Saluki Radio Network | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The Saluki Radio Network began in 1951, shortly following the arrival of Professor Buren Robbins. Robbins was instrumental in the establishment of the Department of Radio and Television at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. It was from this budding department that the Saluki Radio Network came from, as Robbins and his students began producing taped radio programs and distributing them for free among the seventeen radio stations operating in Southern Illinois. The Saluki Radio Network served dual purpose of regional outreach through the Division of Area Services, and training for the students of the department.
In the 1950s these programs focused on portraying SIU in a positive light and providing programing useful to the farmers, laborers, and housewives of the region. In 1958 WSIU came on air, with the Network producing shows alongside the SIU Broadcasting Service for the new station. The Saluki Radio Network, also called the SIU Radio Network grew in the 1960s and began producing shows for a broader national audience. Many stations would use these recorded programs to fulfil the "Fairness Doctrine,” an FCC requirement which required fair airtime to differing points of view on political and societal issues.
Professor Richard Hildreth took over for Robbins in 1971. Under his direction, the Network began charging a small subscription fee in order to maintain its operations. The Saluki Radio Network was the only network in the United States where all production was handled by students. During this time, the network had as many as 130 national subscribers, including radio stations in Alaska and Hawaii.
Amidst budget cuts to the Department of Radio and Television and federal efforts to deregulate radio, the Saluki Radio Network ceased operations in 1981.
Plochmann, George Kimball. The Ordeal of Southern Illinois University. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1959.
Southern Illinois University Bulletins, 1967-1971.
Saluki Radio Network collection, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Jennifer Polk, "Saluki Network to close down," The Daily Egyptian, September 14, 1981.
Jennifer Polk, "Saluki Radio Network latest victim of budget," The Daily Egytian, September 23, 1981.