We are saddened to learn of the passing of Marion Watson, a long-time station manager for the University of Minnesota’s radio station – KUOM.
Marion English Watson graduated magna cum laude with a BA from the University of Minnesota’s College of Science, Literature, and the Arts in 1944. She attended graduate school and completed a master’s degree in speech pathology in 1950 and worked in the Speech and Hearing Clinic at the university.
In 1955, Watson developed an English language course for visiting faculty from Seoul National University and served as the project director.
Watson began working at KUOM in 1969 and served as station manager until 1988. Her efforts at the station focused on civil rights and environmental issues, women’s equality, and providing a platform for Native American communities through radio, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded program Indian News.
Examples of her programs and interviews include:
- In cooperation with the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, this 1971 program with Marion Watson and Conrad Balfour, Commissioner of Human Rights, focuses on the Minnesota Act Against Discrimination
- The Equal Rights Amendments and its implications with the 1973 Minnesota Legislative Session are discussed with Marion Watson, Irene Scott, and Ruth Stock
- On one of the final broadcasts from Eddy Hall before moving to Rarig Center in 1974, Marion Watson discussed the future of KUOM with Burton Paulu (begins at 08:08)
- In response to listener inquiries about the technical aspects of radio broadcasting, Watson interviewed KUOM supervising engineer Russ Iverson
After transitioning to the station’s program developer in 1988, Marion Watson became executive producer for “Science Lives: Women and Minorities in the Sciences” a KUOM program distributed nationally through NPR and produced in cassette form for use in schools and libraries.
In the 1990s, Watson was instrumental in seeing KUOM’s administrative and programming records plus over 11,000 audio recordings transferred to the University Archives. Her efforts were the impetus for our work on describing and digitizing the KUOM collections and audio recordings and for the Libraries’ produced podcast U of M Radio on Your Historic Dial.
— To learn more about the University of Minnesota Archives, please visit www.lib.umn.edu/uarchives.