David Schwimmer puts Studs Terkel Archive over the top

Studs Terkel (Photo: Christopher Walker)

Studs Terkel (Photo: Christopher Walker)

A sizable donation from actor/director David Schwimmer helped put a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Studs Terkel Radio Archive over the top this week.

WFMT Radio Network surpassed its goal of raising $75,000 three days before the February 25 deadline. As of early Wednesday, more than $84,000 had been pledged.

The Chicago History Museum and WFMT Radio Network are working together to create a free public digital archive of Terkel’s interviews, taped from 1952 to 1997 at WFMT FM 98.7, the Window to the World Communications classical music station. When completed, the online repository will include more than 5,600 hours of Terkel’s programs.

David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer

Among more than 640 people who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign was Schwimmer, a Northwestern University alum who co-founded Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company and starred in the long-running series “Friends.” A station representative called Schwimmer’s donation “a particularly timely large gift,” but said she could not confirm the exact amount.

Also identified as a donor was Garrison Keillor, host of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Tony Macaluso, director of syndication for WFMT Radio Network and director of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, said a guiding principle of the archive was to do everything possible to make sure that it was accessible.

“This means making it thoroughly searchable thanks to transcriptions and curated categories, easy and fun for anyone to excerpt and share and quick and effective to re-use, whether by a journalists or radio producers looking to augment a timely story with material from the archive or teachers, artists or scholars looking for just the right sound clip to help bring a historic moment, a celebrated thinker or a social experience to life,” he said.

Terkel, the Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, died in 2008.