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Don Swaim Collection

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This online collection contains 888 records of digitized audio of interviews and radio broadcasts created by journalist Don Swaim. The interviews were conducted in the 1980s and 1990s with a variety of authors, editors, and other publishing industry professionals. Interviewees include Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, Pulitzer Prize winners John Updike and Ray Bradbury, and Booker Prize winners Margaret Atwood and Kazuo Ishiguro. They are unedited, free-flowing conversations that were recorded on inexpensive cassette tapes.

Many of these interviews were used by Swaim to create episodes of Book Beat, Swaim’s nationally-syndicated daily book review broadcast for WCBS, which aired 1982-1993. These broadcasts are brief, broadcast-quality snippets containing excerpts from the interviews, often just a minute or two in length. 

In this online collection, each interview and its resulting Book Beat broadcasts are grouped together in a single record. Each record also includes full transcriptions of the Book Beat broadcasts. Transcriptions of the full-length interviews can be made upon request.

These interviews were previously found on Wired for Books, an online educational project of the WOUB Center for Public Media at Ohio University. That site was discontinued in June 2016. The interview descriptions as they existed on Wired for Books are reproduced in this collection.

About Don Swaim

Don Swaim was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1936. He graduated from Ohio University in 1959 with a bachelor of fine arts. He went on to work with WCBS, an all-news AM radio station owned by CBS, in New York City as a writer, editor, reporter, anchor, and producer for 30 years. For twelve years, Swaim produced the radio series Book Beat, interviewing many outstanding writers. Book Beat was broadcast on WCBS and syndicated nationally by the CBS Radio Stations News Service. In addition to his broadcast journalism career, Swaim also writes fiction. More information on Don Swaim and the history of Book Beat can be found on Swaim’s website

Access at Alden

The physical reels and cassettes containing the recordings found in this collection can be viewed at the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, but cannot be played. See the full collection finding aid and catalog record for more information about the collection.

Future Additions 

The complete collection of broadcasts and interview audio recordings are currently available. The Libraries hopes to make transcriptions for all interviews available in the future, depending upon the availability of resources.

Access Online

Browse the collection or search the collection in CONTENTdm.

Collection Contact

Use the Mahn Center Research Request Form to submit a question to Manuscripts Archivist Greta Suiter.

Rights Statement

Don Swaim transferred all of his copyrights relating to this collection to the Ohio University Libraries.

In Copyright