TCF Timeline

  • Fall 1940 Department of Radio Arts established in College of Arts and Sciences; offered first courses. Chairman was John Carlile (former production chief of CBS radio)
  • 1941 Department began operating an AM radio station, the Bama Radio Network (BRN)
  • 1943 Carlile departed for active military duty. Department continued during war under acting chairs.
  • 1945 Upon return, Carlile offered former job as chair, but didn’t accept because the Department had been split from the Extension division’s radio production activities. Leo Martin hired.
  • 1945-51 Martin built the department, changed name, in 1947, to Department of Radio
  • 1947 Department’s AM radio station changed name to WABP
  • 1950 M.A. Program started; Department name changed to Department of Radio and Television Arts
  • 1951 Martin left for Boston U. Ken Harwood, Department’s first PhD faculty member, appointed as chair.
  • 1952 Department name shortened to Department of Radio and Television
  • 1954 Harwood appointed chair at USC. Ted Nelson became acting head
  • 1956 Don Dixon hired as chair of Radio-Television Department
  • 1963 W. Knox Hagood became chair
  • 1966 Name changed to Broadcast and Film Communication (BFC) to reflect inclusion of film studies
  • 1972 The FCC granted a license to the BFC Department to operate a 10-watt FM radio station, WUAL, thus replacing WABP
  • 1973 BCF and Department of Journalism combined to form the School of Communication
  • 1974 Department of Advertising and Public Relations formed in the School
  • 1980 Speech Communication joined the School
  • 1981 WUAL changed its call letters to WVUA so that the University could establish an NPR station with that name
  • 1982 James Brown appointed chair of BFC; Hagood returned to teaching
  • 1987 Jennings Bryant joined faculty as holder of Ronald Reagan Endowed Chair in Broadcasting and first director of the College’s Institute for Communication Research.
  • 1988 The School of Communication was renamed the College of Communication
  • 1988-89 Ray Carroll served as interim chair
  • 1991 TCF’s home building was renamed Reese Phifer Hall–having originally been built in 1930 as the Alabama Union (the student union building)
  • 1989 Loy Singleton appointed chair; BFC became the Telecommunication and Film Department (TCF)
  • 1990-91 TCF’s 50th anniversary celebrated
  • 1996 Sandra Braman hired as TCF’s first Reese Phifer Professor
  • 1997 The School of Library and Information Studies merged with the College, which then changed its name to the College of Communication and Information Sciences
  • 2006 Loy Singleton became Dean of the College
  • 2006 Gary Copeland appointed chair
  • 2011 Glenda Williams appointed chair
  • 2011 Andrew Billings appointed Reagan Chair
For more on the early years of the Department, see A History of the Department of Radio and Television of the University of Alabama (1955) and Keith Barze’s history of radio at UA.
For more on the history of the College, please see The College of Communication & Information Sciences: A History (1999).