Media School mourns professor emeritus Robert LeRoy Bannerman

Chris Forrester • June 21, 2018

Robert LeRoy Bannerman, an Indiana University professor emeritus in broadcast education and telecommunications, died Wednesday, June 13, at his home in Bloomington. He was 97.

Bannerman, a native of Whiteville, North Carolina, was born March 10, 1921. He joined the university’s faculty in 1957, when he was appointed an assistant professor in radio and television and producer-writer at IU Radio and Television Services. In 1986, he became a full professor in the telecommunications program.

David Fry, BSEd’69, MSEd’74, said Bannerman was one of the biggest influences on his education while he was at IU. Fry earned degrees in education with a focus on radio/TV and audiovisual communication. He said Bannerman’s dedication to his field was unmatched.

“He was one of the few professors that was so passionate about his topic that he spread that passion to the students,” Fry said.

Fry said he took many of Bannerman’s classes, from which he gleaned an appreciation for radio production as an art form, as well as foundational skills he still uses in his day-to-day work providing audio services at a church.

“Other professors just had their content; they taught you the content and they tested you on that sort of thing,” he said. “Bannerman challenged us in ways that were amazing.”

He recalled the at-times arduous work of Bannerman’s classes, which he said was certainly frustrating at the time but has helped him in the long run.

“All of the things I learned from Bannerman have helped me in just about everything I’ve done,” Fry said.

In addition to teaching for the university, Bannerman wrote and produced more than 200 hours’ worth of radio programs. In 1963, he wrote and produced a historical radio docudrama called Tears of Rain, which chronicled and interwove the stories of the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations.

He was also an author of fiction and nonfiction. He wrote multiple books dealing with worldwide events he experienced during his life, including the civil rights movement, World War II and the “Golden Age” of radio.

Donations may be made to the LeRoy Bannerman Scholarship in Innovative Audio, the IU Foundation or the First United Church of Bloomington.

All are invited to share memories or condolences for Bannerman’s family at the Allen Funeral Home website.