Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

John C. Crabbe Papers

 Collection 0141-MMC-NPBA

John C. Crabbe (1914-2001) was director of broadcasting at College of the Pacific from 1937 to 1958. He developed a campus radio station, KAEO, and initiated the first academic radio major west of the Mississippi. In 1947, KCVN-FM (now KUOP) made its debut under his direction. He resigned his professorship at Pacific in 1959 to become the first general manager of KVIE-TV, a position he held until 1969. He ended his career as general manager of KTSC-TV in Pueblo, Colorado, from 1976 to 1981.

During World War II, while in Baltimore, Crabbe lobbied the Federal Communications Commission for reserved FM channels for educational use, which was finally granted in April 1952. Meanwhile, from 1950 to 1953, he also served as President of the Association for Education by Radio-Television. In 1961, Crabbe worked as a regional consultant to a National Defense Education Act survey on the need for television channels in education.

The collection consists of publications regarding instructional television in California, television in education, and the interaction between children and television. It includes the 1952 FCC allocation report, Crabbe's recollections of KVIE's history and an audio cassette of a 1949 interview with "Death Valley Scotty" and a 1952 recording of an Institute for Education by Radio and Television featuring the cast of Kukla, Fran & Ollie.


  • 1949-1991 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1979

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


1.25 Linear Feet


John C. (Crozier) Crabbe, son of Arthur and Louise A. (Wiley) Crabbe, was born on July 3, 1914 in Pomona, California. He attended Modesto (California) College from 1931 to 1934, and then Fresno (California) State College from 1934 to 1936. He finished his Bachelor of Arts degree in theater from the College of the Pacific in 1937 and a MA in 1940. During college, he participated in vaudeville and burlesque theater, mostly as an electrical technician. Crabbe did his postgraduate work at the University of Iowa in 1938, at New York University in 1940, at Stanford University in 1951, and at Ohio State University. On July 17, 1940, he married Bobbin Gay Peck with whom he had three children: John Crozier, William Charles, and Barbara Gay. During World War II, Crabbe served from 1943 to 1946 in the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant stationed in Baltimore.

Crabbe's broadcasting career started on a Fresno, California station reading comics from 1934 to 1935. He then began his career in educational broadcasting while he attended the College of the Pacific, Stockton, California. From 1936 to 1937, he taught and produced radio programs for release on commercial stations. After graduation, Crabbe remained at Pacific as Director of Broadcasting from 1937 to 1958 and as KUOP-FM station manager, having helped put the Stockton, California educational radio station on the air in 1949. This station started as a campus-limited, carrier-current station as part of a laboratory activity. It was student operated except for Crabbe and one chief engineer, and did live productions of music, ballgames, and dramas. Before KUOP started, the College of the Pacific released student class-produced programs through local commercial stations. In addition, he helped organize the first broadcasting curriculum west of the Mississippi in the 1940s.

During World War II, while stationed in Baltimore, Crabbe occupied his spare time by lobbying the Federal Communications Commission for FM channels reserved for educational use. The broadcasting industry did not care much about FM, but simply wanted twenty reserved channels. Finally, the FCC granted educational reservations for FM channels in April, 1952.

Starting in the 1950s, Crabbe's educational broadcasting career involved simultaneous activities in California, Ohio, and Michigan. The biography will now focus on each geographic location separately, starting with California. From 1950 to 1953, Crabbe participated as a member in the Western Radio Television Conference, joining fellow members Jim Day, Public Service Director of San Francisco and Luke Roberts, Public Service Director, KOIN, Portland, Oregon. The conference was first held in San Francisco, and was later held in cities such as Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Portland. Meanwhile, in 1951, at Stanford University, Crabbe lectured in radio education.

In 1953, Crabbe served as executive secretary of the Delta-Sierra Educational Television Corporation, a Stockton community organization focused on establishing a station on Channel 42. At the same time, a Sacramento community organization, the Northern California Educational Television was trying to establish an educational television station on Channel 6. These two groups met regularly between 1952 and 1957, and eventually merged in 1955 to form a non-profit corporation called Central California Educational Television (CCET). Crabbe served as CCET's Executive Secretary from 1955 to 1958. In October of 1957, a representative from the Fund for Adult Education, an agency of the Ford Foundation, met with Crabbe. The two men agreed that CCET would have ninety days from December 15, 1957 to raise $100,000 in cash plus $100,000 in pledges to qualify for a Fund grant of $100,000. Working out of an office provided by the College of the Pacific, Crabbe spoke to about 92 groups ranging from PTAs and luncheon clubs to special interest associations and raised $115,000 in cash and over $100,000 in pledges. With the money raised, Channel 6, KVIE, Stockton was established on July 1, 1958 and started broadcasting in mid-December 1958. From July 1958 to 1969, Crabbe served as KVIE's general manager.

In 1961, Crabbe was the manager of Central California ETV, Inc. From 1967 to 1969, Crabbe served as president of the Western Educational Network, was a special consultant in radio education in the schools of central California and was chairman of the Television Advisory Committee of the State of California. From 1967 to July 1968, Crabbe served as vice-president of the Western Radio and Television Association's Western Educational Network, and then succeeded Luke Lamb as president from August 1968 to 1969 when he became chair of communications. Finally, from 1973 to 1974, Crabbe served as consultant to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications of the California Legislature.

Crabbe's Ohio activities began shortly before 1950 when he directed the Association for Education by Radio at Columbus Ohio. Then, from 1950 to 1953, Crabbe became the president of the Association for Educational Radio-TV (AERT) in Columbus, Ohio, having been its vice president. AERT was a largely teacher, in-school oriented organization, inspired by the School Broadcast Conference of Chicago as a reaction to the institutional orientation of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB). Meanwhile, from 1951 to 1952, he was an assistant at the Office of Radio-Television Education at Ohio State University. In 1952, Crabbe became an assistant to Keith Tyler at the Institute for Education by Radio and Television at Ohio State University. He also put together the Ohio State Institute for Education by Radio and Television Competitions on April 18 - 20, 1952. The following banquet included "Kukla, Fran & Ollie."

Crabbe's broadcasting career in Michigan started in 1953 at the National Music Camp at Interlochen. There, from 1953 to 1954, he served as director of radio/television, taping recitals and board concerts on to 104 miles of audio tape and feeding it to WKAR, East Lansing, Michigan. Then, from 1955 to 1956, he was one of the first Program Associates of Educational Television and Radio Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Crabbe participated in long-range financing, consulting jobs, and was involved on various educational broadcasting committees and boards. In 1961, along with John Schwarzwalder, he served as a regional consultant on a survey on the need for television channels in education under Title VII of National Defense Education Act. At that time, the Federal Communication Commission's number one priority was to properly allocate television spectrum space. From 1962 to 1964, Crabbe served on the Department Committee of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. Then, in 1964, he worked as a consultant in broadcasting for RTV International (East Africa) in New York. In 1969, Crabbe was also a member of the interim management group for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Network Operation. That year, he received the Banner Award from the Theta Sigma Phi National Professional Society for Women in Journalism and Communications for outstanding contributions in the field of communications. Then, from 1969 to 1973, he was a consultant in public broadcasting.

He spent his last formal years in educational broadcasting in Colorado. There, from 1976 to 1981, he was the director of telecommunications and general manger of KTSC-TV, University of South Colorado, Pueblo, Colorado, and then its consultant after retirement from 1981 on. Also, he served as Director of the University of Southern Colorado Telecommunications Division in 1981. Other involvement in public broadcasting in that region included serving on the board of directors of the Rocky Mountain Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and on the board of governors of the Pacific Mountain Network. Crabbe also contributed articles to professional publications such as the Journal of the Association of Education by Radio- Television (JAERT).

Crabbe's other business activities included a term as the general manager of Tel-Vue Stockton, Inc. in California in 1972, and as an associate at Arthur Bolton Associates from 1972 to 1973.

John C. Crabbe died in 2001.


The collection consists of three series.

Series 1
Educational Television
Series 2
Miscellaneous Publications and Reports
Series 3

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The John C. Crabbe papers were donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by John C. Crabbe in October of 1991, and October of 1992.

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Guide to the John C. Crabbe papers
Processed by Karen E. King
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 1995-10: Revised by Karen E. King, October 1995.
  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Karen E. King, April 2007.
  • 2008-02-12: EAD revised by Karen E. King, February 2008
  • 2008-03-14: EAD revised by Karen E. King, March 2008
  • 2017-01-05: Minor updates and revisions made post ArchivesSpace migration by Joanne Archer
  • 2021-08-20: Jim Baxter re-wrote the collection abstract.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742