NPR's Oral History Project StoryCorps Comes to Buffalo

UB's WBFO 88.7 FM to host StoryCorps as it tours U.S. to capture stories of everyday Americans

By Kelli Bocock-Natale

Release Date: July 22, 2008 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- WBFO 88.7 FM, a major public service of the University at Buffalo, is bringing StoryCorps to the Western New York area. StoryCorps, a national initiative to document everyday history and the unique stories of Americans, arrived July 17 in Buffalo to collect the stories of Buffalo's residents as part of its cross-country tour. StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project in partnership with National Public Radio and the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress.

The StoryCorps mobile StoryBooth -- an Airstream trailer outfitted with a recording studio -- will be parked at the Central Branch of the Buffalo and Erie Public Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo through Aug. 23 and will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. StoryCorps plans to collect 180 interviews during its stay in Western New York.

Upstate New York Transplant Services is a proud local sponsor of WBFO and StoryCorps. To reserve an interview time and to find out more information about WBFO and StoryCorps go to

StoryCorps was created by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient Dave Isay. This unprecedented project has traveled to every corner of America, instructing and inspiring individuals to record their stories in sound. StoryCorps is the largest multi-year oral history project ever undertaken. Since its launch in October 2003, StoryCorps' mobile and stationary recording studios have collected interviews in 78 towns in 46 states -- more than 18,000 stories in all.

In Buffalo, StoryCorps is partnering with WBFO 88.7 FM, Western New York's leading NPR station, which will air a selection of the local stories and create special programs around the project. Selected segments may also air nationally on NPR's Morning Edition.

At the StoryBooth, interviews are conducted between two people who know and care about each other. A trained facilitator guides the participants through the interview process and handles the technical aspects of the recording. At the end of a 40-minute session, the participants walk away with a CD of their interview. With their permission, a second copy becomes part of an archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for future generations to hear.

"As StoryCorps has traveled across the country, visiting 78 towns in 46 states, we've seen the profound effect it has had not only on the lives of those who have participated in the project, but also on the millions who have heard them each week on NPR," said Isay. "We are so proud to continue our mission to teach people to become better listeners, foster intergenerational communication among families and communities, and help Americans appreciate the strength in the stories of everyday people they find all around them."

StoryCorps currently operates a freestanding soundproof recording booth at Foley Square in New York's Lower Manhattan. In 2006, StoryCorps launched an initiative to reach out to people affected by memory loss. StoryCorps Griot is an ongoing initiative to ensure that the voices, experiences and life stories of African Americans will be preserved and presented with dignity. All interviews recorded as part of the Griot Initiative will be archived at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in addition to the Library of Congress.

Major funding is provided by State Farm Insurance and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. StoryCorps also relies on the support from its participants and listeners.

Individuals can visit to make interview reservations, listen to stories and learn how they can support StoryCorps' mission to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening.

WBFO 88.7FM reaches an audience of approximately 100,000 people per week through its main signal in Buffalo and through repeater stations WUBJ 88.1 FM in Jamestown and WOLN 91.3 FM in Olean. The WBFO news department offers comprehensive coverage of regional and world-wide news. The station also offers a depth of programming not available elsewhere in the community, including NPR/PRI news and entertainment programs, public and cultural affairs programming and jazz and blues.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.