Owen S. Rich

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Owen Sterling Rich (March 16, 1922-May 4, 2013) is the creator of the carrier-current radio station known as KBYU-FM.


Rich attended the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute, where he received an Engineering Certificate in 1943. He then attended Brigham Young University and graduated in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy and a minor in theatre and media arts. Rich received a master’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Southern California in 1953 and an PhD in higher education from Pennsylvania State University in 1963.

Professional Work

Following his graduation from BYU, Rich was hired as a full-time faculty member in the Communications Department, as an instructor in the Speech Department with and emphasis in radio and television, and was given the responsibility to supervise the new radio station.

In time, President Wilkinson suggested Rich go to Hollywood to learn how TV could be utilized for educational purposes. He received an MA in TV Production in Los Angeles and created an award-winning TV series on KBUH Channel 4 in Hollywood. He taught the first BYU Television production courses with the help of KSL facilities.

In 1960 Rich received a mass media fellowship, which enabled him to receive his Doctorate at Penn State University where he began work in the use of large screen TV instruction.

Rich served in various national organizations and was elected twice to be Vice President of the Broadcast Education Association. He received distinguished service citations from the Western Broadcasting Association and the Broadcast Education Association and was also a recipient of the San Francisco State University Broadcast Preceptor Award. He received national recognition for his teaching methods.

In 1987 the College of Fine Arts and Communications at BYU awarded Owen with its Teaching Excellence Award. The BYU Owen S. Rich Broadcast Education Pioneer Endowment was created to honor his contribution to Broadcast Journalism education.

Family Life

Owen Rich was born in Paris, Idaho. He graduated from Fielding High School where the was the Idaho State javelin champion. He married Ora Nielson in December of 1941. Rich and his wife Ora had five children and many grandchildren. Rich passed away in Provo UT in May of 2013.


  • Rich, Owen S., KBYU and BYU Broadcast Education: The Beginning, An Autobiographical Sketch. Brigham Young University. 1992.
  • Rich, Owen S., Owen S. Rich: Teacher, Radio and Television Pioneer- A Lifetime of Service.
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