Mary Mondello, Interim Executive Director of the Double Helix Corporation, donated the Double Helix records to the Western Historical Manuscript Collection at the University of Missouri-St. Louis on June 28, 1984.
Double Helix, a non-profit media corporation, incorporated in St. Louis on August 12, 1971 to preserve and expand the non-commercial, community broadcasting of radio, station KDNA-FM. KDNA was founded in 1969 as an independent radio station providing programming alternatives to commercial stations, the first "underground" station in St. Louis. It was supported by private contributions until the founding of Double Helix, which sought to secure the station's financial basis as a public, non-profit group. A fund-raising effort in August 1972 failed to prevent co-owners Lorenzo Milan and Jeremy Lansman from selling the station to commercial interests.
In May 1972 Double Helix approached the St. Louis Board of Education with a proposal to share broadcast time on KSLH, the Board's educational FM frequency. The Board refused to cooperate and the FCC denied Double Helix's time-share application in January 1973. The corporation then requested that Clayton High School move its 10-watt radio station, KHRU, to another FM frequency to allow room for a full power facility operated by Double Helix. Although Double Helix offered to pay the expenses of the change, the Clayton School Board refused the offer. In October 1973 Double Helix filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to have KHRU show cause for its refusal. The eight-year legal battle that followed ended with an historic decision by the FCC in 1981 to de-regulate 10-watt broadcast facilities, allowing more powerful stations to claim their frequencies. In 1982 Double Helix was awarded a construction permit for frequency 88.1 FM, formerly held by KHRU, and a $130,000 grant from the U.S. Commerce Department.
In May 1974, Double Helix also filed an application with the FCC to use channel 40 of the UHF television band for a non-profit, community television station. The St. Louis Educational Television Commission (KETC-TV) also petitioned for use of channel 40 in October 1974. A challenge to SLETC's petition by the St. Louis Broadcast Coalition, a consortium of community groups, ended any hope of a quick decision on the status of the channel. In 1976 Double Helix also petitioned the FCC for use of Channel 18, but withdrew the petition after Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville contested it. In July 1979 the FCC did assign Channel 46 to St. Louis at the request of Double Helix but rescinded the assignment the following month when SLETC withdrew its application for Channel 40, making it available to Double Helix.
Double Helix continues to raise funds needed to construct facilities that will allow it to broadcast on the radio and television frequencies assigned to it by the FCC. It also uses CETA grants to provide job training for the media labor market. Double Helix also provides video skills workshops, equipment access, video exhibitions, and technical and creative assistance to the St. Louis community.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The Double Helix records, 1972-1979, document the activities of a non-profit, community media corporation. The records reflect Double Helix's search for radio and TV broadcasting frequencies after the demise of KDNA radio. The collection includes petitions to the FCC for share-time with radio stations KSLH and KHRU as well as later applications for television broadcasting on Channels 18, 40, and 46. Opposing petitions filed by competitors for these frequencies, including the independent petition filed by KETC-TV for the use of Channel 40 (Folders 10-14). The FCC ruling on the television channels appears within the series as well as Double Helix's application.' for a federal grant, correspondence, minutes, notes, and membership lists. The collection does not include the FCC's 1981 ruling allowing Double Helix to use KHRU's frequency and de-regulating 10-watt radio stations. A brief history of the Double Helix Corporation from 1972-1974 is in Folder 19. The collection is arranged chronologically.
An addenda containing a separate series of bylaws, board of directors minutes, copies of KDNA's program guide 'Fat Chance, and copy photographs (11394-11413) of KDNA's staff, comprises a second series. Arranged alphabetically.
BOX 1, FOLDERS 1-19
SERIES I - RECORDS, 1972-1979, FOLDERS 1-19
1. Application for Non-Commercial Educational Radio Station, pp. 1-88, November 20, 1972
2. Application to FCC, pp. 90-172, November 20, 1972
3. Rulemaking Petition on KHRU, October 22, 1973 - November 27, 1973
4. Application for Federal Grant, pp. 1-69, December 14, 1973
5. Application for Federal Grant, pp. 70-159, December 14, 1973
6. Rulemaking Petition on Channel 18, November 2, 1974
7. SIEU Opposition to Rulemaking on Channel 18, August 1974 - February 14, 1975
8. Amendments to Application for Station on Channel 40, January 1975 - September 1975
9. Reply to SIUE's Opposition, January 3-5, 1975
10. St. Louis Broadcast Coalition's Petition, December 5, 1974
11. KETC-TV Objectives and Correspondence, March 26, 1975 - September 23, 1975
12. SLETC's Opposition to SLB's Petition, April 4, 1975
13. SLBC's Reply to SLETC's Opposition, June 6, 1975
14. Exhibits to SLBC's Reply and Application of SLETC,for Channel 40, June 6, 1975 - August 21, 1975
15. Comments of National Citizens' Committee for Broadcasting to Lansman-Milan Petition, March 1975 -December 1975
16. Associate Members Minutes, Notices, Membership Lists, February 23, 1973 - October 21, 1976
17. Application for Assignment of Channel 46, November 19, 1975 - October 5, 1976
18. Comments and Resolution on Assignment of Channel 46, October 10, 1976 - August 22, 1979
19. History of Double Helix, January 1972 - June 1974
BOX 2 ADDENDA 1971-1980
20. Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1972-1977
21. Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1980
22. By Laws, 1972
23. Fat Chance, 1971
24. Photographs 11394-11413, c. 1970s
25. "The Media: The Power and the Public," nd.
T-836 Oral History Interview with Gerald Upham
CASA (Community Association for Schools of the Arts), f. 17, 18
Discrimination, f. 10-13, 16
Double Helix, f. 1-19
Federal Communications Commission, f. 1-19
Gaslight Square, f. 1
KBDY Radio, f. 4, 5, 16
KDNA, f. 1-5, 8, 14, 16, 19
KETC-TV Channel 9, f. 1, 6, 7, 9-14, 17, 18
KHRU, f. 3, 16, 19
KSLH, f. 1-3, 5, 19
KWMU, f. 3
Lansman, Jeremy, f. 1-5, 11, 12, 14-16, 19
Media, f. 1-19
Media Access, f. 10-13, 16
Milan, Lorenzo, f.,l, 5, 14, 19
Radio, f. 1-19
St. Louis Broadcast Coalition, f. 10-15, 17, 18
St. Louis Educational Television Commission, f. 6, 7, 9-15, 17,
Southern-Illinois University-Edwardsville, f. 3, 5-9, 17
Television, f. 1-19
STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER-ST. LOUIS
222 THOMAS JEFFERSON LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS
8001 NATURAL BRIDGE ROAD
ST. LOUIS, MO 63121