Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives Offline?

Is anyone out there able to search the collection and/or watch digitized programs at the Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives? I have tried numerous times over the past few weeks to log in but get a “connection has timed out” error after each attempt. I thought perhaps my log-in credentials, which I believe were created in 2005, had expired so I register again but continue to get the same error.

I cannot find any information at the Museum’s website and my attempts to contact the Museum have been unsuccessful. The fact that the museum currently doesn’t have a physical location–its new building is under construction despite financial issues–could mean there aren’t a lot of staff members around at the moment. I can understand taking down the digitized programs, which I believe has happened in the past, if the bandwidth/storage costs are high, but not being able to search the collection at all is another matter.

If anyone knows what the situation is, please let me know.


  • AR Hogan says:

    Yes, I had the same experience and reaction–I even created a whole new email just to test that! I persistently called MBC in Chicago and finally received a call back explaining that the terriffic searchable collections portion of the Web site–with many watchable and hearable programs in addition to listings– has been offline/kaput for close to two months, and that they hoped to get it back working properly in less than two more weeks. That was more than one week ago now. But I do not understand why they do not post a big explanatory note on the front page. I also am mystified what could in 2011 possibly take so long to fix computer-wise, even with their all-too-small staff and budget limits. I used the site a couple or so months back with quirly but >great results< for research on my doctoral dissertation into TV space coverage. Despite some serious health and other limits right now, I am now doing a side project for Prof. Douglas Brinkley's wonderful upcoming Walter Cronkite biography book–putting together a detailed "Broadcastography" listing of WLC's TV and radio programs over six decades–and could greatly benefit from access to the MBC database ASAP. One cautionary note: the encyclopedia/bio entries at MBC, while useful as starter info, do contain surprising gaps and a fair number or errors–youd should not rely on those as definitive accurate data without cross-checking.–AR Hogan ([email protected])

    • RGJ says:

      AR, you are more persistent than I am. Thanks for letting everyone know what the situation is. Hopefully we will see the archives back online soon — perhaps even this week.

      As for inaccuracies in the encyclopedia, it should be noted that only the first edition is available for free at the MBC website. The second, presumably revised and updated edition, is only available in print.

  • Rachel Newstead says:

    I’m glad it isn’t just me. I recently purchased a new computer, and for the longest time I assumed I didn’t have the proper plugins installed in order to view the MBC files.

    • Margaret Porter says:

      I’m having the same problem I thought something was wrong with my computer too I wrote to them twice and received no answer

  • Ed Earl says:

    Same issue as of today.

  • Nick Hall says:

    Thanks for this post – I’m another person waiting for the MBC website to come online again – it’s a real shame that they haven’t posted anything on the website to explain the cause of the delay. A shortage of money seems the most obvious assumption. The lack of information is a real killer – I had been using the website for academic research, not knowing when or whether it will come back online is making planning rather difficult.

    After several enquiries through various MBC outlets (their website, their Twitter and Facebook) I eventually got an answer from Adam Yenkin who said (on July 5): “We hope to have the archives runnig some time in the near future. probably with in the next couple of weeks. Please continue to check our web site for information.”

    Fingers crossed.

    • RGJ says:

      A lot of this frustration would be alleviated if MBC would just put up something at their website about why the archives are down. Even a generic “Technical Difficulties; Please Stand By” would be better than nothing.

  • RGJ says:

    Still offline as of this morning.

  • Marc says:

    And STILL offline as of September 3.

    Whats going on??????

  • Caro says:

    Still offline as of September 26. Ridiculous.

  • Dwight Frye says:

    I just checked the MBC front page.The spot where it says “search the archives” isnt even there.Maybe is a permanent thing.

  • Nick Hall says:

    There is now a note on the ‘Using the Archives’ page:

    “The online archives are unavailable with the new museum under construction. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your support and interest as we move into our new home at State and Kinzie in downtown Chicago.”

    A shame about this, who knows when they might be back online. One day, I hope.

  • Marc says:

    “The online archives are unavailable with the new museum under construction”

    WHY and how would the physical construction of a new building cause their ONLINE archive to be taken down?

  • Ken Preston says:

    I truly missed seeing the MBC archives online.they have got to bring it all back.

    • Karen Martin says:

      Thank you for the link, which I have bookmarked for future reference.

      • Nora says:

        Hi Ted – I am new to this website. I was trying to find a list of old black and white movies that I used to watch on TV late on a Saturday night. This would have been in the early 50’s. My Mom told me she thought it was a program put on by Safeway. It was not shock. Intersanctum, nor Flash Gordon but similar. I would like to know.I feel if I could look thru those old TV schedules I would find the name of show and recognize it. Thanks,Nora

Leave a Comment