OAB Hall of Fame
Robert Allen assumed the leadership of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority in 1972. Over the ensuing 27 years Allen revealed his remarkable talents in achieving success through his work with state government, the corporate sector, and the viewing public.
His first objective at OETA - new studios and offices - was achieved in 1974. The first step was taken in his dream of a statewide system with the Eufaulafacility in 1976, and was ultimately fulfilled in 1982. He established the first March Festival Fundraiser in March 1975 and brought $110,000 to the State Treasury. Recognizing that raising money for the State Treasury and then trying to get it back was not the best system, Allen secured legislation in 1983 enabling the establishment of the OETA Foundation.
A goal of providing a newscast that covered all sectors of Oklahoma was achieved in 1980 with the cooperation of the Oklahoma commercial telecasters. The use of footage from their newscasts enabled the OETA to provide relevant regional news to all parts of the state.
A native Oklahoman, Robert Allen’s love of history, and the challenge “that it couldn’t be done” spurred one off his greatest accomplishments, the production of the five-part docudrama, “Oklahoma Passages.” The production on Oklahoma history from 1830 forward provided Allen with one of his most challenging feats, that of raising from the private sector the “1,000,000 in production costs. Accomplishing that mission, “Oklahoma Passages” was recognized nationally for its excellence in television production and set viewing records for educational television stations with 20-plus shares.
1987 marked another career highlight, when Allen’s search for “programming not feasible on commercial television” brought the dormant “Lawrence Welk Show” into syndication through a partnership with OETA. The show is now syndicated to 250 public television stations.
A self-proclaimed “cause driven” person, Robert Allen loves his State, the viewers and public television. His career in public television gave him the opportunity to use his talents, and he used them well.