Handlin, Gardner Head Corporation Trying to Start Cultural TV Station

Two Faculty members are trying to bring a new kind of television to Boston.

Oscar Handlin, Winthrop Professor of History, and Robert G. Gardner, director of the Film Study Center in the Peabody Museum, are directors of Boston Broad-casters, one of the five corporations which have applied to the Federal Communications Commission for authority to operate a television station on Channel 5 in Boston.

The license of WHDH, Inc., which has operated a station on the channel since 1957, expired Jan. 26.

Although a commercial, rather than purely educational company, Boston Broadcasters will seek to utilize the cultural resources of the community and surrounding universities in order to raise the cultural level of Boston and the television industry in general.

Discarding Westerns and situation comedies, it will carry shows supplied by the CBS network as well as original programs featuring local amateur and professional talent. Many shows will be directed especially toward Boston viewers.


"We're voyagers in the wasteland," said Gardner of the new enterprise. "We're fed up with present television, and we're planning entertainment which is profound as well as good."

Terming his company "more courageous" than existing television stations, Gardner said it would feature "offbeat subjects--the things that other stations don't dare to show."

Although it would have no direct affiliation with Harvard, Gardner said that the corporation might televise especially good Harvard dramatic productions or subsidize University research on mass communication.

He said that the Boston Broadcasters was opposing WHDH's application for a renewal of its present license because WHDH is headed by Robert B. Choate, who is also publisher of the Boston Herald-Traveler. "We want to separate the mass media holdings," he said. "It's a bad idea for one person to control both a newspaper and TV station."

Gardner was optimistic about the corporation's chances of securing a franchise on the channel.