Recordings from the Sound Archives that have been converted to digital formats can be found in Berea Digital. You can browse recordings there or start searching for specific genres, titles, performers, or locations (by county, state) below:
Historic Radio Programs
Going beyond the limitations of words on paper, these rare recordings make possible hearing in the present the same accents, emotions, and issues that entertained and informed a past generation.
Reel-to-reel audio recordings, photographs, print articles, clippings, and discography documenting the career of Kentucky old-time singer and guitar player, Asa Martin. Audio material includes taped copies of his commercial recordings from the 20s and 30s and original recordings of 1970's era radio programs featuring Martin and his band, the Cumberland Rangers. Also included are several audio recorded interviews with Martin documenting his association with other Kentucky musicians including Doc Roberts, David "Stringbean" Akeman, the Amburgey Sisters, and Roy "Shorty" Hobbs.
This collection documents early country music performers Asher Sizemore and his son, James L. "Little Jimmie" Sizemore. It includes photographs, songbooks, and audio recordings of 18 fifteen minute radio programs dating from 1936 that were copied from radio station recording discs. During the depression years of the 1930s, the Sizemores became very popular radio music personalities.
Ernest Martin was a talented musician and singer, originally from Clay City in Powell County, Kentucky. In the 1930s he had some success in country music on such radio stations as WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee. In about 1936 he began his career as an independent Baptist evangelist which lasted well into the 1980s. He conducted church revivals and recorded radio programs of preaching and singing. These programs were broadcast on stations in central and eastern Kentucky towns including Corbin, Frankfort, Harrodsburg, Hazard, Mt. Sterling, and Stanton. The "Highway to Heaven" programs in this collection date mostly from 1950 and were recorded for a Frankfort, Kentucky station. One additional program for WYGO in Corbin, Kentucky is from 1968.
Two hundred thirteen non-commercial audio cassettes and seven open reel tape recordings of Ledford’s radio program, Kentucky Traditions which was broadcast on station WSKV, Stanton, Kentucky from 1988 to 1997. Also included are interviews with Ledford and the four other band members of his group, The Cabin Creek Band, recorded by Harry Rice in 1997.
Correspondence, photographs, radio scripts, sound recordings, interview transcripts, and other printed material documenting the life and work of Rockcastle County, Kentucky native, John Lair, founder of the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. (79 ms boxes)
Songbooks, photo albums, calendars, program histories, autograph books, photographs, periodicals, advertising posters and a radio listener's scrapbook that document several early country music radio performers, their sponsors and radio stations, mainly during the 1930s and 1940s. Among the performers documented are those associated with the National Barn Dance, Renfro Valley Barn Dance, and the Grand Ole Opry. Especially important among the periodical publications are Rural Radio, Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder, and the WLS weekly program magazine, Stand By! (12 ms boxes)
Thirteen non-commercial sound cassette recordings, Dec. 1998 - June 1990 of Over Home, a radio program series documenting Western North Carolina traditional musicians and storytellers airing on WNCW in Spindale, North Carolina. (13 cassette tapes )
Historic Kentucky radio broadcasts from Louisville radio station WHAS (including commercials). A wide range of Kentucky and national political figures and news events are documented. Entertainment programs include soap operas, musical variety shows, country music, and sporting events such as the Kentucky Derby.