It’s only fitting that it’s been a busy news week — Eliot Spitzer, Microsoft-Yahoo, Federal Reserve bailouts, Clinton-vs.-Obama, AOL-Bebo, Electronic Arts-Take-Two, and so on — as the longest-running news broadcast in history marks its 70th birthday today.
CBS News Radio’s “World News Roundup” bowed on March 13, 1938, marking the first time correspondents in various cities around the globe were brought together for a regularly skedded live broadcast. And the program’s preem also marked the CBS debut of a newsman we’ve heard a lot about since, Edward R. Murrow.
Murrow was stationed in Vienna, CBS News pioneer Robert Trout held down the homefront in Gotham, another legendary Eye newsman, William L. Shirer was based in London and there were other correspondents weighing in from Paris, Rome and Berlin. Given the era, at the time the big story was the simmering tensions in Europe that would soon explode into World War II. (Click here for a link to hear the first “World News Roundup” broadcast and its 50th anniversary special. And click here for a link to the program’s contempo podcast.)
Reflecting on those early days in a 1958 CBS broadcast, Murrow noted that those early “World News” broadcasts were as up to the minute as you could get, and mostly live without a net. (Today, CBS Radio reporters can report live from pretty much anywhere in the world using a palm-sized bit of wireless equipment.)
“In those days before and during most of the war, we were not permitted to use recordings. Everything was live and moved directly from the reporter’s microphone into your home,” Murrow observed. “One of the advantages in reporting through a medium as fast as radio is that you don’t have the time or the inclination to look back.”
Hmmm, sound familiar?
(Pictured above: Murrow at the mic, circa 1954. Pictured right, Robert Trout and Douglas Edwards at the “World News Roundup” 50th anniversary party.)