Yellow Springs-based public radio will fund $5 million for preserving radio material from every institution with a radio station affiliated with historically Black colleges or universities. Jocelyn Robinson, the project’s founding director and the director of radio preservation and archives at WYSO, says preventing the loss of historical records is setting the tone for preservation. 

“This is sacred work,” Robinson said to Dayton News

As reported by WYSO, the Mellon Foundation has awarded significant funding to the HBCU Radio Preservation Project. According to a statement released on Monday, WYSO Archives and Northeast Document Conservation Center will collaborate to preserve the legacy and cultural heritage of HBCU radio stations.

It is estimated that 29 out of 104 college campuses have active radio stations. As a result of the funding, WYSO’s HBCU Preservation Project will be expanded to all 29 HBCU radio stations and their campus archives or libraries.

“And now we can help every HBCU station save precious primary recordings and other historical source materials that document the diversity of the Black experience,” Robinson said. “And we’re not just preventing the loss of invaluable historical records — we’re encouraging institutions in developing a culture and practice of preservation. That will ensure they never face the looming preservation crisis this project was created to prevent.”

HBCU radio recordings will be available at the American Archive of Public Broadcasting and an oral history collection at Jackson State University.