Skip to main content

Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc. records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0584

Scope and Content

The collection (1991-1994, undated) contains materials documenting the founding and activities of Iowans for WOI, Inc., including memos, meeting minutes, correspondence, and press releases and papers concerning the sale of WOI-TV prepared by Neil Harl and other members for distribution and publication. Also included are legal documents consisting of court exhibits prepared by the litigants for trial (including photographs and a videotape), depositions, oral arguments, transcripts, and pleadings. Newspaper clippings document the activities of Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc., and the events of the two trials.

Dates

  • 1991-1994, undated

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives

Biography/Profile

Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc., was formed on 1 June 1992 by a group of citizens (primarily Iowans) in opposition to the Iowa Board of Regents’ September 1991 decision to sell the university-owned station to a commercial interest.



WOI-TV was the first television station owned and operated by a United States institution of higher education. From 1950 to 1954 WOI-TV was the only station to broadcast a regular schedule of television programs to central Iowa. At its inception, WOI-TV was granted an FCC license because of this unique status as an educationally owned television station. Through WOI-TV, Iowa State was one of the first educational institutions to broadcast college-level courses, and the station’s pioneering use of television for educational purposes helped to stimulate support for similar initiatives throughout the United States.



Founders of Iowans for WOI included Iowa State University Professor of Economics and Agriculture Neil E. Harl, who served as the group’s president; Ames attorney Donald R. Payer, secretary, and retired Iowa State University Professor of Journalism, John D. Shelley. The three comprised the group’s initial board of directors. Eventually, the board of directors was composed of thirty-seven members and included Iowa State University faculty and staff, as well as community members including bankers, farmers, attorneys, and journalists. An Iowa State University student group, Students for Iowans for WOI-TV, was formally registered with the university in Spring 1993; its stated mission was to raise student and community awareness concerning the sale of WOI-TV by the Iowa Board of Regents. Neil Harl served as the group’s faculty advisor.



On 24 June 1992 Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc. filed a law suit against the Iowa Board of Regents, challenging the Regents’ right to sell the station. The trial culminated on 22 October 1992 in an eighty-four page opinion in favor of the plaintiffs. The district court decision was subsequently appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which overruled the decision on 24 November 1993, and in March 1994 Iowa State University sold WOI-TV to Capital Cities Communications, Inc., the parent company of ABC Television.

Extent

4.62 Linear Feet (11 document boxes)

Abstract

Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc., was established on June 1, 1992 by a group of predominantly Iowa citizens that opposed the Iowa Board of Regents' decision to sell the university-owned station to a commercial interest. Founders of Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc., Iowa State University Professor of Economics and Agriculture Neil E. Harl, Ames attorney Donald R. Payer, and retired Iowa State University Professor of Journalism John D. Shelley served as the group's first board of directors. WOI-TV was the first commercial television station owned and operated by a United States institution of higher education, Iowa State University. The collection contains general files of the organization including memos, meeting minutes, correspondence, and press releases. In addition, the records document the legal proceedings through papers, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into three series:

Series 1, General Files, 1992-1994, undated

Series 2, Legal Documents, 1992-1994

Series 3, Newspaper Clippings, 1991-1994

Items in related collections

RS 5/6/3. Iowa State University. WOI Radio and Television records. - Administrative Records, 1924-2005, undated

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

Title
MS-0584. Iowans for WOI-TV, Inc. records, 1991-1994, undated
Date
December 12, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

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