Skip to main content

The Minnesota School of the Air, 1938-1979


Program Series Description

A Little About - The Minnesota School of the Air

On September 26, 1938 at 11:05 in the morning, the Minnesota School of the Air was officially "born" with a broadcast of "Puss-In-Boots," the first in a series called Interesting Tales for Little Folks. (By February 6, 1939 that title had been changed to Old Tales and New From Many Lands and before long, that title was shortened.) The entire schedule of systematic in-school instruction was called The Minnesota School of the Air. The originator and first director was Dr. E.W. Ziebarth - at that time an educational broadcaster. By the spring of 1940 the School of the Air won its first national award and by that fall the North Central Broadcasting System was carrying the University's school broadcasts on ten stations reaching from Bismarck and Jamestown to Duluth and Winona. By 1942 the network coverage had extended to Sioux City and Fort Dodge, Iowa, Ashland and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Ironwood, Michigan...

- KUOM Bulletin, 1975-1976
The Minnesota School of the Air (MSA) was a series of instructional radio programs written and produced for school-age children to listen to in the classroom. Each series was designed to supplement the curriculum of local school districts. In general, each program was between 10-15 minutes in length.

In 1945, Betty Thomas Girling became the Director of the MSA, which she oversaw as administrator, producer, performer, and script writer until her death in 1979. The MSA concluded with the 1978-1979 season.

The MSA records are organized into the following sub-groups:


Materials include general reports, surveys, and correspondence regarding the administration and production of the MSA.

Manuals and Bulletins

To promote MSA programs and provide guidance to teachers and school administrators, the radio station printed and disceminated schedules and bulletins with program descriptions. Printed materials are organized chronologically by MSA season.

Program Series

Archival materials (scripts, correspondence, schedules, brochures, teachers' manuals) and audio recordings are organized within each program series, which are listed alphabetically.

A large portion of the recordings were digitized and are accessible in the Audio sections. Digitized content is denoted on the item record for the recording with an icon of a sound file. Click on the icon to listen to the recording.


  • Creation: 1938-1979


Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area