SPLAB Donates Audio Archives to White River Valley Museum

August 14, 2018

White River Valley Museum LogoFor IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Northwest Broadcaster and Poet Paul Nelson Donates Historic Radio Programming Archive to Auburn’s White River Valley Museum

AUBURN WA:  With a grant from 4Culture, onetime Auburn resident, disc jockey, poet and intellectual Paul Nelson organized his radio programming into a cohesive archive and donated it in its entirety, to Auburn’s White River Valley Museum. Nelson’s extensive archive dates from 1990 to 2005. It has:

  • Approximately 360 radio programs
  • About 1,000 unique interviews including
  • poets Allen Ginsberg, Wanda Coleman, Diane diPrima, Sam Hamill
  • Lummi spiritual leader Beaver Chief [Fred Jamison]
  • yogi Bhagavan Das
  • priestess Phyllis Curott
  • futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard
  • historian Kenneth Davis
  • activist Bill Moyer
  • Aired as public affairs programs distributed regionally and nationally on KING-FM, KZOK, KMTT, KJR AM / FM, KGON-Portland, KISM-Bellingham and many other stations

At the height of Nelson’s syndication his program aired on as many as 18 radio stations weekly. Nelson lived and worked in the Auburn from 1992 to 2009, a significant portion of his professional life. Nelson’s non-profit organization, It Plays in Peoria Productions, was founded at his home in Auburn. In 1999 he built a sound studio and poetry center in Auburn at 14 S. Division. He prided himself as an Auburn community supporter and interviewed many local residents including:

  • community historian Mae Yamada
  • author Stan Flewelling
  • museum director Ron Chew
  • mayor Chuck Booth
  • county executive John Ladenberg
  • farmers Greg & Lorna Lynn
  • community activist Lee Valenta

“I remember Paul as a goateed intellectual with a wily smile,” recalls Museum Director Patricia Cosgrove.“ He has a perfect radio voice and using that he brought both the Auburn community and a much larger audience a wide variety of intellectual, poetic and thoughtful discussions.”  

In addition to being an active poet, Nelson founded various organizations and projects, including: SPLAB (Northwest Spoken Word LAB, now known as Seattle Poetics LAB), Global Voices Radio, It Plays in Peoria Productions and Auburn Community Radio. Among his published works are the epic poem A Time Before Slaughter which documents the pre-history and early history of the town once known as Slaughter and since renamed Auburn.

Curator of Collections Hilary Pittenger is excited to begin work with these treasures. “While it may take a few years, we plan to fully catalogue this collection, create digital copies and make them accessible to Museum patrons and staff for research and programs, and host them on our website, accessible to researchers around the world.”


  1. marilyn stablein

    Good work, Paul, to organize & donate some of your extensive audio archive to the Auburn Museum which plans to catalog & reproduce/digitize tapes to make them accessible to the public and researchers!

  2. stanleydelgozo sabre

    AHO Paul……good work……and many good things to come from this donation…blessings StanleydelGozo

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