Richard Eaton Broadcast Center
UMTV is based at the Richard Eaton Broadcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park.
The facilities were named in honor of broadcasting pioneer Richard Eaton by University President C.D. Mote Jr. at ceremonies May 1, 2000.
The Richard Eaton Foundation approved funding plans for a $1 million gift to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism to help support UMTV.
The donation is the second major gift from the Eaton Foundation to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. In 1996, the foundation approved funding to endow a $1 million Richard Eaton Chair in Broadcast Journalism.
Dr. Lee Thornton, a former Howard University journalism professor, senior producer at CNN and CBS News White House correspondent, is the first Eaton Chair. Dr. Thornton and her students produce news shows that air on UMTV.
Eaton was chairman of United Broadcasting Co., which owned and operated 17 radio stations.
He pioneered black-oriented radio programming in the United States by establishing WOOK in Silver Spring in 1947. He also operated the first Cuban-oriented radio station in Miami and the first Japanese-language TV station in Honolulu.
Before launching United Broadcasting, Eaton also was a weekly newspaper publisher, a radio news commentator for WINX in Washington and a reporter for the Mutual Broadcasting radio network. He died in 1981.
"Richard Eaton played an extraordinarily important role in the early years of broadcasting," then-dean Reese Cleghorn said when the funding plan was approved in 1999. "And with this generous gift from his foundation, his legacy will continue to help shape the industry by providing support to its future leaders."
Cleghorn praised Gerald Hroblak, president of the Eaton Foundation and a member of the college's Board of Visitors. Hroblak, a business administration and economics graduate of the University of Maryland's University College, played a critical role in both gifts.
"With the help, guidance and support of Jerry and the foundation, we are confident that we will be able to make our broadcast news journalism division the best in the nation," Cleghorn said.
The broadcast center named in Eaton's honor includes a newsroom and news studio where journalism students get hands-on experience, as well as the studio where the UMTV staff produces station programming.
Part of the first-year Eaton gift went to reconfiguring the newsroom to create six glass-enclosed editing bays and to rewiring the control room.
The gift, which will come to the college in installments over eight years, will be used in part to create an endowment for the station. The remainder of the funds will help fund special UMTV programs and projects.
"We're extremely pleased to support two important projects that are helping Maryland's broadcast journalism program move ahead: The Richard Eaton Chair that has brought the great teaching talent of Professor Lee Thornton to the college, and now an added tribute to Richard Eaton with this new broadcast news center in his name," Hroblak said.
The center is located in the Tawes
Fine Arts Building.