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Robert A. Mott papers

 Collection 0177-MMC-NPBA

Robert Mott (1920-2019) began his public broadcasting career in 1956 at Washington State University as a writer and news director for KWSU-AM. For nine years, he wrote “Science in the News,” a fifteen-minute weekly radio program carried by more than 50 stations and the Voice of America radio network. He oversaw the creation of the studio for the university's KWSC-TV, which began broadcasting in 1962. From 1968 until 1970, Mott was executive director of National Educational Radio (NER), a division of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters in Washington, D.C. During that time, Mott was instrumental in the establishment and development of National Public Radio.

Mott joined the newly formed Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), where he was director for station relations from 1970 until 1974. In 1975, he joined the Public Service Satellite Consortium, a nonprofit organization created to help public nonprofits learn to use satellite technologies, as director of operations, becoming vice president in 1978. He retired in 1984.

The collection contains various materials relating to the Public Service Satellite Consortium and the Public Broadcasting Service.


  • 1961-1995
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1979

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research use.

Duplication and Copyright Information

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 publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


0.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Robert A. Mott papers, which document Mott's involvement in public television and public radio, cover the dates 1961 to 1995. The bulk of this material ranges from 1970 to 1979. Types of documents include cartoons and news clippings, dedications/invitation, correspondence, newsletters, reports and maps, memos, magazines, photos, satirical materials, and audio tapes.


Robert A. Mott began his career in journalism while serving in the armed forces during World War II. Prior to enlisting in the army, Mott was preparing for a career in print journalism, but was forced to discontinue his education after two years. While in the service, Mott wrote a column for the Emporia Gazette about the activities of the National Guard from 1940 to 1945. Although he enjoyed working in the print journalism field, his colleague Russ Porter convinced Mott to pursue his interest in the electronic news gathering business. In 1945, after he completed his military service, Mott began working for KTSW, a commercial news station in Kansas, covering news and sports. Mott worked his way through his last two years of college and graduated with a BA degree in 1947, at which point he made the decision to stay at KTSW until 1949. Mott continued on to earn a masters degree in Radio-Television Journalism at the University of Denver, while simultaneously teaching there until 1953.

Mott began working for an ABC radio station, which was also a commercial television station owned jointly with CBS radio. Here, Mott gained experience in radio broadcasting while also continuing to air television broadcasts. After two years Mott transferred back to Denver where he accepted a managerial role at KVCD until he accepted a job at Washington State University (WSU) in 1956. Mott remained a WSU as the instructor of Continuity and News Editor for twelve years. In 1968 he was approached by John Witherspoon, in association with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), who offered him a position as Executive Director of National Educational Radio which he eventually accepted. Other associated interests in radio and television broadcasting include Mott's involvement with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the Public Service Satellite Consortium (PSSC), National Public Radio (NPR), National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).


The collection consists of two series.

  1. Series 1: Subject Files
  2. Series 2: Audio-Visual Materials

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Robert A. Mott papers were given to the University of Maryland Libraries by Robert A. Mott in June of 1992 and February, April, May, and July of 1997.

Guide to the Robert A. Mott papers
Processed by Candice M. Ezzat, October 1998.
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

  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Karen E. King.
  • 2010-04-13: EAD revised by Karen E. King.
  • 2017-11-05: Finding aid reviewed and edited by Rebecca Thayer.
  • 2019-01-17: Finding aid reviewed and minor edits made by Duncan Griffin.
  • 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