August 22, 2014

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A Groundbreaking Month for Broadcasting

A number of milestone anniversaries, the most important of which was for a program which could be the first to be called a "newscast".

Even in this day and age of the internet, social media and 24-hour cable news, millions of people still tune in to watch programs generically called "the news".

What undoubtedly was the first such broadcast first came on the air in March of 1938.

Just as a nightly ABC-TV roundup on the hostage crisis in Iran evolved into ABC News Nightline, what began as a one-time report on war tensions in Europe became a nightly broadcast called the CBS World News Roundup.

The first broadcast featured reports from overseas by people who would become CBS (and broadcasting) legends: Edward R. Murrow, Robert Trout, and future ABC anchorman Howard K. Smith, among others.

Even though radio was nearly two decades old, news was still a new commodity to the medium, still seen as the nearly exclusive territory of newspapers.  Radio news would come of age during World War II, and what has come to be known as "the roundup" was a major factor.

Here is a link to a recent article on the anniversary from the Radio-Television Digital News Association:

http://rtdna.org/article/cbs_world_news_roundup_at_75

World News Roundup remains on the air today on CBS Radio, airing in the mornings. A similar broadcast, The World Tonight, airs in the evenings.  I used to listen to the latter program in college. It then was anchored by Douglas Edwards, who anchored The CBS Evening News on TV before being replaced by Walter Cronkite in the 1960's.  Both programs were 15 minutes long at the time, and I recall thinking they were just as informative as any TV newscast.  They were reduced in length to 10 minutes in the 1990's.

There is a lesser, but still memorable, milestone for two long-running CBS-TV daytime series.

The daytime drama The Young and the Restless and the game show The $10,000 Pyramid both debuted on March 26, 1973. Y and R remains on the air to this day, and, with the recent attrition of soap operas on network TV, it is now the second-longest running daytime drama still on the air (The longest, ABC's General Hospital, observes its 50th anniversary in April). Pyramid ran on network daytime until 1988, and has had a recent revival on cable.

While radio and television are always changing, it's comforting in a way to know there is still something consistent.

 

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