News Articles

The rise of radio news

1940s 11/11/2001 07:00:00 PM Eastern

The visionary

The visionary

Edward R. Murrow, as CBS's European manager, assembles radio's most famous reporting team. The "Murrow Boys" include William L. Shirer, Eric Sevareid, Howard K. Smith, Robert Trout and Charles Collingwood. Murrow, whose reporting of the war sets the standard for the medium, goes on to more journalistic accomplishments at CBS News in the newer medium of television. He leaves the network in 1961 to become head of the U.S. Information Agency and dies in 1965.

As war engulfs Europe, and the U.S. appears headed toward the conflict, Americans turn to their radios to stay informed. During 1940, the networks' typical weekly schedules contain 56 quarter-hours (a standard unit at the time) throughout the day, compared with only 33 quarter-hours in 1939, none during the daytime.

CBS has Edward R. Murrow in London and his team of correspondents across Europe, while NBC has Fred Bate, Max Jordan, William Kierker and others.

When the U.S. is attacked by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941, network news reporting preempts regular programming. And the audience for President Roosevelt's broadcast to the nation on Dec. 8, the day war is declared, attracts the largest audience to that time.

By the end of the week, all the networks and most stations are operating around the clock. For the first time, a war is being heard by the people back home.

In addition to war reporting, coverage of domestic news is on the rise. The tremendous interest in the 1944 presidential campaign, leads the networks to cancel all commercial programs in order to cover the Republican and Democratic political conventions.

The visionary

The visionary

Edward R. Murrow, as CBS's European manager, assembles radio's most famous reporting team. The "Murrow Boys" include William L. Shirer, Eric Sevareid, Howard K. Smith, Robert Trout and Charles Collingwood. Murrow, whose reporting of the war sets the standard for the medium, goes on to more journalistic accomplishments at CBS News in the newer medium of television. He leaves the network in 1961 to become head of the U.S. Information Agency and dies in 1965.

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