The tape recording of the live broadcast of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s December 18, 1963 speech was lost for almost 30 years. The tape was rebroadcast at the time of Dr. King's assassination in 1968 but was later lost until 1997 when Phill Novess contacted WMUK general manager, Garrard Macleod.
A copy of King's address had been found on a reel ‐ to ‐ reel machine that Novess had acquired from his grandfather, Phillip Novess. The senior Novess owned a small grocery store on the east side of Kalamazoo and accepted the reel ‐ to ‐ reel tape recorder as collateral for groceries in the early 1970s.
When he sold the grocery store and the tape player had not been reclaimed, Novess took it home and put it in his basement. He gave the tape to his grandson for restoration purposes. Novess' business, Eclipse Media Group, specializes in noise reduction and restoration of audio tapes.