RIP, Archie Greer

We are sad to inform you of the passing of Mr. Archie Greer on Sunday evening. We will add more details as they become available, including the obituary and where to give gifts in his memory.

Also, here is the video from the dedication of ACRN studios to Mr. Greer in 2007. Please excuse the poor audio quality. Transcript follows below.

“We need them to know who Archie Greer was, what he did for us,
how he contributed, and that without him, we would not have our
ACRN opportunities, we would not have our ACRN legacy.”
Jason Wright, Dedication of ACRN Studios in Baker University Center to
Archie Greer, April 21, 2007.

Below is the transcription of Archie’s speech from that event:

“Well, I am first of all, very honored to be here. It isn’t often that
an old one-eyed codger working on the last half of his
80 years is invited to an event like this. [inaudible] today. It
really is an honor for me to be here to accept this privilege that
you’ve bestowed upon me.

I was thinkin’ about it the other night. I think everybody, no matter
who they are, all of you out there, probably would like to be somehow
remembered when it’s all over. If this is your way of showing me that
you remember, and that I will not be forgotten. That’s a distinct
privilege that I would like everybody to share at one time. Probably
won’t happen to all of you, but I hope that it happens to some of you.

A couple weeks ago, my daughter and granddaughter and I were making a
trip back from South Carolina. We drove past Fort Jackson, Columbia
South Carolina. And I’d been stationed there during the war for a few
months. I said to my daughter, I think it’d be nice if we stopped
there, at Fort Jackson, to see where I spent a little bit of my

We got in line. There were a lot of people trying to get in. I don’t
know why they were trying to get in. Most of the soldiers are trying
to get out, you know, but these people were trying to get in. And I
found out that it wasn’t possible for us to get into the Fort itself.
They had bomb sniffing dogs, they had reflectors on sticks to look
under your cars to see if you had a bomb hidden under there. It was
just a very tight security thing. And they asked for photo ID,
passport, birth certificate, did you belong to any foreign
organizations you might be ashamed of. They were just very tight, and
we decided we couldn’t get in.

But the man at the gate did something that I felt was very unique. My
daughter said “My dad served in the military and he was stationed here
at this fort for a while.” The man said “Thank you for serving.” And i
thought that was rather unique, that a man was thanking me for
something I did 50 years ago, 60 years ago. And I think that that kind
of show of gratitude on the part of a stranger to anybody just helps
to make their day.

So when you’re in that restaurant, and the waitress does something
nice for you, to say thanks to them is not out of order. It will help
them to appreciate what you’re doing for them.

Let me just take a couple of minutes while I’ve got the microphone here.

First of all, you’ve got to remember two things. One, I was a teacher,
and teachers get up and talk. I was a broadcaster, and if you put a
microphone in front of me, I’ve got to talk. So now that I am up here,
and I’ve got a microphone in front of me, I’d better give you a little

I’m a firm believer that you’ll never know where you’re going if you
don’t know where you’ve been, and I just wanted to take a minute to
just review with you, very briefly, and I’ll try to keep it short, the
history of ACRN.

Back in the late 50s, when a student from here, I think his name was
Dale Perry, I could be wrong, came into the office and said “we want
to start a radio station in Gamertsfelder Hall.” [inaudible] would
anybody suggest that, because that would be in competition with WOUB,
and at that time, I was managing that station. I said “well, we’ll
give it some consideration, but if you would please, do a little more
homework. Put down on paper, what exactly your plan is, how you’re
going to finance this operation, how you’re going to staff it, how
you’re going to program it. All of the intricacies of operation, put
down on paper ” and I hoped the guy would disappear into the dorm
system never to be seen again. But he came back, in about a month and
he had all of these questions documented, how they were going to run a
radio station in Gamertsfelder Hall. So we said, yeah, go ahead, give
it a try. Again, thinking that this is doomed to failure. These
student projects with an ambitious nature don’t last very long. They
get tired.

But Gamertsfelder Hall did very well. And then Gamertsfelder Hall came
back and said we’ve got the women’s dorm next door, and they would
like us to pump our programming into their dormitory. So, we said ok,
and we had a station, and a satellite. And, as time went by, we ended
up with about 17 dorms which were either programming their own
stations or were satellites. This took us up to about 1965 or 6. And,
in order to keep this thing under control, we formed a Federal
Communications Commission, except this was n’t federal, this was
campus, but it did the same thing, it was our regulatory agency. And
stations that wanted to go on the air had to come in and apply for a
license, find a frequency, document all the process that they were
going to go through for funding and staffing and programming. The FCC
met every week and they approved these stations. They had an
engineering consultant who worked with them for their technical setup.

And this was getting to be a great thing, a terrific thing for
individual stations. But the one thing that was missing in this whole
training proposition was that it was not commercial. So, the thought
came to mind, “how do we make this commercial”, and the only way to
make it commercial was to establish a network station, and all of
these stations on the campus would have to ally themselves with the
network station. The network station could be commercial. We had
university regulations about commercial enterprises of other sorts,
but this was one that was not covered by the university in any way.
But there was no way to do it.

All these stations were in isolation. The west green was developing,
the south green was developing. How many other greens did we have? The
east green was pretty well wired, but the other two were not. And so
the only way it would work would be for the whole unit to be wired. It
just so happened that about that time, in the late 60s, the university
was having great thoughts about using educational television for
instructional purposes, and they thought one of the ways to utilize
this would be to feed programs into every dormitory, maybe into every
room. And so they began to wire the campus, and when they had the
campus wired, we went to them and said, “Hey, it would be nice, since
you’ve got all those wires underground leading to all these
dormitories around here… how ’bout dedicating a couple of pairs of
wires to ACRN,” and they said fine, much to everybody’s surprise.

A young man came in by the name of Art Argoris. Art didn’t last too
long. Art only lasted one year, because Art dedicated himself 110% to
helping to put together the ACRN organization. He found people who
were interested in the concept and it wasn’t too long after that that
ACRN became a reality. That was 36 years ago. Now, the concept was
developed, oh, probably about 10 years before that. But, in reality,
you people have been doing it for 36 years and doing a bang up job.

Once in a while, an administrator in Cutler Hall would call me over
and say “who’s in charge of ACRN?” and I would say, “well, I am kind
of, and he is kind of, and they are kind of,” but I tried to not point
out anybody specifically, especially myself. They wanted to know who
was going to handle this in case something went wrong.

And over the 36 years, I don’t think anything really has gone wrong.
You’ve been very professional about the organization, you’ve tried to
avoid problem areas, and you’ve done a job that’s exemplary.

Consequently, when you honor me today with this dedication, I am
extremely proud. I could not be associated with a better group. Thank
you very much.”