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Iowa State University. WOI Radio and Television records

 Record Group — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 5/6

Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials related to WOI TV and Radio. Records include, subject files, biographical files, administrative records, recordings, films, photographs, morgue sheets, and materials related to the history of WOI-TV, Arrogance and Power by Neil Harl.


  • Creation: 1911-2012, undated


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


WOI Radio (written by Dr. Charles Black and Don Forsling):

The history of broadcasting at Iowa State University dates back to 1911. That is when physics professor "Dad" Hoffman rigged a transmission line from the campus water tower to Engineering Hall and asked for money to establish a wireless telegraph station. In 1914 the Electrical Engineering Department installed and began operation of a small transmitter under the call letters 9YI. Newspaper reports indicate station 9YI was regularly sending and receiving weather reports by Morse code.

On April 28, 1922, with new call letters assigned by the Radio Division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, WOI-AM went on the air with its first regular feature, market news. At that time, Iowa State was one of 21 colleges and universities holding broadcasting licenses. In the fall, the station broadcast its first Iowa State football game. Andy Woolfries introduced the Music Shop, one of the longest running programs in radio history, in 1925. The Book Club began in 1927 and these 2 programs are still running.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the scope of the WOI program service broadened to encompass and extend to Iowans the entire range of the college's activities. Agricultural programs and programs for homemakers continued along with forums, lectures, and classical music. WOI-FM, one of the first FM stations in Iowa, aired on July 1, 1949, with stereo broadcasting coming in 1955. Fifty years ago, the WOI-FM schedule would run on the air from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Programs offered would include Classical Concerts, Dinner Hour News, Articles of Interest with Norman Cleary, and Starlight Concerts. WOI-AM was on the air from 6:00 a.m. until 7:45 p.m. in July {7:15 p.m. in August, 6:30 p.m. in September, and so on} with such programs as Down on the Farm, Homemakers, Georgetown Forums, Sixty PlusELFor Elder Citizens, German Today, and A Look at Australia. WOI AM also broadcast all the Iowa State University Cyclones football "thrillers" on Saturday afternoons in the fall of 1952.

Great local programs continue today with Talk of Iowa and Midday, although Saturday afternoon's play by play of Iowa State University sports have been replaced with The Metropolitan Opera and This American Life. National Public Radio (NPR), the news and information organization that brings Morning Edition, Car Talk, Fresh Air, and many more programs to the airwaves, was formed in 1970. On May 31, 1971 WOI was one 90 public radio stations to air NPR's first program, All Things Considered.

As of 2002, the WOI Radio Group includes WOI AM 640, KTPR FM 91.1 from Fort Dodge, Iowa, WOI FM 90.1, streaming on the web at, and 90.7 in Carroll, Iowa.

WOI-TV: WOI-TV was the first television station owned and operated by an institution of higher learning in the U.S., beginning in February,1950. At that time, the station was the only one to televise a regular schedule of programming into central Iowa, until 1954. The station was truly unique in that as an educationally owned television station, WOI-TV was also granted a commercial license by the FCC. The goal of WOI-TV:

"ELis dedicated to bringing the best the (Iowa State) College has to offer to the schools, cities, and farms of Iowa, with programs of education, entertainment, and public service."

WOI-TV's pioneering activities in applying television to education helped stimulate support for the institution of educational television across the United States. Iowa

State University was one of the first educational institutions to broadcast college-level courses, using WOI-TV as its outlet. WOI-TV is also historically noteworthy for its early experiments in Kinescope recording techniques, which the station used to film and distribute its locally-produced programming to other stations.

Iowa State University sold WOI-TV to Capital Cities Communications, Inc (parent company of ABC Television) during 1994.


44.87 Linear Feet (83 document boxes, 3 half-document boxes, 3 map case folders, and 3 oversize boxes, 6 record center boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Universal 1.0 Public Domain Dedication Creative Commons license.


WOI-AM went on the air on April 28, 1922, with regular market news broadcasts. During the next 25 years, the scope of station programming expanded to encompass all areas of Iowa State's activities including agricultural programming, programs for homemakers, lectures, forums, and classical music. On July 1, 1949, WOI-FM became one of the first FM stations in Iowa when it started broadcasting. In 2004, WOI Radio became part of Iowa Public Radio. WOI-TV went on the air in February 1950 and for several years was the first station in central Iowa to offer a regular schedule of programming. It was the first television station owned and operated by an institution of higher learning and was noteworthy for its early experiments in Kinescope recording techniques. WOI-TV was sold to Capital Communications Company, Inc. in 1994.

Items in related collections

RS 5/6/10. Arrogance and Power: The Saga of WOI-TV Appendices, 2002 MS-0584. Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc. records, 1991-1994, undated RS 5/6/13. Richard B. Hull papers, 1938-1980 RS 5/6/21. Harmon B. Deal papers, 1920-1925 RS 5/6/22. Ray Stewart papers, 1946-1955 RS 5/6/51. Joy Ringham Munn papers, 1951-1953 RS 5/6/52. Martha Dloughy Squire WOI-TV Visuals, 1953-1955, undated RS 5/6/53. Betty Lou Varnum papers, 1955-1993, undated RS 5/6/12. Walter Irving Griffith papers, 1896-1969, undated RS 5/6/14. Robert Mulhall papers, 1939-2006 RS 5/6/15. Keith K. Ketcham papers, 1960-1987

Processing Information

Released on 2018-06-25.

RS 5/6. Iowa State University. WOI Radio and Television records
In Progress
August 11, 2021
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672