Title: Governor'S Office. Office of Information Services Records,
Date (inclusive): November 1972-June 1976
Governor'S Office. Office of Information Services
California State Archives
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[Identification of item], Governor'S Office. Office of Information Services Records, F3715, California State Archives.
Governor Ronald Reagan established the Office of Information Services (OIS) in October of 1972 (Executive Order R 39-73) to
improve communications with the public on the activities of state government. The main purpose of the office was to make the
information systems of various state agencies, departments, and commissions more responsive to public needs. Prior to the
establishment of the OIS, most of the forty-odd agencies in the executive branch of state government had their own information
officers; but there was no overall coordination of the communications functions. Subsequently, most state agencies continued
to employ communications personnel. The OIS was simply an attempt to systematize their activities.
The Office of Information Services had three divisions. The first was the Office of the Chief, a position filled by Harvey
F. Yorke from November 1972 through November 1975 and by Fred R. Epstein from December 1975 through June 1976. The chief's
major duties were to provide direction for the agency and to coordinate the information activities of other agencies and departments
in the executive branch of state government. Yorke also devoted a considerable amount of time to developing and participating
in training programs designed to upgrade the professional skills of state information officers, and he served as the liaison
between the California Bicentennial Commission and the governor's office.
The Broadcast Services Division produced a series of tapes for radio stations which converted the press releases of various
state offices into audio form. The staff of Broadcast Services received press releases from state agencies, wrote radio announcements
based on them, and recorded these announcements on tape. In most cases the tape also included an actuality by an executive
or information officer in the agency which produced the news release - i.e., a recording of that person's voice explaining
the news item. Radio stations could call Broadcast Services over a number of toll-free telephone lines to listen to the tapes.
There were three feeds each day (10 A.M., 2 P.M., and 5:30 P.M.), five days a week. The California Information Broadcast Service
began its programs on December 11, 1972, and terminated on June 30, 1976. Bob McCafferty managed the Broadcast Services Division
from November 1972 through September 1975. Larry Martz succeeded him and stayed with the program until its termination.
The Southern Area Office, located in Los Angeles, acted as a field service center for agencies and departments of state government
that did not have their own information officers in the Los Angeles area. In this capacity it helped them contact the news
media about their programs and arranged news conferences and public meetings. It produced several weekly public service programs,
both in English and in Spanish, for Southern California radio and television stations that described the various state government
services and instructed individuals how to obtain them. In addition, it served as a contact point on the activities of state
government for the news media in the southern part of the state. Simon Nathenson headed the Los Angeles office for all three
and one-half years of its operation.
The Office of Information Services went out of existence at the end of the 1976 fiscal year. Convinced that most of its activities
were superfluous Governor Brown cut it out of the 1977 budget.