Radio Relics Preserved, Then Tainted
October 26, 2007 at 6:43 AM (PT)
Plans for a $35-million AMERICAN RADIO ARCHIVES MUSEUM AND RESEARCH CENTER that will chronicle the development of broadcasting will be unveiled tonight in THOUSAND OAKS, CA reports THE LOS ANGELES TIMES. But the archives' planned centerpiece -- a collection of hundreds of thousands of historic relics of early L.A..broadcasting -- sits locked up in a HOLLYWOOD basement.
The carefully preserved original scripts, fragile transcriptions of radio shows and news broadcasts, antique microphones and rare equipment from SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA's first stations have been contaminated by toxic PCBs. And nobody can agree who should pay for the cleanup.
The mementos and broadcast gear were dusted with polychlorinated biphenyls on DEC. 13th, 2004 when an underground electrical transformer caught fire. Smoke laced with PCBs -- used as a cooling oil substitute in older transformers -- spewed through a subterranean conduit into a nearby bank building basement where the collection is housed.
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