"The Iron Man of Radio": Robert Trout, Pioneer of Radio Broadcasting

Robert Trout, 1930sRobert Trout started in radio on a dare and soon emerged on the leading edge of broadcast history. He was the first to report live congressional hearings, to transmit from an airplane in flight, and to broadcast a daily news program. He was instrumental in the development of new broadcasting techniques and in the creation of the role of news “anchorman.” Trout was a versatile radio professional, equally at home on a quiz or variety show, a human-interest feature, or straight newscast. What set Robert Trout apart from his radio colleagues, however, was his unique ability to improvise for hours at a stretch while reporting major breaking stories. His marathon coverage of everything from political Fireside Chat, September 30, 1934conventions to the D-Day invasion earned Trout his reputation as “The Iron Man of Radio.” The Iron Man continued his radio career on National Public Radio until his death in November, 2000.

Robert Trout was a historian's dream. He preserved an extensive collection of scripts, correspondence, memoranda, publicity, clippings, photographs, press credentials, recordings, and souvenirs generated during more than a half century of broadcasting. Special credit also must be given to his late wife, colleague, and critic Kit Trout, who organized the collection as a lifelong broadcast resource. Mr. Trout donated his archive to the University of Texas Center for American History in 2000. The Center is pleased to recognize Mr. Trout's gift with this exhibition highlighting both his career and the research materials found in the Robert Trout Papers.

The Robert Trout Papers make a significant addition to the Media History Archives, which the Center for American History is developing in partnership with the University of Texas College of Communication. The Media History Archives includes the papers of media professionals, the archives of media industries and photojournalists, and special-focus collections on media issues. Among the papers of media professionals are those of Robert Trout's CBS colleagues Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney. The Center for American History is a special collections library, archive, and museum that facilitates research and sponsors programs on the historical development of the United States. This exhibition is part of that mission. We invite you to explore the career of an American broadcasting pioneer: Robert Trout, “The Iron Man of Radio.”

Robert TroutTitle: "The Iron Man of Radio": Robert Trout, Pioneer of Radio Broadcasting

Viewing dates: November 11, 2000 - August 31, 2001

Description: "The Iron Man of Radio" traces Robert Trout's contributions to radio and television journalism during a career that spanned eight decades. Trout, who has been called "one of the greatest broadcasters of all time" by renowned television journalist Walter Cronkite, was instrumental in the development of new broadcasting techniques and the creation of the role of news "anchorman.”

The exhibit features Trout's scripts, correspondence, photographs, press credentials, news clippings, and souvenirs. Viewers will also hear audio tapes of Trout's broadcasts, including his coverage of President Franklin Roosevelt's election in 1932, the D-Day Invasion on June 6, 1944, and Japan's surrender at the end of World War II. The exhibit also features a video tape of "This is Robert Trout," produced by WCBS-TV in 1965.

The exhibit features scripts, newspaper articles, telegrams, press passes, handwritten notes, and other documents, artifacts, and ephemera from Trout's career. It also features several audio excerpts from Trout's broadcasts and the 1965 television special "This is Robert Trout," produced by WCBS-TV.

Event sponsor: Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Bulletin Announcing Outbreak of World War II, September 1939Location: Sid Richardson Hall, Unit 2
(Sid Richardson Hall is adjacent to the LBJ Library and Museum on the UT campus)

Public hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday
(closed on holidays; closed on Saturdays during intersessions. See CAH Calendar of Events for a more detailed listing of closures.)

Parking: Free parking is available in the LBJ Library parking lot, located on Red River St. between Manor Rd. and Dean Keeton St. (26th St.)

Telephone: (512) 495-4515

Contact: Lynn Bell, Exhibits Curator

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