Tag Archives: Willis Conover VOA

UNT Archives publish Willis Conover interview with Louis Armstrong

(Photo source: Inside VOA)

(Photo source: Inside VOA)

Thanks to the endeavors of Maristella Feustle at the UNT Music Library, five hours of recently-restored Louis Armstrong interviews with Willis Conover are now online and free to download/listen.

Kudos to the UNT archives for making these amazing recordings so accessible! What a treasure trove.

Click here to view links to all five hours of recordings at the UNT Archives’ website.

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The UNT Willis Conover Archive is now online

Willis Conover, The Voice of America (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Regular SWLing Post readers know that I’m a huge fan of the late Willis Conover. I just learned, via the Arts Journal blog, about an amazing collection of Conover audio archives that are now being shared online:

“The music program at the University of North Texas has graduated hundreds of jazz artists who went on to successful careers as professionals.[…]

Under Maristella Feustle of the university’s library, there is an archive devoted to the late Willis Conover of the Voice of America[…]. Conover’s VOA programs sent jazz around the world. For a quarter of a century he was one of the nation’s most valuable cultural diplomats. As of today, parts of the Conover archive are online and open to the public, thanks to a grant from the Grammy Foundation.[…]”

Click here to read the full Arts Journal article.

Many thanks, Maristella, for championing and finding funds for the Willis Conover archive!

Click here to browse the list of recordings and listen to the tapes via the UNT Digital Library.

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Support a Willis Conover US postage stamp

Willis Conover, The Voice of America (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

If you’re a fan of the iconic Willis Conover, you might consider signing this petition supporting a postage stamp in his honor.

Marie Lamb writes:

Those of us at the Willis Conover Facebook page are trying to get support for a postage stamp in honor of the great Voice of America jazz broadcaster, one of the great voices of shortwave. The recognition for this fine broadcaster and supporter of America’s music is long overdue. Please sign! Thank you–Marie Lamb.

Click here to sign.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, listen to this superb interview with Willis Conover circa 1987 on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon:

As you’ll hear in this interview, Willis Conover actually supported a stamp in honor of the late and great Duke Ellington. Perhaps it’s time we support a stamp honoring Willis Conover. Click here to sign the petition.

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of America, circa 1968

Willis Conover, The Voice of America (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Many thanks to David Firth, who is kindly sharing shortwave radio recordings he made on reel-to-reel recording equipment in the late 1960s.

Firth is uncovering and digitizing these off air recordings as time allows and, thanks to his generosity, we will be posting these recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

The following is a recording of the Voice of America, which Firth recorded in 1968.

This seven minute recording will surely bring back memories with clips from VOA Jazz Hour (Willis Conover), the VOA Breakfast Show, and VOA Special English.

[Confession: the first time I heard this recording, the Willis Conover clip gave me chill bumps.]

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Check out more recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, also check out David Firth’s channel on YouTube.

Want to know more about Willis Conover? Check out David Goren’s podcast for Jazz At Lincoln Center.

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Arturo Sandoval listened to VOA “every single day”

220px-Arturo_Sandoval_photoThe Voice of America provided Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer, Arturo Sandoval with a source of inspiration through Jazz. In a recent interview with NPR, Sandoval stated:

“We used to listen every day, every single day, [to] Voice of America. [It] was a shortwave radio program, and they play everything in jazz music. That was the only way we have to hear that kind of music and to be connected with the music we love. I was in the obligatory military service for three years when the sergeant [caught] me listen[ing] to the Voice of America, and then they put me in jail because I was listening to the voice of enemies.”

Click here to listen to the full interview on NPR.

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