StoryCorps’s National Day of Listening

Story Corps National Day of Listening - Audio Transcription Center Blog

Thanksgiving is around the proverbial corner, and this holiday is typically a wonderful opportunity for friends and families to reconnect.  People being together offers a perfect time for stories to be passed around the holiday table along with helpings of stuffing and mashed potatoes. The potential for these stories to be handed and passed from generation to generation is at a peak while everyone is together.  What better way to collect, share, and save these stories from potentially being forgotten than by recording, archiving, and transcribing them for posterity?

We believe that StoryCorps’s The National Day of Listening is the perfect excuse to talk, listen, record, and transcribe.

We live in a special time when we’re not just able to orally pass stories down the line, but we’re also able ensure their archival longevity through the recording and transcribing of these personal and oral histories.

Take the time to find a quiet space, and set up your digital recorder.  Test the device to make sure you are recording properly.  Then, hit the record button and listen to and record the story.  It’s that simple, and it will be a gift  to read and listen to for generations.  This year, StoryCorps suggests honoring a veteran, and offers suggested conversation starters right on their website.

Don’t lose out on your family history and question yourself after it is too late.  We speak from our own missed opportunities.

Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving, and the opportunity to listen to, record and transcribe a new story never heard before.

In full disclosure, the Audio Transcription Center has partnered with StoryCorps on transcription of their audio recordings for their published books, Listening is an Act of Love, All There Is, and Mom , that we are humbled and proud to have participated in. 

Michael Sesling                                                           Sandy Poritzky
Director                                                                           Owner/President            
(617) 423-2151                                                              (617) 423-2151

Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention – Manning Marable

Malcom X A Life of Reinvention - Manning Marable - ATC Blog
 On April 4, 2011 Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention was published, and the magnum opus of Manning Marable’s life’s research was finally in print.  Sadly, for those who do not know, Dr. Marable passed away 3 days before the book hit the shelves.  Thankfully, he was able to see the book in print before he passed away. 

Continue reading “Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention – Manning Marable”

Powderhouse Productions – Client Spotlight September 2010

Powderhouse Productions - Client Spotlight September 2010 - ATC Blog

Here at the Audio Transcription Center we’re always amazed at the diversity of our clients’ audio.  One day we may be transcribing a high-brow legal hearing, and the next we’re creating a transcript about the world’s shortest cat.  And truly, everything that you can imagine in between is heard by our team of transcriptionists.  With the mix of clients we have, the content we transcribe truly is, “soup to nuts.”  
But, back to that world’s shortest cat, and the client that sent that audio our way,  Powderhouse Productions

Headquartered in Somerville, Ma. Powderhouse Productions has been producing a wide range of television shows since 1994 for channels such as PBS, National Geographic, TLC, and the programs we’ve most recently been transcribing, Dogs 101,” “Cats 101,” and “Pets 101” for the Animal Planet network.  

So you truly want to know the answers to these questions, well you could just ask my team of transcriptionists, but then you wouldn’t be watching the premiere this Saturday night at 8 p.m. on Animal Planet.

“Powderhouse relies on the Audio Transcription Center for high quality, accurate transcripts delivered on time and on budget.   They understand the demands of television production – their turnaround time is fast and their customer service is excellent.  We depend on them to meet our tight deadlines and they always deliver!”   

– Dan Miller VP, Production 

Archive of American Television – Client Spotlight April 2010

Archive of American Television - Client Spotlight April 2010 - ATC Blog

Oral History Meets TV = Transcription Bliss @ ATC

We here at the Audio Transcription Center have probably all watched more television in our lives than we care to admit.  Still, we like to think of ourselves less as gluttons for the tube and more as refined connoisseurs of the medium.  But, though we may try to act all cool, nothing sets us a-twitter like receiving a new transcription assignment from our friends at the Archive of American Television (you might know them better as “The Emmys”)

Wait, TV has an Archive?

Yup.  Founded in 1997, the Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television is a treasure trove of one-on-one interviews with TV luminaries — from the early pioneers who shaped the medium, to beloved personalities of TV’s golden age; from the actors, actresses, news anchors, and hosts who’ve worked in front of the camera, to the directors, writers, composers and producers who’ve worked behind the scenes.

From the BoobTube to YouTube

And, as part of its vision “to chronicle electronic media history as it evolves… and make the interviews available worldwide,” the Archive has digitized over 2,000 hours of its original content, making hundreds of these interviews accessible online.  For FREE.

A few of the most recently posted interviews include:

  • Beloved Children’s television performer (and avid sweater collector) Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
  • Famously irreverent and ever insightful comedian George Carlin (ironically, the man who gave the world the “Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which he discusses here).
  • Former Golden Girl who’s having a late career revival with roles in hit movies and TV commercials and an upcoming gig hosting Saturday Night Live, Betty White.

And of course our first love, Transcripts

In addition to having hundreds of interviews available to watch online, complete transcripts of most of the interviews are available from the Archive (for a fee, and for research purposes only).  For additional info, contact the Archive’s Digital Projects Manager, Jenni Matz.


StoryCorps – Client Spotlight March 2010

StoryCorps - Client Spotlight March 2010 - ATC Blog


Though some of you out there might find it hard to believe, given the long hours we spend here “beating unreasonable deadlines since 1966,” we do occasionally get out of the office.  And when we do find ourselves out and about socializing with people unfamiliar with our transcription biz, we oftentimes are presented with this statement/question:

“Transcription.  Mmmm… that’s interesting.  What exactly do you transcribe?”

Of course we go through our laundry list of fascinating transcription topics, but nothing gets a conversation moving faster than mentioning StoryCorps.

And with good reason.  In just seven years, StoryCorps has grown from a modest startup with big ambitions into a full-on national non-profit movement.


Well, yes, kind of.  StoryCorps is a public service, but its mission is the recording and preservation of the stories of everyday Americans.  It is one the largest, most unique oral history projects, and also one of the first and largest born-digital oral history collections — comprised of over 50,000 interviews, recorded in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive.” – StoryCorps’ Founder, Dave Isay

It all began with one recording booth in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal in 2003.  Now, in 2010, StoryCorps has recording booths in Milwaukee, Nashville, Atlanta and San Francisco, plus two MobileBooths (housed in nifty fifties Airstream trailers) that have traveled to more than 100 cities in 48 states.

The grand total of interviews?  Well over 50,000 and counting.

The compact recording facilities provide a professional-grade environment for ordinary people to share and listen with an end result of broadcast quality audio on a CD they can take home.  The interviews are in turn added to the StoryCorps Archive, housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

You can hear specially selected interviews Friday mornings on NPR’s Morning Edition. These stories are also available for listening on the StoryCorps’ site, or subscribing to the their podcast.  Or, listen to some on the player below!
Put my show and this player on your website or your social network.

That’s our company motto, coined by Sandy, Audio Transcription Center’s founder and president.  Naturally for us, working with StoryCorps is a perfect fit.  And boy, do we love working from that pristine digital audio — although, many a transcriptionist has been moved to tears or laughter (frequently both) while working on SC interviews.

We’ve been transcribing select groups of interviews for StoryCorps since 2006, and many of those appeared in the collection Listening is an Act of Love.  (Our services are available to any individuals who would like a transcript of their session.)

Just in time for Mother’s Day this year, Story Corps’ new collection, Mom, hits the shelves of bookstores nationwide April 15.

February 2010 Client Spotlight

February 2010 Client Spotlight - Atc Blog

As one of the largest transcription service providers for historians, academics, and researchers from across the nation, we have the pleasure of being some of the first ears and eyes to handle diverse and extremely exciting source material.

Hardly a day goes by where the team here at The Tape Transcription Center isn’t amazed or excited (or even inspired!) by the projects that come through our humble office here on the Common.

Now, we’ve decided to take the opportunity with our blog to initiate a monthly spotlight on some of our fascinating clients and their work.* Right at the top of our list of people-and-projects-we-want-to-tell-the-world-about-via-the-internet is Peniel E. Joseph and his pioneering work on the history of the Black Power movement in America.

A Professor of History at Tufts University, Dr. Joseph is a pioneer in the field of “Black Power Studies,” and a frequent commentator who’s appeared on NPR, PBS’s Newshour, and C-SPAN.

Dr. Joseph became one of our clients when he was an Assistant Professor at SUNY-Stony Brook and was working on what would become his critically acclaimed, award-winning non-fiction book, “Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A History of Black Power in America.”

He has served on the faculty at Brandeis and is currently a tenured professor at Tufts. His latest book, “Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama,” hit the shelves this past January.

Currently, Dr. Joseph is in the process of working on a new book focusing specifically on the controversial Civil Rights activist Stokely Carmichael, a.k.a. Kwame Ture.

*Caveat: As excited as we may be about the work we do here, privacy is absolutely essential for many of our clients. Therefore, we will only feature clients whose work is already shared with the public and who have given us express prior permission.