The Alabama Experience
The collection focuses on pieces that bring to life the inspiring stories and empowering characters who have helped form Alabama's past and are working to shape its future. There are 124 individual programs in total covering Alabama’s history from 1982 until 2007. Topics covered in the programs include the life and work of notable people from Alabama such as midwife Onnie Logan; Buford Boone, a Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper editor; artist and jewelry-maker Frances de la Rosa; musician and music historian Bobby Horton; and choreographer and performer Jim Self. The collection also includes pieces on the Aliceville Internment Camps, the Tannehill Grist Mill and State Park, Gee's Bend Quilter's Guild, the Stillman College Choir, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, the Faunsdale Plantation, and Mardi Gras in Mobile. Moreover, the collection covers places all over the state of Alabama including Montgomery, Birmingham, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, Talladega, Fairhope, Mobile, Phenix City, Muscle Shoals, and many more. The majority of the digitized material is from a series created by the University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio called The Alabama Experience, which ran for more than two decades. The series focused on bringing to life the inspiring stories and empowering people that helped form Alabama’s past and are working to shape its future. Two of the main producers for the series were Max Shores and Carolyn Hales. Other digitized pieces are specials and documentaries created by the University of Alabama’s Center for Public Television and Radio.
Housed in a multimedia production and broadcast facility, the University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R) has been producing content for public broadcasting for 57 years. It is located in the Digital Media Center (DMC) found in Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on the University of Alabama’s campus.
CPT&R’s main mission is to educate, inform, and inspire Alabamians through their production of high quality radio, television, and new media programs and content. Their second goal is to provide opportunities for students interested in media production and broadcasting. This was the inspiration behind the Digital Media Center, which is home to the Center for Public Television, Alabama Public Radio, WVUA 23, and Crimson Tide Productions. It’s in the DMC that students gain experience in public broadcasting, radio, and new media.
This collection of work from CPT&R was digitized in the Fall of 2019 and Spring of 2020 by Hannah Hurdle, and in the Fall of 2021 and Spring of 2022 by Elizabeth Meads, in their capacities as Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellows at the University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies, in collaboration with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.