The WRVR-FM (Riverside Radio) Collection includes more than 3,500 digitized radio programs created by WRVR-FM, a public radio station owned and operated by The Riverside Church in the City of New York that began broadcasting on January 1, 1961 and continued as a commercial radio station from September 1971 until 1976.
Thanks to a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), a collaboration between the Library of Congress, GBH, and American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), we are pleased to make our digitized collection available to the public. You are invited to explore the WRVR Collection, which spans 1961-1973 and includes a wide variety of programming: progressive religious and philosophical discussions, sermons, speeches, and event coverage. Highlights include documentary coverage of the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham in 1963, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous Beyond Vietnam speech, and episodes of Just Jazz with Ed Beach.
Explore the WRVR Collection
Help Edit WRVR Transcripts!
You’re invited to help The Riverside Church Archives make its historic WRVR collection more accessible! In 2018 the Archives began preserving and digitizing thousands of culturally significant WRVR public radio programs from between 1961 and 1971. Many of the era’s notable civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, were recorded at Riverside and broadcast to the New York City area. This collection is now available in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting with over 300 computer-generated transcripts.
Help Correct Transcripts
Nervous about diving right in? The American Archive of Public Broadcasting has training resources with helpful tips and demonstrations.
Online Exhibit: WRVR Riverside Radio: A Pioneering Noncommercial Station
Explore the Exhibit
WRVR Riverside Radio: A Pioneering Noncommercial Station, a new online exhibit curated by Dr. Tona Hangen, Professor of History at Worcester State University, showcases broadcasts from the radio station of The Riverside Church, a vibrant and distinctive nondenominational Protestant congregation on Manhattan’s upper West Side, known for its support of theological modernism. WRVR was a pioneer during the 1960s and early 1970s in noncommercial broadcasting, helping to shape public broadcasting’s early years through its experimental approaches. WRVR was acclaimed for its wide-ranging programs, from sermons by many of the period’s leading theologians, community, national, and international public affairs programming, groundbreaking coverage of the civil rights and antiwar movements, and musical programming that kept the fires of American jazz alive in the rock ‘n’ roll Sixties. The digitization project was funded through a generous grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).
Riverside Membership and Genealogical Records
The Riverside Church Archives, in collaboration with Ancestry.com, has digitized a subset of our membership records and made them available online for genealogical research.
The record set is comprised of Member Lists, Marriage Records, and Death Records spanning from 1841 to 1945, including not only The Riverside Church records, but those of its predecessor churches: The Norfolk Street Baptist Church, The Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, and The Park Avenue Baptist Church.
This collection has been thoroughly vetted and adheres to all laws concerning privacy and confidentiality of The Riverside Church’s members and is for research purposes only.
If members of The Riverside Church who are not registered with Ancestry wish to access these and other records from Ancestry's collection database, please click below to make an appointment or visit our online booking site. Research appointments are available on most Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. at The Riverside Church Archives offices on 16T.
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