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Owen S. Rich, Broadcast Education Pioneer

Owen S. Rich was a broadcast education pioneer at Brigham Young University. He came to BYU in 1946 at the request of T. Earl Pardoe. Pardoe was looking for someone to introduce radio broadcasting at the university. Rich had been serving as a chief electronic technician for the United States Coast Guard when Pardoe contacted him. Rich came to BYU as an undergraduate student in 1946 and immediately set to work establishing KBYU radio. He graduated from BYU in 1950 and was appointed the first full-time broadcasting instructor at the university. In the early 1950s Rich was asked by President Ernest L. Wilkinson to go to California to learn more about broadcast television. Rich packed up his small family and began studies in telecommunications at USC. After receiving his MA degree from USC, he returned to BYU and began planning for KBYU-television in 1958. Rich taught at the university for 40 years and was well respected by colleagues and students.

The University Archives is home to several collections that document Rich’s influence on the development of communications education at Brigham Young University. These collections include:

  • MSS 5784 Personal histories of Owen S. and Ora Rich, 1922-2006. This collection contains the personal histories of Owen S. Rich and his wife Ora. It also includes a bound volume containing letters of appreciation from colleagues and students.
  • UA 1142 KBYU-related photographs and material, 1940-1960. This collection contains photographs and other materials related to the history of KBYU television and radio.
  • MSS 2127 Owen S. Rich papers. This collection includes information relating to the communications courses that Rich taught at BYU. It also includes an autobiography of his career in broadcast education.
  • UA 989 Speech and videos on KBYU, 1987-1990. This collection contains a speech given by Rich on the establishment of KBYU. It also includes a video documenting Rich’s career at KBYU.

If you would like to learn more about Owen S. Rich or the University Archives, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or gordon_daines@byu.edu .

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