UNI Department of Communication and Media inducts inaugural Hall of Fame honorees

UNI Department of Communication and Media inducts inaugural Hall of Fame honorees

Pat Blank and Bob Dorr holding up Department of Communication and Media Hall of Fame awards

UNI’s Department of Communication and Media has inducted the first members into its Hall of Fame, welcoming Pat Blank and Bob Dorr, two UNI alums who have had illustrious careers with Iowa Public Radio.

Pat Blank retired in 2021 after a 43-year broadcasting career, 33 of those years with Iowa Public Radio. Blank was hired as a reporter and eventually was chosen to host “Morning Edition” at the Cedar Falls studios in 1986. She was a familiar voice as Iowa host of “All Things Considered” from 1995 to 2021. She is a nationally award-winning reporter who has also worked in commercial radio and television. In 2014, Blank received the Jack Shelley Award by the Iowa Broadcast News Association. At the time, she was just the fourth woman to be honored with the award.

Blank reported hundreds of stories for Iowa Public Radio and filed many with NPR during her career. Some of her biggest stories included presidential candidates, the King of Norway and the Dalai Lama, as well as the UNI Panthers’ unforgettable trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen basketball tournament and the tragic EF5 tornado that tore apart Parkersburg and other communities in 2008.

Blank received her bachelor’s degree in radio-television broadcasting from the University of Northern Iowa in 1978. She later served as a part-time instructor at Wartburg College and at the University of Northern Iowa where she taught journalism classes. She is married to Terry Blank and still stays very busy raising Nigerian Dwarf goats. 

Bob Dorr started his 50-plus year career in Iowa public radio when he did the first rock 'n' roll show on an Iowa public radio station in Cedar Falls on Oct. 2, 1972. He was still a UNI student at the time and graduated with a BA in radio-TV broadcasting and speech in 1974. In his decades as a rock and blues deejay, Dorr interviewed hundreds of musical artists, including Tom Waits, Ry Cooder, Muddy Waters, Luther Allison, Jean Luc Ponty, Koko Taylor and Average White Band. 

He was honored for those years by being inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame in the deejay category in 2000. Dorr is also an accomplished musician himself. He has been the leader, singer and harmonica player of The Blue Band for more than 30 years and was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in 2005 and again inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 in the band category.

Dorr officially retired from his position at the University of Northern Iowa’s Broadcasting Services Department at the end of 2009, but continues his weekend presence on Iowa Public Radio’s Studio One Network as an independent producer. Listeners can still hear his deep, resonant voice on the weekend blues shows “Blue Avenue” and “The Beatles Medley.” Dorr is married to Carolyn Dorr and still keeps a busy schedule as a musical performer.