WEB EXCLUSIVE: Larry King celebrates donation to GW at MPA opening

Larry King made a surprise appearance at the Media and Public Affairs building during a ceremony Thursday to commemorate Westwood One Radio’s donation of more than 1,000 reel-to-reel tapes to GW.

The collection includes 50 years of radio news coverage, including reporting during World War II, original Larry King programs and the “World Today” news show.

Westwood One, the world’s largest provider of radio programming, donated the historic coverage from its Mutual Broadcasting System news audio archive.

The archives were donated at the opening ceremony of the MPA building, which houses the School of Media and Public Affairs, Graduate School of Political Management and the University’s public policy and public administration programs.

Westwood One Vice President Bert Tessler, a GW alumnus, worked closely with Mike Freedman, GW vice president of communications, to coordinate the donation.

“A key element is the coverage of the `Larry King Live’ shows,” Freedman said. “This is a wonderful collection GW will receive from (Westwood One).”

King said he is deeply honored that GW received these tapes and said he hopes the University will make good use of the collection.

“This is an extraordinary collection in which researchers, students, scholars and faculty can use around the world as a research tool,” University Librarian Jack Siggins said.

“Hearing the actual voices from infamous people, such as Walter Winchel and Jackie Gleason, in history are not available other places,” Siggins said.

Siggins said the tapes are being stored at the Washington Resource Library Consortium, which has the capacity to store one million volumes in temperature- and humidity-controlled rooms.

The tapes are available for student use, but they will be digitized for easier access to students and faculty members. Siggins said the process of preserving the collection could take years.

“We haven’t even begun to process all this information, and it will take a long time,” he said. “This process will eventually become easier for GW students and researchers, but for now it’s a tedious one.”

At the ceremony GW officials said the 1,000 tapes from the Crystal City, Va.-based company are an important addition to GW archives, and the University is looking forward to using them as a learning tool.

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