The Pavek Museum for the History and Technology of Electronic Communication is home to over 12,000 square feet of antique radios, televisions and broadcast equipment. Since 2001, it has also been home to the Minnesota Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees include Cathy Wurzer, current host of MPR’s Morning Edition and Minnesota Now, as well as co-host of Almanac on TPT.
In anticipation of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Cathy reached out to Saving Tape Media Conversion for help digitizing a variety of media from her personal archive – including audio cassettes, R2R audiotape, VHS tapes and a professional Umatic videotape. These digitized assets would allow Cathy’s post-production team at KTCA to create a 4-minute introductory video for the Hall of Fame induction event. Target content included a KSTP Sports Talk broadcast from Canterbury Downs racetrack, video clips as a WCCO news anchor, MPR stories from the field, and TPT Almanac segments.
Saving Tape audio specialist, Skyler Nowinski, had a particular challenge in trying to nurse the Canterbury Downs audio cassette through the digitization process. “That particular tape was very ‘sticky’. It needed to be placed in a new case and then manually stabilized as it ran over the playheads,” says Skyler. Finally, the resulting stereo audio file was mixed to mono to mitigate the L-R channel fluctuations inherent to the damaged tape. The extra effort paid off as it allowed Cathy’s post-production team to artfully combine photographs from Wurzer’s days as a Canterbury journalist, with her own youthful voice.
Fans of TPT’s long-running Almanac will enjoy learning that Cathy has saved a VHS recording of her very first appearance on the show in 1994 – as a guest host. Thankfully, Saving Tape video specialist Paul Grubb had no issues converting the 28 year old magnetic video tape into a de-interlaced, progressive frame DVCPRO movie file – ready for Wurzer’s post-production team to incorporate into their video narrative. A user-friendly Mp4 version of the entire video portfolio was also provided.
“The Saving Tape team does exquisite work,” says Cathy. “I’ve had them make dubs of fragile, historic audio and video tapes for my Tales of the Road: Highway 61 documentary for public television and the results added immeasurably to the production. So, when the Pavek asked for an introductory video of my career, I knew the best place to take the pile of archival tapes I’ve saved over the years was Saving Tape. Thor’s amazing crew turned the project around in record time with care and expertise!”
According to Saving Tape owner, Thor Anderson, “we are the last stop for aging media that often contains unique and priceless content. That is motivation enough for us to get the best outcome possible, whatever the tape’s condition.”