New York University. Office of the Executive Vice-Chancellor.

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In 1953 the Federal Communications Commission reserved 242 television channels for the exclusive purpose of education. Thomas E. Dewey, then Governor of New York State, appointed a special commission to determine the practicality of a state-supported educational television network. Public hearings were conducted in early 1953, and the commission issued its report in March of that year. That report opposed the appropriation of state funds for educational television and recommended instead the use of private funds. This recommendation contradicted the wishes of the New York State Board of Regents, which wished to take advantage of the FCC's channel allocation. David D. Henry, then the Executive Vice-Chancellor of New York University, had appeared before the commission to support the Board of Regents plan. At the behest of the New York State Deputy Commissioner for Education, Henry had convened a temporary committee to present the Board's position to Governor Dewey's commission. That temporary committee--comprised of representatives of several New York-area educational and cultural agencies--later became the Metropolitan New York Educational Agencies Committee on Television. Henry was elected temporary chairman. Simultaneously, a group of private citizens and civic institutions representing "consumer interests" formed the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council for Educational Television. The two groups worked closely together to create a structure to own, manage, and operate a non-commercial television station in New York. The Board of Regents approved the groups' application for a television station charter and proposed by-laws in June of 1954. After that point, the Committee was known as the Metropolitan Educational Television Association, Inc. (META). The META Board of Trustees included prominent officials from such institutions as the New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art, and Columbia, Fordham, and New York Universities. David Henry was elected chairman. META faced a large problem at its outset. The channels allocated by the FCC to New York were in the UHF band, while most households were equipped to receive only VHF transmissions and could receive UHF transmissions only with a converter kit (which cost between $50 and $75). META eventually decided to concentrate its efforts on constructing and operating a television production center, which would better enable them to purchase an existing, non-FCC distributed television station with VHF broadcasting capabilities. By early 1955, META had expanded its staff through the appointment of E.A. Hungerford as Executive Director of the corporation. He played a key role in obtaining funds, searching for the studio space, and generally administering the whole enterprise. Shortly after Hungerford's appointment, David Henry resigned from his position at New York University to take over the presidency of the University of Illinois. Carroll Newsom, former Deputy Commissioner for Education in New York, succeeded him, both as Executive Vice-Chancellor of New York University and Chairman of META. At that time, the Executive Director assumed most of the responsibility for running META, but Newsom was consulted on all major decisions. By the fall of 1956, META had received a number of grants and had completed plans to lease space in the building owned by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. At that time, Newsom was appointed president of New York University, and he relinquished his post as chairman of META. The chairmanship did not pass to John Ivey, the incoming Vice-Chancellor; the records in this collection do not indicate why or who was appointed instead. Eventually, META was associated with public television station Channel 13.

From the description of Records of the Office of the Executive Vice-Chancellor, administrations of David D. Henry and Carroll Newsom, 1952-1956. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 480455970

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. corporateBody
associatedWith Dewey, Thomas E. 1902-1971. person
associatedWith Henry, David Dodds, 1905- person
associatedWith Hungerford, E. A. b. 1882. person
associatedWith Ivey, John E. 1919- person
associatedWith Newsom, Carroll Vincent, 1904- person
associatedWith New York University. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Communications Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Television--Ultrahigh frequency apparatus and supplies
Educational television stations
Educational television stations--Law and legislation
Television in education

Corporate Body

Active 1952

Active 1956

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Ark ID: w61g7cp4

SNAC ID: 63631255