Edward R. Murrow And The Rise Of Radio News

09 May

Radio covered big news stories from the very beginning.

8MK, later licensed as WWJ Detroit broadcast the first radio news program August 31, 1920.

KDKA signed on with the Harding-Cox Presidential Election returns on November 2nd of that year.

Radio reported stories like the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Scopes (Monkey) Trial and the famous eyewitness account of the Hindenburg disaster.

However, very few regular news broadcasts were on the schedule during the 20s and 30s. Radio news departments really didn’t exist.

Generally, staff announcers handled everything from orchestra programs, to drama to ribbon cuttings.

The Great Depression occupied America’s attention during the 30s. Radio provided endless escape programs of soap operas and comedy.

The political climate in Europe not only changed the world map, but how news was covered and how we heard it.

Edward R. Murrow, an educator by trade, was hired by CBS to find entertainment programming to broadcast from Europe. Little did they know the impact he would have on radio news.

Murrow moved to London in the mid 30s and organized programming like children’s choirs broadcasts from Vienna.

A smart and well educated man, Murrow quickly saw the situation in Europe would require a totally different approach.

The America of the 1930s had isolated itself from the rest of the world.

Newspapers, the most important source of news, often buried stories about Europe deep inside the paper.

America was paying little attention to the events developing in Germany.

Murrow can be credited with inventing radio news and helping America come out of a deep slumber.

Bob Edwards of XM 133 is author of “Edward R. Murrow And The Birth Of Broadcast Journalism (Turning Points In History)’.

It is the fascinating story of Murrow and his ‘boys’ covering the big story with primitive equipment against difficult censorship rules.

The audio book version is great. it includes Murrow’s chilling description from a rooftop of bombs falling on London.

Murrow’s words are concise. Yet he speaks with great color.

It is powerful radio.

Bob’s engaging presentation will help your commute to work go very quickly.

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Posted by on May 9, 2008 in Radio History


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