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KELOLAND Continues To Archive State History

May 30, 2014, 10:18 PM by Sammi Bjelland

KELOLAND Continues To Archive State History

History can be captured in a number of ways. Pictures, sound and even video help people in the present understand the past. KELOLAND T.V. has taken the initiative to keep the footage we've gathered for 60 years, and archive it in a digital format.

KELOLAND T.V. signed on the air in May of 1953. That was the beginning of 60 years' worth of history being preserved on video.

"I think if you look at any t.v. station or any newspaper, they're kind of the window into what happened in the past," KELOLAND T.V. General Manager, Jay Huizenga said.

That's why KELOLAND decided to start archiving all of the footage that's been kept around the station for the past six decades. And there's a lot.

"I joke with people that somebody else's kid is going to finish this project, but I will push it along as far as I can," Floyd said.

Craig Floyd has been transferring all of the old film and tapes into a digital format for a year and a half. So far he's done about 10,000 stories, and says he's only scratched the surface.

"Every day it's like gold mining. You find something different every day. It's just like, wow. A lot of people wouldn't make much difference about it. But there are so many fascinating things out there," Floyd said.

"Putting it together, indexing it properly. Putting in the proper dates and all those type of things are something that we're doing it right the first time," Huizenga said.

KELOLAND General Manager, Jay Huizenga, says Floyd is perfect for the job because he's experienced in video, and because he knows the history of KELOLAND.

"It's nice to have a person like Craig Floyd doing it, because his grandfather started KELOLAND. And so he knows a lot of the history," Huizenga said.

"I think it's important for the station as a whole. And yes, it's great to walk the building that my great grandfather designed, my grandfather made work and my father ran for years. But to me, it's more important that this stuff it was important enough to save, so it's important enough to archive and at some point somebody's going to go, wow that is really cool that they saved that," Floyd said. 

A lot of the footage saved includes day to day news stories, while other clips have more historical significance for the state.

"There's major events that everybody recognizes, and that we've already done. You know, John F. Kennedy's visit or Martin Luther King's visit before, in 1959, and all those types of things. Those are recognizable things that we've done," Huizenga said. 

"The good thing with KELOLAND is, from the films I've seen, is that they too are around the state. I know they had some film from Oahe Days back in the 60's or 70's. So there's news stories and events throughout the state that are going to be points of interest to individuals from different parts of South Dakota," Matthew Reitzel, Archivist at the South Dakota State Historical Society said. 

Matthew Reitzel works as an archivist at the South Dakota State Historical Society. He believes having the kind of footage KELOLAND has preserved is a key educational tool for future generations.

"They tend to be more shorter clips, but you're still getting the feel of what's going on and we still have Oahe Days today here in Pierre. So you can kind of get that feel of how things used to be and how they are today. And how they changed and how some things have still stayed the same," Reitzel said. 

Floyd says it's a constant battle with time to get the footage transferred before the tapes deteriorate, but he's thankful for those who came before him and kept the old footage.

"There are stories every day that make you want to cry. But then there are stuff that's just like wow. That's cool. So everyday you find something that you're, probably nobody else will ever see or care about, but it's like wow that's really interesting," Floyd said. 

"We have a chance to preserve history. Especially South Dakota history, because we've been here for 60 years. And so we're taking that history and putting it on archive so that we'll have it for as long as possible," Huizenga said.

Floyd says he would have a much harder job if those before him hadn't already converted several of the films to tape.

If you have video of historical significance, the South Dakota Historical Society accepts video from the public. They just ask that you tell them what it is first.

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