Belfer’s ‘Sound Beat’ radio program awarded NEA grant

May 20, 2011

Belfer’s ‘Sound Beat’ radio program awarded NEA grant

May 18, 2011

“Sound Beat,” a public radio program originating in the Belfer Audio Archive at the Syracuse University Library, was awarded a $15,000 Arts on Radio and Television grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

“Sound Beat” is a daily 90-second public radio show and companion website that uses historic sound recordings from the 1890s through the 1960s, along with entertaining back stories, to educate listeners about the arts and history. These forgotten recordings tell us what Americans listened to and laughed at, what they enjoyed and what they valued. “Sound Beat” is a daily glimpse into the American cultural experience that is now being carried by 63 stations nationwide.

The raw material for Sound Beat is Syracuse University Library’s Belfer Audio Archive, which holds approximately 500,000 historic audio recordings. Of particular note is the Savada Collection, a recent donation of 200,000 78s from the family of Morton Savada that comprised the holdings of his Manhattan retail store, Records Revisited. Classical music performances, operatic works, film scores and spoken-word recordings are well represented, as are those from distinctly American musical forms like jazz, bebop, country and bluegrass. In addition, “Sound Beat” features recordings of political leaders, poets, philosophers and actors, as well as early radio broadcasts and unreleased tracks from major recording companies. Nearly all are out of print and largely unavailable today.

The latest round of NEA funding for fiscal year 2011 totaled more than $88 million awarded through 1,145 grants to not-for-profit national, regional, state and local organizations nationwide. Arts on Radio and Television grants support the development, production and national distribution of radio and television programs on the arts. In this category, 64 grants out of 145 eligible applications were recommended for funding, for a total of $4 million. See  for the full listing of awardees.

To hear “Sound Beat” episodes, visit