Encyclopedia Live History Talk Series

The inspiration for the Encyclopedia Live history talk series comes from the over 170 articles available through the Centre County Encyclopedia of History & Culture which provides an authoritative look at the county’s past. The encyclopedia presents Centre County’s history and culture, in all its variety, through topics and themes. This series will feature topics and authors featured in the online encyclopedia.

History is an interpretive art, based on available evidence. Accordingly, the interpretations are, at times, controversial and contested. The Centre County Historical Society strongly supports freedom of speech and the First Amendment rights of our speakers, authors, and writers. The Society does not necessarily endorse or support all views, conclusions, and opinions expressed, yet believes they merit entry into the marketplace of ideas and the scrutiny it affords.

The Encyclopedia Live History Talks are in-person at the Centre Furnace Mansion unless otherwise noted in individual talks. Event parking is available on the lower lawn along College Avenue, as well as in the Mansion lot off Porter Road. Visitors may also park behind Esber Home and Rugs. Please contact Mary Sorensen at 814-234-4779 or msorensen@centrefurnace.org for additional information. The Series is coordinated by CCHS Board of Governors Communications Chair Dr. Ford Risley. 

2023 Encyclopedia Live History Talk Series:

History of Radio in Centre County

David Dzikowski

Sunday, October 15, 2023

David Dzikowski is a Teaching Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State.  He was the Manager of WPSU-FM, Penn State’s NPR station from 1986 to 1997 and the Assistant Director for Public Broadcasting – Radio at WKYU-FM, Bowling Green, Kentucky from 1997 to 1999.  He will present a History of American Radio with reference to radio developments in Centre County.

According to his article on the Centre County Encyclopedia of History & Culture, the history of radio in Centre County has been shaped by technological developments, social change, and commercial interests. Radio is an intimate medium, and local stations are often the only stations available to listeners, even as they are shaped by distant economic trends and federal regulation.

With notable exceptions, most radio programming has been the outside world coming to Centre County, with popular music and talk programming originating elsewhere for local re-broadcast. However, the people who made local transmission possible have lived in the county, with familiar voices being heard for decades.

The program is free and open to the public. Donations are graciously accepted. For general information and program updates, visit www.CentreHistory.org.

Seating is limited to 40 registrants at the Centre Furnace Mansion. Please RSVP by clicking on the button above or call 814-234-4779.

Read David’s article on the Encyclopedia: https://centrehistory.org/article/centre-county-radio/

Image: WPHB in Philipsburg went on the air in 1956 as a daytime-only radio station. Joan Brower Collection

2022 Encyclopedia Live History Talk Series:

From Pastime to Premiere: The History of Movie Theaters in Centre County

Kevin Hagopian

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The history of movie theaters in Centre County is a miniature of the growth and plateauing of public moviegoing in the US from the nickelodeon era (c. 1905-1915) to the present. Centre County presents many kinds of movie markets in the same geographic area, from a college town, with its diverse tastes, to market communities like Phillipsburg and Milheim which have historically attracted rural audiences to the movies. The movies brought to Centre County a wider world of culture and drama than was otherwise available to rural communities. County cinemagoers responded with enthusiasm, encouraging the building of enough movie theater seating to accommodate the area’s population several times over in a single week by 1940. Drive-ins and an `art cinema’ theater followed changing demographic tastes after 1960. The building of multi-screen venues, and the restoration and repurposing of area movie theaters as community arts venues in the 21st century, has meant that the spaces associated with public movie viewing remain, to complement the phenomenal growth of private movie viewing since the 1980’s.

Hagopian has taught film studies at Penn State since 1998. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in cinema studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was Editor in Chief of the Film and Television Literature Index, the leading publication of its kind for libraries in the world. After teaching at the University of Memphis for several years, he came to Penn State in 1998, where he has been teaching cinema studies ever since. An award-winning teacher, Kevin has published articles on a variety of film history and theory topics, and on college teaching. Kevin is completing a manuscript on the Hollywood film industry during the years 1935-1945.

Read Kevin’s article on the Encyclopedia: https://centrehistory.org/article/movie-theaters/.

Past programs that have been held by Zoom may be found on the CCHS YouTube Channel.