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William J. McCarter papers

 Collection 0101-MMC-NPBA

William J. McCarter (1929-2011) led WTTW in Chicago for 27 years, building it into one of the country's most-watched public television stations. He began his broadcasting career in 1953 with WFIL in Philadelphia, where he worked on American Bandstand. McCarter later worked at WHYY, WNET, and ABC. McCarter worked from 1964-1971 at WETA-TV/FM, where he was president and general manager. McCarter served as president of the Eastern Educational Television Network from 1968 to 1971 before moving to Chicago and led WTTW. Programs developed at WTTW during McCarter's tenure include Chicago Tonight, Sneak Previews, and The McLaughlin Group. WTTW and its sister radio station WFMT-FM received 12 George Foster Peabody Awards during this time.

The collection contains testimonies involving a conflict of interest case before the Subcommittee on Communications and Power of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce on April 27 and May 1, 1970, and clippings and testimony regarding WETA. In addition, the collection contains a 14-page article about McCarter featured in the September 4, 1992 edition of Reader: Chicago's Free Weekly.


  • 1969-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1969-1970

Use and Access to Collection

The 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.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1
Legislative Files
Series 2
Station Clippings

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

William J. McCarter donated his papers to the Library of American Broadcasting on March 29, 1991.

Processing Information

Clippings have been copied onto acid free paper.

Guide to the William J. McCarter papers
Processed by Elizabeth C. Borja, September 2001. Revised by Karen E. King, May 2011. Revised by Ashley S. Behringer, March 2013.
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

  • 2017-10: Finding aid reviewed and revised post ArchivesSpace migration by Rebecca Thayer.
  • 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