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George Geesey papers

 Collection 0140-MMC-NPBA

George E. Geesey (1933- ) became the first manager of WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C. in 1961. He was the primary host of the Educational Radio Network's coverage of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. He became the Director of Operations (and Engineering) at National Public Radio in 1970. He was assigned to the Satellite Interconnection System Project Office (SISPO) as Radio Coordinator in 1976.

This collection documents Geesey's career at National Public Radio, particularly his time with NPR's Satellite Interconnection System Project Office (SISPO).


  • 1965-1980 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1977-1981

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.


6.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The George Geesey Papers covers the years 1965 to 1981 and contains some undated material. The bulk of the materials date from 1977 to 1981. The collection documents Geesey's career at National Public Radio, particularly his time with NPR's Satellite Interconnection System Project Office (SISPO) as Radio Coordinator. Types of materials include correspondence, technical manuals, slides, photographs, maps, contracts, newspaper and magazine clippings, newsletters, and progress charts.


George Geesey was born on January 20, 1933 in Hagerstown, Maryland. He graduated from Hagerstown High School in 1950 and attended Hagerstown Junior College for two years. In 1952, he transferred to American University, graduating in 1954. He also attended two years of graduate study at American University.

Geesey also graduated from the Electronics Theory and Operation courses at the Army Signal School in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He was certified after six months of training in Fixed Station Terminal and radio equipment operation at the U.S. Navy Research Lab and the Army Map Service in Washington, DC.

In 1958, Geesey was certified in Electronic Instrument Repair and Satellite Tracking Equipment at the Satellite Tracking Station of Fort Stewart, Georgia, where the United States tracked the first Sputnik and Vanguard satellites.

In 1961, Geesey became the first manager of WAMU-FM radio station at the American University. This station began at the same time as the establishment of the Eastern Educational Radio Network (EERN), which connected public radio stations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington by a live terrestrial network line so that each of the four stations could originate material for the others to broadcast.

Geesey brought this network experience with him when he became the Director of Operations (and Engineering) for National Public Radio (NPR) in November 1970. He was the eleventh person employed by NPR. In that position, he helped design and build the first studios on M Street in Washington. He conducted seminars for regional meetings for the network station managers and engineers. He also worked with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on the development and growth of the data communications network (DACS). Geesey conducted the first national stereo audio tests by satellite and demonstrated to the stations the feasibility of NPR moving from a terrestrial network to a satellite distribution system.

In 1976, Geesey was assigned to the Satellite Interconnection System Project Office (SISPO) as the Radio Coordinator. He helped find sites for the receiving satellite at each member station and was instrumental in getting the stations to include up to fifteen uplink sites for the origination of material in to the network programming. At the end of the SISPO project, Geesey continued to work on adding another ten stations to the satellite system.

After his work with NPR, Geesey also spent time with WETA-TV and WRC-TV in Washington, DC. In 1989, he became the Chief Engineer for the television facility at The George Washington University. There he was involved in upgrading to digital equipment and the installation of satellite antennas for the 60-channel closed circuit campus cable system. Geesey retired in May 1999.


Organized as three series:

  1. Series 1:
  2. Series 2:
  3. Series 3:
Series 1
National Public Radio - General
Series 2
National Public Radio - Satellite Interconnection System Project Office (SISPO)
Series 3

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The George Geesey Papers was donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by George Geesey in October of 1998 and in November of 2000.

Guide to the George Geesey papers
Processed by Elizabeth C. Borja
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

  • 2000-11: Revised by Elizabeth C. Borja, November 2000.
  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Karen E. King, April 2007.
  • 2008-02-15: EAD revised by Karen E. King, February 2008
  • 2011-05-05: EAD revised by Karen E. King, May 2011
  • 2018-01-05: 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