Marion English Watson

Marion Watson on Vimeo

Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Marion English Watson

Distinguished Service Award

Inducted 2008

Marion English Watson’s pioneering efforts in radio and in civil rights opened up new career opportunities for women and minorities in broadcasting. Her radio career began at WLB (now KUOM) in 1940 while she was a University of Minnesota student. She acted, directed, operated the sound equipment, wrote scripts, and became president of the WLB Radio Guild.  After serving as a Signal Corps code-breaker during World War II, she taught speech at the University of Minnesota and continued to do radio on a free-lance and volunteer basis.  Very active in the civil rights movement, she served as Legislative Chair for the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, Co-Legislative Chair of the Minnesota Council for Civil and Human Rights, and on the Minnesota Indian Affairs Commission and later the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. She became Program Director/Station Manager of KUOM in 1969, one of only three female public radio station managers in the country at the time, and the only one at a Big Ten school. Always a strong advocate for civil rights, she pioneered programming for American Indians, Hispanics, African Americans, and women. She stepped down as Station Manager in 1988 but served as KUOM’s Development Director until 1992.