For nearly 40 years, Art Vuolo traveled the country visiting radio stations to interview and record disc jockeys in their work environment on his old Sony Betamax camera. Vuolo captured more than 700 DJs and more than a thousand hours of content in his travels. Check out his YouTube collection for a tease.
Now, those videos will be available to the public as the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago has announced that Vuolo’s “A History of the American Disc Jockey” will become a permanent exhibit at the National Radio Hall of Fame.
The announcement was made at the National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Nov. 5 to the surprise of Vuolo, who said “I am honored to present my video library to the National Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications and am absolutely overwhelmed with the support of the radio industry.”
The effort to preserve and share Vuolo’s collection of interviews has been in the works for a few years now, with Chicago broadcasting executives John Gehron of AccuRadio, Lisa Miller of Miller Broadcasting Management, and Harv Blain of Vallie Richards Donovan Consulting, leading the effort. The group pitched their plan for the exhibit to the Museum of Broadcast Communications board and was approved.
It was watching old videos of her husband as a disc jockey with her son who had never seen his father in that environment that convinced Miller these videos needed to be preserved. “It shows you something that you can’t see because radio doesn’t have a visual aspect to it.”
The plan for the exhibit is to make it an interactive experience, where visitors can easily search through the catalog of videos, select a DJ and sit back and watch. People will also be able to order copies of videos to take with them. Down the road, the exhibit will also look to expand by making these videos available to view online for those who are not able to visit Chicago.
Currently, the museum is raising the funds to construct the exhibit. The support thus far has been overwhelming according to Miller, “When we started this idea of going to the museum, we received support of every owner, every talent … There was no one who said I don’t think you should do that. It really has been 100% support of everyone in the radio industry from the get-go.”
At this point there is no official date for the premiere of the exhibit, but Miller says that things are moving quickly; they have already talked to designers about what the exhibit will look like.
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