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Gerald Slater Papers

Abstract

Title:
Gerald Slater Papers
Author/Creator:
Slater, Gerald
Collection number:
NPBA 92-271
Size:
0.25 linear foot
Bulk dates:
1971
Inclusive dates:
1971
Collection Area:
Mass Media and Culture
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

Gerald Slater's initial work in public broadcasting included the position of director of operations of the Public Broadcasting Laboratory from 1967 to 1969. In this job, he organized all operations of this experimental television venture funded by a Ford Foundation grant to create original drama, arts, and public affairs programming for the first nationwide public television network. Then, from 1969 to 1970, he served as project specialist in communications for the Ford Foundation. There, as part of a staff responsible for administrating of $18 million in annual television programming grants, Slater initiated, evaluated, and selected program proposals to fund. From 1970 to 1975, Slater was general manager of the Public Broadcasting Service, with the task of organizing the first U.S. public television network. In 1973, he became vice-president of broadcasting at PBS, where his duties included station relations and public information. Finally, in July 1975, Slater became executive vice-president of WETA, a position he held until 1989. The collection consists of correspondence, clippings, interviews and transcripts on a 1971 investigative report on the FBI by Paul Jacobs for The Great American Dream Machine.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Gerald Slater Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1613
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials page for more information. Queries regarding publicatioght status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Gerald Slater received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from New York University. He started his broadcasting career in the commercial end of the field, working for Columbia Broadcasting System from 1960 to 1967. First, from 1960 to 1962, he was a network supervisor, responsible for all operating departments during evenings and weekends as he supervised "on-air" operations for CBS Television Network and WCBS-TV. From 1962 to 1965, as production supervisor, Slater was responsible for production budgets for CBS News. Then, from 1965 to 1967, Slater served as manager of News Production Services. In this job, he created a liaison department between CBS News Division and CBS Television Network to provide central administration of all operations between the two divisions.

Slater's first job in public broadcasting was as director of operations for the Public Broadcasting Laboratory from 1967 to 1969. In this job, he organized all operations of this $15 million experimental weekly television venture funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation to create original drama, arts, and public affairs programming for the first nation-wide public television network. Then, from 1969 to 1970, he worked as a communications specialist for the Ford Foundation. There, as a member of a three person staff responsible for the administration of $18 million in annual television programming grants, Slater initiated, evaluated, and selected program proposals to be funded.

From 1970 to 1975, Slater worked as general manager of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) as he was recruited to organize the first U.S. public television network. His responsibilities included establishment of all operating procedures, design of the public network broadcasting land line and satellite distribution systems, as well as setting policies and directing the Programming, Public Information, Business Affairs, Advertising, Station Relations, Operations and Engineering Departments. He negotiated a reduced rate from AT&T for distributing network programs and he set the policy for the relationship between PBS and member stations. In 1973, he was named vice-president of broadcasting at PBS, where his duties included station relations and public information.

From July 1975 to 1989, Slater was executive vice-president of WETA TV/Radio. Here, he managed all operations of public broadcasting stations WETA-TV and WETA-FM in Washington, DC, making final decisions on all programs, and directing 200 employees including producers, executives, on-air talent, engineers, and technicians. He also represented public broadcasting on official visits to Japan and the Soviet Union. Some specific accomplishments Slater did for WETA include the creation of Smithsonian World, a co-production with the Smithsonian Institution and work as Executive in Charge for the station in the creation of the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour.

From 1989 to the present, Slater has been working for Rock Creek Productions, serving clients such as the American Museum of National History, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission, and the New York City Board of Education. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gerald Slater Papers covers the dates September to November 1971, and contains some undated material. The collection documents the controversy surrounding the 1971 conflict between the Public Broadcasting Service and National Educational Television over investigative reporter Paul Jacobs' story on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its possible inclusion in the satirical television series The Great American Dream Machine. Types of documents include correspondence, photocopied articles, and transcripts. Correspondents include former PBS president Hartford N. Gunn and former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Gerald L. Slater Papers was donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by Gerald L. Slater in October of 1990.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Karen E. King, March 1993. Revised by Karen E. King, August 1993

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Karen E. King, August 2006.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection consists of one series.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: The Great American Dream Machine, September-November 1971, undated (0.25 linear foot)

This series documents the decisions surrounding the Paul Jacobs' report in which three men alleged that the FBI recruited them to bomb buildings and other acts which the FBI would then blame on radicals. The documents were organized in both chronological and narrative order, focusing on the transcripts, National Educational Television, the Public Broadcasting Service, responses from both the stations and the audience, the self-investigative show Behind the Lines, and finally press reports which document and summarize the events.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Transcripts -- Original, undated series 1box 1folder 1
Transcripts -- Revisions, undated series 1box 1folder 2
Transcripts -- Revised, undated series 1box 1folder 3
National Educational Television -- Correspondence -- FBI, Seattle Police, September 1971 series 1box 1folder 4
National Educational Television -- Correspondence -- Stephen Glauber - Norman Sinel, September-October 1971 series 1box 1folder 5
National Educational Television -- Al Perlmutter - producer Statements, undated series 1box 1folder 6
Public Broadcasting Service -- Memoranda, Correspondence, October 1971 series 1box 1folder 7
Public Broadcasting Service -- Phone/TWX Messages, September-October 1971 series 1box 1folder 8
Public Broadcasting Service -- Interviews with Hartford N. Gunn, October 6, 1971 series 1box 1folder 9
Public Broadcasting Service -- Letters to Press, October 1971 series 1box 1folder 10
Public Broadcasting Service -- MacDonald Investigation, October-November 1971 series 1box 1folder 11
Responses -- Station, undated series 1box 1folder 12
Responses -- Audience, undated series 1box 1folder 13
Behind the Lines, October 8, 1971 series 1box 1folder 14
Press & UPI Articles, October-November 1971 series 1box 1folder 15

Related Material

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Selected Search Terms

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