic, trusted PBS programs through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado), KETS (Lee Mountain), KETS (Forrest City) and KETS (Gaither).