Digital

Letter from America Archive

Producing a powerful online archive for one of the world's longest running speech programmes. To date it has generated more than 6 million downloads.
Project Details

In 2012 Loftus was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to produce a new online archive of one of the world’s longest running speech programmes – Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America. The archive featured more than 920 episodes of the series, broadcast between 1946 and 2004.

Our skilled team provided a bespoke end to end service, from the treatment of the source audio to editorial and image research, transcription services, metadata generation, podcast creation and online publishing. This flagship project formed part of the BBC’s celebration of 90 years of radio.

Fast forward to 2014 and Loftus was approached once again to handle a further 600+ episodes, which had been donated to the BBC by two members of the public.  Farmer David Henderson stumbled upon a forgotten treasure trove of 8-track Letter from America recordings in an old fertiliser spreader in his barn. He’d been recording the programme avidly since the 1970s. Fellow listener Roy Whittaker also donated his home archive.

For this tranche of recordings, BBC engineers used a mixture of digital devices and draught-proofing tape to bring the audio back to life and then it was down to Loftus to transcribe all the audio, generate the metadata, produce the podcast strands, carry out supporting content research and publish these programmes back onto bbc.co.uk and iTunes.

The archive covers some of the biggest events in US history up until Cooke’s death in 2004. To date the podcasts alone have achieved over 6 million downloads.

Explore Letter from America Archive by theme.

Production Credits

Producers Sophie Powling, Edwina Pitman, Andrew Jones, Michael Umney, Mark Packham, Will Drsydale, Rob Shiret, Damian Bouvier
Editor / Researcher Bernice Davison
Transcriber Sandy Laughton
Project Managers Jon Calver, Richard Berry

Contact Richard Berry

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