In what might be described as a triple header for radio and baseball fans, the Library of Congress has announced its new “Baseball Americana” exhibit, which explores the intersection of the Library, the Studs Terkel Radio Archive (STRA) and baseball. The exhibit is scheduled to open on July 2. The opening ceremony will feature John Sayles and David Strathairn. They will discuss the classic baseball film “Eight Men Out” which Sayles directed and co-wrote while Strathairn played in it. Studs Terkel had a major cameo in the film as famed sportswriter Hugh Fullerton.
The Studs Terkel Radio Archive was made available to the public on May 16, what would have been Terkel’s 106th birthday. The archive contains over 5,600 programs in various genres that were created at Terkel’s hometown fine arts radio station WFMT(FM) in Chicago between 1952 and 1997.
It has taken over 20 years to create the STRA. It combines some of the best elements of public radio, audio archiving, journalism, the performing arts, curriculum development, and podcasting. The synergy of these elements is a template for the presentation of the digital humanities in the 21st century. Above all STRA seeks to honor Terkel’s own distinct style and appetite for transcending categories embodied by his self-chosen epitaph: “Curiosity did not kill this cat!”
Terkel’s programs continue to be heard every Friday night on WFMT 98.7FM in “The Best of Studs Terkel.” His influence on today’s generation of radio and podcast producers is vast.