SDPB celebrates rich history with open house

Tom Brokaw and Linda Jurek (who later was a producer for NBC and married NBC newsman Ken Bode) in KUSD Radio studio, 1959. (USD Archives: USD Photo Archive Collection)

This (Friday) afternoon, South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) will open its doors to share a bit of its history.

From 1-5 p.m. in the Martin Busch Studio at the Al Neuharth Media Center, all interested persons will have a chance to peruse photos and artifacts from SDPBs past, as well as share a few memories of their own.

The open house takes place in honor of two anniversaries: Last month marked the 50th anniversary of when KUSD-TV signed on the air, while next May will be the 90th anniversary of KUSD-AM being licensed as a full-service radio station.

Were using those as the bookends to encase our celebrations, said Fritz Miller, director of marketing at SDPB. The open house takes into account the entire history of what is now South Dakota Public Broadcasting, from the beginning of the radio station until today.

Miller said tons of photographs will be on display, along with program guides and other memorabilia.

Old pieces of equipment, signs, banners and all kinds of stuff, he said. Weve spent a lot of time digging over the last couple of years, and really, its been sort of (like) finding little pieces of gold all over the place.

Vintage broadcasts have been unearthed, as well.

We found some radio programs that were recorded back in the 50s and reel-to-reel tapes and videotapes of programs that were recorded in the 50s and 60s, Miller said. Last night I was spending a little time trying to pinpoint the day (of) this particular newscast we had found. Weve narrowed it down between August and September of 1958, because theyre talking about Eisenhower as president and the bombing of these islands in the straight near Taiwan.

Video of former University of South Dakota professor John Milton interviewing authors and audio of Ben Black Elk performing traditional Lakota songs in 1962 also have been discovered.

Some things are of a truly historic nature, some things are more interesting and fun than they are significant. There will be a lot of good memories for people who have been in the area for quite a while, Miller said.

Visitors will be able to record their own memories via the Tell-A-Story Booth, which is owned by Fresh Produce, a Sioux Falls ad agency.

They got hold of a 1960s telephone booth, and they changed the phone into a recording device, Miller explained. You pick up the receiver, dial zero for the operator, and instead of actually ringing, you are set up basically to record. You use it to tell a story, and well have that booth here. People who have memories of South Dakota Public Broadcasting through the years (can) go in there and tell a story. Its a unique way of archiving their memories.

At the conclusion of the open house, memory-sharing will continue at Careys Bar, where music will be provided by the Public Domain Tune Band.

Miller stressed that the open house is free and open to everyone, regardless of how long they wish to stay.

You can spend five minutes or three hours here, he said.

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