Skip to main content

Full text of "News By Radio"

See other formats

News by Radio 







News by Radio 

Mitchell V. Chamley 



Table of Contents 



1 News Takes the Air 1 

The "Press-Radio War" 1 5 

Radio Gets the News 22 

After Munich 26 

2 Who Listens? And How? 40 

What Do They Want? 46 

Who Are the Listeners? 49 

Methods of Audience Study 51 

3 Is Radio News "Different"? 55 

The "Living Room Audience" 57 

Facts Are Facts or Are They? 61 

"Control** of the News 63 

4 The Radio Newsroom 72 

Newsroom Personnel 76 

Newsroom Organization, Operation, and Cost 79 

5 How Is It Written? 84 

The Conversational Style 84 

Simplicity 93 

Vitality 100 

Do ... Don't 103 

Putting the Story Together 105 

The Radio Feature Story 110 

The Mechanics of Radio News Copy 113 

Accuracy 116 

viii Table of Contents 

6 How Does It Go Together? 119 

The Format of the News Program 119 

Where Does the News Come From? 1 24 

Putting the Rewrite Show Together 133 

The Newscast 137 

Putting the Radio Wire Show Together 162 

Moving from Story to Story 177 

Typical Radio Station News-Days 181 

7 Multivoice News Shows 184 

The Simple Multivoice Show 185 

The Radio News Interview 100 

Dramatizing the News 202 

8 Radio's Local News Service 235 

What Is "Local" Radio News? ' 241 

How Docs Radio Cover Local News? 242 

What About Recording Devices? 244 

The Public and Radio News 247 

Broadening the Coverage 249 

WHAT Does the Newsroom Cover? 2 50 

Weather News 254 

The Feature Angle 255 

Local News and Promotion 258 

A Miscellany of Local News 260 

9 Special Events 265 

Arranging a Special Event 267 

"Man-on-the-Street" Broadcasts 278 

A Miscellany of Special Events 279 

10 News of Special Fields 283 

Agricultural News 285 

Sports News 290 

Women's News 294 

Political News 295 

News in Other Special Fields 296 

Table of Contents ix 

11 Making the News Meaningful 301 

Backgrounding the Straight News Show 303 

What Is "Commentary"? 308 

"Commentary" or "Analysis"? 309 

Commentary and the Station 315 

How the Commentary Grows 318 

The Professionals at "Work 324 

The Discussion Program 348 

12 The Law Says . . . 352 

Libel or Slander? 352 

Liability 359 

Watch Out for Lotteries 360 

As for Censorship . . . 362 

What Is "Privacy"? 364 

The Right to Report 365 

Who Owns the News? 366 

The Last Word 368 


A Codes for Self-Regulation by News Broadcasters 37? 

B Standards for Education for Radio Journalism 384 

C A Radio News Style Book 3&& 

D A Check List for Radio Newsroom Self-Analysis 393 

Index 397 


News Takes the Air 

On August 31, 1920, Michigan held primary elections. Nothing un- 
usual about that. 

That evening, in some hundreds of living rooms, bedrooms, base- 
ments, and garrets in the Detroit area, amateur wireless enthusiasts 
sat before their homemade receiving sets. Headphones pinched their 
ears. Their fingers fiddled with tuning coils as they picked up the 
Arlington time signal or the "eep! eep!" of Morse code whistling 
among "ham" senders or between lake ships and shore stations. 

Suddenly into their headphones came a static-ridden human voice. 
It said something like this: 

"This is Station 8MK. The Detroit News brings you early returns 
from today's Michigan voting. . . ." 

That "was unusual. Regular broadcasting of news was born that 
ni S ht - _ o 

The fact was that this station first to put a regular daily schedule 
of programs on the air had been broadcasting experimentally since 
August 20. But it was not until August 31 that the News carried the 
and invited the public to listen in. 

The "studio" was hardly pretentious. Up among the bound files in 
the News library, on a table crowded into a corner, rested a "de Forest 
Radiophone/' It consisted of a rectangular panel about fourteen by 
sixteen inches in size, with several control switches and dials, a pair of 
voltmeters, and, at its top center, what looked like a, telephone mouth- 
piece its primitive microphone. There was no acoustically-treated 
chamber, no well-gadgeted control room, no chrome furniture. Into 
the mouthpiece a young man was talking broadcasting election 
returns as they came up to him from the newsroom, a floor below. 

From that day forward, without a break, Station 8MK put daily 


2 News by Radio 

programs on the air recorded music, speakers, vocalists, cornet players, 
a "live" orchestra now and then. And news local and regional news 
from the paper's staff, national and international news from the press 

It was the inauguration of regular daily broadcasting, rather than 
the fact of broadcasting, that made those August dates notable. Dr. 
Lee de Forest had successfully broadcast the human voice some thirteen 
years earlier. On an evening in 1907 he had taken two young women 
to his cluttered experimental laboratory atop a building in midtown 
New York a young Swedish concert soprano and a newspaper reporter. 
Faced by the confusion of wires, batteries, and other queer apparatus 
in the laboratory, the guests of the "father of radio broadcasting" were 
skeptical. At length Dr. de Forest persuaded the soprano, Eugenia 
Farrar, to sing two songs into the old-fashioned phonograph horn that 
served as a microphone "I Love You Truly" and "Just A-wearyin' 
for You." But the reporter remained unconvinced. She was scooped. 

For the next day, in the rival New York Herald, Dr. de Forest found 
a doubting little story to the effect that a Brooklyn Navy Yard wireless 
operator said he had heard "the voice of an angel" coming out of the 
air the night before. 

The public was unimpressed, but de Forest continued his experi- 
ments. His excitement, and that communicated to David Sarnoff and 
other radio pioneers, were enough. In 1908 de Forest broadcast songs 
by Enrico Caruso; in 1910 he offered his handful of amateur followers 
Caruso, Madame Emmy Destinn, and others singing opera from the 
stage of the Metropolitan. On November 7, 1916, the New Yorfe 
American ran a wire to his experimental station at High Bridge, New 
York, and de Forest broadcast returns from the Wilson-Hughes elec- 
tion. They concluded with the statement that "Charles Evans Hughes 
will be the next president of the United States"! 

But World War I threw the emphasis of wireless experimentation 
on message communication point-to-point wireless rather than on 
broadcasting. Private operations were forbidden for the duration. It 
was not until 1919 that the prohibition was lifted. In that year Dr. 
Frank Conrad, assistant chief engineer of the Westinghouse Electric 
and Manufacturing Company, who had begun broadcasting experi- 

Ne\vs Takes the Air 3 

ments in 1915, resumed his work and soon built up an astonishing 
audience for his twice-weekly recorded music broadcasts from 8XK in 
Pittsburgh. But it was only in 1920 that 8MK, later WWJ, made its 
appeal for a regular popular audience. 

Those first regular broadcasts from Detroit, however, were quickly 
followed by a second series. Westinghouse, taking its cue from Con- 
rad's success, set up a broadcasting station in Pittsburgh, and on: 
November 2 opened it with news of that day's Harding-Cox presidential! 
elections, obtained from the Pittsburgh Post. KDKA maintained a- 
semiweekly schedule of broadcasts until December 1, when it went on. 

a daily schedule. 

j o 

Each of these broadcasting pioneers had chosen a news event, one 
sure of public interest, as the occasion for the station's initiation. But 
there is no reason to think that either, in 1920, envisioned radio as a 
medium capable of serious challenge to the newspaper as a purveyor 
of news, much less as an advertising vehicle. Rather, each saw it as 
a means of promotion of another enterprise. The backers of 8MK 
pioneers in the use of the airplane and other devices in newspaper 

WWJ and KDKA have long disputed the distinction of being the first 
commercial station on the air with regular daily programs. The facts: 8MK 
was licensed to the Radio News and Music Company, a de Forest sales 
organization. The broadcasts beginning August 20, 1920, went out from 
8MK 7 but they went out from the Detroit News plant, under News opera- 
tion and declared sponsorship, using a "radiophone" owned by the Neivs. 
On October 1 2, 1921, the News was issued a full commercial rather than an 
experimental license, and its call letters became WBL; on March 3, 1922, 
they became WWJ. Regular daily programs were maintained throughout 
this period, and since. 

KDKA was issued its full commercial license on October 27, 1920, and 
opened broadcasting operations six days later, on November 2. The claims 
of KDKA appear to be based on the facts that it always operated under the 
call letters KDKA, and that its commercial license predated that of WWJ. 

On August 20, 1936, Dr. de Forest said during an anniversary broadcast 
from WWJ, "On the night of August 20, 1920, the first commercial radio 
broadcast station in all the world was opened. . . . Not until eleven weeks 
after its founding did WWJ share the channels of the air with a rival broad- 
casting station. The honor of being second . . . fell to KDKA." 

4 News by Radio 

promotion thought of radio as a means of winning goodwill for the 
News. The men behind KDKA were the men of Westingliouse Elec- 
tric, which had a receiving set almost ready for the market and which 
already saw ahead the radio wars with the newly-formed Radio Cor- 
poration of America. Westingliouse realized that if American families 
were to be persuaded to lay $125 on the line for the new machine, 
regular and attractive programs had to be provided. 

Entertainment that was the thing. And entertainment of a sort- 
was the fare those two early stations offered. 

Recognition of its promotional value was one of the two character- 
istics of the usual newspaper attitude toward radio as the early 1920's 
ran along. In the two years following the first broadcasts some hundred 
dailies set up their own stations, according to an estimate by the 
American Newspaper Publishers Association. Most of them followed 
the standard pattern: 'Tut on good shows, advertise the paper." One 
discordant, if prophetic, note came from the Kansas City Star's WD AF, 
established in 1921. The Star's advertising department offered a com- 
bination radio-time and newspaper-linage rate. The "commercialization 
of radio" was rearing its horned head. But few advertisers took advan- 
tage of the Star's offer, and few stations followed WDAF's lead. 

The second characteristic was the marked friendliness of the press 
to radio. Marconi's wireless telegraphy, de Forest's audion, Alexander- 
son^ alternator, Jack Binns' famous distress call from the sinking 
steamer Republic in 1909, communication by radio in World War I 
all had been news. And the development of a great new industry was 
news. Newspapers published radio logs; they devoted many columns 
of general news space to the new entertainment medium. They even 
furnished driblets of news for broadcast. The Philadelphia Public 
Ledger, which didn't own a station, went to the length of recording 
news bulletins for a Philadelphia station. 

Whatever the validity of KDKA's claim as first regular broadcasting 
station, there is no doubt that it has many radio news "firsts" to its 
credit. On March 4, 1921, it read on the air a copy of President Har- 
ding's inaugural address while the President was speaking in Washing- 
ton. Through the spring it broadcast a number of notable speeches 
given in Pittsburgh; Herbert Hoover, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. T 

News Takes the Air 5 

Secretary of War Weeks were among the speakers. 

On April 11 it invented a new kind of broadcast: on-the-spot sports 
coverage. Johnny Ray and Johnny Dundee fought in Pittsburgh, and 
Florent Gibson, of the Pittsburgh Post sports staff, described the event 
before a microphone. On July 2 came the first of a long string of battles 
of the century the fight between Jack Dempsey and Georges Car- 
pentier at Boyle's Thirty Acres in Jersey City. Few heavyweight 
matches have had the ballyhoo that built up the meeting of Dempsey 
and the handsome Frenchman, and Westinghouse saw a chance to 
capitalize. It planned to open a new station, WJZ, in the New York 
area in a few months, and its engineers borrowed a transmitter from 
the bitterly competitive General Electric Company and set it up in 
railroad yards near the stadium. Major J. Andrew White, editor of an 
early radio magazine, put the fight on the air. Westinghouse estimated 
that some 200,000 listeners heard White's blow-by-blow account. 

Soon after, KDKA began broadcasting big league baseball from 
Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. It had already begun to include Department 
of Agriculture market reports in its daily service, and this soon expanded 
into a regular farm service hour. When WJZ opened on September 
30, it made World Series baseball bulletins its inaugural feature. 

All of which is to say that the news broadcasting of those early days 
was largely built around special events, or aimed at specialized audi- 
ences. By a few stations routine news was put on the air a news story 
read out of the newspaper could fill a gap between Victor records as 
well as anything else. But regular news programs to pull mass audi- 
ences were hardly dreamed of. 

Nevertheless, the first timid blows in what was to become a knock- 
down conflict came as early as 1922. On February 20 the Associated 
Press asked its 1,200 member newspapers not to permit the broadcast 
of news that, according to its bylaws, was AP property. Apparently the 
impulse behind this request was not a desire to hamper the develop- 
ment of a competing agency for news dissemination, but rather an 
attempt to protect what was, in effect, commercially valuable mer- 
chandise. The AP was then, as now, a cooperative association of 
newspapers; its news property consisted not only of news gathered by 
its special correspondents, but also of all that the member newspapers 

6 News by Radio 

gathered. The AP, because of its direct control by the newspapers 
themselves, has traditionally been close to the wishes of newspaper 
owners and editors. And these men did not propose that their property 
be used for gain by nonmembers. 

The influence of the request was such that Westinghouse stations 
(there were now four) agreed to discontinue their "news flashes/' But 
the action of the AP did nothing to prevent radio use of news from 
United Press, International News Service, or other sources. And the 
request, though it may have thrown a temporary roadblock before 
the expansion of newscasting, certainly did not prevent a good many 
stations from lifting news telegraphic or local, AP or other from the 
papers and putting it on the air. 

The AP had, in fact, to backtrack in 1924. Its newspaperman 
directorate decided that broadcasting baseball scores was no violation 
of bylaws. It made an effort to keep returns of the 1924 national 
election a newspaper secret, and it fined one member newspaper, the 
Portland Oregonian, $100 on the paper's frank admission that AP 
reports had been used by radio. But no action was taken against other 
papers, many of which had unquestionably sinned (some, when the 

(Federal Communications Commission statistics) 

January 1, 1922 


January 1, 1935 605 

March 1, 1923 


January 1,1936 632 

October 1,1924 


January 1, 1937 685 

June 30, 192 5 


January 1, 1938 721 

June 30, 1926 


January 1, 1939 764 

February 2 3, 1927 


January 1, 1940 814 

July 1, 1928 


January 1, 1941 882 

November 9, 1929 


January 1, 1942 923 

July 1, 1930 


January 1, 1943 917 

July 1,1931 


January 1, 1944 912 

January 1, 1932 


January 1, 1945 919* 

( 943) 

January 1, 1933 


January 1, 1946 940* 


January 1, 1934 


January 1, 1947 1,062* 


January 1, 1948 1,522* 


* Stations licensed to broadcast. Fij 

gures in parentheses include also construction 

permits issued. Before 1945, the two fi 

gures were nearly the same. 

News Takes the Air 7 

question was raised, said they had permitted radio use only of returns 
from other than AP sources) . It was estimated that ten million radio 
listeners had learned through the air of Calvin Coolidge's victory 
before their newspapers reached them. 

The AP lowered the bars further in 1925 when it voted to permit 
broadcast of brief bulletins of news of "transcendent" importance. 

Meantime, the newspapers were becoming aware of radio's growing 
competition for the advertising dollar. At its 1925 convention the 
American Newspaper Publishers Association, whose membership 
represented most leading dailies, gave to the radio industry the un- 
solicited (and unheeded) advice that it was likely to wring the neck 
of its golden goose by larding its offerings with direct advertising. 
Advertising, admonished the ANPA, might destroy the entertainment, 
educational, and goodwill values of broadcasting. It voted that its 
members refuse to give "free publicity" to programs involving direct 

Radio's response was a program of gigantic expansion. 

This was signalized in 1926 by organization of the National Broad- 
casting Company, and the next year by that of the Columbia Broad- 
casting System. Network development had no immediate significance 
as far as the broadcast of news was concerned. But it did provide a 
formidable competitor in entertainment and advertising. Networks 
could produce more costly and successful "shows" for their outlets 
than could the individual stations; they could sell advertising on a 
national basis. They could, and did. 

In 1927 Congress recognized by adopting the Federal Radio Act 
that broadcasting was going into long pants. High time, said the 
industry. Regulation of radio had been under the antiquated Com- 
munications Act of 1912, designed to govern primitive commercial 
wireless traffic. Under this Act the assignment of wave lengths had 
been in the hands of the Department of Commerce. The system had 
fallen to pieces. It permitted stations to alter wave lengths almost at 
will; jamming by conflicting broadcasts had become more the rule 
than the exception, especially as the number of broadcasters mush- 
roomed (more than 200 new stations had appeared in the eight months 
preceding the Acts passage) . The new Act established the Federal 

8 News by Radio 

Radio Commission to assign frequencies and otherwise to administer 
broadcasting. And it first introduced to radio the phrase 44 in the public 
interest, convenience, and necessity" a phrase common to most public 
utility legislation. 

What, in radio terms, was "the public interest, convenience, and 

As interpreted by the FRC and translated (sometimes freely) by the 
broadcasting industry, it meant that radio schedules must include 
offerings of social value. They were certain to include advertising, for 
advertising, in the American system of broadcasting, paid the bills. 
They were certain to include entertainment, for entertainment insured 
that the advertising would be heard. But they had also to include 
public service features features of educational value, features to edify 
and instruct, to serve the public welfare. Features such as lectures, 
"classical" music, programs designed to illuminate matters of public 

Features such as news. 

In the late 1920's news was of small importance to the commercial 
purposes of broadcasting. Advertisers were little interested in news 
programs in terms of sponsorship, for the very good reason that other 
types of programs held greater audience appeal. From the broadcaster's 
point of view, however, news programs had two appreciable advantages : 
they helped to build up a station's, or a network's, hours of public 
service programming; and they were easy and inexpensive to put on 
the air. But the news problem was not yet one of radio's major concerns. 
Newspapers, on the other hand, were becoming increasingly alarmed. 
News was the prime commodity they had to sell to the public; advertis- 
ing was the breath of life. Radio was trespassing in both fields. The 
newspapers' fear of the trespasser led them into a false position a 
position of meeting an irresistible force, not with an immovable 
object, but with illogic and halfway concessions. Railroads had tried 
to hamper the development of bus and truck transportation, and had 
failed because bus and truck transportation had been a useful advance 
in human intercourse. Newspapers, too, were to try to hamstring a 
useful social advance; they, too, were to fail. 
In the fall of 1928, the three great press services AP, UP, and INS 

News Takes the Air 9 

yielded to the extent of furnishing returns of the bitter Smith-Hoover 
election to radio stations. Local newspapers in many cases cooperated 
similarly with local broadcasters. But if they hoped thus to establish 
a pattern of control of the amount of news that went into the nation's 
microphones, they were disappointed. For the radio news of that 
election served both to whet the appetite of many millions of listeners, 
and to increase radio's interest in making news a regular part of its 
daily menu. In December, for example, KFAB-Lincoln, Nebraska, 
inaugurated two "editions" of a radio "newspaper" two daily broad- 
casts of news. It hired George Kline away from his city editorship of 
the Lincoln Star to direct them. Other stations developed similar 

And late in 1930 KMPC-Beverly Hills, California, not only opened 
a schedule of three fifteen-minute news shows daily, but organized its 
own news-gathering service to implement them, Its Radio News Serv- 
ice of America put ten reporters on the news runs regularly covered 
by the Los Angeles newspapers, developed a string of out-of-town 
correspondents, and went into what it described as "friendly competi- 
tion" with all neighboring newspapers. 

Such developments showed the direction of the wind. It was a wind 
that newspaper publishers could hardly ignore. In their plants, their 
staffs, and the news services that worked for them, they had invest- 
ments of millions of dollars. Comparatively, radio investment was 
small. Yet the newspapers saw the newcomer using their chief com- 
modityoften "pirating" it at no expense, and putting it before an 
audience minutes or hours before the newsboys could hawk it. 

More important than that: October, 1929, had come and gone. 
Newspaper "depression linage" in 1930 was 14 per cent below that 
of 1929. There was every reason to think the decline in newspapers' 
major income item would continue. In the face of that, radio adver- 
tising income was booming. 

Newspapers now had no doubt that they faced serious competition. 
In 1929, the AP had again tried appeasement a relaxation of pro- 
hibitions against members' broadcast of news to prevent members 
from getting news for broadcast from other sources. But this was only 
a halfway measure. It had effect only on radio stations with direct 

10 News by Radio 

connection with AP papers, a relatively small number. And the AP had 
no effective policing method. The policy had little force. 

So there was a rush by newspapers to get into the radio business. 
Already about a hundred newspapers had radio connections. Others 
began establishing stations, buying stations or setting up participating 
or cooperative relationships with stations (the increase in number of 
licensed stations from 1930 to 1938612 to 721 was somewhat 
smaller than the increase in number of newspaper-radio affilia- 

It is ironic that, when publishers became broadcasters, most of them 
followed exactly the programming and advertising sales patterns 
developed by radio. Some attempted to control sale of radio time so 
as to favor their newspapers. Many thought of the broadcasting of 
radio news as a means of promoting newspaper circulation "for 
further details, read your Evening Bugle 1 ' and dependable observa- 
tion suggests that they thought soundly. Newspaper sales have often 
reached astonishing peaks just after radio has taken the cream off the 
news (though radio got the break on the news of the Normandy in- 
vasion in 1944, newspaper sales for the day were reported at 20 to 50 
per cent above normal. The same kind of thing was true on V-E Day, 
at President Roosevelt's death, and on many other occasions). Total 
daily newspaper circulations reached new highs annually during the 

(in millions of dollars) 

Radio Newspapers Radio Newspapers 

1927 5 775 1937 145 600 

1928 20 760 1938 145 520 

1929 40 800 1939 170 525 

1930 60 700 1940 175 535 

1931 80 620 1941 225 610 

1932 80 490 1942 245 580 

1933 65 450 1943 325 665 

1934 90 500 1944 400 645 

1935 105 530 1945 470 770 

1936 120 580 1946 490 965 

Statistics from Printers' Ink annual summaries. 

News Takes the Air 11 

1940's, when radio news broadcasting was also on a mounting curve. 
But in 1930 the only successful broadcasting pattern was that developed 
by broadcasters, and no newspaper going into radio invented anything 
new, or added anything to existing forms. 

Moreover, the inroads of newspapers into the radio industry had 
direct relation only to a minority of radio stations, and to a smaller 
proportion of newspapers. The number of newspaper-radio station 
affiliations has never reached more than about a third of the number 
of all licensed stations, at the most liberal interpretation of newspaper- 
radio association (that is, including situations with newspapers in 
minority ownership ) . It has never reached above a sixth of all American 
dailies, and only to about 3 per cent of the weeklies. 

Nevertheless, in 1931 the panic was on. In Portland, Oregon, the 
newspapers served notice on the radio stations that they would no 
longer publish radio logs unless stations paid for them at regular 
advertising rates (the stations refused; the newspapers withdrew the 
logs and five days later put them back, unpaid, because reader de- 
mand for them was so great). In Kansas City the Star, an unusually 
powerful paper, succeeded in a like effort. In Minnesota the state 
Editorial Association passed a futile resolution. The Pennsylvania 
Newspaper Publishers Association approved a resolution with three 
resounding "whereases" and four "be it resolveds" speaking of the 
"jealous eye" of the broadcasting industry as it destroyed "the surprise 
value of the news," and not only threatening to "use their best efforts 
to outlaw any station or chain that seeks to usurp the newspaper 
function" but also calling on members and the news services to cease 
furnishing news to stations. California Newspaper Publishers Associa- 
tion took similar action in 1932. And the American Newspaper Pub- 
lishers Association was told by its counsel, Elisha Hanson, that any 
"deal" with other organizations such as the AP to curtail radio's 
use of news would violate restraint-of-trade laws. 

Another influence that doubtless added to newspaper jitters was the 
fact that a small Washington news service the Consolidated Press, 
headed by David Lawrence of the United States Daily offered news 
to stations. It procured four customers not enough to alter circum- 
stances substantially, but a foreshadowing of later developments. 

12 News by Radio 

Much of the burden of the fight, through 1932, fell on the unhappy 
shoulders of the AP. The UP and the INS, being private, profit-making 
enterprises in the business of selling news, were somewhat less subject 
to newspaper influence. But the AP's job was to "furnish" rather than 
sell news to its newspaper-owners, and it was in the middle. A ques- 
tionnaire circulated among members showed heavy opposition to use 
of AP news for broadcast. The AP's concession on news of "trans- 
cendent" importance still held, however, and when the infant son of 
Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh was kidnaped in March of 1932, AP 
joined with other services in helping radio to do a notable job of 
spreading the story and appealing to the kidnapers to return the child. 
Radio reporters themselves worked on this story, alongside the news- 
paper and press service men; and such later notables as Boake Carter 
and Gabriel Heatter, among others, first began attracting sizable radio 
audiences by their Lindbergh-case broadcasts. 

But the AP directorate decided against radio use of its 1932 election 
returns. The surprise of member publishers, then, was great when on 
election night they heard both CBS and NBC broadcasting AP bul- 
letins on the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. What had happened 
was this: Kent Cooper, AP's general manager, had learned at the last 
minute that UP had offered to sell election news to CBS for $1,000. 
To forestall such "subsidy of a competitor," Cooper decided to release 
the news free to the networks. Meantime, though Cooper didn't know 
it, UP had withdrawn its offer, after "consultation" with newspaper 
clients had convinced Karl Bickel, UP president, that the income 
received would not give UP papers "a very considerable reduction" 
in the cost of election returns. The result was that AP news went on 
the air. But so did UP and INS news; UP printers already installed in 
network headquarters were "mysteriously" turned on, and CBS had 
made a protective arrangement for coverage with the New York Times 
and the New York Journal, whose service included INS wire reports* 
Incidentally, two Hearst writers, Frederic William Wile and Edwin 

Of 1,197 AP members in the winter of 1932-1933, 1,103 answered the 
questionnaire. Majorities, usually heavy, favored denial of AP news to radio 
chains, and even denial of the right of members to broadcast AP news. 
Only 223 did any news broadcasting. 

News Takes the Air 13 

C. Hill, announced the bulk of the returns for CBS; NBC had as its 
stars Arthur Brisbane, Walter Lippmann, and George B. Parker. 

While the newspapers and the press services had thus been fumbling, 
radio went smoothly on its way. Baseball, football, and other sports 
broadcasts had long since become accepted radio features in fact, as 
far back as 1926 and 1927, when the Tunney-Dempsey fights had gone 
on the air, the Scripps-Howard newspapers had sponsored the broad- 
casts. Commander Byrd had broadcast from the South Pole under 
New York Times auspices. The Republican and Democratic conven- 
tions of 1932 went on coast-to-coast hook-ups. On September 22, radio 
listeners heard William Beebe talking from his bathysphere as he was 
lowered 2,200 feet into the Atlantic off Bermuda. Microphones were 
set up in courtrooms until judicial and public disapproval frowned 
them out to pick up play-by-play accounts of sensational trials. 

Most such broadcasts were in the nature of what came to be called 
"special events/' rather than the simpler straight news programs to 
which the newspapers especially objected. But they all aided in es- 
tablishing radio in the public mind as a purveyor of news. And they 
fortified the radio industry in its determination to do as it liked. If 
the public asked news of the broadcasters, news the public should 

As 1933 came in, then, radio listeners heard full accounts of the 
attempt to assassinate Franklin Roosevelt at Miami. The new Presi- 
dent's inaugural on March 4 went out on a record-breaking interna- 
tional hookup. Eight days later Roosevelt initiated the "fireside chat" 
an event that was periodically to combine the President's striking 
"radio personality" and exceedingly skillful scripts with whatever news 
he chose to present, all in a manner to build bigger and bigger radio 
audiences among a people desperate for relief from the depression. 

Moreover, the number of regular news programs was increasing. 
Though AP remained intransigent, UP and INS were selling news to 
stations willing to pay the tolls. A few newspapers owning radio 
stations the Milwaukee Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Hearst 
chain among them were frankly insisting that radio news was a legiti- 
mate part of their business. And many stations with neither newspaper 
tie-ups nor regular news services were coolly lifting news "pirating" 

14 News by Radio 

it, the newspapers said from the press and putting it into America's 

living rooms before the newspapers reached them. 

A new factor in the struggle that was shaping up grew out of the 
energetic efforts of E. H. Harris, editor of the Indiana Richmond 
Palladium and chairman of the ANPA's radio committee. The ANPA 
for the most part represented the larger dailies; Harris wanted broader 
representation, especially to include the smaller papers that felt them- 
selves the worst sufferers from radio competition. He formed a Pub- 
lishers National Radio Committee, drew up a statement of the 
newspapers' grievances, and with it went to the AP and ANPA con- 
ventions in April. 

ANPA at once responded by approving several "recommendations'* 
offered by Harris "recommendations" because the Association wished 
to avoid the danger of a charge of conspiracy in restraint of trade. 
Among them: 

That the Association should protest against the selling or giving away of 
news in advance of newspaper publication, and should take legal action in 
cases of piracy. 

"That all news bulletins broadcast, in fairness to newspapers, should be 
in the briefest possible form and prepared to whet the appetite of the 
listener for more news to be obtained through newspapers; and that credit 
for broadcasting all national and international news be given to all news- 
papers of the United States" 

That newspaper-owned stations be asked to limit local news broadcasts to 
brief bulletins, in order not to injure papers not affiliated with stations. 

That free insertion of radio programs in newspapers be condemned. 

Extreme as some of these proposals appear, they indicated the 
temper of the newspaper owners. When the AP convention met, it 
made another attempt to dam the flow of news to radio. It voted to bar 

One day in the spring of 1933 Harry Fairley, editor of the Minnesota 
Fairmont Sentinel, went to a restaurant for lunch. From the restaurant's 
radio, tuned to a South Dakota station, he heard word for word the AP news 
report on which he had been working for the last hour. This station had not 
bought the news its announcer was reading from an early edition of a 
local paper. Fairley's Sentinel would not reach its subscribers for another 
three hours. . . . Fairley's experience, and his rage, found counterparts all 
over the country. 

News Takes the Air 15 

AP news from network use, to limit AP members with radio affiliations 
to brief bulletins on matters of major importance, to set for such 
bulletins prescribed broadcast hours that would give newspapers a 
time advantage, and to make special assessments against members 
using AP news for broadcast. It was hoped that the mild concessions 
in this arrangement would obviate attempts by radio interests at news- 
gathering. It is dimly possible that the hope might have been justified 
had AP gone unsupported. But publishers put pressure on the other 
two big news services, and shortly UP and INS announced not only 
similar regulations for their clients' use of news but also cessation of 
sale of news direct to radio stations. 
That was the back-breaking straw. The battle was joined. 

The "Press-Radio War" 

The Columbia Broadcasting System responded vigorously. Under the 
energetic direction of Paul White, former UP man and CBS public- 
ity director, it set up Columbia News Service, Inc. White established 
a main office in New York, with bureaus in Washington, Chicago, 
Los Angeles, and London. He gathered staffs of competent newspaper- 
men for the bureaus, and supplemented them with some eight hundred 
string correspondentsmen and women, mostly newspaper reporters, 
paid good rates for each bulletin they sent to a bureau. He made 
arrangements for procuring foreign news from the British Exchange 
Telegraph news agency, and financial news from the Dow-Jones serv- 
ice. By late September he had his pretentious organization ready for 
full-strength operation, and it provided news for two daily fifteen- 
minute newscasts by Boake Carter and H. V. Kaltenborn on the net- 

NBC did not go to such lengths. Its "radio city room" in New York 
continued the scissors-and-paste brand of news-gathering it had been 
employing for some time; Abe Schechter, news director, made arrange- 
ments with the Consolidated Press for supplementary service. Its news, 
like that of CBS, was available for sponsorship. 

Powerful as they were, the networks in 1934 served only a few more 
than a third of American broadcasting stations. But this did not confine 
newscasting to their affiliates. The "independent" stations continued 

16 News by Radio 

their news broadcasts, evidently using early editions of newspapers just 
as they had before the press services' edict came out, Editor & Publisher, 
the newspaper trade journal, reported in May that New York City 
newscasts were "as voluminous and complete" as usual. News com- 
mentators such as Thomas and Carter, to whose use of up-to-the- 
minute news as basis for their "patter" the newspapers also objected, 
continued on their way. 

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the AP brought suit against Station 
KSOO, charging piracy of news. A Federal court issued an injunction 
denying the station the right to use news gathered at others' "labor 
and expense" during the period in which the news retained commercial 
value. The injunction fixed this period at not less than twenty-four 
hours, thus differing from decisions in analogous cases, which usually 
set the commercial life of news at no longer than the period between 
publication of a morning and a succeeding evening paper. Today the 
period is usually considered to be about four to six hours. 

Late in 1934 the AP instituted another suit against a radio station 
which, after long litigation that took it to the United States Supreme 
Court, resulted in a draw. In October the Washington Bellingham 
Herald obtained an injunction forbidding Station KVOS-Bellingham 
to use news from the Herald and two other AP papers, the Seattle Times 
and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. On December 18 a Federal district 
court judge in Seattle dissolved the injunction on the ground that 
publication of the news in the papers threw it into the public domain. 
A year later the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco re* 
instated the injunction, upholding the principle that a news-gatherer 


NBC Red* 

NBC Blue* 


Mutual t 

























* NBC Red dropped the "Red" from its title in 1942, when NBC Blue 
became the independent Blue Network Company. Blue become the Amer- 
ican Broadcasting Company in 1945. 

t Mutual commenced operations in 1934. 

News Takes the Air 17 

(in this case, the AP) retains a protectable property right in news 
during its commercial life. But on December 14, 1936, the Supreme 
Court dodged the issue by a decision that the case was not within the 
jurisdiction of Federal courts, since the AP had failed to prove pro- 
spective damage of $3,000, the minimum sum necessary to establish 
it as a Federal case. 

The KSOO case was almost the newspapers' only solace in 1933. 
Broadcast of news continued to expand. And the newspapers continued 
to exert pressure on radio to limit its news programs. One weapon was 
the threat of omission of radio logs a threat that had little effect. 
Another was a hint that publishers would attempt to bring pressure on 
the Federal Radio Commission to prevent the renewal of licenses of 
stations that did not see the light. Moreover, the fact that NBC was 
greatly handicapped in newscasting since it had not developed an 
extensive news-gathering organization caused something of a split in 
radio's front. CBS was not eager to carry the torch alone. Late in 1933 
publishers were able to announce that the two networks had appealed 
to the Harris committee for a meeting to discuss "the long-standing 
dispute between the broadcasters and the newspapers." Harris and the 
committee, at the same time, were ready to make some concessions. 

On December 11 Harris convened his committee with representa- 
tives of radio and the press services a meeting attended by enough 
notables so that it might lead to a showdown. Present were President 
William S. Paley of CBS and President M. H. Aylesworth of NBC; 
Roy Howard of Scripps-Howard Newspapers; Harry Bitner of Hearst 
Newspapers; J. H. Gortatowsky of INS, President Karl Bickel of UP, 
and Lloyd Stratton, executive assistant to General Manager Kent 
Cooper of AP; Alfred J. McCosker, president of NAB; General Mana- 
ger L. B. Palmer of ANPA; and four ranking members of the Harris 

The group conferred for two days. When it adjourned, it had drawn 
up a "Press-Radio Plan" which it hoped would satisfy broadcasters 
and at the same time protect the press. It decreed that: 

It would be administered by a seven-man committee one each from 
ANPA, AP, INS, UP, NAB, CBS, NBC under chairmanship of the ANPA 
representative and subject to review by the Harris committee. 


18 News by Radio 

Each of the three press associations would provide full daily reports, on 
which the Press-Radio Bureau could base two daily broadcasts of five 
minutes each, composed of bulletins of not more than thirty words on any 
one news event. 

The five-minute broadcasts should be put on the air no earlier than 9:30 
A.M. or 9 P.M. 

The broadcasts should not be sold for commercial purposes. 

CBS and NBC would undertake no news-gathering efforts on their own. 

The broadcasters would pay the costs of the Press-Radio service. 

Occasional news bulletins of transcendent importance would be pro- 
vided to broadcasters, to be used "in such manner as to stimulate public 
interest in the reading of newspapers." 

Radio news commentators would be limited to "generalization and back- 
ground of general news situations," eschewing spot news. 

Here were concessions on both sides. The networks would agree to 
abide by the news schedule as outlined, would use only the news 
furnished by the Bureau, would use it without sponsorship, and would 
retire from the news-gathering business. The newspaper industry and 
the press services would not attempt to prevent newscasting would, 
in fact, "cooperate" to the extent of making highlight coverage avail- 
able to any broadcaster who wished to pay for it. 

The plan was ratified, with slight modifications, by all parties in 
January, 1934. But it had four serious deficiencies: 

It did not bind UP and INS to refrain from selling news to radio. In fact, 
both agencies repeated their reservation of the previous April, when they 
had withdrawn such service that they would abandon their position 
should the necessities of competition demand it. 

It did nothing to forestall the organization of new news services. 

It did not represent the views of a majority of the radio stations the in- 
dependent, unaffiliated stations which had consistently, and not always 
silently, held to a belief in their rights to broadcast news as often as they 
wished, and under sponsorship if they wished; nor of a number of news- 
paper-owned stations which considered the plan an invasion of their private 
affairs (the Chicago Tribune, owning WGN, had already stated that "the 
people are entitled to the service for which the Tribune is equipped") . 

Most important of all, it flouted "the public interest, convenience, and 
necessity." The public had given abundant evidence that it wanted radio 
news. This all-powerful influence the newspapers proposed, and the radio 
signers of the plan agreed, to by-pass. This in spite of the fact that broad- 

News Takes ike Air 19 

casters had come to depend heavily on news programs, often unsponsored, 
as one of the means of demonstrating their public service. 

All of which meant that the plan had two strikes on it before it came 
to bat. _ o 

The Press-Radio Bureau made its appearance on March 1, 1934. 
Under the direction of James W. Barrett, city editor of the New York 
World at the time of its death in 1931, a New York headquarters and 
a Los Angeles branch were set up. The Bureau opened business with 
125 subscribers to the New York service and 48 to the Los Angeles; 
these figures climbed to 160 and 65 within six months. 

Press-Radio was not, however, greeted with unrestrained cheers. 
Senator Clarence C. Dill of Washington, co-author of the new com- 
munications bill then in Congress, called it "news suppression." Her- 
bert Moore, the truculent and aggressive news editor of the disbanded 
Columbia News Service, said it was a conspiracy to restrict news. H. V. 
Kaltenborn, already known as an ace CBS commentator, declared that 
"the only saving grace of this agreement is that it will not work." And 
Harris, now chairman of the Press-Radio Committee, warned radio 
stations pompously that the Committee "would not vacillate" in its 
attitude toward stations refusing to cooperate. 

The most striking immediate development, however one apparently 
foreseen by no signers of the agreement came even before March 1 . 
WNAC-Boston, with the discontinuance of Columbia's news service, 
engaged a former State House reporter of the Boston Transcript, 
Richard Grant, to build a news-gathering organization to cover New 
England for the regional Yankee Network. Grant put on a battle in the 
capitol itself that resulted in a bill giving him space in the pressroom, 
in spite of newspaper dissent. He hired telephone reporters in forty- 
five New England centers, and within a year had spent $90,000 gather- 
ing news for the eight Yankee stations. 

On the Pacific coast, Radio News Service of America organized 
four years before by KMPC at Beverly Hills announced a program 
of expansion. The American Newscasting Association and, a year 
later, the American Broadcasters News Association made their ap- 
pearance. Individual stations here and there set up tentative news- 
gathering operations. And, most important, Herbert Moore's new 

20 News by Radio 

"cooperative service" started on the night of February 28 to distribute 
news to twenty stations throughout the country. 

Two impulses appear to have led Moore into the new venture. One 
was the obvious opportunity to build a successful business. The other 
was that he was outraged at what he considered the selfishness and 
shortsightedness of the newspaper interests. As early as December, 1933, 
when plans to disband Columbia News Service were announced, he 
started to plan a cooperative radio news organization. Working fast, 
he managed to open his service a few hours ahead of the beginning of 
Press-Radio operations. 

The cooperative plan soon developed faults something Moore said 
later he had expected. Western stations dominated its structure, and 
eastern stations protested the preponderance of western news. On 
March 21, therefore, Moore announced the formation of Transradio 
Press Service, Inc., a commercial news-gathering and news-selling 
organization. As key clients it had the Yankee Network in New Eng- 
land, WLS-Chicago (one of the stations which had set up its own news 
agency) , KWK-St. Louis, KSTP-St. Paul, and KNX-Hollywood. With- 
in a few months, Moore described Transradio as having bureaus in till 
the principal cities of the United States, special correspondents in 
several hundred cities and towns abroad, and a total organization of 
7,000 workers. On April 23 he had arranged with the French news 
service, Havas, for 12,000 cablese words daily of foreign news (he 
shifted to Reuters on January 5, 1935). 

By Moore's account, he quickly accumulated long-term contracts to 
assure a revenue of $100,000 a year enough to pay operating costs. 
His original clientele of twenty stations grew to "nearly 100" in the 
summer, and 1 50 by December. Transradio's fees followed the ' Vhat- 
the-traffic-will-bear" pattern established by UP and INS; Moore 
reported that his subscribers were paying variously from $5.00 to $500 
a week, according to their "rating/' 

The service furnished by Transradio ranged, according to the indi- 
vidual contract, from 5,000 to 30,000 words a day, with an average of 
10,000 enough for four fifteen-minute broadcasts plus flashes on 
important news breaks. It was couched in telegraphic form, to save 
wire tolls a form that required rewriting in the radio station, or the 

News Takes the Air 21 

most skillful kind of ad libbing by the announcer. This service was 
supplemented in August by the organization of Radio News Associa- 
tion, Inc., a subsidiary to transmit news to subscribers by short wave 
(a service less expensive than that using telegraph wires) . A significant 
feature of the new service was that its news was written for radio, not 
for newspaper use (more about this in Chapter 5). 

In short, though none of the other radio news services made much of 
a dent, Transradio appeared a thumping success. It immediately drew 
the cordial and united enmity of the newspapers and the press services. 
They ridiculed its service; they disputed Moore's claims about the 
extent of its organization, saying that many of its "bureaus" consisted 
of nothing more than reporters or radio announcers who turned to 
Transradio duties after their regular day's work was done; they accused 
it of being none too careful as to where it got its news. They railed 
at the fact that Transradio had no objection to news sponsorship. 
Their annoyance was increased when, in June, 1935, Moore added a 
newspaper to his clientele the Georgia Athens Times. The Times 
was followed before the end of 1935 by the Pennsylvania Harrisburg 

In May of 1935, Moore struck back. He filed a suit against all mem- 
bers of the Press-Radio Committee, including some 1,400 newspaper 
members of AP and ANPA, asking of a New York Federal court not 
only a judgment of $1,170,000 in damages but also a permanent in- 
junction restraining them from interfering with his business. Here 
Transradio was to run up against bitter legal opposition, and the suit 
was to languish for years without decision. It was finally settled out of 

Two other 1934 events, of importance in the history of American broad- 
casting, had relatively little immediate effect on newscasting. One was the 
organization, on July 11, of the Federal Communications Commission, 
succeeding the Federal Radio Commission, to administer the greatly 
broadened provisions of the Federal Communications Act of 1934. The 
other was the appearance on September 30 of a new "cooperative" network, 
the Mutual Broadcasting System, with four key stations headed by WGN 
of the Chicago Tribune and WOR of Bamberger's Department Store, 
Newark. Two years later Mutual expanded country-wide with the addition 
of the Don Lee Network in California, and other stations. 

22 News by Radio 

Press-Radio, meantime, was not doing so well. On March 1, 1935 
at the end of its first year of operation the two branches of the Bureau 
reported 245 subscribers. This meant that E. H. Harris's policy of non- 
vacillation had failed to influence some 360 stations, most of which 
presumably were broadcasting news gained from Transradio, from 
one of the competing services, or from some "illegitimate 7 ' source. At 
its April meeting, the Press-Radio Committee decided to continue 
operations. But it acknowledged that news broadcasting competition 
had become a reality; and it also approved the UP-INS reservation of 
the right to sell news for broadcasting if competition should force them 
to it. Further, it authorized its sixteen newspaper-owned subscribers 
to use AP news to make up four fifteen-minute Press-Radio broadcasts 
daily. At the ANPA meeting late in the month the revised plan, with 
its concessions, was approved, and the newspaper industry sat back 
with the hope that the problem was properly pigeon-holed for another 


Radio Gets the News 

Within a month the pigeon-hole exploded. INS and UP announced 
their decision to offer news for broadcasting to any newspaper client 
owning or affiliated with a radio station, with no limitation on sponsor- 
ship. Shortly thereafter they extended this halfway measure to offer 
their services to any radio station, without strings. By July, UP's leased 
wire was serving eighteen points. 

The UP-INS decision was the measure of Transradio's success. The 
agency by this time reported 185 subscribers. Moreover, of 114 news- 
paper-affiliated stations, 27 were buying, experimenting with, or nego- 
tiating for, Transradio service. The UP and the INS could not look 
with equanimity on a situation that forced into other hands contracts 
they might as well have had. 

To meet competition which its operations had been expected to circum- 
vent, the Press-Radio Bureau issued in its first year the astonishing number 
of 4,670 special bulletins "flashes" on news of "transcendent" importance 
in addition to its two regular broadcasts each day. Twenty-three hundred 
of these dealt with the Hauptmann trial; hundreds of the others with the 
1934 elections, the World Series, and such "transcendent" events. 

News Takes the Air 23 

Other factors, of course, underlay the competitive situation. A prime 
reason for the attractiveness of Transradio news rather than that of 
Press-Radio was that it could be sold to advertisers. News sponsorship 
continued to be the whipping boy of the publishers; in its April, 1935, . 
statement the ANPA's radio committee had expressed the fear that 
sponsorship would let advertisers censor and edit news not alone for 
their own advertising purposes but also in accord with their social 
prejudices. Thus, said the statement, the "news would degenerate into 
propaganda for the advertiser." There was also the newspapers 7 under- 
standable opposition to permitting radio to take the cream off the 
news, especially if the news were to be furnished to radio by press serv- 
ices of which they, through membership or subscription, were the chief 
supports. Such a practice, as they pointed out, would mean that radio 
would in effect be getting news at their expense. 

Underlying all the objections was the fact that radio advertising 
appropriations and radio's annual advertising income, after a brief 
recession at the pit of the depression in 1933, were steadily climbing. 
Newspaper advertising income, on the other hand, had declined 
steadily from 1929 to 1933, and the mild increase in 1934 was too small 
to be very encouraging. 

If the newspaper position in the dispute was essentially actuated by 
self-interest rather than concern for the public, radio's was hardly 
different. The radio networks had, according to a writer in Harper's, 
"run up the white flag" in concurring in the Press-Radio plan. Though 
they paid lip service to the principle that news dissemination was as 
much radio's province as the newspapers', they did little to implement 
it. The stations that ignored Press-Radio did so for a very good reason: 
that the public wanted news, and that advertisers therefore wanted to 
sponsor it. But no overwhelming passion for the public was discernible 
in their attitude. 

In brief, the controlling factors on both sides of the dispute were 
economic. Herbert Moore, commenting acidly on the defection of UP 
and INS, said that broadcasters were not interested in a free news 
service, no matter how good, unless they could sell it to advertisers. 
And he added, "The broadcasters who are actuated by a spirit of public 

24 News by Radio 

service are about as rare as that kind of newspaper publisher/' 

The effect on Press-Radio was immediate. Haakon H. Hammer, 
former Pacific coast field representative of the Bureau, proposed an 
elaborate plan for extending the amount of news it furnished, making 
the service attractive enough to enlist all radio stations, and permitting 
sponsorship of news under certain conditions. The plan went by the 
board. On August 1, 1935, the Los Angeles branch of the Bureau gave 
up the ghost. The New York office, under Barrett, was continued annu- 
ally by the ANPA through 1938 and until the spring meeting of 1939. 
Then, with no word of explanation or regret, it was allowed to vanish. 

Meantime, the response to UP and INS offers was equally immedi- 
ate. UP, taking a leaf from Transradio's book, announced that it 
would set up a special staff to edit news for the ear rather than the eye. 
By November 1, UP showed a list of some fifty radio clients, and INS's 
numbered nearly seventy. AP further relaxed its regulations so that 
newspaper members owning stations could use its news on the air, but 
maintained its restrictions against sponsorship. Transradio, having won 
a victory and, with it, dangerous competition, continued as the leading 
purveyor of news to the stations. 

After 1935, the heat of battle subsided. The next three years were 

Newspaper fears that sponsorship of news might lead to advertisers' 
censorship, editing, and distortion have not been borne out by experience. 
One deterrent is unquestionably the fact that news service contracts with 
radio clients contain clauses giving the services the right of cancellation if, 
in their judgment, their news is being broadcast in distorted form. No 
cases of this kind of action have been reported. Moreover, the FCC would 
look with narrowed eye on cases of distortion. 

A third factor, especially in the latter years of newscasting, as radio 
newsrooms become manned by more and more competent editors, is that 
few radio stations are willing to put themselves in the position of yielding 
to advertiser requests for withholding or alteration of news. Unquestionably 
such requests have been made, and will be made. But the number of 
refusals is not far from the number of requests. Most broadcasters sell news 
on the basis of complete and inviolate control of the news content of broad- 
casts; most newsrooms themselves, indeed, operate on the principle of 
independence even of station management, as far as news content and 
emphasis are concerned. Innumerable cases could be quoted to support these 

News Takes the Air 25 

marked only by the gradual increase in the number of radio stations 
buying news service, by improvement in the quality of service (on July 
27, 1936, UP put into operation an eighteen-hour, forty-word-a-minute 
teleprinter system with news specially edited for radio), and more and 
more sale of news for sponsorship. 

Not that newspaper circles gave up overnight their objections to 
radio dissemination of news. In 1935 the California Newspaper Pub- 
lishers Association and the Inland Daily Press Association vainly in- 
voked Federal aid, one to "return to the people the air channels now 
used by commercial interests," the other to "preserve the true news 
value by requiring all subject matter under the title of news to be broad- 
cast only as unsponsored editorial service. . . ." In 1936, when its radio 
committee approved continuation of Press-Radio for another year, the 
ANPA asked careful government supervision of radio to guard against 
its monopolistic features. A year later it suggested that Congress enact 
a law requiring the FCC to designate "an appropriate time each day 
for radio stations to broadcast newspaper and press association news 


SERVICES, 1936-1948 







News Service 














































































* TP totals for 1935 and 1936 include 25 and 18 Radio News Associa- 
tion clients (RNA was a TP subsidiary) . 

The AP first made its news available for sponsored broadcasts in 1939. 
It inaugurated Press Association, as its radio-news branch, in March, 1941 . 

Figures (from Broadcasting Yearbooks, 1936 to 1948) are as of January 
1 of each year, except the 1947 figures, which are as of February 15. (In 
April of 1948 AP reported that it served 966 radio stations, and UP that 
it served "more than 900.") 

2<5 News by Radio 

reports as furnished by the Press-Radio Bureau without exploitation by 
the advertisers/' None of these resolutions and suggestions got much 
farther than the minute books. 

For news broadcasting was firmly established, and neither the FCC 
nor any other government agency showed disposition to restrict it. In- 
deed, events were conspiring to increase rather than lessen public in- 
terest in radio news. On December 11, 1936, King Edward VIII made a 
world-wide broadcast of his famous "woman I love" abdication a news 
event that drew what was described as the largest audience ever to 
listen to a speech. On October 1, 1937, Senator Hugo L. Black chose 
radio broadcast as the medium for replying to critics of his Ku Klux 
Klan affiliation: by use of radio, he said, he could prevent "editing or 
interpretation" of his remarks. Late in 1938, Fulton Lewis, Jr., opened 
a campaign for the admission of radio reporters to Senate and House 
press galleries. He won his fight in April, 1939, when Congress passed 
the necessary lawan event that was followed immediately by inclu- 
sion of radio men in White House press conferences. (But it was not 
until 1948 that radio newsmen won the right to active membership in 
Washington's famous National Press Club.) 

Just before these last events had come Munich. 

After Munich 

The networks had been experimenting for some years with broad- 
casts from radio reporters abroad. In 1932, CBS had brought to its 
affiliates ninety-three programs from seventeen foreign sources eleven 
of them from the Geneva Disarmament Conference. NBC celebrated 
its tenth anniversary, in 1936, by offering a conversation between Gugli- 
elino Marconi, cruising on his yacht off Genoa, and three radio notables 
in this country. In the same year an NBC reporter brought America 
first news of the death of King George V. H. V. Kaltenborn, hidden in 
a haystack between Loyalist and Rebel lines in Spain, with a portable 
transmitter on his back, brought to CBS listeners a startling account of 
civil war in action, complete with live sound effects. 

Both networks, though they had given up domestic news-gathering, 
had envisioned the possibilities of foreign news broadcasting. NBC's 
Abe Schechter and CBS's Paul White had been building up foreign 

News Takes the Air 27 

staffs. NBC had foreign staff men in London, Paris, Geneva, Shanghai; 
CBS in London, Paris, Berlin, other centers. The public had responded 
favorably to the foreign broadcasts actually rebroadcasts, for they 
came to network headquarters via short wave and were converted to 
standard wave lengths. But until September of 1938 they were essen- 
tially novelties: descriptions of colorful events, human interest shows. 
They had not established themselves as integral parts of the news 

Then came the Sudeten crisis in Czechoslovakia. Suddenly Europe 
was on the verge of war. America was distant, but it remembered 1917. 
The networks saw an opportunity, and what they did with their half- 
built foreign structures firmly established foreign news broadcasting 
among America's listeners. 

During those days in September, when Chamberlain was commuting 
between London and southern Germany and Hitler was flaunting the 
specter of war, CBS and NBC put into American homes more than a 
thousand foreign broadcasts, from more than two hundred radio re- 
porters. Edward Murrow from London, William L. Shirer from Prague, 
John T. Whitaker from Paris, Max Jordan from Munich these men 
and many others gave radio listeners on-the-spot news of world-shaking 
events more rapidly and more colorfully than they had ever had it be- 
fore. And in CBS's New York studio Kaltenborn sat before a micro 
phone virtually for twenty solid days and analyzed, coordinated, 
interpreted. He went on the air many times a day. And he built up, 
during the Munich crisis, perhaps the largest radio news audience any 
man had ever boasted. 

It appears that CBS and NBC undertook, and carried off, this note- 
worthy effort without precisely foreseeing its results. They were think- 
ing, at least in part, promotionally neither was willing for the other 
to get a commanding lead in the new field. They had employed top- 
ranking newsmen for the work, and the newsmen perhaps more than 
their employers realized that they were engaged in a gigantic public 
service enterprise. 

But it quickly developed that the enterprise could be turned into dol- 
lars. The radio audience ate up the foreign broadcasts. It built up a 
new interest in radio news, one that showed 19 per cent of the listeners 

28 News by Radio 

to evening network broadcasts during September tuned to news shows. 
This meant two things: That newscasting had to become more im- 
portant than ever in radio programming; and that advertisers were go- 
ing to be more eager than ever to make news the bait to draw listeners 
to their commercials, 

After Munich the tempo of foreign news broadcasting slowed down, 
But the networks, not wishing to be caught short, and not too im- 
pressed by Chamberlain's "peace in our time/' went immediately about 
the business of building up elaborate foreign organizations. At home, 
both the radio chains and the individual stations took steps to increase 
their news facilities. 

And newspaper objections to radio news subsided from piercing 
shrieks to a grumble, then a mutter. Publishers were recognizing the 
validity of a statement by Mark Ethridge, general manager of the 
Louisville Courier-Journal and, for an interim period in 1938, president 
of NAB, that (in May, 1939) "the newspaper business has been fight- 
ing a rear-guard action for ten years and a losing action, at that/' At 
the April, 1939, ANPA radio committee meeting, which among other 
things signalized the demise of the Press-Radio Bureau, the publishers 
satisfied themselves with speaking mildly of "new and impressive 
records of cooperation between press and radio in public service enter- 
prises" such as the Munich coverage, and describing the news-sponsor- 
ship problem only as a "questionable practice adverse to the prestige 
and larger interests of the medium indulging in it ... a question yet 
to be answered." 

Further acceptance of the inevitable came in May, when the AP 
lifted its ban on sponsorship of news furnished to members. Certain 
restrictions to protect newspapers without radio affiliations were set up. 

An ANPA questionnaire showed that the number of papers that pub- 
lished radio listings as paid matter only had increased from 14 per cent of 
dailies in 1938 to 37 per cent in 1939; and that the number that published 
trade names of sponsors in such listings had decreased from 9 per cent in 
1938 to 3 per cent in 1939. But an ANPA estimate of the number of 
dailies using radio logs as paid matter in 1948 put the figure at "probably 
less than 5 per cent"; a Broadcasting Magazine survey in mid-1948 put it 
at 19 per cent. 

News Takes tlic Air 29 

Direct sale of AP news to radio stations was not yet permitted that 
was to come later. 

Meantime, as this problem shook itself down and the networks built 
their foreign staffs, the next logical step was developing: the installation 
of newsrooms in scores of stations throughout the country. The net- 
works had started operations of this kind in their key stations New 
York, Washington, Chicago, Hollywood before Munich. A number 
of the larger independent or chain-affiliated stations, and a few of the 
smaller ones in cities where keen newspaper-radio competition existed, 
had also done so. But after Munich, as the necessity for radio news be- 
came imperative, newsrooms began to spring up everywhere. 

When German troops marched into Poland in September of 1939, 
all these preparations, domestic and foreign, justified themselves. There 
occurred the inevitable surge in the number of newscasts and in public 
interest in them, together with an immediate sprint among advertisers 
to sponsor the news. As in 1938, the upswing leveled off after the first 
shock of the news had cooled. But the new plateau of interest was 
higher than before. 

The next six years were marked by a series of remarkable news broad- 
casts from abroad not only the regularly-scheduled news shows but a 
number of striking "special events." On December 17, 1939, James 
Bowen of NBC thrilled the world when, from Montevideo, he de- 
scribed what he saw as the Germans scuttled the battered "Graf Spee" 
just outside the Buenos Aires harbor. When Hitler received the con- 
quered French in the historic wagon lit in Compiegne Forest to accept 
their surrender, CBS's Shirer and William C. Kerker of NBC broadcast 
the sadly stirring tale and gave the news to America more than two 
hours before Germany and France got it. Ed Murrow, Eric Sevareid, 
Vincent Sheean, and J. B. Priestley put on a gripping picture of London 
under the Nazi blitz on August 24, 1940. 

Later, radio gave America its first news of the Japanese attack on 
Pearl Harbor; Cecil Brown made history with his stories of the fall of 

In the first days of September, 1939, radio offered more news than 
some of its fans wanted. A university coed in one Midwestern city said 
heatedly, "I hope the war ends before Thursday. If it doesn't, they may 
cancel The Adventures of Lulubelle* again." 

30 News by Radio 

Singapore. Sevareid, turning a hand-crank to generate transmitter 
power, sent out (for rebroadcast) the story of his parachute hop from 
a falling plane into the Indo-Burmese jungle in August, 1943. Murrow 
put into American living rooms one of the most stirring of all broad- 
casts when, on December 3, he described the great Berlin air raid of the 
night before a raid on which he had ridden as an observer. The two 
invasions of France brought scores of notable broadcasts outstanding 
among them the play-by-play account given by Blue correspondent 
George Hicks from the deck of a warship off the Norman coast. Hicks 
did not actually broadcast the account, but rather made a recording of 
it at 12:10 A.M. on June 7, just as JU88 bombers plunged at the ship. 
The recording was sent to London and "processed for security''; then it 
went on short wave to all network headquarters in New York, there to 
be re-recorded. That night all four networks broadcast it. 

Not only from radio's regular foreign correspondents but also from 
the men who made the news did America's radio audience keep abreast 
of the war's progress. Chamberlain's reply to Hitler and the British 
Empire's declaration of war went into microphones on September 3, 
1939, hooked to world-wide radio circuits. On September 8, 1943, Gen- 
eral D wight D. Eisenhower used radio to announce the unconditional 
surrender of Italy. Roosevelt, Churchill, and many other leaders broad- 
cast news to the world. 

Meantime, radio news facilities at home continued to expand. And 
advertisers grew increasingly eager for a share in the profits to be de- 
rived from radio news sponsorship. 

The AP at last concluded that it could no longer ignore the income' 
that sale of radio news would bring. Its bylaws made no provision for 
radio station membership in the AP; consequently, in 1940, it set up a 

Sevareid experienced heartbreaks on the first day of World War II. Great 
Britain had gone to war at 11 A.M. Sevareid had a broadcast from Paris 
scheduled at noon. Just before airtime he learned that France would 
officially be "in" at 5 P.M. Though other reporters had the story, censors 
had refused to clear it; Sevareid's script, However, was passed by a censor 
without comment. It would be a world-wide scoop. Just as the minute 
hand approached 12, the studio engineer stuck his head out of his booth 
and announced that New York had decided to cancel the broadcast. 

News Takes tlie Air 3J 

subsidiary organization, Press Association, Inc. PA put into operation 
in March of the following year a teleprinter service earning AP news 
rewritten for radio, and offered it for outright sale to radio stations. The 
prohibition on sponsorship was removed. 

Many of the stalwarts of the Associated Press were unhappy about 
the departure. They pointed out that radio stations were buying PA 
and AP service at prices much lower than the cost of membership to 
newspapers in direct geographical competition. Nevertheless, the di- 
rectors of AP were forced to the conclusion that, if income from the 
sale of news to radio could be used to decrease newspaper membership 
assessments, they must not turn it down. Moreover, they could not 
remain deaf to pleas from some newspaper members that owned 
stations; nor to the credits they heard daylong from their radios: 
"This news from the United Press" or "International News Service 
says . . ." Promotionally and competitively, AP had to get into the 

By the close of 1941, then, four full-time news services were available 
to radio newsrooms. Transradio, the veteran, had been in the field since 
1934; UP and INS since 1935. Transradio provided a radio news service 
only; INS, a newspaper report only; UP and PA, both radio and news- 
paper wires. UP and PA delivered forty words a minute until July of 


Winter, 1938-1939 6.7% 

Summer, 1939 


Winter, 1939-1940 10.0 

Summer, 1940 


Winter, 1940-1941 12.3 

Summer, 1941 


Winter, 1941-1942 10.9 

Summer, 1942 


Winter, 1942-1943 16.4 

Summer, 1943 


Winter, 1943-1944 18.0 

Summer, 1944 


Winter-Spring, 1945 17.9 

Summer, 1945 


Figures from Broadcasting Yearbooks, 


Radio news on the four major networks increased by more than 300 per 
cent during the war years. A study made in 1945 by the Duane Jones Com- 
pany, a radio advertising agency, showed 1,251 hours of news on the nets 
in 1939, 5,522 hours in 1944. Sponsored news shows accounted for 40 per 
cent of the time (497) in 1939, for 48 per cent (2,651) in 1944. 

32 News by Radio 

1943, when both sped up their radio printers to sixty words a minute, 
the speed of their newspaper wires. 

The growth of radio news to big-time operation brought forth more 
than once the suggestion that the radio industry should organize its 
own worldwide newsgathering service. Don M. Taylor, news editor of 
WLAC-Nashville, pointed out in 1945 that broadcasting already had, 
in its newsrooms and its widely-spread correspondents, the nucleus of 
such an organization; and many radio men agreed with him. But the 
proposal never arrived at the action stage, largely because thorough- 
going competition with the existing news services would be a gigantic, 
and a costly, undertaking. Moreover, it is said by many editors, the 
existing agencies are serving satisfactorily. Why seek a new responsi- 

During this period the number of newspaper-affiliated radio stations 
had increased only slightly (partly because construction and expan- 
sion in the number of radio stations was halted by wartime restrictions) . 
But the FCC had looked with misgivings at what it considered the 
growing danger of monopolistic ownership of the two major channels 
of mass communication, and in March of 1941, under the leadership of 
soft-spoken but hard-driving Chairman James Lawrence Fly (Wendell 
Willkie once called him "the most dangerous man in the United States 
to have on the other side"), the Commission ordered an investiga- 
tion. Senator Dill, a sponsor of the Radio Act of 1927, had defined the 
problem, but had not argued it. It had appeared again in 1934, when 
the Communications Act passed Congress; Representative Otha D, 
Wearin of Iowa had introduced a bill in 1937 "to prohibit unified and 
monopolistic control of broadcasting facilities and printed publica- 
tions" (the bill never reached a vote) ; in various actions between 1937 
and 1941 the FCC had indicated that it believed the problem would 

A thorough analysis of the relationship between press and radio from 
1920 to 1941 is contained in a long manuscript prepared by Ralph D, 
Casey, director of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, for 
the Newspaper-Radio Committee. It puts special emphasis on the attitudes 
of the ANPA, the news services, and the Press-Radio Bureau. It is available 
only in the files of the Newspaper-Radio Committee and in Dr. Casey's 
personal files. 

News Takes the Air 33 

some day demand a hearing. Fly became chairman in July, 1939, and 
evidence suggests that he considered the dangers in communications 
monopoly one of the major questions for FCC solution. 

Hearings began in July of 1941 and continued spasmodically until 
January of 1942. Arrayed on the FCC side was a battery of attorneys, 
researchers, and expert witnesses; on the other the Newspaper-Radio 
Committee, organized by radio station-owning newspapers, under the 
chairmanship of Harold Hough of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and 
stations WBAP and KGKO. The FCC argued that unified ownership 
of a newspaper and a radio station, especially in cities without news- 
paper or radio competition, concentrated control of the fare that was 
offered the public in a manner that was at best threatening to the public 
interest. Hough's witnesses newspaper and radio men, constitutional 
lawyers, researchers in communications presented the opinion that 
licenses should be granted to radio stations solely on the merits of their 
capacity to operate "in the public interest, convenience, and necessity/' 
without reference to their ownership or affiliations; and that the experi- 
ence of newspapers in serving news to the public meant that they would 
be better equipped to serve up radio news (in which the FCC was 
especially interested) than would stations without command of such 
background and experience. 

For two years after the last public hearing, the case remained un- 
settled. Meantime the injunction set up by the FCC when the hearings 
opened, withholding new licenses for broadcasting stations from news- 
paper applicants pending the decision, remained in force. At length, 
in January, 1944, when it was sharply indicated that the FCC proposed 
to make the injunction permanent, the Commission suddenly an- 
nounced that the investigation had been dropped, that no further ac- 
tion would be taken, and that licenses would be granted in the future 
strictly on the merits of individual applications. 

FCC policy in the year and a half following the close of the 1 war, when the 
number of standard (AM) licenses granted rose by nearly 60 per cent, 
seemed to favor non-newspaper applicants in contested situations. A storm 
arose over FCC hesitation to grant an FM license to the New York Daily 
News. The FCC based its hesitation on a questioning of News editorial 

(continued on next page) 

34 News by Radio 

An FCC antimonopoly move of a different nature, however, was 
more effective. In 1941 the Commission ordered that no organization 
should own more than one network (the Supreme Court approved the 
order in 1943), and that no two major stations in the same area, or in 
overlapping areas, should be under one ownership. The first order was 
directed at NBC's great Red and Blue networks; it resulted in the sale 
of the Blue to Edward J. Noble in 1943 for $8,000,000 (it had opened 
on January 5, 1942, as the Blue Network Company, and changed in 
the summer of 1945 to the American Broadcasting Company), and 
in NBC's dropping the designation "Red" for its remaining network. 
The other caused the sale of a number of radio stations to new owners 
and among the new owners were a considerable percentage of news- 
papers. In 1944, for example, the New York Times, the New York 
Post, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Sun were among news- 
papers that became radio station owners. Many of the sales were made 
at prices fantastically high. 

Radio newsmen found that one wartime headache did not require 
as much aspirin as they feared. The voluntary censorship code for war- 
time broadcasting banned weather reports, stories of military and 

policy toward racial and religious minorities. After spectacular hearings 
during which the Commission was charged with left-wing zealotry and the 
attempt to censor, a preliminary decision to grant the license to the News 
favoring this applicant over WLTB-The New York Post on the ground 
that to do so would promote radio competition between the two news- 
papers was announced. But late in 1947 the FCC changed its mind and 
gave the frequency to a Methodist church applicant, saying that such a 
grant to a non-newspaper applicant would promote diversity in the owner- 
ship of media and competition in the dissemination of news and informa- 

In spite of the apparent policy, the Commission approved a great many 
newspaper applications in this period, In a Florida case it accepted a local 
newspaper's application over that of a competitor who owned another 
station. It granted an FM license to the Providence Journal (by a 4 to 3 
decision) in spite of vigorous protests by state and municipal officials and 
official bodies. On October 1, 1946, 204 of the 540 FM licenses granted 
(37.8 percent) had gone to newspapers. The 1948 Broadcasting Yearbook 
showed 445 standard and 288 FM stations affiliated with newspaper in- 

News Takes the Air 35 

naval activity that were not properly released by authorities, some 
types of on-the-spot broadcasts, and a few other classifications of news. 
But it did not seriously interfere with most news broadcasting. Byron 
Price, director of the Office of Censorship, was an ardent devotee of 
the principle of giving both press and radio the maximum freedom 
consistent with national security, and successive versions of the code 
(first issued January 16, 1942; revised June 15, 1942, February 10, 1943, 
and December 10, 1943) became successively less restrictive. One week 
after the war in Europe ended on May 15, 1945 a final revision 
eliminated entirely restrictions on weather news, types of programs 
and foreign language broadcasts, and lightened most other provisions. 
The Office of Censorship, high in its praise of American broadcasting 
for its voluntary cooperation, said that violations of the code had been 
few, unimportant, and mostly unintentional All networks and most 
individual newsrooms adopted their own codes for safe wartime broad- 
casting; the NAB on December 19, 1941, had issued a detailed guide 
with whose suggestions broadcasters were in accord both in principle 
and practice. 

The wartime manpower shortage hampered development of radio 
newsrooms in many stations. Aware of the increasing shortage, the 
NAB, the National Association of State Universities, and the American 
Association of Schools and Departments of Journalism in 1944 under- 
took to increase the flow of university-trained workers into radio news- 
rooms, and to heighten their competence. This move led to formation 
of the Council on Radio Journalism, a body of ten representatives 
chosen by the NAB and the AASDJ; among immediate Council 
actions were a statement of standards for education for radio newsroom 
workers and the erection of a system of "internships" in strong news- 
rooms for teachers of radio news work (see Appendix B). This, how- 
ever, was a long-range program, not one to produce overnight results. 

Meanwhile, radio news editors unable to employ men more and 
more frequently employed women. The fact that women in many 
cases turned out work equal in every way to that of men amazed some 
of their employers, and opened the door at least by a crack to their 
postwar employment. But not many of them remained on their jobs 
two years after V-J Day. 

36 News by Radio 

The firm and accepted status of radio news after the war was shown 
by a number of signposts. Among them: 

More than 40 per cent of radio stations said, in response to a Broadcasting 
Magazine survey late in 1946, that they had added or planned to add more 
news shows to their schedules. 

Radio listeners declared in a number of postwar surveys that their general 
preference among all types of radio programs was the news program. This 
was usually brought out by some such question as, "If you could have only 
one of all the types of programs now on the air, which one would you 
choose?" Without an important dissent, the largest percentages chose news. 

The NAB Research Department reported late in 1946 that program 
listings were carried by newspapers for 96 per cent of all stations 81 per 
cent of them without charge to stations. 

Newspapers throughout the country began to institute regular columns 
of comment and criticism on radio offerings. Prominent among such col- 
umns were those by John Crosby in the New York Herald Tribune and John 
T. McManus in PM. More than a hundred dailies and some weeklies carry 
such columns, among them the Chicago Sun, the Detroit Ne\vs, the In- 
dianapolis Star, the San Francisco Chronicle. . . . Perhaps stimulated by 
newspaper criticism was the weekly "CBS Views the Press" show inaugu- 
rated at WCBS-New York in the summer of 1947 a sharply critical pro- 
gram prepared and broadcast by Don Hollcnbeck, CBS commentator, 
which immediately drew newspaper fire, but also newspaper praise. 

The Associated Press in 1947 rewrote its bylaws to permit radio stations 
to become "associate members" of the AP a type of membership that 
gives all the rights enjoyed by newspapers except voting privileges. (This 
move was in part an outgrowth of the Supreme Court decision enjoining the 
AP against * 'monopolistic" practices.) By the end of the year 456 stations 
had applied for, and been admitted to, associate membership. But E. R. 
Vadeboncoeur of WSYR-Syracusc and WINR-Binghamton, who was at 
the time chairman of the NAB News Committee, rejected such "unfair and 
one-sided" membership on the ground that, without voting privilege, it 
subjected the associate member to regulation in which he had no voice. A 
scattering of stations supported this view. 


Technically, commercial radio was forced to a standstill during the 
war. Though experimental work in electronics made astonishing strides 
in the war years, much of it was "war-related," and almost none of it 
reached the commercial broadcasting stations. New construction was 
halted by priorities and FCC dicta. 

News Takes the Air 37 

In the postwar years, the industry worked full-tilt to recoup lost 
time. In four fields facsimile broadcasting, news transmission, tele- 
vision, frequency modulation of direct importance to news operations r 
developments began to appear. 

Facsimile broadcasting the process of using radio waves to actuate 
a receiving set that reproduces graphically, for the eye rather than the 
ear, printed matter, pictures, and the like has been heralded as a 
direct competitor to the newspaper. On February 15, 1938, Broad- 
casting Magazine "published" the first "facsimile newspaper" at the 
NAB convention in Washington, as an experimental demonstration. 
A few s-tations were licensed by the FCC for experimentation. In its 
early stages facsimile reproduction did not worry newspapers much, for 
the "printing" it produced was hard to read, hard to handle, and 
extremely slow in contrast to oral broadcasting. Postwar developments, 
however, have met many of these deficiencies. In 1946 a group of 
Eastern radio station-owning newspapers banded together for experi- 
ment, and their laboratories succeeded in producing by FM broad- 
casting four typewriter-paper-sized sheets reproducing pages of a news- 
paper; the process took fifteen minutes, and the reading quality was 
"little impaired from the original." FM station WGHF-New York 
broadcast UP news to facsimile receiving sets in airliners, and one air 
line planned installation of receivers in all its big planes. In 1947 the 
Miami Herald announced plans for experimental facsimile reproduc- 
tion of the paper. Early in 1948 WFIL-Philadelphia began regular 
facsimile news broadcasting. 

Though these developments are all in the experimental stage, they 
suggest future possibilities. Meantime the Bankers Trust Company in 
New York is using facsimile for interbranch communication. Facsimile 
is certain to come into general use for specialized reporting such as 
market news and stock quotations; it may develop much wider im- 

Two new high-speed methods of news transmission appeared within 
two years after the war. Globe Wireless, Ltd., introduced equipment 
for sending 6,000 words an hour (in contrast to the usual teletype 
speed of 3,600 words) by radio. And RCA announced its amazing 
Ultrafax, which can, "by application of television principles to message 

38 News by Radio 

transmission," reproduce a million words of copy a minute. Still in the 

laboratory, Ultrafax's use in news communication remains to be 


Television, after years of experiment, made its first public splash in 
April of 1939, when NBC and RCA put on the first "video" programs 
coincident with the opening of the New York World's Fair. The war 
soon put television behind scientists' doors. And television's immediate 
postwar years were beclouded by disputes over the development of 
color television, the FCC's allocations of frequencies, and other prob- 
lems. But by mid-1948 the number of television receiving sets in use 
was approaching half a million three-quarters of them in homes. 
About thirty stations were actually telecasting, and seventy more 
promised to be on the air by the end of the year. 

Dispute in these postwar years as to whether television would become 
generally effective for newscasting gave way to broad optimism regard- 
ing its possibilities. It had already established itself as a prime tool 
in on-the-spot newscasts football games, prize fights, parades, inaugu- 
rations, horse races (a London newspaper for some years before the 
war used a television image of important races as a source of racing 
news) . Television carried the Republican and Democratic conventions 
of 1948, on video's first elaborate network, from Richmond to Boston 
along the Atlantic coast. Production costs and technical and production 
difficulties offered unsolved problems in its use in general reporting; 
but its enthusiastic prophets had no doubt that these would be met. 

The news services and the networks both contributed, early in 1948, 
to meeting them. UP, linked with Acme Newspictures, offered two 
five-minute spot news-film shows daily, together with additional special 
features a combination of newsreels and spot "stills." INS and Inter- 
national News Photos provided newsreel and other pictorial copy for 
the first daily ten-minute sponsored telenews show. (AP had dabbled 
briefly with a similar service, but early in 1948 gave it up. ) The networks 
extended their own news-film activities, made contracts with television 
affiliates, and paid elaborate attention to special events. 

The individual station located off the limited television network 
lines faced the most difficult problem, because of production prob- 
lems and costs. Telenews offerings made up largely of "still" pictures 

News Takes the Air 39 

with dubbed-in voice won few converts. But this was telenews in its 
infancy. Its development is certain to be rapid; exactly what form it 
may take not even the television men themselves know. 

Frequency modulation FM offers vast possibilities for expansion 
of radio news broadcasting. FM provides better reception than does 
"standard" broadcasting; with its relatively low area coverage (an FM 
beam does not often range more than fifty miles) and its high selec- 
tivity, it opens the door for thousands of new stations (563 on the air 
on July 1, 1948, nearly as many more under FCC authorization); its 
installation and operation costs are usually lower than those of stand- 
ard broadcasting. Where there are today some hundreds of radio 
newsrooms, depending heavily on wire services, there may tomorrow 
be thousands, each in direct "trade area" competition with newspapers. 
It is significant that the high proportion of newspaper applications for 
FM licenses in 1941 was one of the impulses behind the FCC investiga- 
tion of newspaper-radio ownership. 

FM operations will not attain full strength until litigation regarding 
FM patents and licenses to use them is settled, and until radio manu- 
facturers make receiving sets plentiful and inexpensive. But some day, 
according to many radio men, FM broadcasting may take the lead 
from AM. 


Who Listens? And How? 

Forty million families maintain homes in the United States. Nearly 
thirty-eight million of them, about 94 per cent, have radios in their 
living rooms, and about half of the 94 per cent have "second sets" in 
bedrooms, rumpus rooms, or somewhere else. Nearly a tenth of the 
families own portable radios. Nearly a fifth of them have receiving 
sets in their automobiles. 

In other words, there are more than sixty million radio receiving 
sets in the United States. With an average of two-plus listeners to 
each set, every man, woman, and child might be listening to the radio 
at one time. 

How many of them do listen? What determines whether they 
listen? How do they listen? What do they want from their radios? 
And what are they given? What effect on listening have such factors 
as the bulk of the family pay envelope, the geographical areas in which 
they live, the season of the year, the hour of the day, the environment, 
their educational background, their sex? 

And, especially, what are their attitudes toward radio news? 


Paint yourself a mental picture of an "average" radio listening 
group. You are certain to put it in a living room. Perhaps you'll see in 
the picture a man a grocer, a lawyer, a welder his wife, and one or 
two others. It will be evening. Likely not all the "listeners" are listening 
only one or more of them may be reading, or darning socks, or play- 
ing gin rummy. From time to time one of them may get up and twist 
the dial, or even shut off the current. 

If that's your picture, you've hit it about right. Most radio listening 
is in the living room. Most of it occurs within the broad reaches of the 
"middle class" home. More radios are turned on in evenings than in 
daytime. The average radio audience is about two and a half persons. 


Who Listens? And How? 41 

Few radios remain tuned to one station for long periods. 

The living room picture doesn't, of course, tell the whole story. 
Radios are also blaring, daylong and often nightlong, in restaurants, 
barber shops, pool rooms, club lounges, streamlined trains, university 
Unions. They are turned on in automobiles and even in football 
stadia where their owners are watching the very touchdown runs being 
described by announcers sitting a few rows above them. But broadcast- 
ing men have learned, from experience and statistics, to think of the 
living room audience as their prime group of listeners. 

That means a number of things. It means, first of all, that the 
audience is a mass audience the living rooms for a given program 
may be on Park Avenue, on a ranch in Arizona, and every place in 
between. The groups sitting in them include every kind of people. 
And the essential aim of the radio program, in most cases, must be 

This discussion summarizes, rather than exhausts, the surveys that have 
told the radio industry what it knows, statistically and with considerable 
precision, about the radio audience. Reports of such surveys appear in books, 
in the trade press, in broadcasters' and advertisers' files, in university li- 
braries, and elsewhere. Every worker with radio programming including 
the radio news worker will profit by acquainting himself with some of 
them. Among significant books: 

Cantril, Hadlcy, The Invasion From Mars. Princeton, N. J., Princeton Uni- 
versity Press, 1940. 

, and Allport, Gordon, The Psychology of Radio. New York, Harper 

and Brothers, 1935. 

Chappcll, M. N., and Hooper, C. E., Radio Audience Measurement. New 
York, Stephen Daye, 1944. 

Lazarsfeld, Paul F., Radio and the Printed Page. New York, Duell, Sloan 
and Pcarce, 1940. 

, and Stanton, Frank, Radio Research, 1941. New York, Duell, 

Sloan and Pearce, 1941. 

9 an( i 7 Radio Research, 1942-1943. New York, Duell, Sloan 

and Pcarce, 1944. 
-, and Field, Harry, The People Look at Radio. Chapel Hill, N. C., 

University of North Carolina Press, 1946. 

Lumley, F. H., Measurement in Radio. Columbus, O., Ohio State Uni- 
versity, 1934. 

NAB, Radio Audience Measurement (pamphlet). Washington, D. C., 
Association of Broadcasters, 1946. 

42 News by Radio 

to achieve a common denominator not necessarily the lowest that 
will hold appeal for everybody. 

And it means that the program must not only hold positive appeal 
but that, on the negative side, it must avoid offense. More of this, as 
it applies to news, in Chapter 3. 

Not all those living room radios, of course, are turned on. In the 
evening hours, 6 to 10:30, from January, 1941, to December, 1946, the 
high monthly averages of sets in use, a little more than 30 per cent, 
came in December, January, and February; the lows, just under 20 
per cent, in July and August. In daytime during the same years, the 
highs of about 17 per cent came in winter, the lows of about 13 per 
cent in summer. 

The twin peaks of radio listening to given programs occurred on 
December 9, 1941, just after Pearl Harbor, and on February 23, 1942. 
On each occasion, each at 10 P.M. EWT, the program was a speech 
by President Roosevelt. The Hooper rating for each speech was nearly 
80 (eight of every ten sets tuned to it). The daytime record is also 
held by FDR a 65 rating for his appeal for declaration of war on 
Japan at noon of December 8, 1941. These percentages are far out of 
line with ordinary experience. Even Mr. Roosevelt, the most powerful 
attraction American radio has known, more commonly drew ratings 
in the 40's and 50's. President Truman's highest rating was 47.4 (April 
17, 1945, at 8:30 P.M., just after Mr. Roosevelt's death); Winston 
Churchill's best was 45. The most successful sponsored network pro- 
grams in the evenings, on the same basis, rarely surpass 40; fewer than 
a fifth of such programs average above 20. 

Translating ratings into terms of total audience is a difficult business. 
It involves not only the percentage of respondents, but also the sizes 
of individual audiences. The Hooper organization figures that Mr. 
Roosevelt's two peak audiences were in the neighborhood of sixty 
million adults, with an undetermined number of younger listeners- 
The Hooper rating is "the percentage of total calls in which the re- 
spondents report that they are listening to a given program being broadcast 
at that time." If 1,000 calls are made during a fifteen-minute period, and 
150 respondents report themselves listening to a single program on the air 
in the period, the rating of the program is 1 5. 

Who Listens? And How? 43 

perhaps half the population of the nation. 

These were national audiences, as are those of the network shows. 
Moreover, they were without competition all networks were broad- 
casting them. An audience for a one-network program is almost certain 
to be smaller. That for a non-network, local program is relatively tiny. 

Nevertheless, such a program rarely attracts an audience numbered 
in less than thousands. If it does, it is jerked in a hurry. An essential 
fact about radio broadcasting is that it is broadcasting that it is aimed 
at a mass audience. 

The ratings point up two other facts: That radio audiences are larger 
in the evening than in the daytime; and that they are larger in winter 
than in summer. 

Both facts relate to the hours at which the living room is likely to 
be best populated. In summers, the world gets out of doors. In winters, 
it stays home. Listeners are more likely to be at home in the evenings 
than in the daytime. Sunday evenings have the largest living room 
groups. Advertisers know this, and they also know which other evenings 
are "best." They buy radio time accordingly. 

Many factors cause temporary variations in audience size. During the 
war gasoline rationing increased living room populations. But heavy em- 
ployment on a round-the-clock basis, bulging incomes, growth of the armed 
forces, and obsolescence, disrepair, or unavailability of receiving sets de- 
creased them. 

Spectacular news events always build audiences. On the evening of De- 
cember 7, 1941, between 7 and 10:30 o'clock, the average of sets in use was 
47.2; on D-Day, June 6, 1944, it was 40.7. On the evening of November 7, 
1944 day of the Roosevclt-Dewey election it was 50, with a peak be- 
tween 9 and 10 o'clock of 56.6. Morning listening on August 10, 1945 
V-J Day was double that of a normal morning; evening of the same day 
was 65 per cent above normal. 

At the end of 1943 the curves of sets in use and of ''available audience/' 
which had risen fairly steadily since Pearl Harbor, with seasonable varia- 
tions, began to level off, and through 1944 radio audiences were somewhat 
smaller than in 1943. In 1945, thanks largely to such events as the death 
of Mr. Roosevelt, V-E Day, and V-J Day, they rose slightly. In 1946, the 
war over, another mild decline in sets in use appeared. (Hooper experts said 
that disruption in radio-listening habits growing out of return of daylight- 
saving time was in some degree responsible for the decline.) 

44 News by Radio 

The manner of living room listening is something for radio writers 
to think about. Often a program is tuned into a living room by one 
member of a family over the protest of other members. This means 
that some ears may be glued to the radio while others within its reach 
may be sealed against it, or at best listening casually. Many housewives 
keep radios going all day, as they work at household tasks, but actually 
hear little of what is broadcast. Some listening is purposeful and aware, 
but much is aimless. 

Listening to radio news is likely to be purposeful and concentrated. 
Many thousands of listeners tune to news programs only, and listen 
carefully. That any listener must listen carefully if he is to hear a pro- 
gram is a matter to be discussed more fully later. 

Several other factors are of importance in determining the size of 
the audience for any given program: What the audience measurement 
men call "economic level," what they call "cultural level," sex, age, 
and geographical situation. 

On the whole, homes at the higher economic levels those of high 
rental values, those whose pay envelopes are fattest are least likely to 
listen to their radios (though they are the homes most likely to have 
second and third receiving sets) . These are the homes whose occupants 
can most easily indulge in other forms of recreation. The listening 
pattern follows the economic pattern faithfully, but in inverse order 
the lower the living standard, the higher the amount of radio listening. 
Studies indicate that this holds true down to the lowest income level, 
at which listening decreases slightly in contrast to the level just above- 
perhaps because homes at this level are most likely to be among the 
small percentage not equipped with radios. 

The cultural level pattern follows the same outline. In general, men 
and women with college degrees listen less frequently, and for shorter 
periods, than those without them; those who have been through high 
school listen less than those who haven't; those with less than high 
school education are at the top of the listening scale. It is likely that 
these generalizations apply also to those who, without extensive formal 
education, have substituted "cultural" experience and personal learning 
for schooling; but no usable scale for identifying such individuals has- 
been devised. 

Who Listens? And How? 45 

It has also been found as would be expected that the better 
educated (which is the minority) constitute the most likely audience 
for "serious" programs: Symphony music, sophisticated shows like 
"Information Please," discussion programs like "Town Meeting of 
the Air" and the "Chicago Round Table," erudite news commentators 
like Raymond Swing. But it does not follow that they constitute the 
largest portion of audiences for such shows. Their total number is 
smaller than that of those down the cultural ladder, and a higher 
percentage of listenership among them may amount to a smaller total 
than a lower percentage of a larger group. 

The factor of -where the listener lives is significant in two major 
directions: his section of the country, and his placement according to 
the urban-rural classification. Stations broadcasting for their own 
regions only attempt to suit programs to the particular tastes and needs 
of their listeners; nationally-broadcast shows must run the chance that 
some areas will be more receptive than others. Added to this is the 
element of time-differential. The program put on a national hook-up 
at 9 P.M. in New York goes into Pacific coast homes at 6 P.M.; that 
from Hollywood at 9 P.M. finds Atlantic seaboard listeners in bed at 
midnight. (Often programs facing this problem are not used by sections 
of a network where the time-differential is unfavorable, but are re- 
broadcast at more opportune times. One network, ABC, has an elab- 
orate rebroadcast schedule to meet the difficulty.) 

There is marked difference in the program preferences of urban and 
rural listeners. NBC's Farm and Home Hour, designed especially for 
farm families, is an obvious recognition of this variable; but the differ- 
ences in taste affect response to many other types of programs. More- 
over, rural audiences have been shown to run proportionately larger 
in the daytime than those in the cities, and proportionately smaller 
in the evening. 

Sex produces another variable: women listen more than men, and 
to different programs. Age, too: those under 40, on the whole, listen 
more than those over 40. 

46 News by Radio 

What Do They Want? 

What do listeners want to listen to? 

A guide from which general conclusions can be drawn is the amount 
of sponsored evening network time devoted to various categories of 
programs. These are the shows offered when the radio audience is 
largest; they are the shows that advertisers are willing to gamble 
millions on. The advertisers* offerings undoubtedly lag somewhat 
behind audience tastes; they are subject to the whim of sponsors, and 
to sponsors' occasional inability to develop the types of offerings they 
might prefer. But on the whole they represent a considered judgment 
as to what the living room audiences will take a judgment backed 
in many cases by highly intricate, expensive, and reliable audience 

Evening network advertisers, as shown in the accompanying table, 
have put a good half of their money down on plays and variety shows: 
plays as presented by the Lux Radio Theatre (the most consistently 
successful of all such programs), the Screen Guild Players, Mercury 
Theatre (melodrama, comedy, serial drama, serious "unit-drama"); 
and variety shows such as Fibber McGee and Molly, Bergen and 
McCarthy, Jack Benny, Bob Hope. 


These figures show the percentages of sponsored evening network time 
devoted to seven broad classifications of programs. Each column represents 
the period from October of one year through September of the next. The 
figures are approximations drawn from Cooperative Analysis of Broad- 
casting charts published in Broadcasting Yearbooks, 1939 to 1945. 

1937- 1938- 1939- 1940- 1941- 1942- 1943- 
ProgramType 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 Z944 

Dramatic shows 








Variety shows 








Audience participation 








News, commentators, 









Popular music 








Familiar music 








Serious music 








* Familiar music included under popular music. 

Who Listens? And How? 47 

Third in the list for the seven-year period is the audience participa- 
tion show -'Take It or Leave It," Kay Kyser, Dr. Quiz. Fourth comes 
the "news, commentator, talks" category Winchell, Elmer Davis, 
Fulton Lewis, Heatter, Lowell Thomas. Lowest in the list are the 
music categories: popular music as represented "by the Hit Parade, 
Kraft Music Hall, Fitch Bandwagon; familiar or oldtime music and 
classical and semiclassical music at the bottom. 

Analysis of the table shows that the percentage of dramatic shows 
remains astonishingly constant over the years; that variety shows and 
all types of music show a gradual decline; that audience participation 
shows started low, climbed to a peak, and slipped badly; and that 
shows relating to news, with one departure from pattern, increased 
steadily until, in the final two years, they held a healthy third place. 
(Figures computed on a somewhat different basis showed substantially 
the same relationships for succeeding years.) 

The rise of audience-interest during the war years is suggested by a 
system of indexing news-listening developed by C. E. Hooper. Hooper 
arrives at his index by multiplying the average rating of news programs 
by the number of sponsored broadcast hours. Taking the 1940 index 
as a base of 100 per cent, Hooper finds the indices rising to 433 in 
1943, then falling to 412 in 144, 380 in 1945, 258 in 1946, and 261 in 
1947. Though there are fallacies in this "rating" it does not give 
weight, for example, to the fact that unsponsored news shows are not 
included it indicates that opportunity for news-listening as well as 
the amount of news-listening are far higher after the war than before. 

Another type of rating is that made by various surveys of listenership 
to individual shows. The CAB ratings, made annually for two decades, 
consistently showed variety programs as attracting the largest audiences. 
Jack Benny and the Fibber McGee and Molly show have ranked 
highest over the years, with Bob Hope, Charlie McCarthy, and Fred 
Allen near them. The remainder of the first ten among sponsored 
evening network shows, by this rating, is usually made up of dramatic 
and popular music programs. But in the summer of 1943, when the 
top variety shows were on vacation, an audience participation show 
ranked fourth, and Walter Winchell's news broadcast sneaked into 
tenth position; it held this place through the 1943-1944 winter months, 

48 News by Radio 

and in the summers of 1944 and 1945 went to first place. Three other 
news shows made the summer lists of leaders in 1944 and 1945 
Lowell Thomas, 4 'March of Time/ 7 and Gabriel Heatter. 

Differing forms of audience measurement show differing results. 
An early survey reported by Cantril and Allport showed familiar music 
to be most popular with the average audience, popular music second, 
and news third. And, as already reported in Chapter 1, a number of 
surveys during the war years or just after the war conducted by the 
National Opinion Research Center at Denver, by the Department of 
Agriculture, by CBS, and by a number of other agencies which may 
be considered both disinterested and accurate showed news programs 
as the type of fare most in demand among radio audiences. 

What all these varying data appear to show is that entertainment 
preferably light entertainment remains the ranking attraction to the 
average radio listener. But there is no doubt that, as Radio Audience 
Measurement cautiously puts it, "the growth of the news program 
since the beginning of 1940 is one of the more remarkable phenomena 
in radio broadcasting." The rise of the news or news-related program 
in sponsored evening network time (and a like rise in the daily sched- 
ules of virtually every individual station in America) show radio- and 
advertiser-knowledge that news attracts mass audiences. Indeed, radio 
time salesmen have complained that prospective buyers clamor for 
more news shows than could possibly be put on the air. 

This underlines an important factor: that there is a very definite 
ceiling on the number of news shows any one station, or network, can 
present. An entire evening might be devoted to variety shows, or 
musical shows, or drama, without danger of repetition in anything 
more than general pattern. Details would vary widely. But there is 
only so much news available; all newsrooms get it from the same 
sources; even in a time of fast-breaking war news the change from one 
hour to the next is usually minor. Though radio newsrooms are learn- 
ing to vary presentation patterns, they cannot vary substance much if 
news shows follow closely one upon the other. 

In 1937 NBC devoted 2.8 per cent of its total program hours to news. In 
1944 the percentage was 26.4. In 1945 CBS devoted 26.9 per cent of its 
more than 28,000 network shows to news and sports. 

Who Listens? And How? 49 

In spite of this limitation, however, radio news presentation has 
become a big business. And this is a direct reflection of the vital interest 
of listeners in what's going on in the world. Whether the interest will 
always remain at wartime and postwar heights is a matter for specula- 
tion. That radio programming must consider news heavily in its plans 
is not speculative at all. 

Who Are the Listeners? 

Who listens to radio news? 

An easy answer is "everybody/' It's an answer that, in broad terms, 
is decently accurate. That storied trio, the butcher, the baker, and the 
candle-stick maker, all turn on the morning news on the way to put 
out the cat, listen to it casually as they gulp their noon pork and beans, 
hurry home in the late afternoon to catch it along with rhapsodies 
over vitamin tablets, and delay going to bed until the night newscast 
has come in. So, within the variations of their orbits, do the banker, 
the farmer, the professor, and the minister. So do their wives, sons, 
daughters, and maiden aunts. Some, it is true, skip this broadcast or 
that; some flee from Winchell but hang on Davis's every word (or 
vice versa) . But just about everybody is likely to pi'ck up some radio 
news every day. 

Within the frame of this broad generalization, there are ascertainable 
differences. Many of them have been pinned down by reliable audience- 
measu-rement methods; others are being studied as fast as researchers 
can gather data and analyze them. In general, they follow the patterns 
suggested in this chapter. 

Many studies of these questions have used a comparison of news- 
papers with radio as a source of news. Qualitatively, the radio news- 
cast has often come out second best. The lower an individual's 
economic or cultural level, or the younger he is (and probably, there- 
fore, the less informed), the 'more likely he is to depend on radio for 
his news. The evidence shows that those who have a sound orientation 
in current affairs those who do more than the average amount of 
reading, who have more than high school education, whose occupa- 
tions or environments throw them into physical or intellectual contact 
with the streams of major affairs rely less on radio than do the less 

50 News by Radio 

sophisticated. Seventh and eighth-grade students, just beginning an 
acquaintance with news, depend heavily on radio; by the time they 
become high school seniors, they have started to turn to other news 

A corollary of this fact is that the upper and older levels on these 
scales are more likely to provide the audiences for the more "serious" 
news programs. 

Quantitatively, the picture is not so clear. In 1939 a Fortune survey 
showed 63.8 per cent of the national population claiming newspapers 
as the source of most of its news, 25.4 per cent claiming radio. But a 
study by the National Opinion Research Center in 1945 (conducted 
for the NAB), showed 61 per cent getting most of its news by radio, 
35 per cent getting most news from newspapers. A second NORC- 
NAB survey in 1947 showed a third set of figures: 48 per cent favoring 
the newspaper, 44 per cent the radio. No one can say precisely how 
these varying findings should be interpreted. It seems likely, however, 
that the peak of interest in radio as a news purveyor in 1945 may be at- 
tributed to broadcasting's dramatic development as a war news medium. 

The surveys justify another inference. The Fortune survey shows 
those at the upper economic levels depending more heavily on news- 
papers than on radio news for their current information; the NORC 
surveys show a tendency among the better-educated to depend more 
on newspaper than on radio. That is to say, the more fortunate among 
radio listenersthose well-fortified with the world's goods, those who 
are relatively well-educated and well-informed are likely to turn with 
comparative infrequency to radio news. On the other hand, radio is 
more likely to be preferred as a purveyor of news among those who for 
whatever reason age, economic or cultural opportunity, home environ- 
menthave been less exposed to stimulative influences or to the labor 
of thinking. 

The surveys present evidence on another score evidence that lias 
given the newspapers severe cervical pains. Respondents in each survey 
showed a marked lack of confidence in newspaper responsibility, in 
contrast to that of radio. Heavy majorities realized that radio has a 
time advantage in delivering news speedily to the consumer, and two- 
thirds to four-fifths that the newspaper gives the news more fully. But 

Who Listens? And How? 51 

on the question of prejudice in the news, 17.1 per cent of the Fortune 
respondents and 16 per cent of the first NORC believe the newspaper 
"freer from prejudice" (Fortune) or "fairest, most unbiased" (NORC); 
49.7 per cent of Fortune respondents and 57 per cent of NORC give 
the palm to radio news. Putting the question another way, the second 
NORC survey found 79 per cent calling radio "generally fair/' 55 
per cent applying the term to the press. 

In what it called the "showdown," Fortune asked, "If you had heard 
conflicting versions of the same story from these sources, which would 
you be most likely to believe?' 7 Radio drew a 40.3 per cent vote (radio 
press bulletin, 22.7; radio commentator, 17.6). Newspapers held the 
prime confidence of 26.9 per cent (editorial, 12.4; news story, 11.1; 
columnist, 3.4) . "An authority you heard speak" was the choice of 
13 per cent; 11.6 per cent said that it "depends on paper, writer, or 
speaker"; and 8.2 per cent offered no opinion. . . . The NORC survey 
offers no data on this point. 

On these showings, and within the limitations suggested, radio news 
appears to have an amazingly strong hold on public confidence. 
Whether it deserves this confidence, in contrast to that placed in its 
chief rival in the news field, is a matter to be discussed in Chapter 3. 

Methods of Audience Study 

Radio broadcasting in the United States is only a little more than 
a quarter of a century old. But it has advanced more rapidly than most 
of the other major media of mass communication in seeking and find- 
ing information about the appeal of its offerings and the composition 
and attitudes of its audiences. This is partly due to the fact that radio 
is still young and aggressive, bound by few traditional practices or 

The "news-environment" the nature and importance of current news 
has a marked impact on listener-attitudes toward radio news and news- 
paper news. Surveys by the Office of Radio Research in 1937 and 1938 
showed that, in 1937 a time of "normal" news fewer than half the popu- 
lation preferred radio to newspapers as news media. But in October, 1938 
just after Munich more than two-thirds expressed a preference for radio 

52 News by Radio 

fettering rules-of-thumb, as public opinion researchers and statisticians 
were developing techniques of sampling and other methods of gather- 
ing such data. It is partly due to the challenging novelty and impor- 
tance of radio as a social influence a factor that turned the special 
attention of social scientists to it. It grows partly from the violent 
competitive battle into which broadcasting was plunged, both within 
the industry and with other media a battle which forced radio as a 
whole, as well as its component elements, to assemble batteries of 
fact as weapons for the fray. 

The statistical and "scientific" knowledge about radio comes from 
three principal sources: the commercial agencies set up to provide 
data; the networks and smaller elements within the industry; and a 
number of disinterested agencies which have studied, or are studying, 
broadcasting as a social phenomenon. 

The commercial agencies, whose function is to furnish to those who 
buy or sell time factual information to aid them in making their eEorts 
more effective, use five principal methods of investigation: 

1 The "coincidental method/' in which telephone interviewers seek in- 
formation about responses to particular programs while they are on the air. 
Limited by the fact that it reaches only telephone homes in cities, it is 
nevertheless widely relied on as a means of gathering many types of informa- 
tion. Chief agent in developing this method has been C. E. Hooper, Inc. 
(formerly Clark-Hooper, Inc.), whose "Hoopcratings" are generally used 
by radio stations as well as by advertisers. 

2 The personal interview survey, which sends interviewers to a selected 
sample of listeners. This method, usually employed by such agencies as 
Roper and Gallup as well as by many others, permits a thoroughly accurate 
sampling of audience by the cross-section method; it also makes it possible 
to ask more questions than can usually be asked by the telephone method. 
It is, however, more expensive and more difficult to conduct than the tele- 
phone method; and it usually entails "recall" questioning (questions about 
programs off the air by the time the survey is taken) rather than coinci- 
dental questioning. 

3 The mail survey, which seeks information from an audience sample 
by the use of mail questionnaires. The mail survey is more difficult to "con- 
trol" than the personal interview survey; often elaborate follow-up cam- 
paigns are necessary to insure that the sampling is accurately representative. 

4 The mechanical recorder, which is a device attached to a radio re- 
ceiver to make a permanent record of the hours and minutes during which 

Who Listens? And How? 53 

the receiver is turned on and the wave lengths to which it is tuned. Several 
firms, principal among them the A. C. Nielsen Company, have used such 
recorders placed in a large number of radio homes a "fixed sample" to 
gather information. 

5 The "panel" or "listener diary" method, by which a fixed sample of 
radio listeners keeps formalized records of its radio listening and submits 
them at stated intervals to the agency employing it. 

The telephone-recall method, employed for a number of years by 
the Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting (an organization formed 
by the Association of National Advertisers and the American Associa- 
tion of Advertising Agencies), has been displaced by the coincidental 
and other methods. 

A new device announced late in 1947 by CBS, however, may super- 
sede all earlier methods: the "instantaneous audience measurement 
service," an application of radar which CBS says will "measure and 
report the audience to a broadcast instantaneously on a minute-to- 
minute basis at the very moment of listening." This electronic device 
will provide, for each radio home in a selected sample, information on 
when the set is in use, what program is being listened to, the income 
level of the listening home, and the city-town-or-farm location of the 

Leader among the "disinterested agencies" is the Bureau of Applied 
Social Research (formerly the Office of Radio Research), under Paul 
F. Lazarsfeld at Columbia University. The Bureau has, in addition to 
using many of the methods described above and comparing their 
results with those of studies made for other purposes and by other 
methods studies of reading at different levels, for instance developed 
a "program analyzer" by which groups of listeners can record electri- 
cally their likes and dislikes in specific programs, second by second. 
The Bureau has contributed enormously valuable information to the 
knowledge of broadcasting. 


Few radio stations, and even fewer radio newsrooms, are in position 
to undertake elaborate or costly audience research projects. Yet they 
have questions that must be answered if they are to render satisfactory 
service: How wide are their audiences? What types of news hold partic- 

54 News by Radio 

ular appeal for their particular listeners? Which of their news an 
nouncers are most effective? Should they extend, or reduce, theii 
regional coverage? And so on. Fortunately, answers to most such 
problems can be gained by methods of audience investigation that 
are neither too expensive nor too difficult. 

Most likely to yield dependable results is the personal interview 
study, using a carefully-built cross-section sample. This method 
demands skillful selection and training of interviewers, skillful ques- 
tionnaire construction (as do all methods), and rather more time and 
more money than most of the other methods. Personal interviews of a 
random sample at every third or fourth house, for instanc'e will yield 
"reliable results for most situations/' according to audience research 
experts, and the method eliminates the need for building a cross-section 

Random or saturation mail surveys usually the least expensive 
type may also bring useful information, accurate enough to serve at 
least as general guides. It is possible, too, for most stations to set up 
listener panels at higher cost, but with less effort after the panel is 
established, and with generally sound findings. Note that any survey 
may be broad in its purposes it need not be limited to questions 
dealing with news programming, but may cover other matters as well. 

Finally, day-to-day operations provide considerable information of 
value. "Questions often come up that the staff tries to answer/* says 
one expert. "In answering them, the staff is doing an elementary job 
of research." Telephone calls and mail tell a newsroom a good deal 
about audience tastes and reactions. And the perceptive newsman will 
be able to turn most personal contacts, on duty and off, to his purposes. 
Laymen know all about how news should be handled, and sometimes 
what they know is stimulating or even accurate. 


Is Radio News "Different"? 

Consider Citizen N and Citizen R, two everyday Americans. Both 
profess an interest in the news both want to know who's leading the 
American League, what the mayor's commission is doing about juve- 
nile delinquency, what's happening in Paris, Moscow, and Timbuktu. 
Both have opinions, and both express them vociferously on occasion. 

Citizen N is a confirmed follower of the press. At breakfast in the 
morning, in his living room in the evening, he sits and pages through 
his paper, skipping here and reading thoroughly there. The radio? 
"Waste of time," snorts Citizen N. "It's all in the paper. Anyway, 
I want my news when I want it not when they decide to give it to 
me. . . ." 

Next door Citizen R depends on the radio (as N, on summer eve- 
nings, all too well knows) . Morning, noon, and night he tunes to news 
broadcasts perhaps adds his favorite commentator most evenings. 
"Gives me all I need to know/' he tells N. "Gives it to me boiled down, 
hotter than newspaper news. And I usually fix my kids' toys, or some- 
thing, while I'm listening. . . ." 

Both N and R have talking points. Each medium can do things the 
other can't. The advantages, or utilities, of one can best be considered 
alongside those of the other. What are the comparable and contrasting 
characteristics of the two? 

The Radio The Newspaper 

Has much greater speed. Can put Is slower minutes slower, if a dead- 
"hot" news into homes seconds after line is near; hours slower, if delivery 
it becomes available. time is long. But often has extra 

time for checking facts, developing 


Presents most news in .condensed Presents most news more fully, and 
style, and in relatively broad strokes, with far more specific detail. 


56 News by Radio 

Can present some news as it hap- 

pens sports events, catastrophes, 
speeches, and so on. (This means 
fuller coverage, in some cases, than 
the press offers.) 

Offers limited selectivity of news 
the listener takes what radio pre- 
sents, when it presents it. 

Operates under "taboos" which cut 

down or eliminate certain types of 


Delivers its news to a family or 

small-group audience, usually in the 

living room. 

Offers only about 2,000 words 

of news at a time. Offers only 

broad departmentalization within 

one news period. (Offers women's 

programs, sports programs, and so 

on at different periods.) 

Can dramatize news, thereby adding 

"to its effectiveness, both through 

production devices and use of the 

human voice. 

Can do nothing of the kind. But ha 
the function radio lacks of servinj 
as contemporary historian, provid 
ing a permanent record of curren 

Offers the reader wide choice as t( 
which news he shall read, how mud 
news he shall read and when h< 
shall read it. 

Offers a wider variety of news, in 

eluding some types usually nol 


Delivers its news to but one readei 

at a time. 

Offers ten to thirty times as many 
words, with wide departmentaliza- 
tion (including entertainment and 
opinion as well as news), in one 
issue, open to instant reader selec- 

Has only the relatively static device 
of printed words and pictures to 
achieve dramatic effect. 

(Both radio and the newspaper can, and on occasion do, over-drama- 
tize or "sensationalize" news. But radio, because of the emotional 
power of the human voice and of its dramatic devices, may be more 
stimulative and so must be more careful than the newspaper.) 

Cannot be readily "checked back." Is available for reading, re-reading,. 
Radio news is evanescent it van- 
ishes the instant it is broadcast. 
Can be heard with little effort. Does 

and reference at any time. 

not require the listener's undivided 

Is ordinarily directed at a mass au- 
dience. Radio news usually avoids 
specialized appeal or terminology. 
Is readily subject to misunderstand- 
ing or misinterpretation. 

Requires concentration by the 
reader, and the mental effort of se- 

Can be directed to special groups 
within the mass audience (women, 
businessmen, sports fans, etc.). 

Is less readily subject to misunder- 

Is Radio News "Different"? 57 

Citizen N, recognizing certain advantages of radio over the press, 
nevertheless thinks the press serves him better than radio can. He 
wants detail of the news. He's the kind of reader who, when a war is 
on, likes to keep a map, complete with colored flags, to show changes 
on the battle line. He thinks it important to study carefully the 
language of the Republicans' taxation plank a twenty-five-word con- 
densation isn't enough. And he reserves time to find out how Joe 
diMaggio is hitting, what his favorite movie critic thinks of Bette 
Davis's latest anguish, where General Motors stands on the market. 

Citizen R, on the other hand, finds it satisfactory to get the news 
in broad strokes, in general sweep. Detail annoys and perhaps confuses 
him. There's a death-dealing flood on some Chinese river with a funny 
name what difference how you spell it, when you can't even pro- 
nounce it? There's another Cabinet row on in Washington, between 
agriculture and commerce this time or is it agriculture and labor? 
And so on. 

In short, each news medium performs its peculiar service. News- 
paper publishers have grown well beyond the fear that radio news will 
supplant their own. It is now clear that both, like airplanes and Pull- 
man cars, are here to stay, each serving its own millions. Not mutually 
exclusive millions they overlap and intermingle. 

And if the cynical be inclined to argue that Citizen R, depending 
primarily on radio, cannot hope to be fully informed, that his radio 
simply is not adequate to keep him an courant, let it be pointed out 
that radio brings at least an overview of the news to thousands of 
thousands who might otherwise go quite uninformed; that all the 
evidence shows the tendency for the comparatively unsophisticated 
Citizen R to learn to supplement his radio-gained information by 
turning to his newspaper, Time, Newsweek, and other more detailed 
sources; and that the rise of newspaper circulations to new peaks has 
followed closely, if not causally, upon the rise of radio news as a 
national phenomenon. 

The "Living Room Audience" 

All of which is to say that Citizen R and his millions of kin con- 
stitute a special kind of audience. Radio news editors have learned to 

58 News by Radio 

take into account a number of particular characteristics of this audi- 
ence, and to edit news to accommodate them. 

Of prime importance is the fact that the audience sits in its living 
room. This means, in the eyes of most radio news editors, that the 
newscast must bring into the living room only what its occupants 
would like to have there. Citizen R is no prude. He may exchange 
whispered stories with the boys at the office. But he doesn't repeat 
them in the family circle. And he's especially careful about his lan- 
guage, and the topics he and Mrs. R discuss, when Junior is in the 

Consequently many radio newsrooms have put a severe limitation 
on news that involves sex acts or sex crimes. "Rape" and like words 
are often blacked out of the radio vocabulary; sometimes newspaper 
circumlocutions such as "statutory crime" are thought permissible. 
(Fortunately, the trend both in the press and on the air is in the 
direction of more honest, more exact, and less suggestive language 
largely because the American public is becoming more sophisticated.) 

This does not mean that sex news is omitted entirely, but rather 
that it is handled with restraint. For example: In 1943 the press 
devoted many columns to intimate detail of the trial of Charlie 
Chaplin on a charge of violation of the Mann Act. WCCO-Minncapo- 
lis and KMBC-Kansas City, both of which conduct extensive news- 
room operations, handled the story under a policy that is fairly typical 
of the radio approach to this kind of news. Paraphrased, it says: "Put 
on the air a brief, unemotional story saying that such-and-such a sen- 
sational event has occurred; give it little or no attention during the 
course of investigation or trial unless there are strikingly important 
developments; use a brief story when the case is closed." 

News of social maladjustment sometimes gets from radio what some 
critics consider unduly short shrift under the policies here described. Juve- 
nile delinquency, divorce, news of violence are often "played down" by radio 
under such policies' guidance. There are critics ranging from competent 
social psychologists to well-meaning if not always well-informed laymen 
who praise both radio and the press for following this pattern, on the as- 
sumption that concealing such news will remove a stimulus to the weak- 
willed. On the opposite side are those who say that social cankers rarely 
receive therapy until the public becomes abundantly aware of them. 

Is Radio News "Different"? 59 

Growing from a similar notion that it is not a matter for family- 
group consumption is a limitation on radio news that might be con- 
sidered offensive because of bloody detail. Gory specifications of 
accidents are usually barred. Indeed, the words "gore" and "blood" 
are sometimes on the proscribed list. 

Radio editors also eliminate a good deal of news on a different 
ground that it is not of general interest. The living room audience 
is, to repeat, a mass audience. The news selected for it must be that 
within limitations such as those already suggested of widest appeal. 
And that means that, on the whole, it must be news of considerable 
importance, or news of high intrinsic human interest. 

Another factor of importance is the geographic distribution of the 
audience. Radio stations as a rule cover more area than do newspapers. 
The average smaller daily newspaper has a rather tightly-limited trade 
area usually a few counties; its news selection is conditioned by this 
consideration, A radio station in the same city has a signal reaching 
perhaps half a state. The newspaper serves its area by devoting many 
columns to local or regional news; the radio station, because its area 
is larger and its news "space" smaller, cannot do as much with such 
news. It depends heavily, therefore, on national and international 
news from its wire service, and devotes relatively less attention to local 
and regional matters. 

Not that radio newsmen ignore the local and regional. Chapter 8 
describes the growing interest in news of this type, following World 
War I L It is an interest that will receive an immense stimulus as FM 
stations spread over the country, with coverage-areas much more 
nearly the dimensions of newspaper trade areas (in some cases they 
will be smaller) . A fact which, it may be noted, will serve to increase 
newspaper-radio news competition. 

The Office of Radio Research, in 1938, made a study comparing the 
coverage of different types of news by Cincinnati newspapers and radio 
stations. In only one field did radio, during a five-day period, offer more 
individual "items" than the newspapers: the field of foreign news and 
comments. Here the ratio was 54 newspaper stories to 100 radio stories. 
In government and political news, the ratio was 157 newspaper stories 
to 100 radio; in natural events and disasters, 220 to 100; in crime and 

60 News by Radio 

corruption, 233 to 100; and on down the list through economic news 
(including stock markets), news of "social aspects/' science and educa- 
tion news to those that received least attention from radio: religious 
news, art and education news, and "family" news. Newspapers offered 
more than three times as many stories as did radio in the five days. No 
comparison of the local and regional sources of stories was made. 

Looking at these figures in another way, radio's coverage of foreign 
news and comments becomes even more significant. Radio presented 
almost six times as large a proportion of stories of this type as the news- 
papersnearly 25 per cent of its total of 1,799 stories. It devoted a 40 
per cent larger proportion of its space to natural events and disasters, 
and to crime and corruption, than did newspapers. 

This study exploratory rather than final shows the trend of radio 
news emphasis before Munich. Had it been repeated or extended dur- 
ing the war, it seems certain that the percentage of radio news devoted 
to the foreign scene would have risen. And the percentage would proba- 
bly rise if the figures were based on radio time a more difficult sta- 
tistic to pin down in contrast to newspaper space. 

But the trend would just as certainly have been in the other direction 
if the study had been made two years after the war. It seems unlikely, 
however, that the relationship would have been reversed. 

Another characteristic of the radio audience that conditions selec- 
tion of news for it is that it is an "ear-audience" rather than an "eye- 
audience." News that is inherently "heavy," news that involves sums of 
money, statistics, elaborate geographical detail, is difficult to present 
intelligibly for the ear. Some stories, even important ones, that depend 
on material of this kind are kept off the air for no other reason. 

Allied to this is the fact that the ear is often an exceedingly inaccurate 
reporter. A radio station in an area with heavy Scandinavian- American 
population once proved this when it broadcast a story telling of the 
death of, let us say, a certain Elmer Peterson. Within minutes after the 
broadcast it received no less than fifteen telephone calls, wires, or per- 
sonal visits from individuals shocked to learn of the death of "John 
Peterson," or "William Peterson," or "Elmer Johnson," or an "Elmer 
Peterson" who wasn't the right one this in spite of the fact that the 
dead man had been thoroughly identified. Ears don't always hear the 

Is Radio News "Different"? 61 

words the announcer says. For this reason, many radio stations during 
the war decided not to broadcast casualty lists. 

That this ear-characteristic affects even more importantly the manner 
of radio news presentation is discussed in Chapter 5. 

Finally, radio newsmen have learned to avoid the ever-present temp- 
tation to "hop up" their stories to overemphasize the sensational 
angle, even to take advantage of the genuinely lurid that sometimes 
appears in the news. The reasons: Overemphasis, sensationalizing (as 
distinguished from calm, factual presentation) is dishonest reporting; 
the listener with his inaccurate ear is likely to add his own vivid imagi- 
nation to sensational fact and come out with a vastly distorted view of 
the news; and overcolored news, by newspaper as well as radio, is almost 
certain to boomerang when the listener who knows the true facts com- 
pares them to the too-dramatic story he has just heard. 

Facts Are Facts or Are They? 

It is important to remember, in considering the differences between 
newspaper and radio news, that at base it all conies from the same 
sources, by the same or similar channels. News itself is unequivocal. 
It is a precise and unalterable set of facts. When a fire occurs, it breaks 
out at one spot, from one (perhaps complex) cause; it starts at a 
given second, grows to a given magnitude, engulfs a definite number 
of combustibles, is "brought under control" at a given time by the 
measurable efforts of a certain number of identifiable fire companies. 
The same thing is true of a wedding, a wake, or a war. The facts them- 
selves do not vary. 

What may almost always does vary is the competence, the ac- 
curacy, the energy, the passion with which any set of facts is reported. 
This is a matter of human frailty. Let two men walk in conversation 
through a room in which ten observers are sitting, and ask the ten 
immediately afterward to write precise reports of the event. You will 
get ten reports that differ at the very least in minor detail, and more 
likely on major points. You may be told that both men were smoking, 
that neither was smoking, that one was smoking. You will get differing 
descriptions of their clothing, their remarks, their heights, the order in 
which they went through the doorway. 

62 News by Radio 

If one of your ten were a trained observer say a newspaper or radio 
reporter, or a detective the chances are good that his report would 
most nearly hit all the nails on the head, though even he may have 
struck some glancing blows. And if there were two reporters present, 
their accounts would likely most nearly resemble each other. 

Yet you know that the facts were unchanging, that all observers had 
the same chance to observe. 

The factsthe news that newspapers and radio alike present to 
their audiences, subject to these human failings, are to large degree 
the same. As Chapter 1 shows, radio and newspapers receive most of 
their nonlocal news through the same channels chiefly the UP, the 
AP, and INS. With few exceptions, all these channels offer accounts 
based on the same sets of facts: They operate on like principles, like 
backgrounds of experience, and like bases for news judgments; and all 
these combine to guide them to cover the same news events. When 
Congress convenes, a streamliner piles up, a tornado sweeps a town- 
ship, or a movie star gets a divorce (oddly enough, this still comes 
under the head of news), reporters from all the press services gather 
information from the same sources and report it to both radio and 

To repeat: Newspapers and radio have the same grist for their re- 
spective mills. More than that: Radio stations often have identical 

The grist is not, of course, always ground up into the same sort of 
flour, nor does it often come out of the ovens in identical cakes. What 
the competent AP reporter sees at the opening of Congress, what he 
hears and what he thinks important are likely to differ at least mildly 
in form and emphasis from what his equally competent UP rival grinds 
out of his typewriter. One man's very skill with words may be enough 

Until about 1945, it was common to hear radio newsmen speak of 
"processing" news for radio, and to call themselves "news processors." The 
NAB radio news committee decided that the term "process" drawn from 
manufacturing and appropriated widely by the armed forces was spurious 
in the newsroom, which had its own traditional terminology. On the com- 
mittee's urging, radio learned quickly to return to "news editing," "news 
editors," and so on. 

Is Radio News "Different"? 63 

greater, or smaller, than another's to affect the comparative fidelity and 
authority of his reporting. And when the story gets to the newspaper, it 
is subjected to additional human variables: The judgment and crafts- 
manship of the paper's editors, the type and style selected for head- 
lines, the position the piece is given in the paper. 

For radio, the story is subject to two additional variables before it 
reaches its audience. Written originally by the reporter for newspaper 
use, it is then rewritten by a radio wire editor for radio purpose and 
perhaps in the process subjected to subtle and unintentional mutations. 
When it is taken off the printer in the radio station, it is subjected to a 
process of selection, cutting, and emphasis analogous to the editing in 
a newspaper office. And then it is given over to the tender mercies of 
the announcer, whose voice, inflections, skill, and understanding have 
much to do with the form in which it finally goes on the air. (One of 
these steps is omitted in news transmitted by Transradio Press, which 
does not first prepare news for newspaper publication.) 

AH of these handlings, as well as the capacity of the individual reader 
or listener to grasp the news and fit it into major news patterns, affect 
the meaning of the news as it finally appears. Yet all of them taken 
together do not mean that radio and newspaper presentations are 
necessarily far apart. The news at the base is the same; and as the skill 
and competence of editors heighten, it will more nearly remain the 


"Control" of the News 

Another question inevitably arises: To what extent is radio news 
"controlled"? How much does radio ownership, the radio advertiser, 
or the economic philosophy and practice on which American broadcast- 
ing is based affect radio news offerings? What of "the public interest, 
convenience, and necessity"? What of freedom of the air? 

In many ways the ownership, advertising, and general economic 
points of view of the broadcasting industry are similar to those of the 
press. The fact that newspapering has become big business is an ac- 
cepted twentieth-century phenomenon. The day when a printer with a 
hatful of type and a three-figure bank account could found a newspaper 
is half a century past. The only great dailies started from scratch in a 
decade PM in New York, the Sun in Chicago demanded millions of 

64 News by Radio 

dollars at the beginning, plus Marshall Field's willingness to lose 
money on them for a matter of years (and neither was a success!). 
Moreover, the number of newspapers has declined; ownership has 
tended to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands. This trend a good 
many critics have viewed with alarm. Their plaint is that newspaper* 
tend to represent only the point of view of a tight little group the 
point of view of corporate ownership. Usually such critics generalize 
too broadly, on too little evidence. It is obviously unsound to lump the 
Christian Science Monitor, the New York Daily News, the Milwaukee 
Journal, the Detroit Times, the Indiana Goshen News-Democrat, and 
the Virginia Richmond News-Leader under one set of descriptive ad- 
jectives; it is even more unsound to draw the adjectives from only one 
of the papers. So well-informed a student of the American press as 
William Allen White expressed the belief that "we . . . editors and 
owners, because of our large property investment, have taken the side 
of property unconsciously in many cases/' White's implication seems a 
fair one. But he gives the newspaper owners credit for desire to operate 
their papers in the best interests of the communities they serve. He 
offers no suggestion of dishonesty in thinking or intent, of malice, or of 
unalloyed self-interest. 

Radio can claim no special distinction on this score. Radio broad- 
casting has never been anything but big business. Its first backers were 
the big newspapers, the big department stores, and the great electrical 
industries. In its quarter century of history it has known no other type 
of internal control. When NBC sold the Blue network, its price was 
$8,000,000. A single station was sold in 1944 for $1,000,000; another in 
1945 for $1,700,000. Broadcasting, with a few more than a thousand 
broadcasters, is a billion-dollar industry. The estimated cost of install- 
ing a 1,000-watt FM station and operating it for a year is more than 
$50,000 lower than comparable costs in AM broadcasting, but no 

Moreover, radio lacks one possibly stimulating influence: The cen- 
turies-old newspaper tradition of devotion to a cause, the traditional 
newspaper man's sense of social responsibility (which, though often 
misunderstood, abused, or aborted, and though sometimes honored 
more in lip service than in action, remains a vigorous influence) . Radio 

Is Radio News "Different"? 65 

has been told by legislative and administrative fiat that it must operate 
in "the public interest, convenience, and necessity"; the networks and 
many stations have their public service directors, their educational de- 
partments, and so on. Most of the men and women who activate these 
services are deeply genuine about their jobs. But it is questionable 
whether radio's impulse to "public service" would be more than the 
too-often dormant desire of decent citizens to play some part in social 
progress, were it not for Communications Act and FCC dicta and for 
increasingly articulate lay criticism. This impulse is something less than 
a vigorous, competently-implemented zeal growing out of recognition 
of broad social responsibility. (This is not to point an accusing finger at 
radio more than at any other arm of big or little business. The elaborate 
"service programs" of many corporations are all too often undertaken 
because they increase profits, or improve public relations, or may be 
charged against taxes.) 

Only a few of broadcasting's ventures into public service have re- 
vealed a willingness to stick out the radio neck in the public welfare, at 
least in controversial areas. Radio has yet to produce a John Peter 
Zenger, a Horace Greeley, or a Joseph Pulitzer, who once said that he 
hoped the time would never come when there were no libel suits against 
his New York Worlda, colorful statement of his belief that courage, 
vigor, and daring in the public weal are part of the newspaper business. 
Radio programs have done a good deal to illuminate such social prob- 

Radio's contribution to the war effort was, in the wartime term, all-out. 
An NAB tabulation shows, for example, that American broadcasting sta- 
tions put on the air more than 1,100,000 war-related programs in the first 
three months of 1944 900,000 of them spot announcements, 100,000 
fifteen-minute shows, the remainder varying from two minutes to daylong 
bond-sales drives. They devoted many hours not infrequently at the cost 
of canceling revenue-producing programs to important spot news shows. 
They gave time to hundreds of propaganda broadcasts, and in many cases 
paid all costs of production. Twice in the spring of 1945 at the time of 
President Roosevelt's death, and in celebration of V-E Day they canceled 
scores of commercial shows in favor of patriotic efforts. During 1944 sta- 
tions and networks contributed $74,000.000 in time on the air for war 
messages; advertisers contributed $64,000,000; performers gave $20,000,000 
worth of talent. 

66 News by Radio 

lems as juvenile delinquency and such vastly important agricultural 
questions as soil erosion. But these are noncontroversial everybody 
agrees that juveniles shouldn't be delinquent. There have been few 
offerings in more delicate areasfew programs, for example, like CBS's 
courageous "Open Letter to the American People" on the Negro-white 
problem, or WCCO's hard-hitting "Neither Free Nor Equal" series 
attacking prejudice and bigotry in the Northwest. 

In fairness, it must be said that certain FCC policies have served as 
a deterrent to vigorous public service programming. Until 1944 the 
Commission asked re-application for station licenses every six months 
a policy that kept stations continually in fear of offending (in 1944 
the license period was changed to three years). The so-called "May- 
flower decision" of the FCC (of which more in Chapter 11), under- 
scoring the Commission's demand for impartiality among licensees, 
also worked in this direction. 

These and other influences have led radio to make a god of lack of 
bias. Networks and individual stations whose air-waves have borne 
speeches on one side of a controversial matter make time available to 
responses from the other side; when they sell time to one political 
party, they open for purchase equal time to the others. In 1943, CBS 
went so far as to establish a rule that its commentators must inject no 
personal or editorial comment into their offerings they must limit 
themselves to factual explanation and background. (This led to the 
resignation of Cecil Brown and H. V. Kaltenborn from the CBS staff, 
and to spirited disagreements by Drew Pearson, Walter Winchcll, and 
other radio commentators and newsmen.) The middle ground the 
ground of an objectivity that some call sterile and colorless has been 
the ground on which radio has chosen to stand. 

What effect all this has on news offerings either of press or radio- 
is something of an imponderable. The charge that newspapers favor 
their own side is one of the favorite whipping boys of Upton Sinclair, 
Harold Ickes, George Seldes, and others among the noisier critics of the 
press. Most such critics, in their charges that newspapers omit (the 
favorite Seldes word is "suppress") news at the behest of their friends 
and supporters, are inclined to generalize far too broadly on far too 
little evidence. 

Is Radio News "Different"? 67 

Regardless of the extent of this kind of control of newspaper news, 
it appears to be an influence operating above and behind the radio 
newsroom, but at a greater distance. A like attitude of ownership, and 
like power, are there. But the radio newsroom is more widely separated 
from ownership than is the newspaper city room. News is the news- 
paper's prime commodity, and the wise publisher's first interest. It is 
merely one of a number of elements in what radio has to sell, and 
some of the other elements overshadow it. The newsroom is not one 
of the radio station's major subdivisions, and it does not often come 
under the intimate supervision or even constitute a major interest 
of the man in the office with the chromium furniture. Moreover, the 
requirement that the station operate in "the public interest, conven- 
ience, and necessity" is an influence against mishandling of news. It is 
not good, when a station is applying for renewal of license, to have it 
said that its management had suppressed such-and-such a story. 

Radio has had some headaches of this kind. The charge has been 
made before the FCC that stations have altered, censored, or withheld 
broadcasts friendly to this or unfriendly to that element in society. In 
1943, several Midwestern stations for a time refused, after once agree- 
ing, to permit a farmers' cooperative association to broadcast its answer 
to a radio speech against it. In 1944 the United Automobile Workers 
told the FCC that WHKC-Columbus, Ohio, had yielded to the de- 
mand by the National Association of Manufacturers that it present a 
program designed to portray "industry as solely responsible for the 
nation's war production record," without giving labor an opportunity 
to respond. In reply, a representative of the station said that WHKC, 
"instead of throttling labor, is liberal in its policies and is one of the 
few stations in the country to sell time to labor unions" a statement 
that, if accurate, is in itself revealing. 

The fact that newspapers and radio both get so much of their news from 
the standard news services adds to the oneness of point of view. The AP is 
owned by the daily newspapers themselves; UP by the Scripps-Howard in- 
terests; INS by the Hearst interests. All are dedicated, in greater or less 
degree, to "objective," impartial, full coverage of the news. But the owner- 
ship attitude behind them is exactly that behind the newspapers, and closely 
akin to that behind the broadcasting industry. 

68 News by Radio 

The FCC was also asked to investigate, in 1948, charges that the 
ownership of KMPC-Hollywood had ordered three members of 
the newsroom's staff to "slant" news in accordance with the views 
of the station's president. The only case of this kind ever brought before 
the FCC, it had not been brought to a conclusion six months after the 
Commission agreed, in March, to investigate the charges. 

But most of the charges of this type have been directed chiefly 
against programs emanating not from the newsrooms, but from other 
agencies in the stations. Such programs may be as much news as the 
material from the news printers. But this book is primarily devoted 
to the handling of news as news, and to go further in discussion of 
matters of this kind could easily become irrelevant. 


What about the influence of advertisers on radio news presentation? 

Back in the 1930's the newspapers, trying to deny news to radio, 
talked about the insidious power of sponsors on news programs as one 
of the chief arguments against news broadcasting. This was a smoke 
screen. Publishers knew then, as they do now, that individual adver- 
tisers have little potency against the firmly-entrenched newspaper with 
the courage to stand its ground. They have always been as quick to 
deny the Seldes-Sinclair charges of advertiser-influence as they were to 
forecast its menace to radio news. It is undeniable that on occasion 
newspapers have bowed before demands or courteously acceded to 
wise suggestions, whichever way you want to put it of advertisers; 
that newspaper policies have sometimes been shaped to favor the point 
of view of big space-buyers, or of national advertising associations. But 
most newspaper publishers especially those whose financial feet are 
on solid ground can more than match the critic with tales of adver- 
tisers whose importunities have been rejected. The fact is, as somebody 
has said, that it is advertising, not advertisers, that influences the press. 
It is a fundamental point of view, not the individual retail grocer, that 
may put an imprint on the news. 

And the "may" in the last sentence should be emphasized. The news- 
paper record, from John Peter Zenger to the Joseph Pulitzers, is full of 
cases of the high integrity and courage of individual papers. Honest, 

Is Radio News "Different"? 69 

hard-hitting publishers, reporters, editorial writers men subject to no 
discernible extraneous influencealso make their impress on the news- 
paper scene. 

The point has already been made that on this score the broadcasting 
industry differs little from the press. But, you say, there is a difference: 
The newspaper presents its news itself, but radio sells news to a sponsor 
who takes responsibility for it. Yesif this were an accurate statement. 
Fortunately, it isn't. The radio station, or the network, does not sell to 
an advertiser a time-period in which he may present anything he desires 
in the guise of news. That isn't the way it works. Rather, radio sells a 
time-period in which the sponsor may present his own commercials 
(their length and even their form usually rigidly controlled by network 
or station rules) ; but the news itself is selected, edited, and often read 
into the microphone by the station's own news staff. 

There are cases of direct advertiser-influence. Usually they are de- 
scribed in general rather than specific terms. A writer in the Saturday 
Evening Post in 1937 cited sponsor-restrictions such as no mention of 
Hawaiian insularity, no derogatory remarks about California climate. 
He made the remark that "dollar considerations often ghost-write the 
sponsor's news program"; but he gave virtually no specific evidence to 
support his charge. 

Since the advent of the professional radio newsroom, there have been 
fewer such complaints. Justifications for them nowadays are rare. In 
one station advertisers occasionally let the newsroom know that they 
thought it would be "nice" (they rarely put it more strongly than that) 
if such-and-such news were put into, or kept out of, their sponsored 
periods. In each case the news editor responded that he would consider 
the news on its merits (usually his decision was that it wasn't worth 

The sponsor's influence may be more direct in the case of sponsored com- 
mentaries than in those of sponsored news shows. Usually a sponsor will 
not pay the heavy cost of broadcasting a commentator with whose views he 
does not agree. But Dixon Wecter, writing in the Atlantic for June, 1945, 
points out that three of the four networks offer rosters of commentators 
"with diverse personalities and points of view, from whom sponsors may 
choose" men selected primarily for their competence rather than their 

70 Newa by Radio 

using) ; in the two cases in which advertisers attempted to wield a big 
stick via the front office, the news editor and not the advertiser was sup- 
ported. One manager of an important radio station formally instructed 
his newsroom director: "I don't know anything about news. You're 
hired because you do. Your judgment is law. If I ever come in here with 
a request that you do this or that with the news cither on my own 
behalf or anybody else's be so good as to kick me back upstairs, where 
I belong." 

In a Chicago station with similar news policy, a case arose in which 
the advertising agency for nn important news sponsor decided that it 
didn't like the manner not the content or emphasis, but the manner 
in which the newsroom edited the news. The station acceded to the re- 
quest that an agency man be put into the newsroom to do the editing. 
After three days of listening to the shows that its man put together, the ' 
agency pulled him out and gladly returned the shows to newsroom 

In one situation, the amount of news offered by a station may be 
affected by the sponsorship system. An example: A Midwest station for 
years carried a 5: 30 P.M. newscast. A sponsor offered the station for the 
5:30 period a comic-dialog show, on a much more lucrative contract. 
The news show went out; and since the station had no place else to put 
it, the daily news offerings were cut by fifteen minutes. . . . But this 
situation in no way affected the quality of the news. 


The personnel of the average newsroom is a factor in its performance. 
Radio is still a "y un g man's game." Most of radio's top executives arc 
under fifty (the average age of the presidents of the four major net- 

A number of radio stations an increasing number have a law that the 
man who edits a news show must also broadcast it. The principle is that the 
editor is a trained newsman, and that he alone can put his copy on the air 
with ultimate effectiveness with proper emphasis, with entire understand- 
ing. This means that, in these stations, the news is not always read into the 
microphone by voices as golden as most professional announcers'. "But/' 
says the director of a key network station in Washington, "voice isn't as im- 
portant in newscasting as authority, understanding, an informed sense of 

Is Radio News "Different"? 71 

works on January 1, 1948, was forty-eight) . The age level in the news- 
rooms runs closer to thirty, and hundreds of radio newsmen are just out 
of college. 

This means that the newsrooms are in the hands of men (and a few 
women) of energy, ambition, and youthful point of view. There are 
few gray-haired old-timers in radio news, at least in point of experience 
radio news hasn't lived long enough. And there are few gray-bearded 
Tules-of-thumb. Radio news workers are subject to few of the restricting 
limitations of long practice. 

Moreover, they are young enough not to have settled irrevocably in 
ruts, either of editing or of thinking. Though plenty of them have 
adopted some of the superficial exemplifications of "young intellectual" 
cynicism (young men and women often do, whatever their occupation, 
as a shield against greater experience and as protective coloration for 
their very youthfuhiess), not many have become truly hard-shelled. 
They still believe in themselves and in their jobs; they have not had 
time for disillusion or for the evaporation of their passion for a pro- 
fession they think important. 

They are, on the whole, an exceptionally able group. The fact that 
the rate of pay in radio is somewhat above that of newspapers gives 
radio news a considerable vantage in selection, and radio news directors 
have used it. _ __ 

A final word. Radio news has to date not proved startlingly imagina- 
tive or inventive. In the foreign field, where it has developed a brilliant 
news corps (its members usually chosen from among the ablest of the 
younger newspaper correspondents), it has an outstanding record. But 
in the domestic newsroom, its one distinctive contribution is the de- 
velopment of an effective style for radio news writing. Little has been 
done with patterns for radio news programs. The development of local 
news-gathering and broadcasting, in spite of recent advances, is still in 
swaddling clothes. Few steps toward making radio news a vigorous 
champion of the public weal have been taken. 

In channels like these lies the opportunity of radio as a disseminator 
of news. In their avoidance lie stagnation and futility. 


The Radio Newsroom 

On January I, 1948, the FCC had licensed 1,522 AM stations to 
operate in the United States, and had granted construction permits to 
440 more. 

On the same date, exactly 1,500 AM stations were served by one or 
more press association news wires. 

This docs not mean that all except twenty-two licensed stations had 
press wires, for a number of wires were assigned to construction-permit 
stations not yet on the air. One hundred thirty-two commercial li- 
censees and seventeen noncommercial stations assigned to educa- 
tional, religious, or municipal agencies had no wire service. Eighty- 
three of the 132, however, had network affiliation presumably providing 
regular news programs. And a number of them were operating local 
news services of their own (some of them, as is shown in Chapter 8, 
vigorous and effective). 

A good 95 per cent of American AM broadcasters, in other words, 
were providing service from newsrooms of greater or less pretension. 

Wliat is a radio newsroom? 

In its simplest form, it is nothing more than a news printer set up 
in a closet off somebody's office, delivering its sixty words of news 
a minute. A few moments before each scheduled newscast an an- 
nouncer rips off its long strip of copy paper, reads hurriedly through 
the stories selecting, arranging, perhaps editing a little here or in- 

One Two 

Three Four Five 





Services Total 

Jan. 1, 1944 







Jan. 1, 1945 






Jan. 1, 1946 






Feb. 15, 1947 






Jan. 1, 1948 






1.500 . 

Statistics from listings in Broadcasting Yearbooks. 


The Radio Newsroom 73 

setting a "transition" there and dashes into a studio to put the news 
into a microphone. 

In its most elaborate form, the radio newsroom is the pretentious 
establishment maintained by network key stations in Washington, 
New York, and Los Angeles. It boasts a whole battery of teleprinters 
UP, AP, and INS newspaper wires, UP and AP radio wires, perhaps 
Reuters, Transradio, or other supplementary services, spare printers for 
emergencies. It occupies a big room, its wall acoustically treated, with 
desk space for its fifteen or twenty workers editors, reporters, com- 
mentators, specialists, secretaries. On its oversized bulletin boards are 
maps and a score of notices and memoranda. Through soundproofed 
triple plate-glass windows in one wall is a broadcasting booth; in the 
booth, not only the microphone into which regular newscasts and spot 
flashes are read, but also the complicated system of switches, dials, . 
warning lights, and other apparatus for picking up short-wave broad- 
casts from the other side of the world. Somewhere not far away is a mon- 
itoring service, where trained linguists listen to foreign radio stations. 

The atmosphere of this newsroom is the ordered disorder of the news- 
paper city room not the chaotic parody of a city room as Hollywood 
pictures it, but the tight, restrained haste of meeting deadlines and 
keeping constant vigil for the news-break. Neither the big network 
newsroom nor the printer-in-a-corner is typical, however any more 
than the New York Times or the South Side Shopper is typical of 

Let's look in more detail at a newsroom somewhere in the middle- 
one, say, in an aggressive station in a medium-sized city. The room itself 
is perhaps twelve feet by twenty. Its walls and ceilings are paved with 
perforated acoustical board. It is lighted by the gray-blue of a battery 
of fluorescent tubes overhead. 

Why should a radio newsroom, with teleprinters bringing it each day 
more news than it can possibly broadcast, pay out good money for its own 
editors, writers, reporters? 

For a number of excellent reasons: 

1 Competent news evaluation and judgment grow out of the background, 
experience, and training of men thoroughly versed in news handling. 

(continued on next page) 

74 News by Radio 

Dominating the room is a big copydesk, At its head sits the director 
of newsroom operations . . . copy spread on the desktop beside him, 
a typewriter clattering under his fingers as he hammers out lead stories 
for a news show coming up. Around the rim of the desk sit one or two 
assistants, typing fast on other sections of the same show, or more 
leisurely turning out copy for later shows. Against a nearby wall are the 
printers a newspaper and a radio wire are the usual minimum in such 
a newsroom, and there may be more. On a shelf on the wall is an A. T. 
& T. sports ticker under a glass dome, its staccato chatter rising inter- 
mittently above the steady pounding of the printers as it grinds out its 
narrow yellow tape. 

Another wall is covered with a reference library. Here are files of all 
local papers, the New York Times, perhaps other dailies. There are an 
Encyclopedia Britannica and an unabridged dictionary. Shelves hold 
the National or World Almanac, a good biographical dictionary, Who's 
Who in America, state, national, and international legislative manuals 
and directories, city directories, the United States Postal Guide, the 
New York Times Index, pronunciation manuals, specialized guides in 
sports, agriculture, and other fields, local reference books. A pile of well- 
thumbed maps and an atlas overflow a table. 

Walls near the copydesk have maps on them maps of the world, the 
United States, the state, the city, the county. Perhaps, also, new maps 

2 However skillfully written for broadcasting may be the copy brought in 
by news printers, the job of selecting stories and knitting them into 
effective newscasts is one for a news specialist. 

3 Much news that comes, say, to an Iowa station by printer from Wash- 
ington can be made more meaningful for the Iowa audience if it is 
rewritten and edited with a view to the special needs of the particular 

4 Frequently it is desirable that a given news program be written especially 
to suit the personality and "air-characteristics" of the man who is to 
broadcast it. 

5 A station in a competitive situation, desiring that its shows "sound differ- 
ent" from those offered by other stations, must write its own copy to 
make sure that its news will not be broadcast word for word like that 
from rival stations' printers. 

6 A station cannot get credit from the FCC for "local live" news shows if 
it merely broadcasts unedited printer copy (see Chapter 8) . 

The Radio Newsroom 75 

of "hot spot" areas current in the news. Bulletin boards carry pieces of 
yellow and white copy paper from the printers: schedules of the day's 
routine, notices of changes in service, "confidential to editors" memo- 
randa, occasional stories that for one reason or another aren't to be 
broadcast but that somebody thinks too good for his co-workers to 
miss. Here are the daily log of the station, typed instructions as to what 
to do when an important news flash justifies breaking into a non-news 
program, perhaps the week's schedule of staff assignments. 

A corner is crowded with desks for "specialists'' sports newscasters, 
agricultural and other experts, commentators and the office secretary. 
A big plate-glass window looks into a broadcasting booth which may 
double as the director's private office. 

From time to time one of the editors rises from his typewriter to look 
at a printer, to rip off a strip of fresh copy. When five bells on one of the 
machines announce a "bulletin," somebody leaves his work to check on 
it. At the rarer ten bells heralding a "flash" news of extraordinary im- 
portance everybody jumps, and there is a quick consultation to decide 
whether to put it on the air at once. Copy continues to flow out of the 

The newsroom door swings continually. An announcer comes in to 
pick up his copy for a forthcoming newscast, settles himself at a desk 
in a corner to read carefully through it. From time to time he calls to 
an editor to check on a sentence, or takes a look at a pronunciation 
guide. A commentator comes in to verify a fact in a reference book, or 
to glance at the printers to make sure he has the latest word on the sub- 
ject he plans to discuss. A girl from the outer office brings in the "com- 
mercials" for a sponsored newscast and throws them into a wire basket; 
she leaves latest editions of the local papers. An office boy changes a 
ribbon on a printer, puts a new roll of paper on another, files in a cabinet 
the copy for shows already broadcast. The attention of the director is 
demanded by a telephone call, or by the entrance of somebody who, 
having wormed his way past the reception desk out front, offers his 
reasons why news of his church sociable should go on every show that 

A deadline nears, and tension heightens. Typewriters punch closing 
periods and stop. The announcer and an editor talk about a moot point 

76 News by Radio 

in the copy. The announcer leaves for the broadcasting booth with a 
minute or two to spare. The workers stretch; somebody goes out for a 
cup of coffee; an editor remains on deck to check on late-breaking news. 
He sweeps used copy into waste baskets and "clears" the printers, taking 
off the new copy and separating it into neat piles. 
Shortly work starts on the next newscast. 

Newsroom Personnel 

Such a newsroom staff consists of six or seven workers. One is the 
boss, one his assistant; they direct the newsroom operation, say, from 
7 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and from 3 to 1 1 . A third man 
has the "lobster trick," from 11 at night to 7 in the morning he is in- 
surance against the news break that comes in the middle of the night, 
and he's charged with getting up the early-morning newscasts. The 
other members of the staff work in staggered shifts through the day 
perhaps only as writers and editors, perhaps doubling as local reporters, 
covering local stories in direct competition with the local newspapers. 

Who are these workers? What is their equipment? How did they get 
into the newsroom? 

When a Lincoln, Nebraska, station decided in 1928 to give America 
one of its first "newspapers of the air," it hired a newspaper man to 
direct the operation. CBS, in 1933, put a former UP man in charge of 
developing its news service. The pattern thus outlined has remained 
pretty well fixed. News, say the radio stations, is news; those best quali- 
fied to handle it are newsmen. A large percentage of radio newsroom 
personnel has been drawn from newspaper staffs, or from the ranks of 
those trained for journalistic work graduates of the schools of jour- 

The logic of this is clear. If a man is to be charged with evaluating 
news for a mass audience, he must possess a sound understanding of 
what news is. Not merely what it is in the outmoded "man-bites-dog" 
sense, but what it is in origin, development, and social relationships. 
He must know how and where news is gathered; he must be able to 
assess the validity of news sources; he must be competent to pass on the 
comparative authority of two stories, perhaps conflicting, coming from 
two reporters on the other side of the world. He must be able to read 

The Radio Newsroom 77 

between the lines of dispatches. He needs to understand the functions 
and operations of news channels, of national and international com- 
munication systems, of overt and implicit censorships. He must apply 
critical judgment to the work of individual reporters he must know 
the Wallace Deuels, the Karl von Wiegands, the Bert Andrews', 
"Scotty" Restons, Hightowers, and all the rest. He must be equipped to 
judge quickly the values in a local story, and to gather quickly the facts 
f or it or to tell somebody else where and how to gather them. 

All this he can do competently only if he knows news inside and out. 

This is not to say that he can acquire this background only by being 
a newspaper man (Edward R. Murrow, one of the greatest of radio re- 
porters, had little news experience before he became CBS European 
news director); nor that two years' experience as a police reporter, by 
itself, will give it to him. But it is more likely that a thorough grounding 
in news work will orient and inform him soundly than would experi- 
ence as a doctor, a time salesman, an announcer, or a radio engineer. 

No more will any wise man assert that journalistic experience alone 
is enough. The competent newsman radio, newspaper, Time, or Life 
must have also an orientation in society. He must have a thorough, 
finger-tip knowledge of history, government, geography; he must have 
some insight into psychology, some awareness of sociological conforma- 
tions, and divergences; he must have a scientific skepticism, and a 
knowledge of the fundamentals of scientific thinking. He must be a 
man whose perspective is as broad as the sweep of the news itself. In 
short, he must be an educated man whether by diploma or otherwise 
is immaterial. 

Where do radio stations (or any other employers) find this paragon? 
They don't, of course, find him very often. But they look for him among 
the young and competent newspapermen more frequently than any 
place else. Most radio newsroom directors will tell you that newspaper 
experience, backed by sound education, is the prime requisite for mem- 
bership on their staffs. 

The statistics at the head of this chapter suggest the increasing 
dimensions of the newsroom personnel problem after World War II. 
The growing number of broadcasting stations and the expanding in- 
terest in local news coverage combined to create a heavy demand for 

78 News by Radio 

qualified men. This demand of course existed throughout the radio in- 
dustrya fact doubtless contributory to the finding of a mid-1947 NAB 
survey that the average weekly wage of full-time broadcast station em- 
ployes was $74, called by NAB "the highest average per employe in any 
American industry." 

It also showed its special effect on newsroom personnel in the FCC's 
1947 Employe and Compensation Report. The report showed that 
seven American networks and 924 AM stations employed, in February, 
1947, 890 "news personnel" at an average weekly wage of $69.31 
higher than the average for program personnel of all kinds, higher than 
that for announcers, singers, writers, and "other staff program em- 
ployes"; lower than the average for sound effects and production men, 
musicians, and actors. "Nonstaff news personnel/' however including 
high-salaried commentators and the like averaged $136.24 a week, 
higher than any other nonstaff personnel. 

This meant that the qualified man could expect to enter a radio 
newsroom, at the beginning of 1948, at a wage perhaps slightly higher 
than the going rate in competitive fields (stations in less-than-metro- 
politan communities were paying competent school of journalism 
graduates $50 or $55 a week to start; those in big cities sometimes paid 
more, those in small towns often paid less) . 

Radio newsmen predict that demand for competent personnel will 
be active for several years. The anticipated development of FM broad- 
casting and the prospects of vigorous television news programming 
help to support such a prediction. None of this, however, suggests that 
radio news is an easy El Dorado. Definitions of adequate qualification 
are likely to grow more rigorous; one evidence of this is increasing 
emphasis on the desirability of having newsmen do their own broad- 
casting. Nobody knows just where the saturation level may lie, but it is 
an existing ceiling. And unfortunately for radio newsmen, the news- 
room is perhaps more vulnerable to business recession than some of 
broadcasting's other departments. It is often easier to cut one news 
writer or reporter from the station staff than one engineer. 

The radio industry's recognition of the need for development of a 
pool of properly prepared newsroom workers has been noted in Chapter 
L The formation of the Council on Radio Journalism by joint action 

The Radio Newsroom 79 

of the NAB and the schools of journalism is one answer. The Council's 
statement of standards for university-level preparation of newsroom 
workers (see Appendix B) details the technical courses recommended 
for such preparation training in news gathering, news writing, news 
editing, news evaluation and emphasis, plus fundamental work in 
microphone technique, station operation, and elementary electronics. 
But it puts its major emphasis on general education, on background, 
on orientation in society. This, say both the industry and the uni- 
versities, is the first requirement. 

Newsroom Organization, Operation, and Cost 

How does the newsroom fit into the station organization? 

Practice has built up no universal pattern. Fairly common and cer- 
tainly most logical and desirable is the news department independent 
of all station tie-ins except its responsibility to management. Not un- 
usual, however, is the establishment of the news department as a sub- 
division of programming. In either case, the newsroom can operate 
effectively and self-respectingly only if its actual news functioning is 
autonomous if its reporting, writing, editing, and news judgments are 
strictly and solely the responsibility of its director. 

There is similarly no set pattern for the newsroom's internal organiza- 
tion, beyond the normal line of responsibility from reporter to writer- 
editor to director. "Informal" is the word for most radio news opera- 
tionsfew follow ironclad lines of organization or make the director, 
in practice, a dictator. The spread of responsibility among newsroom 
workers naturally relates directly to their degrees of competence. A 
rule in most newsrooms is that announcers bear responsibility only for 
reading the news that they have no authority to edit or revise, except 
with newsroom approval. 

This is generalization. Characteristic operative patterns may perhaps 
be described best by specific examples. Here are three the first in de- 
tail, the others less detailed. The information they offer has come 
from their news directors or their station managers. 

Station A is a 10,000-watt CBS affiliate in a small city in a Southern 
state. Its news operations, like those of the other two examples, are 
aggressive and thorough. Its organizational chart looks like this: 


The Radio Newsroom 81 

Overall Organization and Policy The news director is supreme in 
news, but is under the program department (headed by the general 
manager) in overall programming. The program department allocates 
newscasts to the station schedule, and the news department prepares 
the shows. The news director may substitute "flash" or other important 
news for any commercial programming on his own responsibility. He 
has entire authority for news selection, evaluation, and "play," subject 
only to the station's code of good taste. The station does no editorializ- 
ing or commenting. It permits no sponsorship of local news shows. 

Personnel and Salaries The news editor is paid $77.50 a week (top 
for the position is $90) ; four reporters (two of them women) are paid 
$54.60, $46.80, $46.40, and $40.56 (top for these positions, $60) ; college, 
high school, and other correspondents, about $40 a week at 50 cents a 
story. "Our outlying town news comes largely from mortuaries whose 
names are mentioned in funeral stories; in return they tip us to other 
news not involving death." 

Daily Newscast and Staff Assignment Schedule One reporter goes 
on at 6 A.M., checks local stories, and with wire copy assembles a fifteen- 
minute newscast for 7:45 A.M. He then prepares a five-minute show for 
8:55 A.M. 

The news editor and a second reporter go on at 9 A.M., and the three 
concentrate on local news for a five-minute local show at 10:10 A.M. 
They then prepare a ten-minute show for 1 : 30 P.M. 

The early man leaves at 3 P.M., and two night reporters go on. This 
four-man staff works toward the "big night edition" at 7:15 P.M. The 
two night men (the senior taking editorial responsibility) get up a 
five- to eight-minute show for 11:10 P.M. They stay on duty until sign- 
off at 12:05 A.M., watching for news-breaks and rewriting late news 
for use at 7:45 the next morning. 

The staff also gets up a weekly half-hour "Feature Story 7 ' program, 
and a woman reporter prepares a fifteen-minute "society column" for 
Sunday use. All local newscasts "lean against" wire or network news- 
casts. The station uses several network shows in addition to locally- 
prepared programs. 

One man in the news department broadcasts a fifteen-minute show 
daily, and one a five-minute. Most of the newscasts, however, are 

82 News by Radio 

assigned to announcers. The station would like to have newsmen do 
all their own broadcasting, but "reporters with voices are rare animals. 
News sounds more authoritative if a genuine newsman puts it on the 
air; and the man who has to broadcast learns more about writing for 
the air." 

Costs The annual salary budget runs to about $16,000. Two news 
services, UP and INS, cost $3,400 a year. Other expenses, including 
telephone and telegraph tolls, recording costs, travel, and supplies, 
bring the total annual newsroom cost to about $25,000. 


Station B is a 250-watt NBC affiliate in a small city in New York 
state. Its news staff consists of one man, a former local newspaper man 
who is paid $55 a week. He has sole responsibility for gathering and 
writing local news, for editing news shows, and for a five-day-a-week 
fifteen-minute local commentary (which he also broadcasts) . The sta- 
tion schedules two five-minute and five fifteen-minute news shows 
daily, in addition to network shows, and includes local news on all 
seven. It uses tape-recorded news frequently. An arrangement with a 
local morning newspaper provides local news for use on the late evening 
show, after the news editor has gone off duty. 

One announcer is assigned exclusively to news shows, and broad- 
casts all but the five-minute shows, which are put on by the program 
manager. The news announcer is paid $50 a week, only part of it 
charged to the news budget. All three of these men draw talent fees 
for sponsored shows, in addition to salary; this is not charged to the 
newsroom. The total newsroom salary item comes to $4,000 to $4,500 
a year; the cost of AP wire service to $600 a year; travel, telephone tolls, 
and other expenses to about $1,500 a year. The total approaches $7,000 

a Y ear - _ o 

Station C is a 50,000-watt outlet in one of the nation's biggest cities, 
one carrying heavy network responsibilities. Its newsroom director, 
who has full authority over the news operation, is also director of news 
and special events for the network in his section of the country. It pays 
six news writers about $100 each a week, a wire-recorder specialist $150 

The Radio Newsroom 83 

a week, and three commentators about $1 50 each a week (but these 
are not charged against the newsroom, since the commentators are 
network performers ) . It offers eleven news shows daily, all fifteen- 
minute except one five-minute spot and a ten-minute recorded show. 
It also carries several network news shows. 

The station's annual salary budget, exclusive of director and com- 
mentators, runs to about $35,000 or more. Its cost for AP, UP, and INS 
trunk newspaper wires, the AP state wire, and AP and UP radio wires 
is about $38,500 a year. Other costs run its annual expense well above 
$80,000. But it gets most of this back in the $75,000 a year paid by 
local news clients as a service fee for news-gathering, writing, and 
editing. Annual time charges for the newsroom's shows amount to 
about $250,000 a year. 


How Is It Written? 

In every radio newsroom an invisible precept hangs over the type- 

Write for the ear! 

The radio audience is an aural audience. The man speaking into 
the microphone can reach his listener through no other sense. He 
cannot thump his lectern, wave his fist, or pace the stage. If he indulges 
in the dramatic pause so effective on the lecture platform, his radio 
audience thinks a tube has burned out. He has neither the listener's 
eye nor the psychological effect of mass response to aid him in putting 
over what he has to say. He must rely on words alone, plus whatever 
adornment inflection and tone may give them. 

This "ear-characteristic" means that the radio news writer must 
give his copy the maximum of car-appeal. And radio newsmen agree 
that the effective manner by which to make copy easy to listen to is 
to make it sound like the kind of verbalism to which cars are most 


The "conversational style" is the goal at which the radio news 
editor aims. He seeks to adapt the informality, the simplicity, the easy 
flow of ordinary conversation to his need to present a great many facts, 
some of them complex, in very brief time. This does not mean that 
he thinks of himself as a dialog writer, one attempting to reproduce 
realistically, with all its elisions, vulgarisms, slang, and grammatical 
idiosyncrasies, an actual conversational manner. But it does mean that 
his finished newscast must have the flavor of a man's unaffected talk. 

How does he achieve this flavor? 

The Conversational Style 

It is not difficult to name the salient characteristics of everyday 
conversation* First of all, conversation is informal, without pomp or 


How Is It Written? 85 

affectation. It is simple it uses common, readily-understood words, 
it is colloquial, it says what it has to say in broad strokes rather than 
finely-etched detail. Its rhetoric is straight-forward; it employs short 
sentences, sometimes half-sentences. 

All of these characteristics are to be found in good radio news writing. 

There are, of course, other characteristics of the conversational 
manner: loose diction, vulgarisms, solecisms, faulty grammar, and the 
like. Inaccuracy, too the ease with which the human tongue wonders 
from fact is proverbial. Radio news avoids these characteristics; it does 
not need them in order to attain the flavor it seeks. The effect can be 
achieved by suggestion rather than realism. 

Soon after the United Press offered to its radio clients news written 
for broadcast, it issued a set of mimeographed instructions on han- 
dling radio news. The first sentence in the several revisions 'oi this 
informal manual as well as the theme of the first chapter of the book 
which the manual finally became, United Press Radio News Style 
Book by Phil Newsom (1943) was, "Writing news for radio really 
is telling a story orally." 

"Telling a story orally" what does it mean? 

Suppose an automobile skids and ends up against a telephone pole 
at a corner as you are walking by. The driver is seriously injured, a 
passenger is cut by a broken windshield. You describe the event to 
your family at dinner: , 

"A sweet accident at the corner this afternoon right down at Maple and 
Fourth. The driver was smashed up took him to the hospital. Yeah I was 
just walking past. This car skidded, and first thing I knew there it was, slid- 
ing right into the telephone pole. Fellow driving was jammed agadnst the 
steering wheel guess it crushed his chest. His face was cut, too blood all 
over the place. The man with him? He got cut up some too, but not so 
badly. . . . No the car didn't seem to be hurt so much, except the radi- 

Wells Church, CBS director of news broadcasts, is quoted by an Editor & 
Publisher interviewer as saying that "in the newspaper it's readability that 
the editors strive for; on the air, it's listenability. . . . The newscast writer 
must consider the mental image he is creating; how to keep it clear for the 
listeners; and how to keep down those 'phone calls which used to plague 
every radio newsroom when long-winded sentences written for reading and 
not hearing were read on the air." 

86 News by Radio 

ator grill and the windshield, I stayed until the City Hospital ambulance 
came and took 'em away. . . ." 

You pick up your evening paper. In it you find something like this 
to report the event: 

Two men were injured, one seriously, when an automobile skidded and 
crashed into a telephone pole at Maple avenue and Fourth street at 2:15 
P.M. this afternoon. 

One, Arthur Williams, 45, 2719 Hawthorne road, the car's driver, is in 
City Hospital with multiple contusions and possible chest injuries. The 
other, John Payson, 51, Metropole hotel, was sent home from the hospital 
after his wounds were dressed. 

The car skidded as it approached the corner, and hit the telephone pole, 
witnesses said, at about thirty miles an hour. Williams 7 chest was crushed 
against the steering wheel. The car damage was slight. 

Try reading the newspaper version aloud; compare it to the conver- 
sational version. You note at once that the newspaper story makes 
'"bad listening" though its condensation of essential facts is skillful 
printed chronicling of the event because of its very compactness, be- 
cause of the large number of details compressed into small space, 
because its manner is not that to which the ear is accustomed. 

Now listen to your favorite newscast as it presents the story: 

Another Midland auto accident this afternoon . . . and a driver badly 
injured. He is 45-year-old Arthur Williams, who lives at 2719 Hawthorne 
Road. His companion, John Payson of the Metropole Hotel, got off with 
minor cuts. 

Williams' car skidded at the corner of Maple avenue and Fourth street, 
and smashed into a telephone pole. The steering wheel crushed Williams' 
chest. He is in City Hospital. 

There are differences between this story and the conversational 
version. But the differences between it and the newspaper story are 
more marked. Like the dinner-table version, the radio story opens with 
a general statement rather than the detail-packed lead of the newspaper 
story. It offers many fewer details than the newspaper story; and it is 
told in relatively simple, straightforward sentences. It has no "credit 
lines" such as the "witnesses said" of the newspaper story. 

How Is It Written? 87 

The news services providing both newspaper and radio versions of the 
same stories make like distinctions. Note the differences among stories 
taken verbatim from news printers operating in a radio newsroom: 

From the United Press newspaper -wire: 


Washington, Aug. 16 (UP) Gen. D wight D. Eisenhower said today he 

would order a full-scale investigation of alleged "intolerable" conditions 

reported in the Army's Mediterranean command by Robert C. Ruark, 

Scripps-Howard columnist. 

The Army chief of- staff told newsmen at National Airport here that a 
top War Department official, probably Army Inspector General Maj. Gen. 
William Wyche, would leave for Italy early next week to conduct a first- 
hand investigation. 

Eisenhower said the Army's investigation would take "from ten days to 
two weeks/' He said the investigator would make a formal report to him. 

In a series of columns from Italy, Ruark has accused Lt. Gen. John C. 
Lee, U. S. Mediterranean commander, of making life "intolerable" for en- 
listed men but correspondingly easy for officers. 

Eisenhower said Lee has asked the War Department to investigate the 
charges. The investigation will be made, Eisenhower said. 

Eisenhower landed at the airport shortly before 6 P.M. EDT., returning 
from a two-week tour of Army installations in Alaska. He told reporters he 
knew "little" of the charges against Lee. But, he added, when he was in 
Italy last year he found morale "surprisingly good." 

"Conditions may have changed since then/' Eisenhower said. 

The chief of staff reported that Army forces in Alaska are "doing a good 
job and their morale is high." But he said that additional facilities, particu- 
larly living quarters, are needed. He added that the Army will have to begin 
"to get construction going up there." 

From the United Press radio -wire: 

Our commander in the Mediterranean theater, Lieutenant General John 
Lee, has invited all American correspondents in Italy to visit any Army 
installations and make any investigations they want to. The general's in- 
vitation was accompanied by mimeographed copies of articles in Scripps- 
Howard newspapers criticizing his administration. 

In Washington meanwhile, General Dwight Eisenhower says he will 
order a full-scale investigation into allegations of intolerable conditions in 
the Mediterranean command. A top War Department official will leave 
for Italy early next week to conduct a first-hand inquiry into the charges 
made by Scripps-Howard columnist Robert Ruark. 

88 News by Radio 

From the Associated Press newspaper wire: 

Washington, Aug. 16 (AP) Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Army chief 
of staff, said today an investigator probably the inspector-general himself 
will go to Italy to check on the administration of Gen. John C. H. Lee, 
commander of the Mediterranean theater. 

Eisenhower, who arrived at the Washington National Airport at 4:50 
P.M. (EST) from a tour of Alaskan defense bases, told reporters that Lee 
himself had wired the War Department asking that an investigation be 

"Lee has asked the inspector-general to look into conditions and that's 
exactly what we'd do anyway/' the chief of staff said. 

"We'd do it if for nothing else than to defend the officer himself/' 

Eisenhower said that Maj. Gen. Ira T. Wyche, the inspector-general, 
probably will make the trip. He said that Wyche likely will leave Washing- 
ton Monday and it will take "approximately ten days or two weeks" to com- 
plete the inquiry. 

Eisenhower said he did not "know much about" published reports con- 
cerning Lee's administration and the morale of American troops and that 
"about all I know is what I saw in the papers." 

A series of articles in the past week by Robert C. Ruark, an American cor- 
respondent, alleged low morale among troops in Italy. 

The chief of staff said that when he was in Italy in October of last year he 
found the 88th Division in "surprisingly high morale." However, he said 
he did not go down into the southern part of Italy where General Lee has 
his headquarters. 

The investigation in Italy, Eisenhower said, will be "almost like a grand 
jury hearing." After the investigation the inspector-general will return to 
Washington to make a report to the War Department. 

"As far as the 88th Division is concerned," Eisenhower continued, "as 
long ago as ten months ago, I found no conditions such as have been re- 
ported. What has happened since, I wouldn't know, but I wouldn't imagine 
there has been much change." 

Eisenhower said Gen. Omar Bradley, Veterans Administration chief, 
probably will visit Italy during his tour of American bases in Europe, but 
that Bradley has not been asked to investigate the reports involving Gen- 
eral Lee. 

Sun-tanned and appearing in excellent spirits, Eisenhower and his party 
arrived here in his DC-4, the Sunflower II. He flew non-stop from Denver, 
where he had spent last night. 

Asked whether he plans to retire as chief of staff to begin his duties as the 
President of Columbia University in New York, Eisenhower replied that the 
date still is "indefinite it depends on when the President says I can go/' 

How Is It Written? #9 

He said he found the troops in Alaska have high morale and are "doing the 
best they can with what they have to work with." He added that many fa- 
cilities are in "poor" condition and "we've got to get some construction in 
that region." 

From the Associated Press radio wire: 

Washington Army Chief of Staff General Eisenhower says an on-the-spot 
investigation will be made of the administration of General John C. II. Lee 7 
the Mediterranean theater commander. 

A series of articles by American correspondent Robert Ruark (of Scripps- 
Howard) have been published in the past week, claiming the morale of 
troops under Lee's command is low. 

The chief of staff made this statement "Lee has asked the inspector- 
general to look into conditions and that's exactly what we'd do anyway. 
We'd do it for nothing else than to defend the officer himself.' 7 

Eisenhower made his announcement upon arrival at Washington airport 
from a tour of Alaskan defense bases. He said he did not know much about 
the published reports concerning Lee's administration and the morale of 
American troops. In Eisenhower's own words "About all I know is what I 
saw in the papers." 

The chief of staff said that the inspector-general Major General Ira 
Wyche likely will leave Washington Monday. He said the investigation in 
Italy will be almost like a grand jury hearing. 

Eisenhower said General Omar Bradley probably will visit Italy during 
his tour of American bases in Europe. But Bradley has not been asked to in- 
vestigate the report involving General Lee. 

From the United Press newspaper wire: 

Batavia, Java, Aug. 16 (UP) U. S. Consul General Walter A. Foote 
tonight asked the Indonesian Republican government to say flatly whether 
it would or would not renew peace negotiations with the Dutch. 

Foote visited Indonesian Vice Premier A. K. Gani in Batavia upon 
instructions from the State Department in Washington, according to a 
reliable informant. He told Gani that war, or something very like it, still 
went on, despite the cease-fire orders issued by the United Nations Security 
Council and the American offer of good offices. 

Therefore, Gani was told, the United States wants to know if the Indo- 
nesian Republic is not willing to accept the American offer, which presumes 
a renewal of negotiations with the Dutch. If Indonesia does not, Foote told 
Gani, the United States wants to report it to the Dutch and the Security 

90 News by Radio 

Foote also expressed his government's disappointment at the Republic's 
failure to answer the American offer directly. The Indonesian reply sug- 
gested that the United States use its influence to get the Security Council to 
send an international commission to investigate the dispute. 

Foote told Gani that if the Republic was willing to renew negotiations 
with the Dutch, the United States would do its best to bring both sides 

From the United Press radio "Wire: 

American Consul-General Walter Foote has put a direct question to the 
Indonesian Republican government. 

He asked the Republicans tonight to say flatly whether they will renew 
peace negotiations with the Dutch. 

Foote is understood to have visited the Indonesian vice-premier in Ba- 
tavia upon instructions from the State Department in Washington. And he 
reportedly told him that war, or something very like it, still went on despite 
the cease-fire orders issued by the U-N Security Council. 

The United States wants to know whether the Indonesian Republic is 
willing to accept the American offer to mediate the dispute. Our offer pre- 
sumes that the Republicans would negotiate with the Dutch. 


From the Associated Press newspaper -wire: 

Jackson, N. C., Aug. 18 (AP) Sheriff }. C. Stcphenson of Northampton 
County today re-arrested seven white men on charges growing out of an at- 
tempted lynching of a young Negro here last May 23. 

The sheriff served a bench warrant issued by Superior Court Judge J. Paul 
Frizzellc charging each of the seven with conspiring to break and enter a 
jail and with breaking and entering a jail with intent to kill and injure a 

The defendants, each of whom was immediately released on $2,500 bond, 
are: Robert Vann, pickle factory worker, Russell Bryant, filling station oper- 
ator; Linwood and Gilbert Bryant, brothers, carpenters; Glenn Collier, 
barber; Joe Cunningham, assistant theater manager; and W. C. Cooper, 
lunch stand operator, all of Rich Square. 

The same seven men originally were arrested on the same two charges plus 
a charge of kidnaping. They were released Aug. 5 when a grand jury failed 
to indict them. 

The grand jury also failed to indict the Negro, Godwin "Buddy" Bush, 
who had been charged with attempted assault with intent to rape a young 
white woman. 

The defendants have been ordered to appear before Judge Frizzelle Sept. 
2 when he will sit as a committing magistrate in the case. 

How Is It Written? 91 

The new legal move was ordered by Gov. R. Gregg Cherry who termed 
the action of the grand jury "a miscarriage of justice." 

A group of white men took Bush from the county jail in what Sheriff 
Stephenson said was an obvious attempt at lynching. But Bush escaped and 
hid in the woods for two days before surrendering to the protective custody 
of the FBI and Solicitor Ernest Tyler. 

From the Associated Press radio -wire: 

Jackson, North Carolina The Northampton County sheriff has re-arrested 
seven white men in connection with an attempted lynching of a young 
Negro last May 23rd. 

Sheriff J. C. Stephenson served a bench warrant issued by Superior Court 
Judge J. Paul Frizzelle. It charges each of the seven with conspiring to break 
and enter a jail and with breaking and entering a jail with intent to kill 
and injure a prisoner. 

The same seven men originally were arrested on the same two charges plus 
a kidnaping charge. They were released August fifth when a grand jury failed 
to indict them. 

At that time, Governor R. Gregg Cherry called the grand jury action a 
miscarriage of justice. The governor ordered the new legal move which led 
to the re-arrest of the seven men. 

From the United Press newspaper wire: 

Detroit, Aug. 16 (UP) Chrysler Corporation, the world's third largest 

auto producer, hiked its entire line of car prices today as the auto industry 

was attacked by the CIO Auto Workers union for "pure and simple profit- 


As Chrysler announced boosts of $75 to $130, leaving Ford Motor Com- 
pany the only major producer still holding the price line, R. J. Thomas, 
UAW vice president, demanded a federal investigation of "profiteering"' 
and high prices. 

Chrysler, announcing it was forced to join the trend toward higher 
prices because of "increased material and labor costs," said the new prices 
would be effective Monday and applied to Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto and 
Chrysler cars and some Dodge trucks. 

Chrysler was the sixth producer in five weeks to announce new postwar 
boosts, the virtually industry-wide hikes affecting about 75 per cent of all 
car production. 

Thomas charged that six major producers (General Motors, Chrysler, 
Hudson, Mack, Nash and Studcbaker) had earned a total of $374,000,000 
before income taxes in the first six months of 1947. 

Asserting that the auto industry should be "giving price cuts to the Amer- 

92 News by Radio 

ican people, not raising prices," Thomas asked Attorney Gen. Tom Clark to 
investigate the auto monopoly, steel distribution and auto prices. 

From the United Press radio wire: 

Vice President R. J. Thomas of the C-I-O Auto Workers Union has de- 
manded a federal probe of what he calls the auto industry's profiteering and 
high prices. 

His demand came as Chrysler corporation boosted its prices on its passen- 
ger cars and trucks. General Motors, Nash, Packard, Hudson and Kaiser- 
Frazer also have hiked price tags in the last two weeks. 

The union chief charged that six major auto companies have earned a 
total of 374-million dollars in the first six months of this year before income 
taxes. Thomas listed them as General Motors which reported earnings of 
1 47-million Chrysler, Hudson, Mack, Nash, and Studcbaker. 

Thomas said that instead of price increases the auto industry should be 
giving price cuts to the American people. He asked Attorney General Tom 
Clark to investigate what he called the ''auto monopoly/' steel distribution, 
and auto prices. 

He said the earnings amounted to a profit of 222 dollars per car and that 
G-M 7 s unit profit was 300 dollars. He said that before the war 50 dollars was 
considered a good return. 


From the Associated Press newspaper wire: 

Rochester, N. Y., Aug. 16 (AP) Mary Jane di Rosa rode to the altar in a 
wheelchair today, determined that an ankle fracture sustained in a fall while 
preparing her trousseau should not delay her wedding. 

She draped her white satin gown and bridal veil over the wheelchair and, 
right leg in a cast, rode down the aisle of St. Anthony's Catholic church to 
become the bride of Ralph Gentile. 

"No postponing the wedding for me," she said. "I just didn't want to put 
it off." 

From the Associated Press radio wire: 


Rochester, New York This was going to be shoes and rice day for Mary 

Jane di Rosa, and nothing was going to hold up the wedding not even an 

ankle fracture, 

Mary Jane suffered the injury in a fall while preparing for her wedding. 

But the guests who came to the ceremony at Rochester's St. Anthony's 
Catholic church were not disappointed. 

How Is It Written? 93 

They saw Mary Jane ride to the altar in a wheelchair to become the bride 
of Ralph Gentile. 

As the bride explained: "No postponing the wedding for me. I just didn't 
want to put it off." 


These contrasting stories point up a cardinal principle in radio news 
writing: simplicity. Simplicity in diction, simplicity in sentence struc- 
ture, simplicity in manner. 

The ear is a fuzzy observer. It does not always hear truly the words 
that are spoken it may carry to the brain something quite different 
from the meaning of the words themselves. Moreover, it cannot go 
back and rehear, as the eye can reread. All of which means that the 
radio news writer must fashion his copy so that it will have the per- 
centages with it so that it will offer the highest probability of accurate 
reception. And that, in turn, means that everything about it must be 
as simple as he can make it. 

The first rule in simplicity which, in this context, is synonymous 
with clarity is, "Use simple words." Words that are in common use. 

In the second week of August, 1945, when the world was waiting tensely 
for news of Japanese capitulation, a station in Washington broadcast a 
statement that "Charles G. Ross, secretary to the President, will go on the 
air about 1 1 tonight," Shortly after 1 1 the station was bombarded by tele- 
phone callers who demanded that the speech by President Truman be pre- 
sented as promised. They had heard only that ". . . the President will go 
on the air/' 

In a Midwestern city during a polio epidemic, a local station reported, 
^In the last three days, sixty-three new cases have been identified." In one 
home in the city, a mother started frantically to make plans to get her three 
small children out of town. What she had heard was that "sixty-three new 
polio cases have been identified." She knew that this was several times the 
daily rate of the preceding week; had she heard the entire sentence, her 
fright would have been averted. Incidentally, the script writer would have 
1 been surer she would hear it properly if he had not written an inverted 
sentence if he had put the phrase "in the last three days" at the end 
rather than the beginning of the sentence. 

94 News by Radio 

Words that are widely meaningful, that are generally accepted and 
understood. When Elmer Davis was broadcasting his masterful five- 
minute news summary each evening before World War II, he won 
a huge popular audience; Raymond Swing was on the air each day 
with a commentary that attracted few but highly literate and highly 
educated listeners. A word-analysis of the two men's scripts showed 
that Davis almost never used words beyond the first 2,500 in point of 
general usage (according to the Thorn dyke analysis); Swing used a 
high percentage of words as far along the scale as the third and fourth 
2,500, and sprinkled in a few beyond the eighth. 

More concretely: It is bad radio to say that King George was 
"ensconced on the regal dais" at formal reception. It is effective, and 
accurate, to say that he was "seated on the throne." "Freedom from 
slavery" is better than "liberation from servitude." Millions of radio 
listeners wouldn't know what a holocaust is, but they'd recognize at 
once a disastrous fire. "Danger" is better than "peril," and "boy" or 
"young man" than "youth." The newscast that tells you the British 
police in Haifa have "cordoned off" a section of the city achieves not 
only a solecism but also an obscurity. 

Words that have specialized or technical meanings are, under this 
same principle, to be avoided. Some thousands of readers of Broad- 
casting, Billboard, Variety, and the rest of the entertainment and radio 
press know the meaning of "video," but for the millions who don't 
you have to say "television." Say "record," not "platter." It's a good 
deal clearer to call him the "weather man" than the "United States 
meteorological observer." 

But remember that the American language is fluid. It is constantly 
changing, constantly enriching. H. L. Mencken and a lot of others 

Max Wylie, in his book Radio Writing, repeatedly makes the point that 
good writing is good writing, whether for radio or for any other medium. 
True, up to a point. "Ensconced on the regal dais" is not only bad radio 
(though it appeared in a newscast) but also writing to which a prison 
sentence should be attached. But not all good (that is, effective) writing is 
good radio writing. Few critics would say that the writing of Keats, or 
Shakespeare, or President Conant of Harvard, or Dr. Morris Fishbein 
each for its own use and audience isn't good writing. But little of it would 
be effective radio. 

How Is It Written? 95 

have shown that words technical or esoteric yesterday "jive," 
"bazooka/' "gland/' "polio," "nuclear fission" are colorful and mean- 
ingful today. Watch for words that are coming into general use. 

Another caution on words or groups of words: Avoid expressions 
with ideas that are hard to grasp quickly. Statistics, for instance they're 
almost always difficult. Your radio listener won't get it, most of the 
time, if you write: 

The city lost 9 thousand 875 dollars on its electric light plant last year. 
But he will understand this: 

The city lost nearly 10 thousands dollars on .... 

Though there are cases in which exact figures must be cited, round 
numbers are usually to be preferred. It may be necessary once in a while 
to write: 

Mayor John D. Winship has 11 thousand, 909 votes and his opponent, 
Elmer Clark, has 6 thousand 927, with 89 out of 97 precincts reported. 

But in most cases this is better: 

Mayor Winship has nearly 1 2 thousand votes and his opponent, Elmer 
Clark, just under 7 thousand, with almost all precincts reported. 

Note that the mayor's first name and initial are omitted, since they're 
not needed for identification. 

Occasionally, a name may best be omitted entirely. If it's a name 
that is little known, and one that in itself adds nothing to the meaning 
of the news, it may be most effective to use title or identification 
without the name: 

The director of social welfare in the county says that 200 families have 
been driven from their home by the flood. 

Often, when statistics are part of the news, they can be made mean- 
ingful by apt illustration: 

The Japanese report that 125 thousand residents of Hiroshima were 
killed by the atomic bomb. That's as many people as there are in Spokane, 


The two cities are 240 miles apart about the distance of New York 
from Boston. 

96 News by Radio 

This illustration, good for a broadcast in the New York or New England 
area, should be altered if it were to cover the state of Minnesota: 

The two cities are 240 miles apart about the distance of Minneapolis 
from Fargo. 

What about bromidic words and phrases? ''Avoid them like poison," 
say all the manuals on English composition and news writing. Avoid 
them because, however good they may have been when first used, they 
have lost their color (a bromide becomes a bromide usually for no 
other reason than that it is a sharp, or easy, or colorful means of ex- 
pressing a fact or an idea. But by the time it has attained bromidic 
status it has lost its pristine and often imaginative flavor and usually 
become a lazy and dull substitute for eEective diction). Avoid speak- 
ing of Sinatra as "The Voice" and Bacall as "The Look"; avoid "high- 
powered motor cars," "blunt instruments," and "gala occasions/' 

But there is this to be said: Now and then a bromidic word or phrase, 
however much overused, may be the quickest and most readily under- 
standable means of saying what the writer wants to say. Perhaps the 
best rule is something like this: If what is gained in easy understanding 
and in time is greater than what is lost in imaginativeness and color, 
use the stereotype. The writer's judgment is the best guide to usage. 

A final word on diction: Hyperbole is a dangerous tool. 

Webster says that hyperbole is "exaggeration for effect"; and ex- 
aggeration in radio copy may produce a disastrously wrong effect. The 
ear being as inaccurate a recorder as it is, overstatement is likely to 
mean overemphasis; or the exaggeration is likely to be taken as sober 
fact. Don't say that "the downpour has flooded every basement in 
town" or that "Midland is being overrun by a plague of Japanese 
beetles" unless you mean exactly what you say. 


Rule two in radio news-style simplicity concerns the sentence. Just 
as words and phrases must be chosen for their broad understand- 
ability, sentences must be constructed for the same purpose. A first 
precept: The simple declarative sentence is the prime sentence tool 
of the radio news writer. It is, of course, the prime tool of any writer of 

Ho\v Is It Written? 97 

effective prose. Its importance is greater for the writer-for-the-ear than 
for most other writers. 

The reasons for this are obvious. First, the simple sentence is logical; 
its subject-verb-predicate order is the order most readily grasped. 
Second, it is the most common sentence in ordinary conversation. 
Third, it is likely to be a decently short sentence one that the hearer 
can take in at a gulp. Fourth, chances are that it will be easiest for the 
announcer to voice effectively. 

Some illustrations of the point: 

BAD: The new bridge across the Hudson, which will shorten the automo- 
bile route from central New York to New England points by 50 miles, 
will be opened today at a ceremony participated in by governors of 
seven states. 

BETTER: The new Hudson River bridge will be opened today. The bridge 
will cut 50 miles from the automobile route between central New 
York and New England. Governors of seven states are to take part in 
the opening ceremony. 

BAD: Seven ocean liners brought into New York Harbor today the largest 
influx of returning European visitors since the late summer of 1939, 
and tomorrow another seven, including the Queen Elizabeth, will 
bring an equally large number. 

BETTER: The largest number of travelers returning from Europe on any 
one day since 1939 arrived in New York Harbor today. Seven ocean 
liners brought them. 

Tomorrow seven more liners, led by the Queen Elizabeth, arrive. 

One of the more heinous sins of the radio news writer is to indulge 
in the newspaper practice of putting danglers on sentences: 

Fourth of July celebrations in Midland will be carried out by 29 civic 
organizations, it was announced today by John T. Hillary, chairman of the 
Civic and Commerce association holiday committee. 

The dangler is both long-winded and puzzling. In radio copy, it's a 
millstone. Much better would be: 

Twenty-nine of Midland's civic organizations will take part in this year's 
Fourth of July celebrations. This announcement was made today by the 
chairman of the city's holiday committee John T. Hillary. 

For radio purposes, it would probably be best to leave out the second 
sentence altogether. Newspaper practice is to present every fact in 

98 News by Radio 

detail. Radio news must often be telescoped cut down to the essen- 
tial facts. (Note that among the examples of AP and UP copy earlier 
in this chapter, radio stones are shorter than newspaper in all except 
the final example. In this example, a feature story, the radio copy is a 
few words longer.) 

Akin to the problem of danglers is that of credit lines with quota- 
tions. In most cases they should precede the quotations: 

BAD : " We shouldn't assume that sulfa and other wartime drugs will cure all 
the world's ills," Dr. Emmons said. 

BETTER: Dr. Emmons said, " Sulfa and other wartime drugs won't neces- 
sarily cure all the world's ills." 

There are- as to almost every other suggestion in this book excep- 
tions. In some cases context will establish adequately for the listener 
the identity of the speaker, or the fact that a quotation is being pre- 
sented. But usually both of these facts must be made clear ahead of 
the quotation. 

Usually a form of the simple verb "say" is most effective in radio 
copy. "Dr. Emmons said" (or "says") is commonly to be preferred 
to such labored substitutes as "stated" or "asserted" or any of the 
scores of variants some teachers like to insert in "themes." But now 
and then, especially when a quotation is running to several sentences, 
phrases such as "Dr. Emmons went on to say," or "he explained," are 
effective. Radio news writers don't often permit direct quotations to 
run to more than three or four consecutive sentences unless they are 
presenting complete statements President Truman's brief V-J Day 
proclamation, for example. That went on the air hundreds of times, 

Use of a direct quotation to open a radio news story, without preceding 
identification of the speaker, is especially perilous to ready understanding. 
Experienced radio news writers avoid this usage except in the rare cases in 
which the quotation is short and pointed, in which it establishes the subject 
of the story clearly and sharply, in which it at least suggests the authority 
behind it, and in which it can be followed quickly by a credit line. In which, 
in short, it might just as well have been used without the quotation marks. 
One such rare case: 

"The Munich agreement means peace in our time." 

That was the statement of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. . . . 

How Is It Written ? 99 

usually with only an introductory remark such as: "Here is the Presi- 
dent's proclamation." 

Inverted credit lines in the so-called Time-styleare anathema to 
radio newsmen. "Said Dr. Emmons" is about as artificial and uncon- 
versational as anybody could make a phrase. 

Such phrases as "and I quote" and "end quote" are likewise shunned 
by skillful writers. The need for them can be avoided in most cases by 
careful use of the more conversational devices. 

How long should a radio news sentence be? 

A good deal of nonsense has been spread on the books in answer 
to this question. Frequently an "average length" of fifteen words has 
been set up as a desirable norm. Actually, there is no pat answer. Good 
sentences readable, understandable sentences may be of any length 
from a few words up to twenty-five or thirty. The shorter sentence is 
most common; if you look at a page of professional radio news copy, 
you will find few that run to more than a line and a half of typewriting. 
There will be a few longer, and a few shorter. The longer sentences will 
be relatively simple, rarely of more than two clauses. The shorter will 
be direct and often especially forceful because of their brevity. Some- 
times, indeed, they'll be no sentences at all, in the grammar-book sense; 
they'll be instead mere phrases. For example: 

State University won another football game this afternoon. Its ninth in a 
row a real record. . . . 

Another veto at the United Nations session today again a Russian 
veto. . . . 


Even a New Yorker would hardly have recognized the Yankee Stadium 
today. Not a soul in the stands . . . not a player on the field . . . not a 
sign of life anywhere. 

The reason? Well, you'd never guess. It was. . . . 

Such verbless phrases often add vigor and life to a newscast where 
carefully-complete sentences would deaden it. They're direct, they're 
brief, they're colorful. Most of all, they're conversational. 
Don't overdo them! 

100 News by Radio 

More important for the radio news writer than thoughts of sentence 
length is an appreciation of rhythm. This is a subtle thing. Poets have 
a skill with rhythm, as have competent prose writers. An intangible 
quality, it has to do with sound and pacing rather than grammar. A 
piece of radio prose of sentences all of the same length, or the same 
unvarying structure, is bumpy as monotonous as the click of Pullman 
wheels on a railroad track. A piece with too painfully varied sentences 
is likely to sound artificial. Rhythm in radio writing whether it's a 
talent or a laboriously-acquired craft is achieved through an aware- 
ness of the auditory effect of successions of words. A beginner may 
have to read his own product aloud endlessly in order to arrive at this 
awareness. But he must arrive at it if he is to write successfully for the 
microphone, if he is to write in spcakable phrases and clauses, word- 
groups that let the announcer talk in normal cadences. 


Let us say, once and for all, that the vitality with which a radio news 
program reaches its listeners depends heavily on the microphone- 
personality of the man reading it. 

Then let us add quickly that a program's life, color, and vigor will 
be greater, on the lips of either a "good" or a "bad" announcer, if the 
copy he reads is lively, colorful, and vigorous. 

How are these qualities attained? 

In high degree, by practice of the principles already offered in this 
chapter. Copy that is smoothly conversational, that is simple and 
direct, that has readable rhythm is decently easy to present in lively 

But the skillful radio news writer knows that he can add to the life 
of his copy by judicious use of verbal tricks that are as old as the 
earliest class in English composition. He knows that what are called 
"color words" are important; that well-selected verbs and nouns are 
strong, meaningful words, that specific words are more vigorous than 
general words. He knows that the active verb has more drive than the 
passive. He knows that colloquialisms, even slang, are often valuable. 
He uses conversational contractions "he'll/' "can't/ 7 "they're" to 
replace some of their stiff er equivalents. 

How Is It Written? 101 

Since he's skillful, however, he avoids overuse of any of these devices. 
Too much reaching for colorful words, too frequent use of adjectives 
and adverbs, is likely to lead to bombast or absurdity. William Saroyan 
points out, in the preface to his Daring Young Man on the Flying 
Trapeze, that "some writers will go so far as to help an innocent word 
with as many as four and five other words" and kill it "by charity." To 
say in radio copy that a fire "utterly destroyed" a building is not likely 
to be as effective as merely to say "destroyed." "Destroyed" is a strong 
word, carrying the whole meaning. 

On the other hand, to say that "a large crowd" attended the football 
game is not nearly so vivid as to call it "a hilarious throng"; and to say 
that it "filled the stadium" doesn't do as effective a job as to report 
that it "packed every seat in the bowl." 

Another forceful device is use of the second person. The news writer 
can frequently gain interest by this direct appeal to his listener. 

You'll be interested in this story from Washington. It reports that a re- 
duction in taxes. . . . 

President Truman is going to take another trip this week. Only last 
month, you'll recall, he went to Missouri for a long weekend. . . . 

A debilitating stylistic habit of some writers is probably the result 
of grammar school insistence that word repetition is a literary sin. An 
example of bungling avoidance of repetition: 

President Truman says we ought to have a larger army. The Chief Execu- 
tive told a press and radio conference today that national security demands 
it. The nation's commander-in-chicf went on to sav. . . . 

Colorful writing needs to be kept in tune with its subject-matter. Here is 
a lead provided by one of the news services on a winter weather story: 

"Old Man Winter still is kicking his heels like a new-born colt throughout 
most of the nation. The Atlantic coast is "being put to bed under a blanket 
of snow a blanket that is expected to turn into a comforter of some 10 to 
12 inches in depth." 

There's color here, and a light touch. But that same cold spell had 
caused a dozen deaths, and widespread suffering. The color was out of key 
with the somber nature of the total story. 

102 News by Radio 

All of which is not to deny that repetition may become clumsy. The 
point is that it is much to be preferred to cumbersome, labored attempts 
to sidestep it. 

Not only that: In many situations repetition not of words, but of 
facts or statements may be the heart of effective radio news writing. 
If the fact or statement is hard to understand, or if it demands emphasis, 
repeating it may be the best method of underlining it: 

There'll be no school today in Midland, Blankton and Millville. Heavy 
snows have closed all the roads. Let me repeat that no school today in 
Midland, Blankton and Millville. 


Here's something of personal importance to nearly 10 thousand residents 
of Midland today is the last day to register for voting in November. Elec- 
tion officials say that almost 10 thousand eligible voters in Midland haven't 
yet got their names on the books. If you're in that 10 thousand, and want to 
vote, get down to the county court house today before 9 o'clock this 


One of the most thrilling broadcasts of World War II was that made 
by Edward R. Murrow of CBS from London on December 3, 1943. 
Murrow had just returned from a heavy RAF bombardment of Berlin; 
his radio description of his experience in the plane "D for Dog" is a 
model of restrained but powerfully revealing radio news copy. Two 
paragraphs* from the broadcast will illustrate its effectiveness: 

Jock was wearing woolen gloves with the fingers cut off. I could see his 
fingernails turn white as he gripped the wheel. And then I was on my knees, 
flat on the deck, for he had whipped the "Dog" back into a climbing turn. 
The knees should have been strong enough to support me, but they weren't. 
And the stomach seemed in some danger of letting me down, too. I picked 
myself up and looked out again. It seemed that one big searchlight, instead 
of being 20 thousand feet below, was mounted right on our wing tip. 
"D-Dog" was cork-screwing. As we rolled down on the other side, I began 
to see what was happening to Berlin. 

* From an uncopyrighted pamphlet, "orchestrated hell . . ." published by the 
Columbia Broadcasting System, 1944. 

How Is It Written? 103 

The clouds were gone, and the sticks of incendiaries from the preceding 
waves made the place look like a badly laid out city with the street lights on. 
The small incendiaries were going down like a fistful of white rice thrown on 
a piece of black velvet. As Jock hauled the "Dog" up again, I was thrown to 
the other side of the cockpit and there below were more incendiaries, glow- 
ing white and then turning red. The cookies the four thousand pound high 
explosives were bursting below like great sunflowers gone mad. And then, 
as we started down again, still held in the lights, I remembered that the 
"Dog" still had one of those cookies and a whole basket of incendiaries in 
his belly . . . and the lights still held us. And I was very frightened. 

Analysis of this passage may be gratuitous. But its merits should not 
be overlooked: The dependence on nouns and verbs rather than on 
descriptive modifiers; the simplicity both in word-choice and structure; 
the attention to highly specific detail; the use of colorful similes, and 
of colloquial language; the use of "and" to introduce four sentences 
a strictly oral mannerism. 

The Murrow show was not, of course, a straight news program it 
was a "special event," and a highly personal narrative. But the script 
holds suggestions for any radio news writer. 

Do ... Don't 

Radio news because of its advantage in speed over the newspaper- 
has come to place heavy emphasis on use of the present tense. Most 
newspaper news is in either past or future tense. To speak in strict 
accuracy, radio news is most of the time in exactly the same boat; but 
because the newscast so often is able to report an event within minutes 
of its occurrence indeed, often while it is still occurring radio editors 
have developed the use of the present or the present progressive 
("Lawyers of the state are meeting in Indianapolis . . .") to give 
flavor to the sense of timeliness. Obviously this is a usage that may be 
abused; the scrupulous editor won't employ it unless accuracy justifies 
it. Here are some examples: 

The leader of the striking electricians in Tulsa says his men won't go back 
to work unless. . . . 

President Roosevelt is dead. 

Thousands of baseball fans are pouring into New York for the World 
Series opener. . . . 

104 News by Radio 

A corollary of this usage is that the word "today" should be used 
m moderation. Often the verb-tense obviates the necessity for a 
specific time-word. __ _ 

Pronouns may get a radio writer into a lot of trouble. When they 
appear in a printed news story, their antecedent relationship is usually 
clear. But in news for the ear, pronouns should not be used unless 
their reference is lucidity itself. This usually means that they should 
be separated from their antecedents by no more than two or three 
words. For instance: 

BAD: Governor Albright is to appoint a new secretary of state. He will make 
the appointment after. . . . 

BETTER: Governor Albright is to appoint a new secretary of state. The gov- 
ernor will make. . . . 

PERMISSIBLE: Henry Moody is the new secretary of state. He took of- 
fice. . . . 

BETTER: Henry Moody is the new secretary of state. Moody took of- 
fice. . . . 

Related to this chance of misunderstanding is the careless use of 
the internal qualifying phrase. Suppose a listener were to tune in to a 
broadcast in the middle of this sentence: 

Alice B. Toklas, for many years secretary to Gertrude Stein, has pub- 
lished a book written in straightforward English. . . . 

The listener, if he came in on the words "Gertrude Stein," would be 
puzzled no end. 

The letter "S" no longer whistles every time it goes on the air. 
Nevertheless, careful writers guard against processions of sibilants 
(such as "processions of sibilants") in their copy. A row of S-sounds 
is difficult for the announcer, and it grates on listening ears. It can 
usually be avoided by rephrasing. 

Alliterations of any kind, as a matter of good sense, should be 
examined twice. "Tennessee tempests are turning tables on tropical 
temperatures today" is not only a tongue twister, but also an ear 

How Is It Written? 105 

Like alliteration and its danger, juxtaposition of similar sounds 
should be avoided. "Swedish ships" is hard to say; "Chinese zeal" hard 

to say and to understand. 

* o 

One of the means of attaining simplicity, directness, and concision 
in radio news copy is the omission of unnecessary facts. Certain classi- 
fications of facts are habitually excluded: 

Given names of well-known public figures. You may effectively write 
General Eisenhower, Premier Stalin, Governor or Senator So-and-so. But 
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek is better than General Chiang, since not 
many listeners would readily identify the shorter title, 

Ages. Ages are inconsequential unless they make the news in an eight- 
een-and-eighty-five marriage, for instance, or a Carnegie Hall performance 
by a nine-year-old violinist. 

Street addresses. If they're not vital to understanding the news ("A 
million-dollar fire has been brought under control in the heart of Chicago 
at the corner of State and Madison") , they're commonly omitted, except in 
local news shows aimed directly at concentrated local audiences. 

Texts of formal announcements, communiques, and the like. Usually 
summaries in stories are enough. 

In any writing it's wise to avoid leaning on words that are already 
overworked. Journalese is rarely effective usage. Criminals may better 
be "arrested" than "taken into custody"; when three are "apprehended" 
in the same week, it's not necessarily a "crime wave." "Solons" may 
"probe" a "crisis" in headlines. Not, if you please, on the air. Don't 
keep calling it a "full-dress peace conference" (as did one of the news 
services, ad nauseam, in June, 1946) unless "full-dress" is literally what 
you mean. Don't write "claims" unless you mean "claims," nor 
"bandit" unless you mean "bandit." 

This chapter has already warned against overwriting. And Chapter 3 
has described taboos on certain types of words and news-situations. 

Putting the Story Together 

How do all these precepts add up to produce the effective radio news 
First, the lead. 

106 News by Radio 

The term "lead" comes from newspaper news writing. But early in 
the development of a specialized style for radio news soon after Trans- 
radio Press began, in 1934, to offer its service to any buyer for radio use 
it became clear that newspaper style wouldn't do for the ear. The 
newspaper lead, characterized by inclusion of a string of major facts in 
a sometimes cumbersome, long-winded sentence, especially wouldn't 

Before long, radio news editors were talking about the "soft" lead for 
radio stories, as opposed to the "hard" newspaper variety. These terms 
aren't in use today; but the principle of the "soft" lead remains. 

The principle is that the radio news lead should ease the listener 
gently into the storytell him in general terms enough about the story 
so that he may more readily understand the details when they are pre- 
sented. It sets the framework for the story; sometimes it merely tells 

When the Chicago stockyards burned in May, 1934, two radio news 
services were operating: The Press-Radio Bureau and Transradio Press. The 
Bureau furnished to its clients a special 43-word bulletin on the fire: 

"A disastrous fire was raging in Chicago's stockyards tonight. All avail- 
able apparatus was summoned by a general alarm. Three firemen are 
reported killed. Two bank buildings, the Drovers National Bank and the 
Live Stock National, with large funds in their vaults, are destroyed." 

Transradio's story: 

"Lurid tongues of flame visible for hundreds of miles stabbed the night 
here as a raging inferno sweeps southwestward through Chicago's stock- 
yards, greatest in the world. 

'Thousands of persons are streaming from the old tenement houses of 
Chicago's South Side carrying their belongings with them in a frantic 
exodus from the fire area as a southwest wind sweeps the flames on through 
miles of the stockyards toward the center of Chicago. 

"Thousands of firemen from every section of the city, reinforced by other 
companies from Chicago's suburbs and nearby Illinois towns, arc fighting 
desperately to check the blaze that threatens the entire city. 

"The odor of burning meat permeates the atmosphere. Smoke hangs 
like a black fog over the city." 

The Press-Radio story is brief, factual, told in short sentences and 
colorless. The Transradio story, striving for color, is overwritten, told in 
ovedong sentences, and apparently a newswriter's attempt to compensate 
with verbiage for lack of specific facts. 

How Is It Written? 107 

him that he is about to be told a story. It rarely offers all the major facts. 
Some examples will illustrate: 


DANBURY, Wis. A woman, 
thought to be about 20 years old, 
was shot to death in a lonely rural 
farmhouse 16 miles from here late 
Friday night and the house became 
her funeral pyre as the slayers set 
fire to the dwelling before leaving. 

Last minute efforts to prevent a 
strike of St. Paul milk drivers failed 
at a conference this morning but a 
concession will be presented to the 
workers at a meeting tonight for 
final decision as to whether all milk 
deliveries will be halted at midnight. 

PORTLAND, Ind. Five service- 
men were killed today and thirteen 
others were injured, when a C-47 
Army transport plane from Wright 
Field, Dayton, Ohio, crashed on a 
river bank near Pennville, Ind. 


A young woman was shot to death 
late last evening in a lonely Wiscon- 
sin farm house. 


The body of a young woman, shot 
to death and burned beyond recog- 
nition, was found in a lonely Wis- 
consin farm house last night. 

We still don't know whether St. 
Paul milk deliveries will stop at mid- 
night tonight. 


St. Paul families won't know until a 
milk drivers' meeting this evening 
whether they'll have milk tomorrow. 


Here's the latest on the milk situa- 

An Army transport plane crashed on 
an Indiana river bank today, and 
five servicemen were killed. 


Five servicemen were killed today 
when an Army transport plane 
crashed in Indiana. 

This is simplification. The radio lead must not lose its listener, kill 
his interest, in a welter of detail. It must, on the other hand, orient him 
toward the facts which are to follow. 

And it must do the job interestingly. Radio as has been said before 
in this book faces stiff competition. The radio news lead that does not 
capture its listener at once may lose him to his bridge game, his novel, 
or his stamp collection. The opening words of the lead, ideally, should 
promise him something worth his attention. Analysis of the radio leads 
above will show some more successful on this score than others. 

Radio news writers, because of this need for initial attention, have 

108 News by Radio 

learned to avoid opening stories with unfamiliar names, with over- 
ordinary word-combinations, with long-winded explanatory phrases. 

Weak Better 

Arthur Brownstein of Midland is to Mayor Brownstein of Midland is to 
talk before .... talk before .... 

The President says .... President Truman says .... 

Congressmen seeking re-election Kissing babies all the babies in 

may have to kiss all the babies in Sangamon County may be a chore 

Sangamon County if .... facing Congressmen seeking re- 

Arthur Jones, director of the regional A War Manpower Commission 

subdivision of the state War Man- official is to ... He is Arthur 

power Commission, is to .... Jones .... 

At a meeting of the Izaak Walton Midland fishermen will get together 

Society in Midland Community tomorrow evening. They'll meet at 

House tomorrow night, local fisher- the Midland Community House 

men will .... to .... 

But some words gain "lead-strength" by their very familiarity or in- 
trinsic interest: "The weather today . . . ," "the World Series 
"Hollywood . . . ," "Christmas . . ." 

In summary: The lead should be brief, simple, interesting, "easy"; 
it should introduce the listener smoothly to the details he is next to 
be given. _ _ 

Everything that has been said in this chapter both about leads and 
about radio style in general applies to the organization and manner of 
the rest of the story. Its job is to give the listener the detail into which 
the lead has led him, and to do it as compactly, directly, and simply as 
may be. Since a radio news story rarely runs to more than 400 words 
most contain fewer than 200 words it must be selective. With due re* 
gard for the maintenance of balance and accurate over-all impression, 
it eliminates the petty detail considered a part of the usual newspaper 
story much of the less significant detail making up the latter half of 
a newspaper story organized in the standard "order of decreasing in> 

How Is It Written? 109 

portance" will find no place in a radio story. Its purpose, rather than to 
give the listener all the facts, is to give him the meaningful facts those 
that paint in broad strokes the event from which the story grows, those 
that may be readily grasped and remembered. 

There exists no arbitrary pattern for organization of the radio news 
story. It usually follows a plan similar to that of the newspaper story: 
lead first, then development of the principal facts. But chronological 
order of facts is more frequently used by the radio news writer than by 
the newspaper man, for two reasons. It is easy to understand, and it is 
closer to the conversational pattern. 

The examples of radio copy earlier in this chapter illustrate these 
suggestions. For full measure, however, look at five more radio news 
stories all taken from AP and UP radio wires on August 16, 1947 (the 
radio wires must repeat stories, rewritten, so as to make them available 
for successive newscasts) . 

From the Associated Press radio wire: 

Top political leaders discussed the pros and cons of the accomplishments 
of the Eightieth Congress today, G-O-P National Chairman Carroll Reece 
defended his party's efforts, and took occasion to criticize a C-I-O review 
and voting guide as "a piece of impudence." The Democratic view was 
given by Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky. Barkley said the Republicans 
ignored the people while they piled up ammunition for the 1948 election 
campaign. o 

Washington Republican National Chairman Carroll Reece has taken 
'notice of the C-I-O's 1947 voting guide and he evidently doesn't like it. 

The voting guide is a listing of the voting records of Congressmen pub- 
lished last week-end by the C-I-O News as a guide to union members. Be- 
side each legislator's name the labor organization placed the symbol "R" or 
"W" to denote a right or wrong vote on selected measures from what the 
C-l-O calls its progressive point of view. 

Reece says the voting guide is a new attempt at dictatorship which will 
meet with the same degree of success attained by the 1946 model. The 
G-O-P leader claims it is part of a campaign to misrepresent the record of 
the Republican Congress. 

Senate Democratic Leader Alben Barkley has had something to say about 
that Republican record. He says that in domestic affairs the Republican- 
controlled Congress painted a sorry picture of partisanship and subser- 
vience to special interests, ignoring tie needs of the mass of the people. 

110 News by Radio 

From the United Press radio -wire: 

Republican National Chairman Carroll Reece says the C-I-O and the 
Democrats are spreading confusion among workers as to what he terms 
"the true intent and meaning of the Taft-Hartley labor law." The G-O-P 
chairman says the confusion has been created by some union leaders, who 
hope to continue their dictatorial control of workers. 

A Republican leader charges the C-I-O and the Democratic party with 
spreading propaganda to confuse the real meaning and purpose of the Taft- 
Hartley labor law. 

Republican National Chairman Carroll Reece says that union leaders 
have deliberately created confusion in their efforts to continue their control 
over the workers. And Reece charges that the same campaign is being carried 
on by what he terms "the politically-motivated antagonism of the Demo- 
cratic administration, from the President on down.'* The Reece statement 
was issued tonight by the G-O-P National Committee in his absence. He 
is traveling in South America. 


Republican National Chairman Carroll Reece spoke up tonight in de- 
fense of the Taft-Hartley labor law. He asserted in a statement that the 
C-I-O and the Democrats are spreading confusion among workers as to the 
true intent and meaning of the law. 

He said some labor leaders are propagandizing workers in the hope of 
continuing what he described as their "unbridled dictatorial control of 
workers." Confusion among workers also is being caused, Recce said, by 
the Democratic administration's "antagonism" toward the labor law. 

Reece said a recent poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation 
showed that although a majority of workers were opposed to the act as a 
whole, they overwhelmingly approved of specific provisions of the law. 

The Radio Feature Story 

Radio news programs carry "feature" storiesthat is, human interest 
stories, stories dealing in pathos, humor, adventure, and the likeas do- 
the newspapers, in about the same proportions and for the same pur- 
pose. The feature story is the frosting on the cake, the leavening of the 
serious news. 

In the construction of this kind of story the two media come more 
nearly together than in their handling of straight news. Both are likely 
to lead such stories with "suspended interest" openings: 

How Is It Written? Ill 

Newspaper Radio 

John Jones, laborer at the Midland This is the story of a man who didn't 
Iron works, didn't want his pay want his pay check, 

John Jones, 1917 Hunt street, at Well, here's a Midland man who 
least gets credit for trying. certainly gets credit for trying. 

His 8-ycar-old sister told Bobby Little Bobby Parker he was only 
Parker, 5, never to go near the 5 was told many times not to go 
brook. . . . near the brook. 

Ever wonder what a polar bear does Ever wonder what a polar bear does 
in 100 -degree weather? in hundred-degree weather? 

There are other similarities. The chronological arrangement of facts 
is likely to furnish the pattern for many such feature stories. There is 
greater latitude for imaginative writing and for the use of color. Most 
such stories are short. 

The contrast between newspaper and radio treatment of a common 
type of longer feature is well shown here: 

From the United Press newspaper wire: 

New York (UP) The wartime pinup girl soon will be as outdated as 
the flapper of the roaring twenties unless she washes off the excess makeup, 
puts on a good girdle and dons some chic clothes, Miss Brownie of the Fox- 
Brownie fashion house said Saturday. 

Miss Brownie, one of New York's top designers, naturally is in favor of 
women with clothes. But she sincerely believes that men like the Hollywood 
type of siren only for display on barracks walls and warship lockers. They 
don't intend to corrie home and marry them. 

"The pinup girl is a caricature of a woman," Miss Brownie said. "She 
exaggerates her features and her figure and leaves nothing to the imagina- 
tion. The only type of beauty which will last is that of the feminine, 
stylish woman." 

She illustrated her point by describing a fashion show she gave recently 
for wounded veterans. The show featured girls clad in scanty night-club 
costumes and models wearing clothes Miss Brownie had designed. 

"The boys whooped and hollered when the chorus girls appeared, but they 
reserved their long low whistles for a girl who wore a demure black velvet 
dress with a high white lace collar and white cuffs/' she said. "The chorus 
girls were startling and glamorous, but the well-dressed girl was the one they 
would like to come home to." 

112 News by Radio 

To convert "pinup glamor" into much-to-be-desired chic, Miss Brownie 
prescribed these steps: A stiff dose of soap and water to scrub off all 
mascara, eye shadow and rouge, a good girdle, an upswept hairdo, a ward- 
robe of dressmaker suits, evening clothes and platform shoes. 

From the United Press radio wire: 

New York Here's a word of warning to the nation's wartime pin-up girls. 

And it comes from one of New York's top fashion designers. 

Miss Brownie of the Fox-Brownie fashion house predicts that unless 
the pin-up girl reconverts she will soon find herself as outdated as' the 
flapper of the roaring twenties. 

Miss Brownie sincerely believes that the only type of beauty that will 
last is that of the feminine, stylish woman. The men she says like the 
Hollywood siren type only for display on barracks walls and warship lockers. 
They don't she adds intend to come home and marry them. Miss 
Brownie's definition of a pin-up girl is in her words "a caricature of a 

And to illustrate her point the top-flight designer describes a fashion 
show she gave recently for wounded veterans. The show featured pin-up 
girls clad in scanty night-club costumes and models wearing clothes that 
Miss Brownie had designed. 

The veterans she reports whooped and yelled when the chorus girls 
appeared. But they reserved their long, low whistles for the girl who wore 
a demure, black velvet dress with a high white lace collar and white cuffs. 

Miss Brownie prescribes three steps to convert pin-up glamour into 
feminine charm. First, a stiff dose of soap and water to scrub off all excess 
make-up. Then a good girdle to tone down the curves . . . combined with 
an upswept hairdo for high style. And finally with a plug for her pro- 
fession Miss Brownie prescribes a wardrobe of dressmaker suits, evening 
clothes and platform shoes. 

And before this new stylish American woman goes out for the evening, 
Miss Brownie warns her not to leave her dressing table unless her make-up 
is subtle and her clothes discreet. Then says Miss Brownie she will be 
feminine, poised, natural, and terrific. 

The term "feature" again as in newspaper usage is also applied to 
longer, more exhaustive "time-copy" articles. These are not news stories, 
but background explanations or human interest treatments of timely 
or seasonable ( in contrast to spot-news ) subjects. Each of the two radio 
news services offers a number of these features, in the form of five-, ten-, 
or fifteen-minute daily or weekly broadcasts; since they are intended for 
sponsorship, however, the copy is written for three-and-one-quarter-, 

How Is It Written? 113 

seven-and-one-half-, or eleven-and-one-half-minute periods (at a rate of 
about ten words a minute). AP offers, for example, "Washington 
Today/* a daily commentary on the national capital's activities; UP 
matches it with "Under the Capitol Dome." AP has its "Farm Fair/' 
background and commentary on current agricultural developments; 
UP has "On the Farm Front." Both sendees offer sports features, 
women's features, and others of the same general nature about a 
dozen each. 

These features are characterized by currency and authority of in- 
formation, informality of manner, and breadth of appeal. 

The Mechanics of Radio News Copy 

Rule 1 in the preparation of radio news copy is: Make it legible. 

Copy that is not instantly and unmistakably legible perhaps by an 
announcer who has had little chance to go over it in advance is obvi- 
ously loaded with booby traps. The announcer must never be led into 
error; he must never be hung up by having to puzzle out something he 
can't read at a glance. This does not mean that the editor who types 
the copy must make it letter-perfectthere probably never lived the 
newsman who could type that well. It does mean that errors must be 
clearly and unmistakably corrected. 

Copy from the news service printers comes typed in capital letters, 
double-spaced (some AP copy is triple-spaced). A few announcers, 
taking their cue from this copy, prefer their locally-written copy in caps. 
But most copy turned out in radio newsrooms is in capital and small 
letters, double- or triple-spaced according' to local practice or a par- 
ticular announcer's desire. A few simple rules aid the writer to avoid 
errors or illegibilities that might mislead the announcer: 

If a typing error occurs, never strike over. Instead, xxxxx out the of- 
fense and rewrite the word. (Later, black out the error with a soft black 
copy pencil carefully, so that the editing does not create a new chance 
for mistake) . This rule is especially important in the cases of initials, 
capital letters, figures, and other symbols that do not have spelling 
context to aid the eye in identifying them. 

If you edit typewritten copy in pencil, do it neatly. Use as few inter- 
lineationstypewritten or penciled as are consistent with speed in 

114 News by Radio 

getting the copy to the announcer. If time permits, retype paragraphs 
or pages in which editing might cause confusion. 

Include phonetic spellings of words that might puzzle the announcer 
usually, though not always, foreign words. Be sure don't phoneticize 
Joliet, as did one press service editor, "HO-LEE-AYE." The accepted 

General MacArthur ordered the break-up of the Zaibatsu (ZY-BOT'- 
SOO) in order to .... 

Don't phoneticize unnecessarily. And don't, as did one of the national 
book clubs in a script for which it hoped radio stations would give it 
free time, put an asterisk after the word in question and the phoneticiza- 
tion as a footnote at the bottom of the page! 

Be generous with punctuation commas, periods, and dashes espe- 
cially. Newspaper and magazine style calls for as few commas as clarity 
permits; radio style just the opposite. Commas should be put into copy 
wherever they are needed to suggest slight voice pauses. Dashes in 
radio copy surround parenthetical expressions (some radio editors and 
some announcers prefer rows of periods or "suspension points" instead 
of dashes) or indicate longer or more pronounced pauses. For example: 

Then says Miss Brownie she will be feminine, poised, natural, and 

Thomas listed them as General Motors which reported earnings of 
147-million Chrysler, Hudson, Mack, Nash, and Studcbakcr. 

The two cities are 240 miles apart about the distance of Minneapolis 
from Fargo. 

Tomorrow seven more liners, headed by the Queen Elizabeth, will arrive. 

State University won another football game this afternoon. Its ninth in 
a row a real record. 


State University won another football game this afternoon its ninth 
in a row ... a real record. 

Use plenty of capital letters. In radio copy, meaning is often immedi- 
ately suggested by capital initials on titles and other words which, in 
ordinary newspaper "down style," would be written with small letters. 
It is better to write "the General moves today" than "the general moves 

How Is It Written? 115 

Make paragraph indentations deep at least ten spaces. 

Make paragraphs short usually no more than five or six lines. 

Underline (by typewriter or pencil) words that demand special an- 
nouncer-emphasis. But don't overdo it. Announcers don't like to be 
told their business. 

Put end-marks at the close of all stories either on the typewriter or 
in heavy black pencil. An effective typewritten end-mark is a row of the 
# symbol (########). Some writers use the conventional 
newspaper symbol, -30-. Some use their own initials usually modestly 
written in small letters rather than caps. 

Number all pages, consecutively. 

Indicate clearly in the script the spots where you think commercials 
may best be inserted. The announcer may not follow your suggestions 
if timing doesn't work out right, but they often help him. 

Hyphenate as few words as possible at the ends of lines. Some writers 
make no end-of-line hyphenation an absolute rule a pretty good one. 

NEVER let a sentence begin on one page and continue to the next. 
A period, end-mark, or continuation line should be the last typewritten 
symbol on every page. 

Try to avoid continuing a paragraph from one page to the next. 

If a story continues from one page to the next, mark MORE, in 
typewriter or pencil, clearly at the bottom of the first page. 

Use abbreviations sparingly, or not at all. The abbreviation "Adj." 
and many othersmay prove puzzling. Many newsrooms insist that 
even such words as "Mister", and "Doctor" be spelled out. 

Write figures unmistakably as you want them to read: "one thou- 
sand" rather than "1,000," "25 hundred" rather than "2,500." A widely- 
followed rule commands that figures smaller than 1,000 be expressed in 
figures, others spelled out: "2 million 500 thousand/' "8 thousand 500," 
"750 thousand," "37 billion." The UP Radio News Styk Book pro- 
scribes "a million" because of the chance that it might be heard "8 
million." Some radio newsmen insist on hyphens in figures: "37- 
billion," "2-million 500-thousand " 

Make all pages uniform in size BV2 by 11 inches, A smaller page in- 
serted in a script may confuse the announcer; a larger page is difficult to 

116 News by Radio 

Put on the script only what you want the announcer to read (except 
for necessary editing marks) . A script cluttered with nonessential pen- 
cilings and other marks may trouble him. 

Do not use newspaper copy reading symbols on radio copy. They 
may be confusing to one not familiar with them. 

Finally . . . break as many of these rules as the announcer who is to 
read your copy desires. Tailor copy to fit his particular taste. 


Whatever his failings, the prime aim of every responsible worker with 
news is accuracy. Whatever the loose popular wisecrack about it, the 
degree of accuracy attained by those who gather and write news is enor- 
mously high. 

Many of the radio news problems in maintaining a high standard of 
accuracy are precisely those of any other medium. The heart of accuracy 
is fact. Earlier in this book (Chapter 3) is discussed the difficulty of 
determining just what the facts are; within this limitation, however, 
the ardent hope of every news writer is that he may work with unequivo- 
cal and unquestionable names, dates, places, quotations, and other 
facts the sum of which truly and truthfully describes an event. 

Assuming that the news writer has such unequivocal material at his 
disposal, he needs to exercise everlasting vigilance to make sure that 
he gets it down on paper without error. He must check facts that he has 
not personally verified; he must make sure that he writes "250" when he 
means "250" and not, in haste, "260" or "350." He must write with 
simplicity and clarity that surpasseth all misunderstanding. He must 
edit his copy with an eye to every comma. 

All of this applies to every news writer, whether his work is for news- 
paper, news magazine, news letter, or newscast. But the worker in radio 
news faces special problems. 

He must produce copy that will be audibly as well as visually accurate. 

This means that he has to keep constantly before him the precept 
with which this chapter opened, and its corollary as well: that the ear is 
a fuzzy recording instrument. If he fails for an instant to remember 
either precept or corollary, he may find himself writing copy that, 
though factually accurate, carries a false impression to the listener. 

How Is It Written? 117 

That is to say, he may write copy that will leave with a hearer an im- 
pression contrary to its true meaning. 

Observance of the suggestions in this chapter will steer him away 
from most such pitfalls. But he must remember that radio copy is heard 
once and once only unless he sees to it that significant or easy-to- 
mistake facts are made indelible. For example: 

A report from Moscow by way of Madrid says that Premier Stalin 
will give no Russian food to Germany this winter. It's an unconfirmed 
report . . . and it's in direct contradiction to what Stalin promised last 
week. According to this story, Stalin is angry because Germans haven't 
raised enough of their own food. 

The report may or may not be true. Remember, it's unconfirmed and 
it comes to us through an often unreliable channel. 

The fact that the news in this story is probably untrustworthy could 
hardly be missed. But without the qualifications that appear in every 
sentence, it might be mistaken for indubitable fact. If, for instance, the 
story appeared like this: 

Until 1947, little published material on handling radio news was avail- 
able. About the only volume beyond two mimeographed handbooks 
published before the war and now out of date was: 

Phil Newsom, United Press Radio News Style Book (United Press Associa- 
tions, 1943) . A brief simplified manual offering fundamental precepts 
for radio news style, 

The postwar development of radio news and of university instruction in 
radio news writing and editing led to the publication of a number of books 
and manuals, intended both for classroom and radio newsroom use. Among 
the books: 

William F. Brooks, Radio News Writing (McGraw-Hill, 1948). A brief 
manual, with emphasis on NBC practice and a good chapter on news 
for women. 

Carl N. Warren, Radio News Writing and Editing (Harper, 1947). A 
primary textbook in radio news practice. 

Paul White, New on the Air (Harcourt, Brace, 1947). A vastly readable 
book, excellent on network news procedures and on news dramatiza- 

(continued on next page) 

118 News by Radio 

Premier Stalin is quoted as saying that Russia will give no food to Ger- 
many this winter. Stalin is angry because Germans haven't raised enough 
of their own food. This position contradicts Stalin's promise of last week. 

Repetition, as has been said before, is a priceless tool ot the radio 
news writer, even when it uses up precious seconds. 

And emphasis on the source of news, when it concerns a matter of 
which there may be the slightest doubt, is mandatory. 

Among the manuals of radio news practice: 

B. L. Hotalingy A Manual of Radio News Writing (Milwaukee Journal, 

Baskett Mosse, Radio News Handbook (Medill School of Journalism, 

Northwestern University, 1947). 
INS Radio News Manual (International News Service, 1948). 


How Does It Go Together? 

The Format of the News Program 

News broadcasting is not old enough for ossification to have set in; no 
pattern or format for the news show so fixed as that of the newspaper 
story has grown up. Radio's very flexibility demands daily adjustment 
to such factors as the nature of the news that makes up a show, the per- 
sonality of the man who is to broadcast it, the competition it faces, its 
purpose, its audience. These factors and others some fairly constant, 
others changing from day to day operate to control the form of a news 

Nevertheless, radio news editors have developed a widely flexible 
guide for organization of the news show departmentalization. It is no 
more than a loose guide, subject to daily alteration or outright jettison. 
But its outlines are clear in most news shows you hear. 

The pattern is characterized by division of news into a few main 
categories five or fewer, as a rule. In any news show there is pretty sure 
to be an international department, a national, a state or regional, a 
local in effect, a geographical pattern. Some editors think it effective 
to add a human interest category; most don't. 

The departmental format has a good deal to recommend it, for both 
editor and listener. Its simplicity and orderliness make it easy to arrange 
and fit together, whether it is being written from scratch in the news- 
room or merely clipped from the teleprinter. The same simplicity and 
orderliness help the listener to understand the often involved inter- 
relationships of news they give him a clarity of news picture that he 
wouldn't get if he were told, in jumbled succession, of a strike in De- 
troit, a Latin-American counter-revolution, the latest United Nations 
impasse, a two-alarm fire on East Twelfth Street, and a second strike in 
Los Angeles. 

Usually the show opens with a punch. Its editor selects the story he 
thinks holds greatest interest or importance for his audience, and moves 


120 News by Radio 

directly into it. If the story is one from the international scene, he fol- 
lows it with other news under the same head. Then he draws a breath 
and starts off on a second category. 

During World War II this format was pretty firmly formalizedwar 
news led ninety-nine in a hundred shows. Often half the news-time 
went to stories from the fighting fronts. Then followed international 
diplomatic and political news, war-related national news, other national 
. news; finally, regional and local news. It was a rare day, from 1941 to 
1945, when something other than war led the news program. After V-} 
Day, as the news from Europe and the Pacific grew less dramatic, the 
stereotype of leading with international news was quickly discarded. 
But the departmentalized format remains. 

Within the main categories, as in the show as a whole, this pattern 
customarily follows what the reporting textbooks call the "order of de- 
creasing importance." The strongest story comes first; the next strong- 
est second; and so on. 

(Some radio newsmen hold that newscasts should open not with the 
day's "best" story, but rather that a short and "softer" story should pre- 
cede. They argue that the show as a whole should open "easy/' lead 
the listener in, just as the first sentence of the individual story does. 
.Those who follow this principle are in a minority.) 
, Radio news editors are inclined to frown on human interest cate- 
goriesthat is, on saying to their listeners, "We will now make you 
laugh or cry for two minutes." They prefer, rather, to use human inter- 
est stories spotted through the show where they are appropriate. Some 
editors insist that a show close with a light touch, a humorous story (as 
do many announcers, who think such material gives them opportunity 
to close with a virtuosic fillip) . But most who have tried this conven- 
tion have found that on many days the humorous stories are very sad 
indeed. The most satisfactory rule for use of the human interest story 

The departmentalized pattern was dominant in the war years partly 
because the radio wire services followed it. On both UP and AP radio wires, 
copy for five- and fifteen-minute newscasts was served up in this form. 
This meant that radio stations without rewrite staffs had little choice but 
to -accept it. Doubtless the fact that the pattern was presented to them so 
-frequently influenced radio newsmen doing rewrite jobs to make it habitual. 

How Does It Go Together? 121 

seems to be that of a Pacific coast editor: "Use 'em when they're good, 
when they're short, when they're in good taste, and when they fit 
smoothly into the show." 

The departmentalized pattern, though it is the common one, is by 
no means sacrosanct. It may effectively be varied, for instance, by open- 
ing with an outstanding story of regional interest a story about an un- 
seasonal blizzard, perhaps then picking up the international and 
national news and returning at the end to more regional stories. The 
order of the main categories may be and should bealtered accord- 
ing to the nature of the news. A summary of the major news, in one- 
sentence bulletin form, may be used either to open or close the show, 
regularly or on special occasion. 

Many departures from the basic pattern suggest themselves; and the 
wise editor will experiment with all he can invent, both to gain variety 
in his broadcasts though he must always remember that regular listen- 
ers like familiar patterns and in the hope of developing successful new 
patterns. For example: WCBM-Baltimore designed a fifteen-minute 
daily news show in three parts: first, the "How-Time-Flies" depart- 
ment, reviewing Baltimore news of one, five, and fifteen years ago; 
second, a "Club Calendar/' a list of outstanding current club and civic 
events; finally, an interview with an authority on a current topic. ABC's 
"Three Views of the News/' a summer replacement for the Winchell 
show, is similar in form Ben Grauer on current events, Ed Thorgersen 
on sports, and a visiting fireman (such as Schiaparelli, the dress de- 
signer) on a special topic. WIND-Chicago, running fifty newscasts a 
day, devoted the 7-to-8-A.M. period to six ten-minute news periods, each 
on a different category of news. Late in 1947, NBC began broadcasting 
a "second edition" of its 7: 1 5 P.M. "News of the World" roundup the 
later "edition" at 11:15. NBC says that the second show is "not a re- 

KVOA-Tucson opens a fifteen-minute afternoon newscast with a quick 
spot summary covering the last half of the show, and closes with a spot sum- 
mary covering the first half. "Thus," says KVOA, "both the listener who 
tunes in late and the one who tunes out early get at least the gist of the 
whole show/* KVOA adds that this format might be even better adapted 
to a breakfast-time show, aimed at the listener who may have to run to 
catch a street car. 

122 News by Radio 

peat broadcast. Maintaining the format of the first program with 
Morgan Beatty presiding at the news desk in Washington and calling 
in NBC correspondents throughout the world, the second edition will 
be completely revised up to air time to incorporate reports of latest de- 

The five-minute news show is a condensation of the longer program. 
It is usually firmly departmentalized; its bulletin-like stories are ar- 
ranged according to a standard routine, with little variation. It rarely 
offers straight human interest material. Its crowded spaceonly three 
-to three and one-half minutes if it's a sponsored showpermits no more 
than forty or fifty words to any but a vastly important story, and no time 
at all for entertainment. __ ___ 

A variation in effect, though usually not in basic organization, is 
achieved in what is called the headline show. It borrows a technique 
directly from the newspaper the use of a brief summary, sharp and as 
dramatic as may be, at the head of each story. The technique is simple: 

A dispatch from Hawaii this morning tells us of .... 

This pattern has its virtues. The headline has punch and emphasis; 
properly used, it sharpens listener-attention toward the news to follow. 
It breaks the even flow the monotonous flow, if the announcer is un- 
skilledof the straight-copy show, and may thereby gain dramatic 
effect. It keys each story in advance, tells the listener what to expect; 
sometimes it may be devised to tell him only enough to arouse his 
interest (as, for instance, in a question-headline: WHAT ABOUT 

But it has a number of shortcomings: 

It is artificial, just as the newspaper headline is artificial. Its attempt 
to summarize may result in misleading oversimplification. It breaks 
the "conversational" flow of the broadcast; it may seem to be throwing 

Some newscasts make regular features of what they call "last-minute 
bulletins 7 ' brief shots of striking news thrown into a minute's time just 
before sign-off. This device has its danger: If s likely to be artificial, for its 
implication that three or four bulletins have just come into the newsroom is 
not always truthful, and now and again the listener is going to know it. 

How Does It Go Together? 123 

equal emphasis on each story, or undue emphasis on minor stories; it 
sometimes calls unfortunate attention to the mechanics of putting the 
show together. 

It is more effective in a two-voice than in a one-voice show one voice 
for the headlines, another for the stories. This adds mildly to the pro- 
duction problem, and considerably to the cost. 

Unless deftly handled, it may separate unduly stones that ought to 
be tied together. It may turn a listener away if the headline doesn't 
interest himrather than attract him. 

The repeated breaks in the flow of news especially as stories in the 
show become shorter and of less significance may become annoying 
to the listener. This tendency can be reduced by grouping a number of 
related stories under one headline; but this departure from pattern may 
in itself puzzle the listener. 

It is a little harder to write than the straight-copy show. And news 
service copy, designed for other use, requires more editing to fit into 
the pattern. 

For these reasons, the headline show is not widely used. It may 
nevertheless have its place in the over-all schedule of the station with so 
many news shows daily that variety in pattern is desirable. 


Most departures from usual format End their justification in this 
need for variety; in the necessity of offering a show different from the 
one a competitor is putting on the air at the same time; in the desire to 
fit a show to a special situation; or in the personality or special capacities 
of a particular broadcaster. 

An example of the show fitted to the man was that broadcast every 
morning in a Midwest city by a former foreign correspondent. During 
the war, he dealt almost exclusively with war news; often he devoted his 

A news editor who makes a regular practice of breaking the rule that radio 
news stories must be short is Dick Crombie of KJR-Seattle. On one of his 
regular news shows timed so as to compete with those on other stations, 
Crombie uses only one to three stories in a fifteen-minute period. He be- 
lieves that he not only gains diversity, offers the listener a different kind of 
radio news diet, but that he also offers major stories developed with back- 
ground, so that their meaning as well as their barebone facts are presented. 

124 News by Radio 

entire time to exhaustive development of the day's two or three most 
important war stories. To use his background and experience, he usually 
wove comment on the news in with its factual presentation. The war 
over, he turneJ to a more conventional pattern. 

In another case, a man of breezy personality, skillful at humorous ad 
libbing, appears to organize his shows by throwing all the stories into 
the air and presenting them strictly in the order in which they come 
down. This makes a pretty bad show for the thoughtful listener; but 
this newscaster gains a considerable audience, thanks to the effective- 
ness of his manner. 

A news broadcaster on a 5,000-watt station in the Northwest comes 
on the air just after a network international round-up. He devotes only 
a closing minute of his time to national and international news; most of 
his show goes to local and regional news, with a three- or four-minute 
commentary on a local news situation at its midpoint. 

The format of the network international round-ups, familiar to all 
radio listeners, grows out of their nature. Usually they operate from 
New York or Washington; they take their listeners in turn to distant 
corners of the earth to bring in foreign correspondents, with news of the 
national scene opening or closing the period. 

Occasionally news shows deal with one event only. Scores of broad- 
casts went out from San Francisco in the spring of 1945 with news of 
nothing but the United Nations conference. A natural disaster such as 
a Mississippi flood, an accident such as the crash of an army airplane 
into the Empire State Building, a local parade welcoming a visiting 
dignitary to the city any such event may call for broadcasts devoted 
to nothing else. Shows of this kind usually considered in the "special 
events" classification depend partly on prepared script, partly on ad 
lib color and description, often partly on interviews. They are to be 
discussed in more detail in Chapter 9, 

Where Does the News Come From? 

The bulk of the news on which American newscasts are builtto re- 
peat what has already been said more fully in Chapters 1 and 3 comes 
from the news services. These services offer two types of service to radio 

How Does It Go Together? 125 

newsroom: News written especially for broadcast comes from AP, UP, 
and Transradio; news written for newspaper publication, from AP, 
UP, and INS (about a dozen stations, in 1947, bought this kind of serv- 
ice from the British Reuters service, and four from the Canadian Press 

What do the radio wires provide? 

Let the UP wire serve as example (but remember that such examples 
are "dated" almost the day they're written, for specific practices on all 
services change frequently) . 

It clicks off its sixty words a minute, twenty-four hours a day, print- 
ing its stories on yellow paper off a big roll long enough to last for more 
than a full day's service. The heart of its service is its series of "round- 
ups" nine departmentalized summaries a day, each providing enough 
copy for about ten minutes of broadcast time. These round-ups are 
"cleared" from a main UP bureau say New York or Chicago at 
periods when they are most likely to serve broadcasters 7 needs for 
fifteen-minute newscasts. The first one moves before six in the morning 
to furnish copy for early shows, others at irregular intervals through 
the day until the ninth in late evening. They follow a general rather 
than a set pattern. There are always sections to cover international and 
national news, and a postwar innovation regional sections summariz- 
ing the latest regional news. The order in which these sections are 
presented varies according to the nature of the news, except that the 
regional section always comes last. On occasion there may be addi- 
tional sections: one devoted to news of labor-management problems 
when such news is extensive, one on a special occurrence such as a 
national election, one on a great natural disaster or a weather phenom- 
enon of broad proportions, one on "sidelights" brief disconnected 
stories of general interest. They are scheduled to move through the 
printer without interruption, at stated times, but they are sometimes 
broken for bulletins or the less-frequent flashes. 

Each round-up is followed by "The World News in a Nutshell" 
half a dozen ten- to fifteen-word paragraphs summarizing the major 
news highlights. 

Second, the UP wire provides a dozen five-minute broadcasts ea- 

126 News by Radio 

titled "News of the World in Brief." These follow a more definite 
pattern than the longer round-ups fifty-word summaries of half a 
dozen stories of widest (usually international) news first, then as many 
of national news, then a few paragraphs of regional news. 

To supplement these summaries, which carry no "date lines" (on 
the radio wire, the term "date line," though generally used, is a mis- 
nomer, for it gives only the place of origin of the news, without the 
date), dozens of individual stories occupy some of the time between 
themmost of them short, but some running to 300 words or more. 
These stories carry date lines: 


Often they cover more fully events summarized in the round-ups or 
"World in Brief" shows; more frequently they are stories on events of 
limited or regional importance or interest. Most of them are straight 
news, but a score of them a day are headed SPORTS, and another 
score human interest stories FEATURE. 

About a dozen times a day (the number varies from bureau to 
bureau) the printer interrupts the flow of news on the trunk wire the 
wire whose copy originates, say, in New York or Chicago for regional 
"splits." A "split" is a period during which the regional UP bureaus 
send to their clients stories originating in their own geographical areas. 
Often a split follows immediately on a round-up, or a five-minute show, 
to provide the regional section. Splits of this kind are usually brief- 
three to ten minutes on the wire. But some run to fifteen minutes or 

Weather receives particular attention. In the early morning and the 
late afternoon the printer grinds out the latest weather forecasts a 
long string of them, covering all the areas served by a regional wire. 
Special forecasts supplement these regular features from time to time. 
When an event such as the season's first cold wave comes along, 
stories headed UNDATED WEATHER move several times a day on 
the wire. 

Markets also get regular space. Stocks and bonds, grain, produce and 
livestock markets both listings of opening and closing prices and 
summarized stories about trends on all such markets are routinely 

How Does It Go Together? 127 

reported; the news editor knows that at stated times each day he will 
receive this kind of news from both national and regional sources. 

The editor also knows that he must watch for special warnings on 
individual stories. A story may be headed EDITORS: NOTE THE 
NATURE OF THIS STORY. This usually means that the story deals 
with crime, sex, or other subjects against which some stations have 
prohibitions. Or it may be headed FOR AUTOMATIC RELEASE 
6 P. M. In the one case he may schedule it for use at 7:30, without 
further instruction; in the other, he must watch the printer for the 

He learns to watch, too, for corrections of matter already moved on 
the wire, and for "repeats" repetitions of stories or sections of stories 
requested by individual newsrooms whose printers have for one reason 
or another gone temporarily off the beam. Occasionally he is told, 
HOUSE ABOUT NOON; occasionally he finds the flow of news in- 
terrupted by interbureau messages, usually in code. 

Some stories are headed ATTENTION EDITORS. Usually these 
stories deal with news of peculiar interest to the radio industry, with 
new service plans of the UP, or like matters. They are put on the wire 
for the information of the editor rather than for broadcast though he 
is free to use them if he wishes. 

Finally, there are a large number of daily and weekly features most 
of them five-minute broadcasts for one voice; some longer and more 
elaborate. Most of the daily features move on the wire between mid- 
night and 4 A.M., when the wire service day begins the four-hour 
period when broadcasts are fewest and news activity at its lowest. A 
few news commentaries and the like move at regularly scheduled 
periods daring the daytime. The list changes from time to time, as 

A sample of the kind of story to which special attention is drawn: 


Dallas, Texas News Commentator Cedric Foster (of Mutual Broadcast- 
ing System) has been named defendant in a 100-thousand dollar slander 
The suit was filed .... 

128 News by Radio 

news trends change ('Today's American Hero" was dropped soon 
after the end of the war) ; but the list in early 1947 is typical: 

For women: "Women in the News/' "In the Women's World/' "In 
Your Neighborhood/' "Good Eating." For farm audiences: "On the Farm 
Front/' "Farm Market Survey." Sports: "Speaking of Sports/' "Great 
Moments in Sports/' "Sports Lineup/' "Sizing Up Sports." Business: 
'Tomorrow's Business," "Weekly Business Review." Commentary: "To- 
day's UP Commentary/' "United Press Reporting/' "Under the Capitol 
Dome." General: "Time Out/' "World of Tomorrow/' "In Movieland," 
"Your New Home/' "Names in the News/' "Highlights." 

In the same period, the UP radio wire provided a number of extra 

Seven series of scripts: eighteen broadcasts called "Along the Baseball 
Trail" and sixteen on "Sizing Up the Majors"; twenty-four on gardening, 
twelve on income tax, and six each on the Moscow Big Four meeting, 
fashions, and retail shopping. And five single broadcasts on Washington's 
birthday, Thomas A. Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Adolf Hitler, and 
infantile paralysis. 

The AP radio wire corresponds closely, in many ways, to the UP, 
It offers five fifteen-minute summaries a day, the first clearing in time 
for a 7 A.M. broadcast and the fifth at 10:45 P.M.; it supplements these 
with periodic suggestions that editors may combine a number of 
specifically designated stories and summaries to make up other fifteen 
minute shows. In general pattern the AP fifteen-minute summaries 
are similar to the UP round-ups. 

"Bulletins" and "flashes" arc regular features of all news wires. Bulletins 
are terse summaries one or two sentences of "hot" news events; they are 
heralded by five bells on the printer, and they take precedence over other 
news, often interrupting stories on the wire as they break. The AP radio wire 
triple-spaces them for attention; the UP heads them "A Bulletin from the 
United Press" (a bid for getting the words "United Press" on the air) . 
Radio news editors become blas6 about bulletins they know that bulletins 
are customarily followed by enlarged stories marked SUB. Unless an editor 
is close to a deadline, or a show is actually on the air, he's likely to wait for 
the SUB. 

Flashes are something else. Signalized by eight to ten bells on the printer, 

(continued on next page) 

How Does It Go Together? 129 

AP presents twelve five-minute newscasts the first clearing shortly 
after midnight (the AP day runs from midnight to midnight) and the 
last at 1 1 : 30 P.M. These, too, are similar to their UP counterparts. 

And in most other ways the two services are alike. AP has, to cor- 
respond to 'The World in a Nutshell/' a series of "Spot Summaries" 
that move hourly around the clock. It carries its special sports, human 
interest, market, and weather news. It keeps its newsrooms up to date 
by providing frequent SUBS for earlier or developing stories. It carries 
six regional splits in twenty-four hours, some of them serving (as on 
the UP wire) as the regional sections of fifteen-minute shows. Similar 

they appear only when sensational news occurs: the death of a President, 
the end of a war, the cessation of a strike of national proportions. They arc 
couched in telegraphic terms: 


Like the bulletins, they are followed by enlarged stories, but more 
quickly, and often in "takes" or separate paragraphs headed MORE 
.PRESIDENT'S DEATH or ADD ROOSEVELT. Development of the 
stories they announce may take all the wire's space for many succeeding 
hours (there was little but invasion news on the wires for twenty-four hours 
following the flash of June 6, 1944, on the Allied landing in Normandy). 

Bulletins and flashes on the radio wires usually come a few seconds later 
than those on the newspaper wires, thanks to the necessity for rewriting 
for radio. 

Radio listeners know that any program on the air may be interrupted for 
news of this character more frequently for flashes than for bulletins. Radio 
news editors have learned that sometimes too great haste does not pay. In 
April of 1945 the AP flashed a premature declaration of immediately forth- 
coming German surrender; radio put it on the air, only to find that UP was 
not carrying the story and that Senator Connally had talked not wisely but 
too well at San Francisco. The next month INS was first with a flash on 
President Roosevelt's death; most radio newsmen, though they put it on the 
air immediately, said carefully that "International News Service [or "a news 
service"] has announced" the tragedy, or that the news was unconfirmed. 
In August, a false flash mysteriously found its way onto the UP radio wire, 
declaring that JAPAN ACCEPTS SURRENDER TERMS. Though it 
was followed in a matter of seconds by a- "kill" order, many radio stations 
had already broadcast it. 

130 News by Radio 

corrections, special notices to editors, interbureau messages, and so on 

AP's special features (AP calls them "telescripts") many of which 
correspond directly to those of the UP in early 1947 were: 

For women: "Women Today," "Listen, Ladies," "To Market, To 
Market." For farm audiences: "Farm Fair." Sports: "The Sportsman," 
"Sport Special" Commentary: "Between the Lines," "Behind the World 
News," "Washington Today." General: "Jigsaw News/* "Side Street Amer- 
ica," "Flashes of Life," "Stars on the Horizon," "Sideshow," "Today in 
History/' "It Happened During the Week," "Leaders of Tomorrow," "Pre- 
view of Tomorrow." 

Transradio Press, which offers radio newsrooms the third wire written 
and edited for broadcast, follows a pattern similar to those of the AP 
and UP radio wires. It is limited by two factors: Its service runs only 
eighteen hours a day, from 6 A.M. to midnight; and it does not have 
the vastly extended news-gathering organization built up by AP and 
UP, a fact that holds its service largely to national and international 
news (it offers no regional splits) . Features of TP service: 

An hourly bulletin-like "headline" summary of major news, "Transradio 
Fewer summarized, "ready-made" broadcasts for either five- or fifteen- 

What, you ask, if AP and UP services are so much alike, is the basis for a 
choice between them? The most voluble speakers on this subject are the 
sales representatives of the services. 

A good many radio editors say that for most practical purposes one service 
is about as satisfactory as the other (there are, it is true, violent partisans of 
each). Without question a radio newsroom can, with decently intelligent 
editing, do a good job of newscasting with either service. In the early com- 
petitive days of the two services say in 1941 there were many radio news- 
men who thought UP service sometimes overwritten, striving too hard to 
achieve vigor, color, brightness; and as many who thought AP, in the con- 
servative AP newspaper-writing tradition, underwritten, lifeless. Since that 
time both services have settled into a sound and generally satisfactory radio 
news style; in this matter, too, they now closely approach one another. 

On what basis, then, make a choice? Among the factors that influence 
station decisions are: price of service; a belief that one service or the other 
provides generally sounder news coverage (national and international, or 
regional, or both); the matter of competition the fact that a competitor 
is using one service may lead a station to select the other. 

How Does It Go Together? 131 

minute periods. Use of the periodic suggestions for combining selected 
stories to form such newscasts (like the AP wire's suggestions for the same 
purpose) . 

Heavy emphasis on sports news. 

As many as twelve, or more, brief daily "commentiques" of 200 to 300 
words each, rather than five- or fifteen-minute commentaries. 

Emphasis in "Radio Intelligence for Executives" on news of the broad- 
casting industry, much of it not intended for broadcast. 

Emphasis on Washington news. 

Inclusion of a number of the special features like those carried on AP and 
UP wires (but fewer of them, in part because TP is not operating in the 
early morning hours when such features are often moved) . 


The newspaper wires whose printers operate in many newsrooms are 
primarily useful to stations with news-writing or editing staffs. Their 
stories are intended for readers, not for listeners, and since they offer 
no material tailored for radio use they cannot ordinarily be used 
effectively for broadcast without rewriting. An increasing number of 
stations, however, are depending entirely on rewritten news; for such 
stations the newspaper wire is usually thought to be more satisfactory 
than the radio wire. It operates at the same speed as the radio wire- 
sixty words a minuteand it can produce no more copy in a day. But 
it gives more detail on almost every individual story (note again the 
contrasted examples in Chapter 5); it offers every story that the radio 
wire carries, and some the radio wire doesn't (both get their news 
from the same reporters), since some types of stories are considered 

The question arises: Why, if the newspaper wire gives individual stories 
in greater detail than the radio wire, and since it operates at the same speed, 
can it offer more stories? Why isn't the radio wire, with its shorter stories, 
more inclusive? The answer: The newspaper wire repeats itself compara- 
tively little. Once a story has been fully told, it is unnecessary for news- 
paper purpose to retell it. The newspaper copy desk can use the early 
morning story as well at noon, if there are no new developments on it, as it 
could use one hot off the wire. But the radio wire must retell a story half a 
dozen times in the same period. AP, for instance, would put the story on its 
radio wire in two fifteen-minute scripts, three or four five-minute scripts 
and perhaps a "separate" during a six-hour period. Its newspaper wire would 
carry the story only once. 

132 Newa by Radio 

unsuitable for broadcasting. In general details of operation, it resem- 

bles the radio wire closely. 

Into the newspaper wire picture comes INS, a third entry. INS 
officials hold that its copy, intended primarily for newspapers, is so 
expertly and interestingly written that much of it can be broadcast 
effectively "with only the minimum of editing that any copy ought 
to have before going on the air." Most radio newsrooms, however, 
seem not to go along with this opinion. Three-fourths of the INS 
printers in radio stations in early 1948 were in newsrooms receiving at 
least one other service presumably a radio wire service in most cases. 
Only thirty-two stations (according to Broadcasting Yearbook) were 
operating newsrooms with INS service only. 

The three major news services are in agreement on the meaning of 
advance release notices. In 1948 they announced that stories released 
for morning papers would become available to radio at 7 P.M., Eastern 
time; those released for afternoon papers at 7 A.M., Eastern time. 

What are the sources of news other than the wire services? 

Not until after World War II was any other source of great impor- 
tance to more than a few pioneering stations. Those few were the 
stations which had developed their own local and regional news 
coverage. This is the most important undeveloped source of news for 
radio; it is discussed at length in Chapter 8. It is enough here to say 
that it should be considered vital to most stations. 

Certain other sources, however, exist. One is the A.T. & T. sports 
ticker which some newsrooms boast the fastest sports news service, 
since it reports events like baseball games inning by inning (the press 
services usually report them only every three innings). There are 
always "handouts" coming into every newsroom prepared "free 
publicity" from all kinds of organizations that would like mention of 
their affairs on the air. Some of these are worth air time; most aren't. 
They come to the newsroom in mailbags, by telephone, by personal 

NBC and CBS furnish special Washington news services to their 

How Does It Go Together? 133 

affiliates recorded programs of special interest to an affiliate's locality, 
such as an interview with a Congressman, and the like. A service called 
Radio Washington offered regional Washington news to individual 
radio stations in 1946, and built up a list of some dozen clients, but 
apparently found this list insufficient to make the operation successful. 

Putting the Rewrite Show Together 

The first task of the man who is to write copy for a newscast is to 
organize his material. 

He starts by "clearing the printers" taking from them all the copy 
that has moved since the last previous show. Let us say he has two 
newspaper wires at his disposal. He reads through all the copy rapidly,, 
for he has learned a "skimming" technique and cuts or tears off each 
story as he goes. He balances one service's story against the other s, 
deciding whether he'll need only one, or both, to write his story. He 
disposes of each story as he goes along. He may put it into one of 
several piles on his work table national, international, regional; or 
more specialized, such as labor, sports, diplomatic, United Nations. 
He may throw it into a waste basket, if he's sure it's of no use to him 
or other editors. He may file it for future reference. Or he may lay it 
aside for the farm editor, or the sports man, or some other specialist 
on the station's staff. 

If his newsroom also provides radio wire service, he may follow the 
same process with a second set of copy. Though he may use the radio 
wire little, it's helpful to him to know what news the wire is playing, 
and how it's being treated. Many radio news writers prefer to depend 
heavily on newspaper wires, however, since they offer more news than 

Actually, the competent news man radio or newspaper begins work 
long before he gets near his office. He keeps constantly abreast of the current 
news and its implications, by reading newspapers, listening to newscasts, 
reading Time and Newsweek and other such publications. And he reserves 
some of his spare time for books like those of John Gunther, and othei 
means of building up his background knowledge. He cannot waste precious 
minutes, once he sits before his typewriter, looking for such material a 
necessary part of his working equipment. 

134 News by Radio 

radio wires and since merely reading radio copy may influence style or 

Now his job becomes the organization of specific departments of his 
show, and of specific stories within each department. Probably he has 
already decided while he was sorting the copywith which story to 
lead his show, and at least in a general way how he is going to follow 
it. He picks out the copy on his main story, and anything that should 
be related to it, and makes a separate pile of it. Perhaps he goe: to the 
newsroom's reference shelves for background information; perhaps 
he examines a map on the wall. If he is very methodical, he may 
organize all the copy he expects to use in the same manner, and arrange 
it all in order. More likely, having got ready for his first story, he goes 
to work on it. 

If you're watching him, you're likely to be astonished at the speed 
with which he writes. He seems to be working "from memory." In 
effect, that's what he's doing. Rather than pick each sentence or fact 
laboriously from examination and re-examination of the copy, he writes 
the story from the knowledge he has gained of it in the earlier reading. 
Occasionally he refers to the wire copy to pick out a title, a date, a 
specific statistic. The experienced radio news writer believes that this 
method makes it easier to write his copy in smooth, broad strokes 
rather than in fine detail. 

He starts his typewriter going two to two and a half hours before 
the show is scheduled. Few radio news editors can turn out a complete 
show in less than two hours about ten minutes for each triple-spaced 
page of copy. 

His first words may or may not be a conventional opening "good 
morning" or something of the kind. The preference of the man who 
is to read the copy governs this. 

In any case, he is sure to work hard over the first sentence work 
to make it a short, sharp, striking sentence that will be easy for the 
reader to "punch" and sure to catch the listener's interest. Such a 
sentence, perhaps, as: 

Justice is catching up with the top-ranking Nazis this morning. 

How Does It Go Together? 135 

Half a million more men are out of work today. 


The Midwest is fighting its way out of the season's worst snow storm. 

We told you this morning that the Governor would have an important 
announcement on the proposed session of the Legislature. Now we can give 
it to you. There'll be no session . . . 

Then he goes on to develop the story, probably telling it in greater 
detail than he would grant most stories. Since it's his lead story, he 
may let it run to 300 or 400 words, a length pretty sure to make it his 
longest single piece of news. Midway through it, he may get up for 
another trip to a reference source, or make a telephone call to check 
on a fact or get additional information. Finished with it, he stuffs the 
copy on which it is based into a waste basket, or lays it aside for possible 
use in a later show. 

Now comes his second story, and a new problem that of "transi- 
tion/' moving smoothly and conversationally from one story to the 
next. Discussion of the transition problem appears later in this chapter. 

Thus he moves, rapidly through the show, checking his copy, dis- 
carding printer material as it's used, perhaps rearranging order of 
stories as he goes. Every half hour or so he checks the printers again 
checks bulletins to see whether they affect stories he's using, rips off 
new material he wants. Bulletins or fresh stories may force penciled 
revision or complete rewriting of some of the work he has done. If the 
show is one that carries a mid-commercial, he suggests the place for it 
at about the midpoint of his copy probably at the end of a major 
news department. After this suggestion, he again follows the wish of 
the announcer as to whether to write in a second opening device: "Now 
back to the news," or something of the kind. 

He tries to complete the show fifteen or twenty minutes before air 
time. He has now written about a page more copy than the announcer 
customarily uses enough for a margin of safety. The last page or so 
is made up of short stories; perhaps the writer pencils heavily in the 
margin of those he thinks may best be omitted the word OPTIONAL 

136 News by Radio 

or some other symbol. If the show customarily closes with a human 
interest story, or if the writer thinks a particular story a peculiarly 
effective closing, he marks it clearly as the "kicker/' 

Now comes the job of editingcareful checking of every word of 
the copy for possible errors, for infelicitous phrasing, for illegibility. 
Overtyping or "x-ing out" must be clarified or blacked out in pencil 
Interlineations must be sharply defined. 

The copy now goes to the announcer, if he is other than the writer. 
The announcer reads it through carefully, questioning the writer from 
time to time about phrasings, meanings, pronunciations. He may do 
some editing himself underlining words or phrases he decides to hit 
hard, or words that demand special care; perhaps marking pauses or 
breathing spaces; perhaps altering phraseology here and there. 

Meantime the writer is back at the printer, making a last-minute 
check on late news. He may find something that demands rewriting 
of some of the copy. If it's a late afternoon show in summer, he may 
turn to getting the late baseball scores. Perhaps these or a not-off-the- 
printer story he won't have ready by the time the show takes the air. 
In such case, the writer bangs out the copy as rapidly as possible and 
tiptoes into the broadcasting booth to give it to the announcer. Then 
back to the printers, to watch for possible news-breaks up to the end 
of the broadcast. 

Exactly what goes into such a newscast is shown in the exhibit 

How to figure the length of a show? 

Baskett Mosse, former NBC news man now directing radio news courses 
at Medill School of Journalism, presents in the Newscaster a chart of three 
methods for quick estimate of the time-length of a news script. The simplest 
of the three is based on the number of typewritten lines. For an average 
15-minute show (12 minutes 30 seconds of news), 188 lines are needed; 
for a 10-minute show (8 minutes of news), 120 lines; for a 5-minute show 
(3 minutes 30 seconds of news), 53 lines. (The average line, written on a 
pica typewriter from margin to margin, includes ten words.) 

The word basis: A 15-minute show requires 1,880 words or 9V2 pages of 
copy; the 10-minute, 1,200 words or 6 pages; the 5-minute, 530 words 01 
2V2, to 3 pages. (A page is pica-typewritten, with margins of about an inch 
at the sides and 1 Vi inches at top and bottom. ) 

The inch basis: A 15-minute show, 62 Vi inches of copy; a 10-minute, 40 
inches; a 5-minute, YJVi inches. 

How Does It Go Together? 137 

given an exhibit presenting both original teleprinter copy (and some 
other suggestions of source material) and the finished newscast copy. 
This show was written from stem to stern by two newswriters in a 
Minneapolis radio newsroom for broadcast at 12:30 P.M. on December 
1, 1945. It drew its material primarily from the Associated Press news- 
paper "A" wire (serial numbers slugged A), the United Press news- 
paper Midwest Trunk wire (slugged HX or PR), the AP radio wire 
(slugged APR), and the UP radio wire (slugged MS). The opening 
weather story was based largely on telephone calls to the United States 
Weather Bureau and other local sources. Occasionally the writers drew 
on their own knowledge of the current news. 

Careful examination of the wire copy and the rewrite underlines 
one of radio news's hazards departure from original fact. In several 
cases the rewritten copy does not say exactly what the original says- 
note the story from Italy and the Higgins story as particular examples. 

The newscast's typewritten copy, triple-spaced and in caps and 
lower case on yellow copy paper, with deep paragraph indentations 
and very small margins, ran to 207 lines. Of these, the announcer used 
only 165. He discarded five short stories (one of them a repeat of an 
earlier story), totaling 34 lines, before going on the air; he edited out 
three short paragraphs, totaling eight lines, during the broadcast. 

The copy for the newscast appears here in large type; the original 
wire copy, comments, and explanatory material in small type. Passages 
in the wire copy used directly in the final copy are in italics. Care has 
been taken to present both wire copy and final copy exactly as it 
appeared, with typing or other errors included. 

The Newscast 

Northwest residents woke up this morning to find streets and high- 
ways covered with a glassy sheet of ice. It didn't take them long, either, 
to discover that driving was very difficult and that most busses weren't 
running. In the Twin Cities and Duluth, motorists trying to get to 
work were soon caught in traffic jams at the bottom of hills. A number 
of accidents have been reported as cars skidded into one another or 
crashed into stationary objects such as telegraph poles. 

The worst part of today's storm and ice is that it may continue 

138 News by Radio 

through Sunday. The weather bureau tells us that the rain is due to 
continue all day and that it probably will turn into snow tonight or 
tomorrow. Weather bureau forecasters say that because of the low 
cloud cover there isn't going to be any increase in temperature, either. 
That means the present icy conditions are here to stay for at least the 
next 24 hours. 

Highway department officials are extremely pessimistic about road 
conditions, They warn motorists not to travel unless it is absolutely 
necessary and then they are urged to drive with extreme caution. 
Conditions are particularly bad in northern Minnesota and north- 
eastern Wisconsin. The temperature in these areas is around the 28 
degree mark, which means it isn't cold enough for snow and not warm 
enough to melt the ice. 

There was no bus service either in or out of the Twin Cities until 
mid-morning. The Northland Greyhound canceled all trips out of the 
Twin Cities until about 10:30 a. m. when two busses were sent out, 
one to Willmar and another to Bemidji. The Deephaven busses also 
started running about the middle of the morning. Anoka, Stillwater, 
Mercury and Medicine Lake busses also are in operation, but they are 
running very late. 

According to the weather bureau, temperatures are warmer in 
southern Minnesota and South Dakota, and the ice has turned to 
slush. Driving is still hazardous, however, and drivers in those areas 
should proceed with caution. It's quite possible that temperatures will 
drop before nightfall, thus restoring the icy conditions, which were 
prevalent this morning. 

At Grand Forks, a light rain is falling right now, but as yet there is 
no ice. But since the weather bureau predicts a drop in temperatures, 
you Grand Forks residents had better be prepared for difficult driving 
conditions there. 

This present storm is very widespread. It is centered in central Kansas 
with icing conditions extending from Missouri north into Canada, 
and from central North Dakota to eastern Wisconsin. The weather 
bureau expects no relief until sometime tonight or tomorrow, when 
snow is expected, thus taking at least some of the glaze from the icy 
streets and roads. 

How Does It Go Together? 139 

The weather situation remains bad over much of the Northwest, 

and the ice that is forming in Minnesota will continue to pile up. And 

tomorrow it will hit Wisconsin, to make driving hazardous there. 
The Dakotas will have cloudy skies today and tomorrow, with lower 

temperatures tonight, and a little light rain in eastern South Dakota 


(To this point the newscast is built from material gained by tele- 
phone. Now wire copy is used: ) 


Chicago, Dec. 1 (UP) Weather forecast: 

Wisconsin Rains south and central and freezing rain or drizzle extreme 
north portion tonight. Slightly -warmer. Sunday cloudy with rain snow 
northwest portion. 

Iowa Rain tonight changing to snow flumes extreme west portion late 
tonight. Warmer east and colder extreme portions, Sunday mostly cloudy 
and colder. 

Minnesota Rains south and light freezing rain or drizzle north por- 
tions this afternoon and tonight t with rain changing to snow north and 
snow flurries southwest portions late tonight or early Sunday. Snow 
north and snow flurries south portion Sunday. Colder Sunday afternoon. 


Minnesota will continue to have its freezing drizzle during the day, 
which will turn into snow tonight or early tomorrow. The mercury will 
drop tomorrow afternoon. 

Wisconsin will get its freezing drizzle tomorrow, and the tempera- 
ture will climb slightly. 

And in Iowa, rain tonight will change to snow. Tomorrow will be 

The present Twin Cities temperature is right on the freezing mark, 
and will stay there, meaning that ice will get thicker and slipperier dur- 
ing the rest of the day. So watch your driving and your footwork. 

(Material for the following paragraph comes from an earlier newscast. ) 

Weather is the main topic of conversation in several other parts of 
the country today. New Englanders still are talking about their two- 
day snow storm which moved out over the Atlantic last night. It left 
behind 45 persons dead, and a heavy deposit of ice and snow. Com- 

140 News by Radio 

mtmications were disrupted, and coastal areas suffered considerable 
damage from high winds and lashing tides. 


By Ernest B. Vaccaro 

Washington, Dec. 1 f AP) President Truman and nearly 200 guests, 
including five disabled soldiers, caught the football fever today as they 
bundled up in their warmest clothes for a holidayp in Philadelphia. 

Distinguished friends were in Cabinet and Congress were invited to 
accompany the Chief Executive to the Army-Navy classic aboard a special 
White House train scheduled to leave at 8:45 a.m. (EST) . 

The soldiers, all amputation cases, were Isadore Turnasky, Fernand R. 
LeClaire, John L. Eisenmann, Albert Berlanger and Walter Leszcynsky. 
They are patients at Walter Reid Army Hospital here. 

Aides said the President was disappointed that more enlisted men at 
the Hospital couldn't go along but that he gave his last tickets to these 




By Ernest B. Vaccaro 

Washington, Dec. 1 (AP) President Truman, taking along five dis- 
abled soldiers, left the capital today to join 102,000 other fans at the 
Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia. 




Washington First add first lead Truman x x x Philadelphia. 

The President's special train, carrying nearly 200 guests including Con- 
gressmen and Cabinet officers, pulled out at 8:45 a.m. (EST) . 

Although an old Army man himself, Mr. Truman went to the game as 
a neutral observer. He arranged to sit on the Army side during the first 
half and on the Navy side during the last half. 


The five soldiers accompanying Mr. Truman, all amputation cases, were 
Albert Belanger (CQ), Fitchburg, Mass.; John L. Eisenman (CQ), Wey- 
mouth, Mass.; Fernand LeClaire, Willimantic, Conn.; Walter Lesczczys-n- 

How Does It, Go Together? 141 

sky (CQ), Wilmington, Del.; and Isadore Turansky (CQ), Erie, Pa. All 
were from Walter Reid Army Hospital here. * *~ 

The soldiers, among the first to go aboard the train, got the last of the 
President's tickets. Aides said he was sorry that more men from the Hospital 
couldn't go along. 



Three other special trains, loaded with Congressmen, Army and Navy 
officers and their friends, made the trip from Washington to the Philadel- 
phia classic. Space on the specials was sold out weeks ago. 




Army-Navy Weather 

Philadelphia Dec. 1 (AP) The sun poked out for the first time in 
three days today and it'll stay out for the Army-Navy game, the weather- 
man reported. 

But "it'll be a little stiff," he added, because the wind will be blowing 
briskly through the open north end of Municipal Stadium and the tem- 
perature "won't get much ofcr 40." 





Philadelphia, Dec. 1 (AP) Football mad fans put in a hard night 
before the Army-Navy game. 
Edmund Baer, manager of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, reported: 

1. As many as eight men slept in a room, and cheerfully too. 

2. Sample rooms, function rooms, ballrooms and cots set up on an 
impromptu basis were used for sleeping. 

3. Officers of the Army and Navy slept side by side with enlisted men 
and civilians in lobbies and lounges. 

Night clubs reported a rush trade, much of it from carefree visitors who 
had no knowledge of where to lay their heads. 

And many a fan got his sleep in an all-night motion picture house. 


(Note that AP stories on the "A" wire are timed in Eastern standard 
time, the others in Central standard. The symbol "CQ" in A96WX 
means "correct" spelling corrected from that in A76WX.) 

142 News by Radio 



Philadelphia, Dec. 1. (UP) Its fair and cold with a temperature of 36 
degrees predicted by the weatherman for the Army-Navy grid classic today. 

The sun was shining on a dry cold day. The field was in excellent condi- 
tion and everything was in readiness for the starting whistle. 





Philadelphia, Dec. 1 ( AP) A special train carrying President Truman, 
five disabled soldiers and nearly 200 guests to the Army-Navy football game 
arrived in Philadelphia at 11:18 a. m. (EST) today. 


Mr. Truman told reporters there were 200 blankets at the Municipal 
Stadium to protect the Presidential party against the wintery weather. 

Happiest of the group which came over on the special train -were the 
disabled veterans from the Army's Walter Reed Hospital at Washington. 

They got their tickets and top level transportation by 'writing the Presi- 
dent a direct appeal for seats to the big game. 


As the special train sped towards Philadelphia, the President made a 
surprise visit to car six where he shook hands with the soldiers, dl sergeants. 

"I'm glad you could come" he told them. **I hope you have a good time. 
There are blankets for you if you get cold." 

It was Mr. Truman's first Presidential visit to Philadelphia. 

In a happy frame of mind t he went from car to car on the White House 
train, shaking hands 'with members of the party ; calling most of them by 
their first names. 

He said today would be his fifth trip to an Army-Navy game. 

It was his first on-the-record trip out of town since he cancelled scheduled 
visits to North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. He made 
a secret flight to Grandview, Mo., last Sunday to visit his mother, Mrs. 
Martha Truman, on her 93rd birthday. 


Governor Edward Martin and Mayor Bernard Samuel went aboard the 
special which arrived 15 minutes ahead of schedule. 

After an official greeting from these two officials and other welcomers, 
the President left at 1 1 : 55 a. m. for the Municipal Stadium. 


How Does It Go Together? 143 

The President and his guests reached the Stadium at 12:03 and went 
directly to his private box. on the 50-yard line on the Army's side for the 
first half. 

Mr. Truman was greeted by officials of both the military and naval 
academies. The President entered the Stadium in a limousine accompanied 
by a police escort. 



Philadelphia, Dec. 1. (UP) President Truman, his official family 
and more than 100,000 other spectators poured into Philadelphia's huge 
Municipal Stadium today for the 46th renewal of the Army-Nav7 football 

A bright, dry, cold day greeted the thousands of game-bound fans who 
filled the Stadium to capacity an hour and a half before game time waiting 
expectantly for the annual pre-game parade of midshipmen and cadets. 

The President arrived by special train from Washington with Mrs. 
Truman and his daughter Margaret. 

The city was jam-packed for the occasion with five-star generals and 
admirals, Congressmen, Cabinet members, CFs from army and navy 
hospitals and those of the general public lucky enough to grab ducats for 
the game. 

Included among the greatest collection of gold braid ever assembled 
outside of a Presidential inauguration were Adms. William F. (Bull) 
Halsey, Jonas Ingram and Royal Ingersoll; Cice Adms. H. G. Leary; Rear 
Adms. Milo F. Draemel and John H. Brown. Secretary of the Navy James 
V. Forrestal will head the Navy delegation. 

Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur was unable to make the game due to pressure 
of business in far away Tokyo. A reservation had been held for MacArthur 
until game time. 


The weather is clear and cold in Philadelphia today where President 
Truman and his party of nearly 200 guests are watching the Army Navy 
football game. The contest started about 12:30 at the same time we 
went on the air a few moments ago. 

President Truman and his guests reached the stadium about 11 
o'clock central time, and went directly to a private box on the 50-yard 
line on the army's side of the field. During the half, the President will 
move over to the Navy side as custom demands. 

A special train carrying the President and his guests arrived shortly 

144 News by Radio 

after 10 o'clock this morning. Aboard were five disabled soldiers from 
the army's Walter Reed hospital in Washington. They got their 
tickets and transportation to the game by writing directly to President 

As the train was speeding toward Philadelphia, the President himself 
made a surprise visit to the car occupied by the soldiers. 

"I'm glad you could all come/' Mister Truman said as he shook hands 
all around. "I hope you have a good time. There are blankets for you if 
you get cold." The President was in a happy frame of mind this morn- 
ing. He went from car to car on the train shaking hands with other 
members of his party, calling most of them by their first names. He told 
newsmen that this is the fifth time he has seen an army-navy football 

The civil aeronautics authority in Philadelphia canceled all flights 
in and out of Southwest airport and within a ten-mile radius of the 
stadium where the game is now going on. The order was issued as a 
protective measure for President Truman. 

Philadelphia hotel men say that football fans put in a hard night as 
they waited for game time to come around. One hotel manager re- 
ported that as many as eight men slept in a room and they did so 
without complaining. Cots had to be set up in sample rooms and ball 
rooms. Officers and enlisted men slept side by side in hotel lobbies 
and lounges. 


By John L. Cutter 

United Press Staff Correspondent 

Washington, Dec. 1. (UP) The Pearl Harbor investigating com- 
mittee is determined to nail down the reason for the delay in decoding 
and translating Japanese messages intercepted before the Dec. 7, 1941, 

The committee took a week-end recess today but expects to plunge back 
into the question when hearings resume Monday. Maj. Gen. Sherman 
Miles, who was head of Army Intelligence at the time, will return to the 
witness chair. 

Evidence before the committee shows that . . . (the story continues 
for 51 lines more, detailing evidence given by General Miles before the 


How Does It Go Together? 145 


Washington, Dec. 1. (UP) The Senate appropriations committee 
today prepared to take up $122,275,000 (M) worth of flood control and 
rivers and harbors projects approved by the House. 

House approval was given overwhelmingly despite objections of its 
appropriations committee members who asked delay of consideration until 
next year. 

The projects for which the House voted funds included: 
Rivers and Harbors 

New Work 

Great Lake to Hudson River Waterway 2,000,000 

Mississippi River Between the Missouri River and 

Minneapolis 8,439,500 

Flood Control 
Garrison Reservoir, N. Dak. 2,000,000 

(The story continues with eighteen other similar items, none in the 


While all the excitement was going on in Philadelphia, Washington 
was quieter than usual this morning. The Pearl Harbor probers are 
taking the day off. The House and Senate are in recess for the week end. 
Members of the Senate appropriations committee are preparing to 
take up the 122-million dollar flood control and rivers and harbors bill 
passed by the house yesterday. 

If the measure is passed it will mean 2-million dollars in federal funds 
for the Great Lakes waterway, 8 and a half million for improvement of 
the Mississippi river between Minneapolis and the point where it 
empties into the Missouri, and 2 million more for the proposed dam at 
Garrison, North Dakota. 


By James E. Roper 

United Press Staff Correspondent 

Washington, Dec. 1. (UP) Congressional pressure today virtually 
assured a public airing of charges that State Department representatives 
have been acting contrary to U. S. policy, particularly in China. 

Chairman Tom Connolly, D., Tex., of the Senate foreign relations com- 
mittee revealed he 'would ask the committee to admit the public and the 
press on Wednesday when it hears the story of Patrick J. Hurley, who 
resigned as ambassador to China. Hurley charged procommunist and pro 

146 News by Radio 

imperialist foreign service representatives undermined his diplomatic work 
in China. 

The foreign relations committee mil vote Monday on whether to follow 
Connolly's lead and thus order the first open meeting of the committee 
at this session of Congress. 

Hurley also was invited to testify ... (the story continues for 23 lines 
more, presenting a number of Congressional statements on the subject) . 


The Senate foreign relations committee will vote Monday whether 
it will open the Patrick Hurley investigation on state department policy 
in China to the public. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. 


By Ruth Gmeiner 

United Press Staff Correspondent 

Washington, Dec. 1. (UP) The government today handed farmers 
a blueprint for 1946 production outlining cutbacks from high wartime 
levels for most food crops, livestock and livestock products. 

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton P. Anderson, in announcing national 
farm production goals for next year, urged farmers to plant 356,244,000 
acres in crops. 

This would be 5,500,000 acres more than were cultivated this year r but 
boosts in corn and cotton production make up most of the increase. 

The goals for poultry, milk and eggs . . . (the story continues for 33 
lines more, with other details of the proposals) . 


Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson today outlined his 1946 
food production program for the nation's farmers. He urged farmers to 
plant 356-million acres in crops, which is 5 million acres more than were 
planted this year. 


London, Dec. 1. (UP) United Nations delegates listened to hours 
of American travelogues and speeches today and looked at Movies and 
brochures designed to persuade the UNO to establish its permanent head- 
quarters in certain parts of the United States 

Atlantic City, the Black Hills, Boston and Chicago presented their cases 
to the preparatory commission's sub-committee this morning, and others 
were scheduled for this afternoon. 

Contesting claims ranged from a no-strike pledge by Boston labor against 

How Does It Go Together? 147 

the UNO to a Black Hills contention that no one ever would waste an 
atomic bomb on that sparsely settled area. 

Paul Bellamy, Black Hills representative, offered 100 square miles in the 
states of Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. 

Bellamy outlined the resources and physical aspects of the Black Hills. 
He suggested that trade could be stimulated by setting up shops at head- 
quarters, "because* American tourists like to buy things/' He promised there 
would be no import duties, but gave no hint that he had checked the 
point with U.S. government officials. 



Pierre, S. D., Dec. 1 .(UP) Arguments for selection of the Black Hills 
as the United Nations Organization capital -were to be presented today to 
a UNO preparatory commission sub-committee in London by Paul E. 
Bellamy, Rapid City businessman. 

Bellamy, who had informed Governor M. Q Sharpe of the appointment, 
declared that "competiionis tough" because of the lack of housing, print- 
ing, educational and communication facilities and of the great distance of 
the Hills from Europe. 

Sharpe, however, in a "best wishes" message reiterated the argument 
that the absence of a large city in the Black Hills "is to our advantage for 
many reasons." 


In London, United Nations delegates listened for hours while Amer- 
icans from Atlantic City, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Boston, and 
Chicago urged the organization to locate the world capital in their re- 
spective areas. Speaking for South Dakota is Paul E. Bellamy, a busi- 
nessman from Rapid City. 




Nuernberg, Dec. 1 (UP) Rudolf Hess flew to Britain to lure King 
George VI back to Germany for a peace conference with Adolf Hitler 7 the 
United Press learned today as the war crimes tribunal ruled that Hess was 
mentally capable of standing trial. 


In a statement describing his flight, Hess revealed that Hitler knew 

148 News by Radio 

nothing of his scheme. Hess wrote a letter to Hitler before leaving Germany 
in which he described his plans, it was learned. 

Hess parachuted onto the Duke of Hamilton's estate in Scotland on 
May 10, 1941, only a few weeks before Hitler attacked Russia. 




Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, British presiding justice, announced 
when court opened today that the tribunal considered Hess sane after his 
melodramatic statement yesterday confessing that he had faked his loss 
of memory. 

Hess asked that he be permitted to continue in the trial, and the tribunal 
agreed to his request. 





By Ann Stringer 

United Press Staff Correspondent 

Nuernberg, Dec. 1. (UP) Rudolf Hess parachuted into Britain in 
1941 to bring King George VI back to Germany for a peace conference 
before Adolf Hitler opened his attack on Russia, the United Press learned 
exclusively today. 




Hitler knew nothing of his deputy fuehrer's scheme . . . (the story 
continues for 38 lines, mostly concerned with retelling Hess's 1941 exploit) . 





Nuernberg, Dec 1 (AP) The international military tribunal ruled 
today that Rudolf Hess, who confessed he had been faking amnesia, must 
continue to stand trud with 19 other Nazi leaders accused of -war crimes. 


How Does It Go Together? 149 




Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, . . . (the story continues for 97 
lines, devoted to trial proceedings of the day before. It does not mention 
Hcss's purpose, played up in the UP story). 


A100 (200) 


Nuernberg, Dec. 1 (AP) Gaunt-faced Rudolf Hess, childishly self 
satisfied at getting the spotlight in the international war crimes trial, laid 
aside his novel today and amused his fellow Nazi defendants with his tale 
of faking amnesia before the world. 

Hess had Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz and Erich Raeder shaking with 
laughter before the court session opened when he told them how he pre- 
tended loss of memory and partial insanity. All other defendants were 
absent yesterday when Hess made his sensational confession and most of 
them were convulsed with laughter when they learned of it for the first time 

Freed of further need of maintaining the absent-minded pose of a man 
who remembered nothing of the war years and his ruthless power as Hitler's 
deputy, Hess followed the court proceedings closely. Missing for the first 
time was the novel which he read during the opening days of the hearing. 

Hess boasted of his skilled navigation on his mysterious flight to Britain 
four years ago when questioned briefly in his cell before the trial by Maj. 
Douglas Kelley, U. S. army psychiatrist. 

He confirmed reports that he had left a note to Hitler telling him he was 
going to appeal for peace in the hope of what he called saving civilization 
from bolshevism. He told Kelley he wanted to make a direct appeal to 
Britain's king. 


Rudolf Hess told the international war crimes tribunal this morning 
that he went to Britain in 1941 in an effort to arrange a peaceful 
settlement of the European war. He said he planned to talk King 
George of England into coming to Germany for a conference with 
Adolf Hitler. 

The court ruled that Hess will have to stand trial along with the 19 
other Nazi war criminals. 

150 News by Radio 



By Charles Chamberlain 

Iserlohn, Germany, Dec 1 (AP) Seventy-six steel magnates repre- 
senting Ruhr industries worth billions of dollars were arrested at their homes 
last night in a series of raids by hundreds of British security police and 

The raids began at 11 p. m. and were so thorough that only eight of the 
original list of 84 marked were not apprehended. Picking them up was only 
a question of time. 

The industrialists were caught in circumstances ranging from drinking 
champagne to taking stomach pills before going to bed. 

A director of the August Thyssen steel works was embarrassed when the 
British said they found him in a bedroom with the blond 24 year old daugh- 
ter of a baron. 

Fritz Baum, manager of the Ruhr gas utility in Essen, was drinking 
champagne with his wife and two friends. Rat poison pills were taken from 
Walter Eichorst, another director of the Thyssen works. 

Dr. Karl Lipp, head of the purchasing department of the Hoesch steel 
combine of Dortmund, was given permission to play a bedtime lullaby on 
the violin to his son before being taken away. 

Most of the industrialists were in bed and all came quietly, police said. 
The arresting parties operated on information partly supplied by an Amer- 
ican intelligence detachment at Duesseldorf. 

Senior British intelligence officers said the magnates would be transferred 
to an internment camp in the British zone where they will be interrogated 
and masses of documents relating to the Ruhr industries will be studied with 
the possibility of charging some of the men in custody with war crimes. 

Those arrested x x x picking up second graf. 



Aversa, Italy, Dec 1 (AP) German General Anton Dostler was shot 
to death by a firing squad today for ordering the execution of 15 American 
soldiers captured behind the German lines in Italy in March, 1944. 

Dostler, the first German general to die for war crime participation in 
western Europe, was convicted in October by an U. S. court martial, which 
disregarded his defense plea that in ordering the executions he was carrying 
out the commands of higher officers. 

Holding himself stiffly erect in the prisoner stockade, the German gen- 

How Does It Go Together? 151 

eral died without flinching before a firing squad of 17. S. soldiers. 

The 1 5 American soldiers were captured and executed without trial after 
they had landed behind German lines near La Spezia in a daring raid to 
blow up a railroad tunnel. 


Also in Germany, British troops arrested 76 German steel company 
executives last night in a series of raids in the industrial Ruhr area. 
And General Anton Dostler of the German army was executed this 
morning by a firing squad of 15 American soldiers. The execution took 
place in Italy, where a year and a half ago Dostler ordered the execu- 
tion of 15 Americans found behind German lines. 



Tehran, Iran, Nov. 30. (Delayed) (AP) The Russians began carry- 
ing out a surprise evacuation of Tehran last night. 

The railway station, communications centers and private billets including 
the military headquarters were completely evacuated. 

The governor of Azerbaijan, appointed recently by the central Iranian 
government, arrived in the provincial capital of Tabriz today from Tehran 
in a plane put at his disposal by Soviet authorities. 





Meanwhile, the Iranian foreign ministry said the Russian note refusing 
passage of Iranian troops into trouble spots of northwestern Iran asserted 
that "fighting and bloodshed would break out" if Iranian troops entered 
the territory and that the Soviet government would be forced to bring in 
additional soldiers. 

The note denied that Russia was intervening in the political or economic 
affairs of Iran and termed untrue allegations that the Soviet government 
had given help to Kurds of that region. 

A Tass dispatch broadcast by the Soviet radio and recorded in London 
confirmed the Iranian text and commented that the Russian note declared 

152 News by Radio 

the Tripartite Treaty of 1942 ''was not always observed by the Iranian side 
in its part concerning the maintenance of internal order on Iranian terri- 

"Behavior of some representatives of military and gendarmerie detach- 
ments by far not always contributed to the establishment of peace and order 
in the districts to which they went, and last year appropriate representations 
were made to the Iranian government on this matter/' the broadcast said. 


A83 (200) 

By Vern Haugland 

Bekassi, Java, Dec. 1 (AP) Naked bodies, believed to be those of 18 
Indian soldiers and four Englishmen, -were found in a shallow grave in this 
village 12 miles west of Batavia today. 

The Dutch news agency Aneta said the bodies were those of the crew 
and passengers of a transport plane which crashed in Batavia's outskirts 
last Friday. 

An Indonesian woman, who had been held prisoner in the barracks where 
the men were confined, led a British unit to the burial spot, about 50 yards 
from the prison. She said four white men and 18 Indians were brought here 
naked in trucks last Saturday evening. They were beaten that night, she 
said, and Sunday they were led to the nearby river bank, one by one, with 
their hands tied behind them. There they were individually assaulted by 
yelling men with "anything that would cut" the woman said. 

The woman, who had been imprisoned because she was married to an 
Amboinese, said she overhead a telephone conversation which indicated 
that an Indonesian general was informed about the prisoners and had 
ordered them killed. 

British native troops, acting on reports that the missing airmen had been 
in Bekassi 9 sent a patrol to this village yesterday. They found it deserted, 
with only a Dutch youth and three Amboinese women in jail. This morning 
a battalion with tanks, mortars, artillery and air support set out again from 
Batavia. They reached here without difficulty in mid-morning. 


The Russians staged a surprise move in Iran during the night, and 
began withdrawing their forces out of Tehran, capital of that country. 
British troops in Java have discovered the bodies of 22 persons near 
Batavia. They are believed to be those of four Englishmen and 18 In- 
dian soldiers murdered by Indonesians when their plane was grounded. 

How Does It Go Together? 153 


By Spencer Moosa 

Chungking, Dec. I (AT?) Russia has agreed to delay withdrawal of 
Soviet forces from Manchuria until Jan. 3, the Chinese government an- 
nounced today. 

The agreement will enable Chinese government personnel to take over 
the administration of Manchuria and will permit Chinese government 
troops to move in before the Soviet withdrawal is completed, the announce- 
ment stated. 

It was for this purpose, the Government said, that the date was changed. 
The Russians had been scheduled to withdraw Dec. 3, but Generalissimo 
Chiang Kai-shek feared that Chinese Communists thick in Manchuria 
would assume control if Soviet forces were evacuated that soon. Central 
government troops have not yet been able to penetrate the territory in cor>- 
trolling strength. 

Chinese government troops now are driving toward Mukden. Dispatches 
reported the Nationalists advancing along the Peiping-Mukden railroad 
have reached a point 20 miles from Tahushan, 65 miles west of Mukden. 
They have not yet contacted Chinese Communist forces reported to have 
dug in near Tahushan. 


The dispatches reported alleged representatives of several Communist 
puppet forces approached Nationalist headquarters at Shinhsien with offers 
of surrender. 

A semi-official Nationalist dispatch charged that some 200,000 Com- 
munist troops are preparing a four-pronged drive aimed at placing the 
strategic maritime province of Shantung entirely under Chinese Red con- 
trol. The dispatch said Communist forces destroyed a sizeable stretch of 
the Tientsin-Pukow railroad north of the junction city of Hsuchow a$ a 
preparatory move in the drive. 

DS324APS NM 95 

It was announced officially in Chungking today that Russia has 
agreed to postpone for one month her withdrawal of troops from Man- 

(The paragraph above was deleted from the newscast before it was 
broadcast. ) 

154 News by Radio 

A77CX (KX FX) 


(CX) Five big strikes account for about four-fifths of 550,000 workers 
idle in nation's 145 labor dispubes. 

Major developments: 

Automobiles Await CIO Auto Workers 7 reaction to General Motors 
plan to make parts for rivals while 70 GM plants are strikebound. 

Meat packing CIO Packinghouse Workers back up wage hike demand, 
vote 20 to 1 for strike. 

Railroad equipment End walkout which delayed equipment for new 
Pullman cars 7 Simmons Co. employes return at Kenosha, Wis. 



(CX) General Motors President C. E. Wilson has surprised the auto 
industry with his plan for GM to produce parts and accessories for its com- 
petitors while GM itself is not making cars because of the CIO Auto 
Workers' strike. 

Wilson, in a letter last night to President R. J. Thomas of the striking 
CIO United Auto Workers, outlined his proposal. He said GM is willing 
. - . (the strike roundup story continues for 5 3 lines, dealing with the GM 
strike and other strikes) . 




General Motors Corp. officials today waited for the United Automobile 
Workers (CIO) to make the next move in the coast-to-coast walkout which 
has shut down 93 plants and kept 225,000 GM workers from their jobs. 

Following the first renewal of negotiations in the 1 1 -day-old strike, the 
company last night proposed a partial resumption of operations for the 
benefit of other automobile manufacturers. A Union reply was expected 

The proposal, as outlined in a letter to UAW President R. J. Thomas 
from G, E. Wilson, head of the giant General Motors firm, provided for 
the reopening of GM parts and accessories divisions to worfe exclusively on 
material for other auto manufacturers. 

Wilson's statement that the GM tie-up . . . (the story continues for 59 
lines, with details of this and other strike situations). 


How Does It Go Together? 155 


By Allen V. Dowling 

United Press Staff Correspondent 

Detroit, Dec. L (UP) Partial resumption of General Motors opera- 
tions to provide parts for other car makers -was up to the United Autojiiohilc 
Workers Union (CIO) today. 

The management proposed such a work resumption and expressed hope 
that negotiations -with the UAW v tight had to an end of the GM strike 
now in its llth day. 

In a letter to R. /. Thomas, head of the powerful union. Corporation 
President G.E. Wilson offered to reopen GM parts and accessories divisions 
to -work exclusively on material for other auto manufacturers. A union reply 
today was indicated by a spokesman for Thomas. 

At the same time, Harry W. Anderson, . . . (the story continues for 45 
lines, devoted to details of the GM strike situation). 


The auto industry still is awaiting a reply from the United Auto 
workers regarding the sensational offer made yesterday by General 
Motors. The company, you remember, said it will keep making parts 
for its competitors even though it can't use them itself. 


Chicago, Dec. 1. (UP) A weeklong "demonstration" -walkout against 
Montgomery Ward and Co. -will end on schedule at the close of business 
today, union sources said. 

Samuel Wolchok, president of the United Retail, Wholesale and De- 
partment Store Employes (CIO), said in New York last night that he was 
well satisfied with the success of the nationwide strike, first of a series 
planned against Ward's "tyrannical labor pvlicies." 

The union leader cited a company offer to increase wages of some 7,000 
Chicago employes as proof of the effectiveness of the work stoppage and 
said the URWDE would continue efforts to obtain increases for all Wards' 

Ward spokesmen however, consistently have contended that the mail 
order firm's business was little affected by the walkout. The company issued 
a statement yesterday that more than 70 per cent of its employes remained 
on the job throughout the strike, called a week ago to protest Ward's re- 
fusal to arbitrate. 

Local 20 of the striking union met today to hear details of the company's 
wage offer, which includes an increase in the minimum rate from 45 to 60 

156 News by Radio 

cents an hour and a general five-cent-an-hour boost for workers in Ward's 
Chicago properties. 

Company and union officials will meet Monday to discuss the offer. 


The demonstration walkout of Montgomery Ward employes in half 
a dozen cities is scheduled to end today. It was called, you know, in 
protest against the company's policy against collective bargaining by 
the store employes union. Remember, the Saint Paul stxre of Mont- 
gomery Ward is not affected by the strike, and will be open as usual 
all day today. 

(Middle commercial) 



Undated North Dakota merchants today are praying for the miracle of 
a real Santa Claus one with an extra large sleigh. 

For it looked today as though that's about the only way they'll get holiday 
merchandise delivered in time for Christmas shoppers. 

A survey of nine major North Dakota cities by the United Press revealed 
the 14-day over-the-road truck driver strike has placed merchants behind 
the proverbial "eight-ball" insofar as holiday stocks were concerned. 

The survey included Fargo, Grand Forks, Williston, Minot, Valley City, 
Devils Lake, Jamestown, Mandan and Bismarck. 



Christmas shoppers were already jamming . . . (the story continues for 
30 lines, with details of shopping conditions in several of the nine cities) . 

MSI 3 

St. Paul, Minn., Dec. 1 (UP) Less than carload freight shipments 
were moving in and out of the Twin Cities again today with lifting of an 
embargo placed on such shipments Nov. 24. 

The car service division of the American Railroads Association cancelled 
its ban on in-coming freight loads of less than carload size, effective at 
12:01 a.m. 

Simultaneously, the Interstate Commerce Commission suspended its 
embargo on outgoing freight of this class. 

The ban was imposed because the Midwest truck drivers strike caused 
freight to pile up in the Twin Cities. 


How Does It Go Together? 157 


Washington Fourteen senators have asked AFL teamsters and Midwest 
truck operators to meet them in Washington Sunday for an airing of issuea 
in the truck drivers' strike in seven: Midwest states. 

The group telegraphed both the president of the teamsters and of the 
Midwest Truck Operators Association. 

Among those signing the telegrams were Minnesota Senators Ball and 


The outlook for Christmas shoppers in North Dakota continues to 
be a bleak one as a result of the strike of over-the-road truckers. It is be- 
ginning to look as though deliveries of many items of holiday merchan- 
dise is going to come too late to do much good. 

A survey of nine major cities in the state presented a universally 
gloomy picture. Merchandise in some spots may be exhausted long be- 
fore Christmas. And railroads have indicated that they are not able to 
cope with added traffic. 

The shipping situation was eased somewhat in the Twin Cities area, 
with the lifting of the embargo against less-than-carload lots of mer- 
chandise. The embargo was imposed in order to help clear the pile-up 
of goods in railroad warehouses due to the truck drivers' strike. 

And in the truck strike, the latest development is the request of four- 
teen senators that the union and operators meet with them in Wash- 
ington. The meeting would call for an airing of all the differences be- 
tween the two parties. 


First Creek, Wash., Dec. 1. (UP) Salvage of a school bus and its 
cargo of 14, including 13 children^ was believed near today, with the dis- 
covery of the vehicle's motor hood 170 feet down in the cold waters of 
Lake Chelan. 

Lt. L. P. Ross, working in relays with five other divers, found the hood 
late yesterday, leading anxious relatives of the victims to believe the big 
school bus had been located. 

The bus careened into the deep glacial lake from a narrow mountain road 
last Monday during the height of a snow storm, carrying 15 children and 
the bus driver to their deaths. 

An examination paper signed by Louis Acklund, 11, one of the tragedy's 
victims, was found at a 150 foot depth by Diver J, C. Hannah. Walter 

158 News by Radio 

Arthur McGray, commercial diver from Seattle, submerged 260 feet in the 
deepest plunge of the day. 

The divers mil follow buoys marking the path of the bus along a steep 
underwater cliff today, hoping to find it within 300 feet, the maximum 
depth to which they can safely go. If it is beyond that point, grappling hooks 
could be used. 


The last chapter in the tragic story of the school bus which plunged 
into the waters of Lake Chelan in Washington may be written soon. It 
is believed that the bus with its fourteen bodies may be recovered in 
the near future. 

Divers, working in shifts, found the hood of the vehicle in one-hun- 
dred-and-seventy feet of water. The divers have marked the path of the 
bus along the underwater cliff, and hope to find it before they reach 
the three hundred foot depth. Beyond that point, they will not be able 
to operate, and grappling hooks may have to be used. 


Kansas City, Dec. 1 (AP) Kansas City civic leaders are considering 
plans for the construction of two-car garages as the possible answer to the 
city's critical housing shortage. 

The garages, as outlined in the proposal submitted to labor and construc- 
tion representatives by Mayor John P. Gage yesterday, would be used as 
human dwellings until permanent homes could be built. 

Approved by the representatives, the plan calls for the organization of 
two non-profit corporations to buy materials and build the garages. 

Such structures, according to Mayor Gage, could be mass produced 
cheaply and would be useful when the emergency has passed. 


Two-car garages may be resorted to as a means of relieving the hous- 
ing shortage in Kansas City. Civic leaders there are planning the con- 
struction of a number of the garages, and would use them as dwellings 
until permanent homes can be built. 

Labor and construction representatives have approved the plan, 
which calls for the formation of two non-profit organizations to buy the 
materials and erect the garages. 


How Does It Go Together? 159 


Washington, Dec. 1. (UP) Shirley Temple said last night that 
juvenile delinquency is not the fault of teen-agers but that the blame rests 
with communities where they grow up. 

''Young men and women do not want to be bad if they are f it is because 
the community somehow failed them," she told the National Youth Con- 
ference and board meeting of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, 
which continues today. 

The 17 -year-old movie actress ; now the wife . . . (the story continues 
for 21 lines with other details of Miss Temple's talk and those by other 


Actress Shirley Temple has joined the ranks of movie stars who are 
becoming social conscious. Last night the 17-year-old star told the 
National Youth conference and Board meeting of the General Federa- 
tion of Women's Clubs in Washington that juvenile delinquency is 
not the fault of the teen-agers, but that the blame should fall on the 
communities which produced them. 

"Young men and women do not want to be bad/ 7 Miss Temple told 
her audience, "and if they are it is because the community has some- 
how failed them." 

(The paragraph above was deleted from the newscast before it was 
broadcast. The paragraph that follows came from a telephone call 
from police headquarters.) 

Minneapolis police have asked us to aid in locating Vivian Weir, the 
daughter of John Weir who formerly lived at 2533 Coif ax avenue south 
in Minneapolis. Mr. Weir died this morning at General hospital. The 
name againVivian Weir. 




St. Paul A former commander of the Minnesota American Legion f Earl 
V. Cliff, has taken issue with the location of a proposed two hundred bed 
veterans hospital at Duluth. 

Addressing the concluding session of the Legion's annual convention in 
St. Paul today, Cliff charged that this would be a violation of the Veterans 
Administration's announced policy of establishing such institutions near 
medical centers. 

160 News by Radio 

Cliff stated he believed that base hospitals in this state should be built 
near the University of Minnesota, or the Mayo Clinic. This would permit 
taking advantage of the services of medical experts at those institutions. 

The former commander went on to say that if the Duluth hospital is to be 
only a feeder institution, then he believed the veterans administration 
should first get busy on construction of base hospitals . . . and let the 
feeders come later. 

JM1145ACS 1 

The proposed location of a veterans hospital at Duluth has been at- 
tacked by a former commander of the Minnesota American Legion, 
Earl V. Cliff. Cliff told the concluding session of the annual Legion 
convention in St. Paul that base hospitals in Minnesota should be 
established near the University or the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. 

Cliff said that the Duluth location would be a violation of the 
Veterans' Administration policy of locating such hospitals near med- 
ical centers. 


Minneapolis A representative of the New Orleans ship builder, Andrew 
J. Higgins, is said to be enroute to Minneapolis today in connection with a 
possible expansion of the firm. 

The representative is being sent as a result of invitations extended by the 
Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association, and the Minnesota dis- 
tributor of Higgins products, the McGovern-Stewart Company. 

JM1143ACS 1 

Andrew Higgins, the New Orleans shipbuilder, is reported to be on 
his way to Minneapolis in connection with the choice of a new location 
for his boat-building firm. 

The Minneapolis Civic and Commerce association extended an in- 
vitation to Higgins to locate here when it was rumored that he was 
liquidating his New Orleans plants as a result of labor troubles. 


Litchfield, Minn. The jury in the second degree murder trial of 
Mrs. Alice Broderius and Walter Reinke at Litchfieldj still has not reached 
a verdict. 

The jury began its deliberations shortly after five p. m. Friday and con- 

How Does It Go Together? 161 

tinned until 1 1 o'clock. At nine o'clock this morning, a fresh start was made, 
but to noon there had been no indication that a verdict had been reached. 

The defendants are charged with killing Rudolph Broderius, husband of 
Mrs. Broderiusbn when he and three friends visited the Broderius turkey 
ranch near Cosmos, Minn. 

JM1148ACS 1 

The jury in the Litchfield murder trial of Mrs. Alice Broderius and 
her hired hand, Walter Reinke, still has not reached a verdict. The 
jury started its deliberations at five o'clock yesterday afternoon, and 
recessed around midnight. It resumed its consideration of the case at 
nine this morning. 

The jury has the choice of acquitting the pair, or convicting them of 
second or third degree murder or manslaughter. The pair are charged 
with shooting and killing Rudolph Broderius and wounding three of 
his companions. 

(The paragraph above was deleted from the newscast before it was 
broadcast. The five stories that follow, for which wire copy is not here 
included, were also deleted.) 

A young Minneapolis couple who eloped early in the week are back 
home again, and happy about being there. 

Eighteen-year-old William Heegel Jr. of 3829 Thirty-fifth avenue 
south and his sixteen-year-old bride returned to the home of the bride's 

The first problem confronting the young couple is the question of 
family disapproval. And after that they are going to battle with the 
housing shortage which is far from a pleasant prospect for newlyweds, 
young or old. 

Deer hunters in North Dakota have had good luck during the five- 
day season which ended last night. Chief Game Warden E. M. Lee 
estimated that six thousand deer were shot during the period. 

Some two thousand hunters were disappointed, because eight thou- 
sand licenses were issued. 

South Dakota may soon learn whether its bid for the world capital 
of the United Nations Organization will be accepted. The representa- 

162 News by Radio 

tives of 22 communities in the United States and two in Canada are 
arguing the relative merits of their localities before the committee 
which will decide the location. 

Ralph Bellamy of Rapid City is appearing in behalf of the Black 
Hills site. 

A Minneapolis man who disappeared last September and was be- 
lieved drowned in Mille Lacs Lake has turned up in New York City. 
Robert H. Lee, a newspaper reporter, disappeared at the same time that 
his boat was found floating upside down on the lake. 

When discovered in New York, he was suffering from malaria and 
pneumonia. His family believe that his disappearance was caused by 
war neurosis. 

Three opinions handed down by Minnesota attorney general Burn- 
quist indicate that circumstances may have a lot to do with 
the question of whether or not a returning veteran may have his job 

All of the opinions concerned school employes. Burnquist ruled in 
one case that a man who gave up his job to join the Navy should have 
his job back. In another case, an Ely teacher who had coached basket- 
ball before joining the services had refused to take a new assignment as 
swimming coach. It was ruled that he must teach swimming if he wants 
to keep his job. 

And in the third case, a school bus driver went into service without 
notifying the school board. His contract later expired, and Burnquist 
ruled that his rights as a veteran expired with the contract. 

Putting the Radio Wire Show Together 

Building a newscast from radio wire copy is simpler and faster than 
writing one from the newspaper wire, but many of its problems are 

To see what happens in the process, let's watch the growth of a 12 : 1 5 
P.M. show for KUOM-Minneapolis on August 27, 1947. 

KUOM is the University of Minnesota station. Its shows, since it is 
an educational station, are without sponsorship; this means that, in 

How Does It Go Together? 163 

the 12:15-12:30 period, it has fourteen minutes and thirty seconds for 
news. Experience has shown that the announcer who reads this show 
needs about 230 lines of copy, plus a closing headline summary, for the 
period. The newsroom has the Associated Press radio wire. 

The editor arrives in the newsroom a few minutes before 10:00 
(there have been no earlier news shows on KUOM this morning) . His 
first job is to prepare a two-minute headline-summary show for use at 
10:57. From the printer he takes the sixth five-minute news summary, 
which had cleared af9:30; he reads it through rapidly, then edits it 
down to about half its original length and dispatches it to the station. 
Now he's ready for the 12:15 show. 

He finds on his desk a note saying that the show is to be broadcast 
from the KUOM remote booth at the State Fair grounds instead of 
from the studio upstairs. This means that he must make gestures in the 
direction of State Fair news in editing the show, and that copy must be 
ready at 1 1 : 30 instead of 12:00, in order to give a courier time to take it 
the four miles to the grounds. 

The printer had last been cleared at midnight. The editor takes off it 
the hundred-foot strip of copy that has moved since that time: two 
fifteen-minute summaries, five five-minute summaries (in addition to 
the one he has used) , six or eight feature scripts, a batch of spot sum- 
maries, two regional splits, and some forty or fifty individual stories. 
He methodically clips the file of copy, and arranges material in separate 
piles international, national, special features, regional, and so on. A 
good deal of the copy he discardsthe five-minute and the first fifteen- 
minute summaries, the features his station has no need for (some that 
may become useful as background material he files in a cabinet in the 
corner) , the sports copy (his station pays little attention to professional 
sports), and so on. 

Ordinarily he would now skim through all the major copy to decide 
which of the day's stories to emphasize, and how to organize his show. 
But since today's newscast is to emanate from the State Fair, he decides 
to open with a Fair story. He goes to the latest regional split, and finds a 
story on record-breaking attendance flowing through the gates, to- 
gether with a brief round-up of the day's program. He takes this copy 
and a Northwest weather forecast to the typewriter and turns out a 

164 News by Radio 

one-page story that becomes the first page of the broadcast (the script 
is reproduced .on this and following pages). He heads the page 
KUOM-12: 15-8-27-47, and numbers it prominently in the upper left- 
hand corner. He counts the lines and notes the number in the lower 
righthand corner. 

he EjgadrV*sird ^^Ettendeoice is heavy again today. The weather is 
fine sunny ... a lighc base in tbs air . . . not too warn. And crowds 
are pouring through the gates in what seem to be record numbers* 

Already, you know, attendance at the Fair is well ahead of the pnrWous 
record. Yesterday nearly 80 thousand people cans - and that brought the 
four-day total to more than 300 thousand* That's 70 thousand core than the 
beat previous attendance for the first four daya, in 1941. 

Today is the big day for 4-H youngsters at the Fair* Topping their 
program will be the selection of the healthiest 4-H boy and girl in the state, 
and the crowning of the 4-H style queen. 

Judging of the health king end queen began yesterday and the winner* 
will be announced tonight. For the first time health improvement end leadership 
ia community health projects will be considered in choosing the champions. 
In former years the boys' and girls 1 individual health only was considered. 
Former service nan on the grounds will meet in the new agriculture 
Building today as part of ceremonies honoring war veterans. On the 
entertainment program of the day, there'll be more harness racing this is 
Pan Patch day, in memory of the famous old pacing champion* Special recognition 
also is planned for the Arrowhead region of Minnesota, and the city of Duluth. 

The weatherman says that temperatures here and through all the 
Vunimiq Northwest will remain moderate . . . about 75 to 80/jtfhere may 
be a few showers in some sections. 

How Does It Go Together? 165 

Now he turns to the latest fifteen-minute summary if he's lucky, it 
will provide the basis for a good deal of the rest of the show. He discards 
the headline summary with which it opens, since the pattern of this 
show calls for a summary at the close rather than the beginning. The 
first story is one about two State Department men going to a Paris 

lat's look at th foricn nwre. 









166 News by Radio 

ference; this is the latest news in the summary, but he doesn't like it 
to open the international department because he thinks its chief virtue 
is recency rather than interest or importance. He chooses in its place a 
story on the Greek cabinet crisis. Reading the story carefully, and 
checking it against other earlier stories on the same subject (a practice 



PREPABAtlOHS TO RECEIVE THE fljE^fft" tglfftvvpt^ OESrxsH 

iau4.n Tjwr umi'i'm *^Mn'i(Ag*fe OSE BRITISH OFFICIAL SAIB IT $ 





How Does It Go Together? 167 

he follows with each succeeding story), he decides that it does the job. 
He edits out two words; he types at the head of a sheet of copy paper 
"Now let's look at the foreign news"; he pastes the Greek story below 
this transition, and puts an end-mark just below it. 
The next story is easya brief piece about food shortage in France. 

HEHCHJOU SAT """** *~ 








168 News by Radio 

Since "France" is the fourth word in the story, he decides that no 
transition is called for. He pastes this story on page 2, without change. 
For the third story, he combines paragraphs from two stories on the 
subject. Some editing is necessary here, for simplicity and to avoid 








^TVB*? 3 ^ ' '- : - '' & 


How Does It Go Together? 169 

Now he goes through other stories, completing pages 3, 4, 5, and 6 
with international news or national news of international import. Most 
of this copy he takes from the fifteen-minute summary; one story, how- 
ever, is a date-lined "separate" the story at the top of page 6. He uses 
this story, blacking out the date line, because of the heavy Scandinavian 


WAS mim RW A ViLUSE WfK' BY ^ ^Sf OB* THE RIOKRS ttl. 





^:. . B ^-^.-. _Lttnu jut: ttffi m HmfaiiM08 ' 

170 News by Radio 

population in KUOM's listening area. Most of the copy requires little 
editing. From one story (page 4) he removes what he thinks is a dull 
opening phrase, and substitutes a preposition; from another (page 5) 
he takes a repetition of the phrase '73-year- old." 

National news he finds slim. There's a long story on the forthcoming 



MONTH* _../- .-..- ^._ ..,.. : .-..^^..^. 





How Does It Go Together? 171 

American Legion convention; he uses this intact with a little editing 
and the insertion of the word "Well" to open it. The other, on increas- 
ing automobile prices (page 8), he decides needs a new lead. This he 
writes on the typewriter; then he attaches all but the first paragraph of 
the original story. 





tent yicnas IERS Mostly ^BOSN. AN& *HEH 





i> pAtjamjtTEns is smtss i KHE ?sro?$n.wssA itK,e tREUKWASY 

03F ?E tlTXEfltJSe lOTDLtTOS, OHIO'S MUKtttt 


f W HE 

172 News by Radio 

Now he turns to regional news. The latest regional split is now mov- 
ing on the printer; on it he finds a late State Fair story. He uses this 
story with a new lead which gives him an opportunity to mention again 
that the broadcast is coining from the Fair grounds. He follows it with 
three other stories taken from the splits. 

Going to buy a new automobile this j*rt 

If you &fo, you can figure the cost right now. The auto industry 
axpeets -ifctt no* ttort Ford and Studebakar havo joined the other big 
eorpani^s in prioa increases the prices will hold through 1947, 
But rwrtye&r tho story nay change* 

liirroHorrvE INDUSTRY OBSERVERS wist our tittx. Bs^sr ' 





How Does It Go Together? 173 

Time to count lines. The ten pages, he finds, give him 199 lines; he 
needs 230. He checks the University news sent over by the University 
news bureau, and estimates that he'll get about ten lines from it. So he 
looks through all of the unused copy, and checks the printer, for addi- 
tional stories. Regional and national copy furnishes nothing more. He 

Here 1 s sons more State Pair l 

'This aero is about eoarpletion of three 
nioro typoa of cat a* 

ft nm H0g^Ami& OFF HOST v 





ns FAtra ctrros MOSES, HIS SON, BUW. V==Afcto 

XM FOURTH coirora^oH, w YEAR OLD SOLD utesos, QFl 




V THE RULE. ' ' ' - -. 

174 News by Radio 

takes a short Chinese story from the remains of the fifteen-minute sum- 
mary, and a long new story on the trial of German industrialists in 
Hamburg; from the latter he eliminates the word "Farben" because 
he thinks it may puzzle a good many listeners. These two stories total 
twenty-two lines, and become page 3-A. He now has 221 lines. 


mosta THAT THE cm couswii, c<mTt^&tfcT<! m HAftie$ ww. 






TOE St s |HOKfcS KXU. 58J<t tHE WMWf W$MK&& t(J mF W' 

How Does It Go Together? 175 

Going to the typewriter, he turns out thirteen lines of University 

Then he glances at the latest spot summary from the wire. Not what 
he wants. He goes again to the typewriter and hammers out his own 
closing summary. 

On the campus of the University of Minnesota tonight there'll ba 
n piano recital open to the public. The artist is John, Wannamaker, en 
instructor in music at Drake University* Er. UTennasaker, a svasnar student 
at the University, id 11 give his concert in Scott Hall at 8:30. 

The dispute on the cKnpus over wages of non-teaching, civil service 
employes is at a standstill today* The latest news since Governor 
Youngdahl has appointed * fact-finding committee is the letter Just 
mds public by President LorrilU 

In the letter. President Iterrill sey* that the present University 
wage scale is higher than that outlined in an agreenent between the union 
and the University last January. It 1 8 over this agreement, calling for 
retroactive pay, that the dispute centers. President Jtorrill says that 
the 1947 Legislature granted the University funds which have been used 
to raise wages above the scale the agreement called for. 

176 News by Radio 

The clock says 11 :25 as he completes it, and the announcer appears 
with word that the broadcast is going out from the regular studio, 
rather than from the Fair grounds. This calls for some quick editing on 
pages 1 and 9. 

The broadcast is ready 234 lines and summary. 

Kow, th* summary of she najor newst 

Tfornesotans are crowding to the State Pair in St. Paul. Attendance 
is already far ahead of the previous record. And the weather today is good 

In Greece, the new premier Const eat in tsaldaris is having a 
tough time to gat a cabinet together. 

The London, confer race on plans Tor restoration of Germany is meeting 
with considerable success. 

In New York City, thousands of American Legionnaires are preparing for 
the opening of their convention tomorrow* 

Autonobile prices are ejqjeoted to remin at their present levels for 
the rest of this year. All the big manufacturers have raised their prices la 
the last few days. 

A St. Paul petrolejoa industry official says t hare' 11 be plenty 
of gasoline for motorists ever the Labor Cay -week-end. 

How Does It Go Together? 177 

Now the announcer reads it carefully in more leisurely manner 
than usual, since he has plenty of time. As he goes through it, he under- 
lines words he wants to emphasize, and circles words whose pronuncia- 
tion he must watch carefully (for example, "Greece," "France," and 
''further reductions" on page 2; "Balikpapan" and "Tarakan" on page 
4) . Into the auto price story on page 8 he inserts an aside. 

At 12:15 he goes on the air the editor meanwhile watching the 
printer to make sure there are no news-breaks that demand inclusion 
in the show. After the broadcast, the announcer reports that the copy 
came out "on the nose" just the right length. 

Moving from Story to Story 

A newspaper story, under its own headline, stands on its own feet. 
Except in the few cases in which several stories drop out of a multi- 
column headline, or one story is tied to related news by some other 
typographical device, interrelationships are not so commonly shown. 

Relationships among stories in a newscast are of first importance. 
One of the prime tasks of the news editor is to achieve the effect of 
relationship, of continuity, of easy flow. Three principal reasons: 

1. Listener-understanding is aided when like stories are properly tied 
together, when news events of allied nature are described sequentially. 
The departmentalized format of most newscasts grows out of this fact. 
It is obviously more effective, from the point of view of the listener, to 
link all the labor news in a news show together than to offer it scattered 
throughout the broadcast. 

Clip-and-paste, or " tack-up/' newscasts like that just described are usually 
put together on ordinary copy paper W^ by HVz inch soft-finish paper, 
yellow or white. Such paper is easy to handle, takes mucilage readily, 
doesn't rustle as the announcer handles it close to the mike. Some editors 
use wire staplers to attach the copy to the paper backing; most use glue or 
mucilage in the familiar small bottle with rubber applicator. In using glue, 
care must be taken that none escapes from under the edges of the copy. 
If it does, it may cause pages to stick together. 

Some announcers prefer only one story to a page. Others are willing to 
have the editor put on a page as many stories as he can place there, as long 
as he is careful with his end-marks or his MORE symbols when a story con- 
tinues from one page to another. 

178 News by Radio 

2. The "conversational tone" of the news show is enhanced by show- 
ing relationships. It is easier for the listener to keep up with a newscast 
that flows easily from one subject to another than with one that bumps 
each time a new story is introduced. And such a newscast sounds more 
like conversation. 

3. Skillful use of transitional devices is economical of time. 

All of which is not to say that a newscast, to be effective, ought to be 
a mass of transitions with stories connecting them. Overuse of the 
linking devices becomes artificial, hence annoying to the listener. 
Some stories simply can't logically be tied to anything else (though this 
in itself might suggest a transitional device) . Moreover, the occasional 
sharp break usually signalized by a slight announcer-pause serves to 
accent a story, and to avoid monotony. No conversationalist would be 
likely to talk for twelve to fifteen minutes straight without occasionally 
changing the subject. No newscaster should be asked to. 

What are the devices? 

First, the simple conjunctions. 

The radio writer takes a cue from the conversational habit of pref- 
acing many sentences with "and." The word often thrown in con- 
versationally where it might better be left out is a smoothing device, 
a device for maintaining continuity. It can be, and is, used widely in 
radio news copy to introduce sentences sometimes within paragraphs, 
sometimes to open new paragraphs or even new stories. There's danger 
in its overuse it shouldn't appear as often as in casual conversation. 
There are news editors who eschew it. But the bulk of practice favors 
it, and with good reason. 

Often its best use is not merely as a lone conjunction, but rather in 
connection with a phrase or clause that continues the transitional idea. 
It should normally be followed by a genuine addition something that 
logically builds on or adds to what precedes. For example: 

And there's more news of stormy weather from Tampa. 

A number of examples of its use most of them effective occur in 
the KUOM script in this chapter, and in other scripts and excerpts of 
scripts in this book. 

Another of the simple conjunctions of wide usefulness is "but." 

How Does It Go Together? 179 

"But" introduces a contrast; for contrasting stories or ideas it is often 
an excellent introduction. Suppose a story in a newscast tells of fine 
local weather. The next story, introduced in the example above by 
"and/ 7 might then open: 

But down in Tampa they're expecting a hurricane. 

Like "and," "but" should not be overused. 

The other simple coordinating conjunctions ("or," "for," "nor") are 
not so generally useful. 

A widely-used one-word device is the interjection "well." It's another 
that some writers avoid as they would poison. But their dislike of it 
usually grows from careless overdependence on it. If often serves 
smoothly to introduce stories of certain types usually stories of less 
than serious nature: 

Well, here's a queer story about a dog. 

Well, Slugger Ted Williams has done it again. 

See also page 7 of the KUOM script. 

A second class of conjunctional devices is the group of conjunctive 
adverbs: accordingly, also, besides, hence, however, moreover, never- 
theless, so, still, then, therefore, thus. Often they can be employed to 
advantage. Careful writers, however, avoid vulgar or clumsy misusages. 
"Also" should introduce only something having kinship with the pre- 
ceding story not merely another story (it should be used sparingly in 
any case, for it's a clumsy sentence-opener) . "Thus" should be used to 
mean "in this manner," not "therefore," And so on. 

A number of phrases have come into general radio news use time 
phrases, place phrases, other connective phrases. Representative time 

At the same time More recently 

This morning Meantime 

Word has just come Just before the speech 
We haven't yet heard 

Among the most abused time-connectives in newscasting are "mean- 
time," "meanwhile," and "in the meantime." Used jealously, they may 

180 News by Radio 

accomplish excellent transitions. But they should appear only when 
they show a close relationship. That is to say, it is hardly permissible to 
use "meanwhile" to show only that one story occurs while another of 
no similarity or relationship is taking place; it should be used to mean 
that the second event not only has a time kinship but also a kinship in 
general nature. 

Place phrases serve not only as connectives, in the sense here de- 
scribed, but also to move the listener easily to a new geographical area 
of news activity. They are often of vital necessity to clarity of under- 
standing. If one story deals with an event in Los Angeles, for example, 
and the next with one in Chicago, the listener must be told at once of 
the change in locale. The simple "in Chicago" is the most common 
and the most useful such phrase; it is also the easiest to overwork. 

If a newscast uses date lines, the place phrase is unnecessary. But 
most don't; and in such shows, every change of locale must be made 
clear. If a story doesn't actually open with a place phrase, the location 
should appear (when it's important) somewhere in the first or second 
sentence. Examples of this appear in almost all the international stories 
in the KUOM script: "Troubled Greece/' "the government of France/' 
"across the English channel in London," "two top-drawer American 
diplomatic policy makers are on their way to Paris," and so on. 

Among commonplace phrases are: 

In the Far East Nearby, in New Jersey 

Down in Texas From far-off India 

Across the Atlantic On the Manchurian front 

Subject-matter transitional devices are also common. Useful and 
effective if they don't appear too often are sucl\ phrases as: 

Speaking of railroads, here's .... 

On the political scene 

More news about the American Legion. 

During World War II the most overworked of all transitional devices was 
probably that employing the word "front." One heard from every radio that 
news was coming "from the European front," or the Asiatic, or the Pacific, 
or the home or the women's, on occasion! Many news writers came to 
avoid it for this reason. A very good reason. 

How Does It Go Together? 181 

Another effective transitional device is the reminder phrase "you'll 
recall that," "you remember we told you that" and the like. 'Such 
phrases not only introduce stories smoothly but also flatter the listener. 

To tie two or more stories together, news writers often employ an 
opening phrase covering them all. Place or subject phrases such as many 
of those cited above accomplish this purpose. Another method: 

Two stories come from Chicago this morning. 

One says that .... 

The second Chicago story has to do with .... 

Here are a couple of stories that will amuse you. 

Typical Radio Station News-Days 
KABR-Aberdeen, S. D. 

7:15 A.M. 15-minute program, using news and "Farm Fair" (AP fea- 

9:15 A.M. 1 5-minute straight newscast, using 5-minute summary, South 
Dakota news on the regional split, and other late news 

10:45A.M. 5-minute news-feature program, using "Behind the World 
News" (AP feature) 

12:00 NOON 1 5-minute straight newscast, based on 5- and 1 5-minute sum- 
maries and other late news (no regional) 

10:00 P.M. 1 5-minute straight newscast, based on 5- and 1 5-minute sum- 
maries, the South Dakota split, and other late news 

All shows come straight from the AP radio wire, without rewriting, editing, 
or paste-up. KABR is a 5,000-watt Mutual affiliate. 

WHO-Des Moines, Iowa 

7.30 A.M. 15-minute straight newscast, its news selected to take advan- 
tage of the fact that the WHO signal gets outside of Iowa 
at the early morning hour 

8:45 A.M. 10-minute two-voice program: a man for 5 minutes with a 
round-up of world news; a woman for 5 minutes, with 
news of special interest to women 

182 News by Radio 

12:30 P.M. 15-minute straight newscast, using world-wide news and a 
heavy proportion of Iowa news (since the signal at this 
hour does not carry as far as in the early morning) 

5 :00 P.M. 10-minute straight newscast same pattern as the 12: 30 pro- 

6:30 P.M. 10-minute straight newscast same pattern as the 7:30 pro- 

10:15 P.M. 1 5-minute straight newscast, a general news round-up. Often 
followed by a second 15-minute program with "public- 
service" news 

11:30 P.M. 1 5-minute combination of news round-up and background of 
the news 

All shows except the 5 P.M. are written entirely in the WHO newsroom. 
The 5 P.M. leans heavily on AP and UP radio wire copy. WHO is a 50,000- 
watt NBC affiliate. 

KOIN-Portland, Ore. 

7:15 A.M. 1 5-minute straight newscast, a general news round-up 
12 :00 NOON 1 5-minute straight newscast, a general news round-up 

2:00 P.M. 10-minute feature newscast, opening with brief "headline 

3 :00 P.M. 1 5-minute straight newscast, a general news round-up 
10:00 P.M. 15-minute straight newscast, a general newscast 

All shows combine copy from AP and UP radio wires. The 10 P.M. "Five 
Star- Final," is the day's chief show, and is about half rewritten from the 
wire copy. KOIN is a 5,000-watt CBS affiliate. 

WRC-Washington, D. C. 

5 : 30 A.M. 1-minute straight newscast ( WRC origin) 

6:00 A.M. 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin) 

7:00 A.M. 15-minute straight newscast (WRC origin) 

7:30 A.M. 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin) 

8:00 A.M. 1 5-minute network round-up ( 2 minutes from WRC ) 

8:30 A.M. 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin) 

9:30 A.M. 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin ) 

How Does It Go Together? 183 

1 2 : 00 NOON 1 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin ) 

1:45 P.M. 1 5-minute Washington news round-up (network show of 
WRC origin) 

6:00 P.M. 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin) 

6:05 P.M. 10-minute news commentary (WRC origin) 

6:45 P.M. 1 5-minute network round-up 

7:15 P.M. 1 5-minute news round-up (network show of W^RC origin) 

7:45 P.M. 1 5-minute network commentary 
11 :00 P.M. 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin) 

11:15 P.M. 1 5-minute news round-up (network show of WRC origin) 
12 MIDNIGHT 5-minute straight newscast (WRC origin) 
12:55 A.M. 5-minute network round-up 

All the shows of WRC origin except four of the 5-minute straight newscasts 
are written entirely in the 'WRC newsroom, using AP 24-hour newspaper A 
wire, UP night and day newspaper trunk wires, INS day and night wires, 
day and night Washington City News Service, and special NBC corre- 
spondents' service. The four 5-minute "tack-ups" are taken from the UP 
radio wire. 

WRC is a 5,000-watt NBC-owned station, the network's point of origin for 
all Washington shows. The daily schedule shown here is heavier than those 
for KABR, WHO, and KOIN because it includes network as well as local- 
origin news shows (the other three, like all network affiliates, supplement 
their own schedules by adding network news shows) . 


Multivoice News Shows 

The single-voice news show dominates radio's news programming. 
Most stations presenting newscasts with more than one voice schedule 
them as weekly rather than daily offerings. 

This is not because of doubt of their effectiveness. Skillful use of two 
or more voices on any program adds to its interest. It is not "natural" 
that one voice indulge in a twelve-minute monolog; the average man is 
not accustomed to hearing any voice, even his own, continue for more 
than a few seconds without interruption. Moreover, the use of more 
than one voice provides variety, color, sometimes drama and conflict; 
it may speed up an otherwise lagging show. The radio listener is inter- 
ested in people within limits, the more people the more interest. 
Variety of intonation and accent, variety of personality as revealed by 
voice, change of pace, the rise and fall of question and answer all these 
are desirable qualities in radio broadcasting. 

"Why, then, are not more news shows cast in the multivoice mold? 
Why, when sponsors are so vitally aware that drama and entertain- 
ment are qualities that draw listeners and sell products, do they not ask 
for them, in news shows, in the larger measure that departure from the 
one-voice pattern would insure? 

The reason is not simply that the listener, through habit, has de- 
veloped a high degree of acceptance of news presented by one an- 

Nor is it that news in itself has high intrinsic interest that the twen- 
tieth-century human, being a literate animal with an increasing sense 
of the interdependence of his own welfare on the thousand cross-cur- 
rents of contemporary events, is eager enough to get the news so that 
he will take it in any form. 

The reasons (they have been suggested earlier in this book) : 

Time It takes longer to get a multivoice show ready for the air than 
a one-voice show. To write it is a little more time-consuming. To pre- 

Multivoice News Shows 185 

pare it for broadcasting takes more time. It has to he "cast" that is, 
the voices have to he selected (though this may not have to be done 
anew for every broadcast) . And it uses up precious time on the air. You 
usually can't get as much news into the multivoice show as could be 
packed into the simpler form. 

Production It may have to be rehearsed. Two news announcers ac- 
customed to working together on a two-voice show perhaps won't re- 
quire rehearsal. But if the program involves use of radio's other principal 
toolssound and music or if a number of voices appear in the script, 
the production-rehearsal problem grows. 

Cost This factor is closely related to the time and production ele- 
ments. Two announcers get twice as much salary as one; a cast of actors 
requires a sizable talent fee. Rehearsals cost money. The multivoice 
show is more expensive for the station, more expensive for the sponsor. 

Nevertheless, there are multivoice shows on the air. As competition 
for audiences grows keener in a news world in which the ready-made 
stimulus of war is lacking, as a half-dozen or more FM stations in one 
county start their battle for the county's listeners, broadcasters 7 interest 
in the more involved news-forms may grow stronger. There is ever}- 
likelihood that the coming years may see more rather than fewer of 

There have been developed three basic types of news-show using two 
or more voices: 

1 . The simple multivoice show 

2. The radio news interview 

3. The news dramatization 

The Simple Multivoice Show 

Essentially, this type of show most common of the plural-voice news 
programs employs more than one voice for variety and emphasis, 

Such multivoice programs as the networks' international news round-ups, 
or the three-part show designed by WCBM-Baltimore (described in Chap- 
ter 6), are not considered here. They are, in effect, combinations of a 
number of one-voice presentations, each complete in itself, without the 
interweaving that makes them closely-knit units. 

186 News Ly Radio 

sometimes for clarification, but not to create any illusion of reality. It 
is not an attempt to reproduce dialog. Rather, it is closer to the pattern 
of the printed newspaper story, with its headline and subheads. It is as 
though a newsroom director said, "I have several voices to work with. 
In what simple manner can I use them effectively?" 

The simplest pattern for such a show is that using one voice to pre- 
sent ''headlines/ 7 the second to give the news under the headline. This 
kind of newscast often describes itself under such a title as "Headlines 
in the Xews" or 'Today's Headlines." 

Its writing and problems, discussed in Chapter 6, are not difficult 
The individual stories in it are handled much as are those in a straight 
newscast, with such modifications and simplifications in their openings 
as may be called for to take advantage of the fact that the subject or 
key of the story has already been given. There need be no attention to 
the usual transitional devices, since the headlines serve the purpose. 

Such a show is usually introduced as should be all shows departing 
from the standard straight newscast pattern by an announcement 
calling attention to its special nature and perhaps introducing the own- 
ers of the voices. This means that a third voice, that of the announcer 
(who commonly reads the commercials), comes into the picture a 
fact that provides added opportunity for variety and also increases 
cost and the chance of miscuing and fluffs. 

As a variation on this basic pattern, the headline voice may give 
sentence introductions *'in Times Square a hundred thousand New 
Yorkers are welcoming the New Year" or "a disastrous airplane crash is 
Just reported from Cleveland/' Other variations will suggest them- 

A multivoice show at its simplest may readily be built from the 
KUQM newscast in Chapter 6: 

ANNOUNCER: Again Station KWWW presents "Headlines in the News/' 
Here are Gil Gray and Glen Smith, with latest headline 


SMITH: The crowds are thronging to the Minnesota State Fair again 

today. The weather is fine .... etc. 

Multivoice News Shows 187 


SMITH: ConstantinTsaldaris just named premier of Greece is try- 

ing to form a new cabinet .... etc. 


SMITH: France's grain harvest is in "deplorable state" this year. And 

the French government has just announced .... etc. 

To convert this pattern into the variation mentioned above: 

GRAY: Bigger crowds than ever before are going to the Minnesota 

State Fair this year. 

SMITH: Fine weather is bringing record crowds to the Fair grounds 

again today .... etc. 

A number of other departures from the basic pattern have developed 
some of them successful, others not so good. Here are examples of two 
patterns used during World War II: 

ANNOUNCER: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. 

Today, the Allied troops hurled back all Axis attacks in North 

The RAF hit back again over Germany last night giving Ber- 
lin severe air blows on the birthday of Hitler's Luftwaffe. 
In the Southwest Pacific, General MacArthur's airmen are 
still waiting to attack a Jap convoy. 

And in Washington, Secretary of the Navy Knox said, "Well 
utterly destroy the Jap fleet before the war is ended." 
Here are Gil Gray and Glen Smith with the details: 

GRAY: Allied troops have pushed back all of General Jurgen von 

Amim's attacks in Northern Tunisia. . . . 

(Gray then continues with detail of the Tunisia story, 
the RAF story and the MacAithur story. After establish- 
ing the Knox story, he says:) 

Knox asserted: 

SMITH: We will utterly destroy the Japanese fleet before this war is 

ended. We probably will .... etc. 

(At the end of the Knox quotation, Gray resumes; Smith 
comes in only when he is giving verbatim quotations in- 
troduced by Gray.) 


188 News by Radio 

ANNOUNCER: Headline news in the world today . . . brought to you by Gil 
Gray, Glen Smith, and Kenn Barry. 


ANNOUNCER: First, from the North African theater. 

GRAY: British hurl back wide Nazi tank attacks near Hedjez-El-Bab 

in Tunisia. (PAUSE) Montgomery and the Eighth army 
wheel into position south of Mareth line. 

ANNOUNCER: On the Russian front. 

SMITH: P,ed troops smash westward from Kharkov. (PAUSE) Nazis 

resist stubbornly in muddy Donets sector. 

ANNOUNCER: The air war over Europe. 

BARRY: American heavy bombers smash at Brest in France. ( PAUSE ) 

RAF medium bombers attack Dunkerque in third day of sus- 
tained air activity on the Continent. 

ANNOUNCER: And here are the summaries. 

(Gray then follows with the stories he has introduced; 
Smith with his stories; Barry with his. This will consume 
about a third of a fifteen-minute show. The pattern is 
then repeated, with minor variation.) 

Both of these patterns, making more than orthodox use of the an- 
nouncer, are more complicated than the basic pattern. They illustrate 
excellently the principle that confusion increases in direct ratio to com- 
plication. Both would be harder to follow than a simpler form. 

The first also illustrates, however, a legitimate and effective use of 
the added voice to present a quotation. This device makes it possible 
to give quotations understandably and uncluttered by credit lines, and 
longer than the one-voice show can offer. 

Alternation of two voices from story to story is often entirely satis- 
factory. But to alternate voices within a story, for no apparent reason 
except to use two voices, is bad: 

GRAY: Out at the Minnesota State Fair, attendance is heavy again 


SMITH: The weather is fine sunny . . . a light haze in the air . . . 

not too warm. And crowds are pouring through the gates in 
what seem to be record numbers. 

Multivoice News Show* 189 

GRAY: Already, you know, attendance at the Fair is well ahead of the 

previous record. Yesterday nearly 80 thousand people came 
and that brought the four-day total to more than >00 thou- 

SMITH: That's 70 thousand more than the best previous attendance 

for the first four days, in 1941 .... etc. 

Another practice best avoided is illustrated in the following passage 
(actually written for broadcast, but fortunately stopped before it got on 
the air) : 

ANNOUNCER: The weekly round-up of Washington news, presented every 
Saturday at this time by Gil Gray, Glen Smith, and Kenn 
Barry. Here's Gil: 

GRAY: Thanks, Larry, and good evening, radio friends. There are 

many things happening in Washington right now. So many 
debates going on among senators, representatives, and war 
administrators that well, we don't know quite where to 

SMITH: Probably the best topic of conversation right now, Gil, is the 

farm-labor bill. Stimson and McNutt are two of the men on 
the administration's top ladder who've found in the past few 
days that they can't come to agreement. 

GRAY: That's right, Glen. McNutt strongly opposed 

BARRY: I'd like to interrupt, Gil. 

GRAY: Go ahead, Kenn. 

BARRY: Just to mention something about . . . etc. 

The fallacy of this ardent attempt at informality and conversational 
tone is evident. In the first place, it isn't good copy its writing is arti- 
ficial. In the second, and more important, the attempt to present news 
as though in a casual conversation deprives it of prime qualities: objec- 
tivity and authority. These aren't newscasters presenting facts, but 
rather three men discussing better, perhaps, gossiping about facts. 
The listener is pretty sure to find what they offer less convincing and 
authentic than it ought to be. 

A woman's voice is used on some multivoice shows, usually to pre- 
sent news of feminine interest or quotations from women. One such 

1 9 } News by Radio 

show is "Colorado Speaks," a weekly half-hour program presented suc- 
cessfully for some years by KLZ-Denver to summarize the opinions of 
Colorado newspapers on current affairs. After a standard opening, 
Voice A presents a brief summary of the topics the press has been dis- 
cussing. Voice B used for this purpose only then comes in: "Apprais- 
ing the Japanese situation, Hubert A. Smith of the Denver Catholic 
Register says that:" This is followed by Voice C's quotation from 
a Register editorial. At its end, Voice B introduces another quotation, 
and Voice A gives it. This pattern, continued through the show, pre- 
sents excerpts from twenty-five or more newspaper comments. The 
fourth voice, a woman's, is used for quotations from women editors. 
The show, carefully backgrounded with music, involves production 
problems not usually tackled in such programs. 

A Los Angeles station has used a multivoice technique in a daily 
show to present a melange of news, feature material, excerpts from 
books and magazines, and the like. 

In summary, it may be said that the multivoice pattern, in its many 
variations, serves a useful purpose; that it may be very effective if it isn't 
labored or tortured into illogical, artificial forms; but that it is certainly 
secondary to the straight newscast form because of its time, cost, and 
production problems. 

The Radio News Interview 

Properly used, the interview 1 is a simple and effective method of in- 
troducing meaning, authority, and color into radio news or news com- 

Poorly used as too frequently it is it is likely to be stilted, or stum- 
bling, or artificial, or all these. Worst of all, it may "sound like an inter- 
view" rather than an interested and interesting conversation. More of 
this later. 

By definition, the radio news interview is the broadcast in which 
an authority 7 is brought before the microphone to present, in response 
to the "leads" of an interviewer, facts or competent opinion on a sub- 
ject of news interest. Usually the interviewer is a member of the station 
staff an announcer, a newscaster, a staff specialist in sports or agricul- 
ture. The "authority" is a person selected because, by experience, back- 

Multivoice News Shows 191 

ground, or position, he is able to offer facts and comments which a 
listening audience will accept as competent. Suppose the subject is a 
rowdy post-football game celebration by high school students; the 
authority might be a high school principal, a student participant, a 
policeman, or the motorist whose car was overturned by the youngsters. 
If it's a problem of international politics, the interviewee might be a 
university political scientist, a national officer of the Foreign Policy 
Association, or a foreign correspondent. Occasionally both participants 
may be guests the high school principal interviewing the police chief, 
or a professor interviewing a distinguished visiting authority. Occa- 
sionally there may be more than one interviewee the broadcast may 
become a three- or four-way conversation. 

In any case, the program is one in which, in simplest terms, there 
are a questioner and a respondent. Thus it differs from the multivoice 
programs described earlier in this chapter. It is a multivoice show, but 
not one in which all voices are used strictly for expositional purposes. 

Obviously the interview is a means of adding vitality to news presen- 
tation. Not only does it introduce the dramatic effect of dialog rather 
than monolog (the substance of any news interview could be written 
into a straight newscast). It also brings to the audience a personality 
of interest and authority. . 

But a more significant value in its use lies in the opportunity it offers 
for showing the background, the meaning of the news. A newscast over 
a station in an agricultural area can present all the facts about the 
drouth that threatens to hamstring farm production; but to give 
listeners the meaning of the facts the word of an agronomist, or a dirt 
farmer, or an agricultural economist is needed. And the interview is a 
most effective method of offering the expert word. This is of course 
directly analogous to the newspaper's use of the news interview. 

Scores of such radio interviews perhaps the majority of them are 
ad-lib. This is often satisfactory when the interviewee is sure the mike 
isn't going to bite him, and when the interviewer is skillful enough to 

Interviews are used in many shows other than news. Most of the things 
said here about news interviews may also be said about other types of inter- 
view programs personality interviews, special feature interviews, and 
so on. 

J92 News by Radio 

direct the broadcast with pace, judgment, and smoothness. Often, 
however, one or another of these conditions may not hold. The likely 
result is a broadcast that falters or stutters, one that is repetitious, one 
that sends listeners in droves to the opposition station. Though the 
interview from script offers its own pitfalls, it is less likely to miss fire 
than the ad-lib variety. Many stations require that scripts for all such 
broadcasts be submitted twenty-four hours or more ahead of mike- 
time for checking and possible improvement. 

Whether script or ad-lib, most interviews require a good deal of pre- 
broadcast preparation. At the least, the participants need to confer 
on areas to be covered, some of the leading questions to be asked and 
answered, the order of topics, and so on. Experienced radio men often 
conduct such a conference in the broadcasting booth, the mike on the 
table between interviewer and interviewee, to accustom the neophyte 
to talking with the mike in front of him. 

At most, preparation for the radio interview may call for a good 
deal of study of the subject by the man who is to write the script (it's 
most desirable for the writer also to act as interviewer), for a long 
discussion of it by the participants, for writing the script and submitting 
it to the interviewee, for revision, and possibly for a rehearsal or two. 
It isn't often that all these steps are carried out. But several of them 
must precede every interview. 

At least a rudimentary script is necessary even for the ad-lib inter- 
view. It consists sometimes of nothing more than scrawled notes on 
the topics the interview is to cover, or perhaps a list of questions the 
"straight man" is to ask. An outline's virtue is not only that it provides 
to the questioner material for his part of the performance, but also 
thatif it's carefully made it sets an orderly pattern for the program. 
Without it, there would be probability of omissions or confused and 
confusing presentation. 

What are the qualities desirable in a "good" radio interview script? 

Let it be remembered that the radio interview is neither a casual con- 
versation between two individuals nor a catechism of one individual 
by another. It is something between the two. It is not the first, except 
in rare cases, because it is presumed that the man featured in the inter- 
view knows a great deal more about his subject than does the ques- 

Multivoice News Shows 193 

tioner, or the listener whom the questioner represents. That's the 
reason he's on the program. The two are not presumed to be conducting 
a wholly informal conversation, one characterized by the realism of 
dramatic dialog. On the other hand, a degree of informality, of the 
conversational manner, is necessary for precisely the same reason that 
it's necessary in straight news presentation; and nothing is less effective 
aurally than the mechanical question-and-answer device. 

The best result is likely to be attained when the script writer keeps 
in mind the point just made: that the questioner represents the 
listener. The listener is at ease in his living room; he is presumably 
interested in the subject, and he is glad to have the authority brought 
into a chair on the other side of the fire place to expound it. All of 
which means that the questioner's approach should be, in effect, the 
one the listener would adopt if the situation were real instead of 

The effective script, then, is one in which the questioner is somewhat 
in the position of the student who has read the text, but doesn't think 
he knows all the answers. He wants to know more, and he's well 
enough informed so that he can converse on the subject, can ask 
intelligent questions. He guides the course of the interview to the 
points he and the listener want to reach. And he does it in a manner 
suiting the circumstanceusually a circumstance in which the authority 
of the interviewee entitles him to be treated courteously, not with the 
familiarity of a barroom buddy. 

Take this last point first. Recall the radio interviews you have heard 
in which the synthetic familiarity, the first-name chumminess, has been 
artificial, unconvincing, often annoying. Then let your first rule be, 
"Don't make the speakers pals unless they are pals." 

An example of what not to do: 

ANNOUNCER: .... and here is the eminent pediatrician, Dr. Albert Mor- 
gan. He will be interviewed by Gil Gray. 

GRAY: Good to have you here this evening, Doc. 

MORGAN: Thanks, Gil. I'm glad to be here. 

GRAY: Suppose you start, Doc, by telling us how you got into this 

work . . . 

194 News by Radio 

The point is obvious. Dr. Morgan and Gray likely never clapped 
eyes on each other before they met to arrange the interview. The 
listener knows this, and he isn't fooled by the artificial familiarity. He 
would be more at ease, and more impressed by the speaker's authority, 
if the script went something like this: 

GRAY:' Good evening, Dr. Morgan. 

MORGAN: Good evening. 

GRAY: First, Doctor, I'd like to know how you got into this work 

In some interviews, of course, first names or nicknames are appro- 
priate. If a newspaper sports editor, for example, is interviewing a foot- 
ball coach he has known for years, it would be ludicrous to use formal 
titles. But the too-common assumption in radio that facing each 
other across a microphone justifies verbal back-slapping is best for- 

The examples above, good and bad, illustrate another important 
device in interview-writing: that of presenting early in the script what- 
ever information is necessary to establish the expert's right to speak. 
In some cases the formal introduction of the broadcast will do this. 
In most it is desirable to let the interviewee himself tell the listener 
something of his background or experience. Usually this can be man- 
aged in one brief speech forty or fifty words. Then the interviewer 
can turn the conversation directly onto the subject. 

Another tip on the use of names: Don't use them too often. They 
should appear frequently enough in the opening speeches so that the 
listener will have plenty of opportunity to set in his mind the identi- 
fication of the voices; after that they should appear much less often. 

How much should the interviewer talk? How long should speeches 
b? How frequently should questions be inserted? 

Tbe answers to problems like these grow out of the need to keep 
the program moving, to keep it conversational in manner. Few men 
in conversation talk in long speeches unless a speaker is telling an 
anecdote or presenting a well-integrated exposition, he rarely talks 
without interruption for more than three or four sentences. In a fifteen- 
mraute interview, tie authority may be given half a dozen speeches of 
150 words or so perhaps even longer, on occasion. But he is not 

Multivoice News Shows 195 

giving a formal talk he is conversing. He should not be forced tc 
orate too long in one place. 

Therefore, on a page of interview copy, you'll ordinarily expect tc 
find four or more speechestwo or three by the questioner, responses 
by the interviewee. 

Again, it should be remembered that it's a rare conversation in which 
one man ends every speech with a question mark. Some of the inter- 
viewer's remarks must be questions. A good many of them should be 
declarative sentences, or half sentences often devices for rhetorical 
effect, devices to break up what might become overlong monologs, 
Speeches like these: 

I see what you mean. 

Not much chance of success in that kind of thing. 

I certainly didn't know that there are water buffalo in Patagonia. 

I wish you'd enlarge on that. 

Well, we've had the same kind of thing happen here in Midland. 

Most conversations are well larded with such words as "well," "yes/' 
and other short helpers. They are useful in interview scripts. 

A caution: Men and women chosen to appear in radio interviews 
are not often radio actors. They are not skilled at timing speeches, at 
simulating laughter. Consequently speeches that call for split-second 
interruptions, chuckles, and the like are to be avoided. "Straight copy" 
is always better than anything demanding specialized microphone 

Similarly, it's dangerous to write humor into interview scripts. Vast 
is the number of untrained speakers who can put humorous lines into 
a mike and make them come out funereal. 

The following interview* broadcast over ABC on January 7 y 1946 
is skillfully written. As you examine it, remember that it is special 
pleadingan exposition of the position taken by the steel industry 
toward the strike impending when the interview went on the air. Il 
employs a distinguished newspaper specialist as the questioner, and a 
leader in the steel industry as interviewee. The questioner's first speecl 
lays the scene (it's the longest single speech in the script) . After thai; 

* From an uacopyrighted pamphlet, ''Management* s Job," published by Amer 
ican Iron and Sted Institute^ 1946: 


196 News by Radio 

the questioner moves to the background, and the interviewee with the 
adroit help of the straight man carries the show. 

ANNOUNCER: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Under the sponsorship 
of the American Iron and Steel Institute, this program brings 
you an interview with Ernest T. Weir, chairman of National 
Steel Corporation and a director of the Institute. Mr. Weir 
will be questioned by John G. Forrest, financial editor of the 
New York Times, on the general situation in the steel industry 
as it looks today. Mr, Forrest. 

Thank you. As I understand it, Mr. Weir, the highlights of 
the situation in the steel industry tonight are these: 
One Last spring, most steel companies signed renewal con- 
tracts with the CIO's United Steel Workers Union. Those 
contracts were to run until the autumn of 1946, and they con- 
tained clauses prohibiting both strikes and lock-outs. 
Two Several months ago, the union demanded an increase 
of S2 per day in straight-time pay. 

Three The steel companies replied that they could not pay 
a wage increase because they were now losing money on most 
of their steel products that substantial price increases would 
be necessary to allow most steel companies to break even, let 
alone pay wage increases. 

Four Last November, the OPA refused to allow a price in- 
crease. However, the President has directed OPA to re-study 
the matter and make a new report no later than February 1. 
Five The union held a strike vote in November; the majority 
of steelworkers voted for the strike, and the union leaders have 
set January 14 one week from today for the start of an in- 
dustry-wide strike. 

Six Last week, the President appointed a fact-finding 
board which is to report on the steel wage issue as it affects the 
union and the United States Steel Corporation. Is that a fair 
summary, Mr. Weir? 

Yes, Mr. Forrest, you are a good reporter. 

Mr. Weir, I suppose you noticed in the Times today that the 
steel board has requested the union and the United States 
Steel Corporation to return to collective bargaining. Would 
any agreement arrived at by collective bargaining, or any facts 
found by this board with respect to the United States Steel 
Corporation, apply to the steel industry as a whole? 



Multivoice News Shows 














Mr. Forrest, the steel industry is composed of from 1 50 to 200 
corporations of all kinds big and little. I think it's quite ob- 
vious that a situation that might apply to one company would 
not necessarily apply to all the rest. 

By the way, Mr. Weir, does your company have a contract 
with the United Steelworkers? 

Some of our subsidiary companies do. Others have contracts 
with independent unions the United Mine Workers and the 
Weirton Independent Union. 

The United Mine Workers, I assume, will not be a party to 
the steel strike. How about the Weirton Union? 

The Weirton Independent Union, which is the bargaining 
agency for the production and maintenance employees of the 
Weirton Steel Company, has not indicated any intention to 

Has it made any wage demands, Mr. Weir? 

It has and is continuing negotiations with the Weirton 
management in accordance with the terms of its contract. 

Now to get back to the general situation. As I see it, you have 
three separate factors that influence the present situation 
management, the union and government. 

Yes, that's true, and, unfortunately, unions and government 
now attempt to exercise functions that are properly the sole 
responsibility of management. 

Responsibility of management? How is that, Mr. Weir? 

It is management's job to balance the different groups that 
make up each company, to coordinate their functions, and to 
direct their activities. In whatever it does, management must 
consider all of these groups. You know you can get a pretty 
fair idea of a company's operations by watching an orchestra 
at work. 

You may be right, but an orchestra and a steel company seem 
pretty far apart to me. 

Not so very far. Anyone watching an orchestra sees manage- 
ment and production being carried on right before his eyes. 
An orchestra may have over 100 musicians. Each individual 
may be a skilled artist with his particular instrument, but in 
the orchestra, the musician does not play as an individual but 

198 News by Radio 

as a member of a particular section of the orchestra and as a 
member of the entire orchestra. To produce orchestral music, 
each musician and each section of instruments must do the 
right thing at the right time. They can't do that without man- 
agement in the person of the conductor. The conductor is 
doing a management job and the orchestra a production job 
from the first note to the last. 

FORREST: And I suppose, Mr. Weir, the orchestra audience compares 
with the buying public? 

WEIR: Right the buying public calls the industrial tune. An or- 

chestra may have the best musicians and instruments in the 
world, but without the conductor, it would never produce 
music. It would just produce noise. Without management, 
industry's production would be the equivalent of noise. 

FORREST: Do you imply that industry today does not have the coopera- 
tion that is necessary to efficient production? 

WEIR: I imply more than that and to illustrate, I would like to refer 

to the orchestra once more. Then I will leave it and stick to 
industry. Suppose there was a fellow sitting in one section of 
the orchestra who could cancel the conductor's directions and 
give other directions of his own. Then suppose that there was 
another fellow one who did not know much about music 
sitting beside the conductor who tugged at his elbow now and 
again to give suggestions, advice and orders. Under these con- 
ditions, you can well imagine what kind of performance an 
orchestra would give. And the management of any business 
today is up against conditions very much like that. 

FOHREST: AH right, Mr. Weir. Let's apply that comparison to industry. 
Who are the fellows responsible for the "sour notes"? 

WEIR: Well, the fellow who could overrule the conductor is a certain 

type of union leader. The fellow tugging at the conductor's 
elbow could be one of many bureaucrats in Washington, D. C. 

FORREST: Will you tell us specifically how these things prevent manage- 
ment from discharging its responsibility? 

WEIR: Gladly, but perhaps we should first name some of manage- 

ment's responsibilities. Management's basic, long-range, over- 
all responsibility is to the public as a whole to produce more 
goods and better quality at lower cost. Industry also has a re- 
sponsibility to be efficient, and to provide a fair return on the 
investment of its stockholders. In the past, American manage- 

Multivoice News Shows 










ment, workers and investors, together, have discharged these 
responsibilities well enough to give the average American the 
highest standard of living ever known in any country or at 
any time in history. 

A few moments ago, you intimated that steel companies could 
not pay the wage increase demanded by the union without 
violating the responsibility of management. Will you please 
explain that? 

Well, since steel companies arc now making most of their 
products at a loss, they are not getting enough money from 
customers to pay the wage increase. So they would have to get 
it from other sources. The first step, of course, would be to 
wipe out dividends to stockholders because dividends are paid 
out of profits and there wouldn't be any profits. The next step 
would be to rob the business of funds vital to its very ex- 

You mean funds such as surplus, reserves and depreciation set 
aside to replace machinery and materials, and funds for the 
building of new plants? 

Yes. And there would not be enough money from all sources 
together to pay the wage increase. Most steel companies 
would operate in the red. The result for stronger companies 
would be increased debt and for the weaker companies bank- 
ruptcy. Under today's conditions, management cannot pay 
the huge wage increase demanded by the union and at the 
same time meet its responsibilities to the public and to the 

What do you mean, "under today's conditions"? Are things 
so much different now? 

Yes. The unions now attempt to make management's de- 
cisions on prices, on profits, on production schedules, on 
depreciation reserves, and on many other phases of industrial 
operation. Management cannot be a divided thing. Whoever 
has the responsibility for management must have the right to 

And I suppose you also mean that whoever has the right must 
accept the responsibility. 

Exactly. If the unions and government are now permitted to 
make management decisions, then the public must realize 







News by Radio 

that the United States is being placed under an entirely new 
economic system. \Ve know what the present system has ac- 
complished in the way of goods, jobs and wages, and in cre- 
ating the highest standard of living in the world. Do we want 
to change that system? 

Well, Mr. Weir, on the basis of a good many years' experience 
as a financial editor, I think I can say that American manage- 
ment has given us the world's best job of management, and 
on its record it is a safe assumption that it will continue to do 
that kind of job. 

I'd like to say, Mr. Forrest, that your newspaper and many 
others have been doing a good job of explaining the func- 
tions of management. Some thoughts along this line were well 
expressed by a fellow newspaperman of yours Edward T. 
Leech, president and editor of the Pittsburgh Press in an 
editorial which pointed out that American business has: 

" 1 Given the world's highest quality 

"2 At the world's lowest prices 

**3 While paying the world's best wages." 

He pointed out that tinkering with the works by amateurs will 
not make the works run better, but may stop them from run- 
ning at all. 

What do you think should be done, Mr. Weir? 

Mr. Forrest, I think that Congress should pass legislation that 
would take away the position of marked favoritism that labor 
unions now hold under the one-sided Wagner Act. Such new 
legislation should take labor relations out of politics and take 
politics out of labor relations. It should compel unions as 
well as management to accept responsibility equal to their 

Then do you think that the right to strike should be pro- 

Absolutely not. After all, the right to strike is merely an ex- 
tension of the individual's right to take a job or leave it. The 
only way strikes should be restricted is in the manner of con- 
ducting them. The right to strike should not be construed as a 
license to use violence and hoodlumism as has been true in 
so many cases. 










Multivoice News Shows 201 

Well, do you believe then that the Steclworkers Union has 
the right to strike next week? 

Why not? 

Because the union is breaking its word. In the contracts, 
signed -only last spring, the union pledged itself not to strike 
for the duration of the contracts. 

I noticed an ad in the paper this morning signed by the 
United Steelworkers, CIO, where they deny they are violating 
the contract 

I saw the ad and it is characteristic of the CIO's tactics. Sup- 
pose we let the no-strike clause speak for itself. Here is one 
from a typical contract: "During the term of this Agreement, 
neither the Union nor any Employee, individually or collec- 
tively, shall cause or take part in any strike, or other interrup- 
tion or any impeding of production at any plant of the Com- 
pany covered by this Agreement. Any Employee or Employees 
who violate the provisions of this Section may be discharged 
from the employ of the Company." 

Mr. Weir, you have said, I believe, that you, and steel man- 
agement in general, are in favor of high wages, but that you 
object to the present union demand for higher wages. Isn't 
that a contradiction? 

I am in favor of high wages the highest that can possibly be 
paid and I'll stand on my record as an employer as well as on 
my words. Steel management in general feels the same way. 
But there is a difference between money wages and real wages. 
I am in favor of higher wages that are based on the production 
of more goods and services. They are red wages. Everyone 
benefits from them. By producing more we can all have more. 

Yes, but the steel union bases part of its case for a wage ad- 
vance on the increased productivity of the industry. 

Yes, but it talks about the future. It is asking an increase in 
anticipation of something that may or may not happen. For 
this reason, the wage demand is unsound. But I have con- 
fidence in this country. I believe that eventually, on a per- 
fectly sound basis, steelworkers will receive higher wages than 
the union now demands. Those wages will come only if man- 
agement in the steel industry is permitted to use its brains 

202 News by Radio 

and its know-how in turning out more steel and better steel at 
lower cost. 
FORREST: Fine. How soon will that day come, Mr. Weir? 

WEIR: Your guess is as good as mine, Mr. Forrest. But we will make a 

start toward it, just as soon as we get reconversion really mov- 
ing. There is the biggest demand in history for goods of all 
kinds. Our warehouses and storerooms are empty. The way to 
solve our problems is to get rolling get producing the things 
that people need and want. Increased production is the real 
source of higher real wages. And those higher real wages will 
conic if, with its responsibility, management also is allowed 
to have the right to manage. 

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Mr. Weir and Mr. Forrest. You have been listen- 
ing to Mr. John G. Forrest, financial editor of the New York 
Times, interview Mr. Ernest T. Weir, chairman of National 
Steel Corporation and a director of American Iron and Steel 
Institute. This program is one of a series sponsored by Amer- 
ican Iron and Steel Institute. If you would like a copy of to- 
night's broadcast, write to the American Iron and Steel 
Institute, Empire State Building, New York 1, New York. 

Dramatizing the News 

Radio's most effective means of telling a story is through dramatiza- 
tion. This is as true of the presentation of news as it is of fiction, drama, 
history, biography, anything else. Dramatization is the tool which 
makes "documentaries" so effective. Skillfully employed, it will do 
more to throw a body of news-facts, or a set of news-opinions, into 
their proper focus than any other method, for it more nearly approaches 
reality. It has tremendous effectiveness for the presentation of back- 
ground, for filling in the gaps in the listener's knowledge gaps that 
make it impossible for him to understand a news situation fully. It 
may be either selective or exhaustive; it may cover a day or a cen- 
tury. It offers opportunity to use a variety of techniques full-fledged 
drama, interview, speech, straight news. And it has the potentiality 
of building bigger audiences than most straight news shows can 
hope for. 


You can count on one hand the dramatized news shows you know 

Multivoice News Shows 203 

af. The familiar trilogy time, cost, and production problems 
provides the reasons. 

The essence of radio news is speed, and dramatizations cannot be 
thrown together. Writing the news drama is time-consuming. It 
demands not only skillful script writers and fundamental news 
materials, but also many hours of researchoften by a staff of specialists 
and sometimes a dozen rewrites of portions of the script. And it 
calls for casting, rehearsals, music, sound-effectsall the trappings 
that go into any other kind of radio drama and that add to its cost as 
well as to the time it needs. It is significant that most such shows 
appear on the air but once a week, and that few stations have under- 
taken them programs of this kind are usually on the networks, 
underwritten by big advertisers or the networks themselves. 

In 5pite of all these disadvantages, radio has had one internationally 
famous news dramatization, the "March of Time," and a number of 
lesser shows, both on the nets and on individual stations. Both AP and 
UP provided transcribed fifteen-minute shows of this kind during 
the war, dramatizing news-experiences of their war correspondents. 
And the newsroom or its first cousin, the special events department, 
is usually called on to write the script. Now and again if not for a 
regular program, then for a centennial celebration or a Community 
Fund drive show the man in the newsroom may find himself suddenly 
asked to turn dramatist. For a talent fee, if he's lucky. 

What kind of material does he choose? 

First of all, newsy material subjects that can readily be hung on 
current news pegs. Though there may be exceptions to this rule, they 
should be rare (else the show won't be a news dramatization). The 
news peg may be no more than a peg a bit of dramatization may 
spend 95 per cent of its time telling the history of the beginning of 
logging in the Pacific Northwest, but its place in the script should be 
justified by the fact, for example, that the oldest sawmill on Puget 
Sound has just given up the ghost. 

Second, human interest material. Dramatization means, among 
other things, the revelation of human values. A topic that yields 
incidents of adventure, of humor, of pathos incidents involving 
people is likely to be easiest to mold into dramatic form. The topic 

204 News by Radio 

need not, however, always be one that shrieks of human interest on 
its surface. Most radio listeners would think a bank statement sadly 
deficient in human qualities. Yet a skilled news dramatist might build 
from a bank-statement peg a sharply effective show that reveals in 
understandable terms the meaning of a statement's dull statistics, 
or the human-interest story that lies behind a bank's growth, or the 
relation between the statement's showing of drastic reduction in savings 
deposits and the recent economic facts of life of the bank's clientele. 

Third, material that demands interpretation. Dramatization, as has 
been said, may be radio's most effective tool for throwing into cleai 
light the confusions of a new tax plan that leaves most laymen fum- 
bling and mumbling. A series of brief lay-language vignettes, each 
showing how some provision of the plan affects the individual tax 
payer, may do the best possible job of helping the listener to under, 
stand how his own pocketbook will be attacked. 

The local or regional station undertaking news dramatization is wise 
to shape such shows largely or even entirely around local or regional 
subjects. Such subjects lie in the area of its principal service; they are 
usually subjects on which it can most easily procure adequate informa- 
tion. Moreover, they avoid competition with the few similar broad- 
casts on the networks broadcasts presumably done by agencies with 
more money, facilities, and talent available. The local station can't 
often compete with "March of Time" in a dramatization of the prob- 
lem of displaced persons in the Upper Ukraine; it can do a job nobody 
can touch on the accomplishments of Lake County 4-H clubs in live- 
stock feeding, or the need for local support of a Red Cross campaign. 

It is not within the scope of this book to provide all the instructions 
for doing such a job. All the instructions, sad to relate, don't appear in 
any book; only by trial and error will most radio writers learn the high 
art. But there are books largely devoted to dramatization: Max Wylie's 
Radio Writing (Rinehart, 1949) and Erik Barnouw's Hand Book of 
Radio Writing (D. C. Heath, 1947) are the most useful. By all odds 
the best dissertation on news dramatization is the chapter in Paul 
White's News on the Air (Harcourt, Brace, 1947) ; but even Mr. White 
doesn't give all the answers. By studying such guides, by endless 
practice, and by application of his knowledge of the fundamental 

Multivoice News Shows 205 

principles of radio news selection, judgment, and presentation the 
newsroom man may develop acceptable skill. 

As a start, look at a typical "March of Time" script/ "March of 
Time" has been on the air since March 6, 1931. Since that date it has 
become one of America's best-known radio shows. The Time people 
will tell you that producing a show takes the better part of a week: 
A story and planning conference, for example, on Monday morning; 
research and script writing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; re- 
hearsals Thursday and Friday, final production Friday evening. They'll 
also inform you that there are 220 "cues" in the average show a third 
to musicians, a third to actors, the remainder to Westbrook Van 
Voorhis as the "Voice of Time," and the sound effects men. 

Before you read the script, a few notes on it: It includes five sections, 
the last three of which are mentioned as teasers in the opening an- 
nouncement. The first two and the fourth are thoroughgoing dramatiza- 
tions; the third is a straight speech; the fifth is a combination of 
dramatization with what this book calls the multivoice technique. 
There is one frank commercial, between second and third numbers 
(before the listener has heard any of the numbers announced in the 
opening," after his appetite has been whetted by the two brief un- 
announced numbers); there are also mentions of Time's colleagues, 
Life and Fortune, in connection with two of the numbers. The original 
script, intended to fill thirty minutes, was written in 589 lines; in 
rehearsal this was cut to 544. The first, second, and fourth numbers 
ran three to four script pages; the third and fifth, to six pages. Van 
Voorhis, the "Voice of Time," is VAN. 

Now the script, complete (the lines cut out in rehearsal are placed 
within brackets): 




ANNOUNCER: TIME, the weekly news magazine, takes you to the news 
fronts of the world: Can Fascist Spain survive in a demo- 
cratic Europe? The heroic and tragic story of an American 

* By written permission of Time Inc., October 7, 1947. 

206 News by Radio 

guerrilla chief in the Philippines. And a personal meeting 
with the first U.S. Marine to return from Two Jima. Stand by 
for the MARCH OF TIME! 


VAN: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is Westbrook Van 

Voorhis speaking for the editors of TIME Magazine. 

It is now the Allied Watch on the Rhine. 

U. S. civilians at home, remembering how we dealt with 
Italian civilians, and well aware of the doughboys' soft heart 
may well ask: How are we treating German civilians? Are we 
coddling them? A new answer and a firm one came this week 
in a cabled report from officers of the American Military 
Government of Neuss, first Rhine city to come under Ameri- 
can control. In the Rathaus, or city council house, the U. S. 
captain in charge marches into the office of the Buerger- 
meister, or Mayor of Neuss. 


MAYOR: Ach, good morning, Herr Captain! I am at your service. 

CAPTAIN: (TOUGH) O. K. You can continue as mayor of this town, 
but I'm the boss. Get that straight. 

MAYOR: }a wohl. I shall cooperate. 

CAPTAIN: As long as you do, and as long as your people behave, okay. 
Otherwise, out you go. In the first place, all civilians will be 
confined to their homes until further notice. 

MAYOR: But Herr Captain, how can they? Where can 30 thousand 
people go? Half the homes in Neuss are in complete ruin! 

CAPTAIN: [I don't care where German civilians live.] They've got to 
stay off the streets so as not to get in the way of our military 
operations. My order will be obeyed. 



[MAYOR: (CAUTIOUSLY) Herr Captain . . . 

[CAPTAIN: Well, out with it, Buergermeister! Are your town cops help- 
ing my military police clear the streets as I told you? 

[MAYOR: Alas, Herr Captain, my police are prisoners of war, your 
prisoners* Apparently your soldiers rounded them up thinking 
they were German soldiers. Their uniforms are green gray . . . 

Multivoice News Shows 











If we've made a mistake, we'll release them, put them in 
civilian dress, and give them arm bands. But if a German has 
a uniform, it's better to throw him in a prisoner of war pen 
and investigate later.] 


(VERY CAUTIOUS) If you please, Herr Captain, I am the 
sanitation official . . . Water and sanitation facilities have 
broken down completely, of course . . . 

Well, round up whatever German doctors there are, and let 
them take care of any civilians who get sick . . . 

But your own medical corps . . . your own wonderful sani- 
tary equipment . . . 

Not a chance, doc! I'll see that notices are posted where water 
is available; that it must be boiled before drinking. That's all 
we can do at present. 


But, Herr Captain! You do not understand. Meine frau she 
will have the baby any minute! Now your army doctors . . . 
I have read how they . , . 

Not in Germany. Go get a midwife or one of your German 
doctors and consider yourself lucky if you find one. It's your 
affair, not mine. 



What's the trouble now, Buergenneister? 

It is my people, Herr Captain. They stay off the streets, as 
you command. But they are hungry. I beg, I implore you to 
release emergency army rations to them! 

Look, Mayor. We got better use for our army rations. Collect 
whatever food there is in the shops that hasn't been destroyed. 
Then, gather the food your civilians have hoarded in their 
homes ... 

MAYOR: Hoarding? Oh, nein . 











News by Radio 

And sell it to these hungry people of yours. The money will 
go into a food fund that won't cost us a cent. Because we 
aren't putting out any. 

But you are already housing and feeding some civilians. 

Sure, we're feeding three thousand. They're Russians, Poles, 
French, Dutch, Belgians and a few Algerians we found here 
in Neuss. And we're going to keep on feeding 'em, until we 
can get ? em back to their homes. They're entitled to it. You're 

IN .... J 

That's the way American Military Governors handle German 
civilians. If you've been worrying about it, forget it. Worry 
about something better or worse. 



This week a new war song is marching into American hearts: 
The Ballad of Rodger Young, written to honor all infantrymen 
in the name of one. Its author, Private First Class Frank 
Loesser, writer of "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" 
and many another topflight hit. The story of Private Rodger 
Young that led Composer Loesser to write what may well be 
the war's top song is told in LIFE magazine. 

Rodger Young of Clyde, Ohio, was one of the smallest men 
in Company B of the 148th Regiment in the 37th Infantry 
Division. But he was a good soldier. How good was revealed 
in an incident that occurred just before the 37th Division 
went into combat, for the first time, on New Georgia Island 
in the southwest Pacific, Sergeant Young approached his 
company commander. 

Sir, I have a request to make. 
Yes, Sergeant? 

IVe been slightly deaf, sir, ever since I was in high school. 
When we were in training at Camp Shelby, sir, my ear trouble 
got worse. 

Having trouble now Sergeant? 
Yes, sir, worse than ever. 

Multivoice News Shows 209 

OFFICER: And you want a medical discharge? 

YOUNG: Oh, no, sir. I'm just afraid my poor hearing will interfere with 

my job as a squad leader. I may miss some important message, 
or some sound in the jungle. That'll be dangerous for the 
men under me. 

OFFICER: Then what is your request, Sergeant? 
YOUNG: Sir. I want to be demoted to the rank of private. 

VAN: Soon thereafter the 37th Division landed on New Georgia, 

fought bitterly resisting Japs back through the jungle. Late 
one afternoon the platoon in which Rodger Young was 
fighting was ordered to withdraw a little for the night. The 
platoon suddenly was pinned down by intense fire from a 
Japanese machine gun concealed on higher ground only 
seventy-five yards away. 


SERGEANT: Hold it, you guys! Hold it! Anybody hit? 

YOUNG: I am. 

SERGEANT: Rodge. Hit bad? 


SERGEANT: Okay, you guys. Pull back. Keep low, 

YOUNG: Hey, Sergeant! I got that machine gun spotted. I'm going 
after it. 

SERGEANT : Come back here, Young! 

YOUNG: (OFF) 111 get 'em! Stay where you are! 


SERGEANT: They hit him again! 

MAN: He's still throwin' grenades, though! 


MAN: He knocked the gun out! 

RIGBY: Yeahbut they got him! 


210 News by Radio 

[VAN: The Commander of the 148th Infantry, Colonel Lawrence K. 

White, wrote to Private Rodger Young's mother: 

[WHITE: Private Young fought and gave his life in order that you and 
his other relatives and friends might continue to enjoy our 
American way of life. We are indeed proud to be members 
of Private Young's Regiment.] 

VAN; President Roosevelt gave Private Young posthumously the 

nation's highest award for heroism, the Medal of Honor. That 
is the story that led Composer Loesser to write the Ballad 
of Private Rodger Young, and, in honoring one hero, to 
honor all infantrymen. Here is the Ballad of Rodger Young. 


VAN: This week on the Rhine and across the vast arc of the Pacific. 

American commanders are making many bold decisions based 
on many different facts. All day long and all night long these 
facts pour in reports from the battle lines, reports on supply 
and transportation conditions behind the fronts, intelligence 
reports about the enemy ahead. And back here on the home 
front editors are having to do much the same kind of think- 
ing ... to help Americans understand the complicated, 
everchanging current of the week's news. All this week, for 
example, the editors of TIME, The Weekly Newsmagazine, 
have been receiving reports from their correspondents on 
every battlefront of this war. For instance, there are five TIME 
and LIFE men on the Western Front men like Senior Editor 
Sidney Olson, whose account of the Ninth Army's push to 
the Rhine you can read in TIME this week. And in the Pacific 
theater there is Teddy White, soon to take off again for the 
Burma front. There is Bill Gray in Manila and Robert 
Shcrrod and Gene Smith on bloody Iwo Jima, From their 
reports and those of other TIME correspondents all over 
the world, TIME's editors write into TIME Magazine one 
clear, complete story of the week's news a story that makes 
the war news really make sense. And that is just one of the 
reasons why more than a million busy, well-informed Ameri- 
can families now turn to TIME this week and every week. 

VAN: War must always mean separation of fighting men from 

their loved ones. But one of the most tragic romances of this 
war concerns a young American officer in the Philippines and 
his sweetheart. It is the story of Major Bernard "Andy" 









Multivoice News Shows 211 

Anderson, the greatest leader of Filipino Guerrillas, and it 
was cabled this week by TIME and LIFE correspondent Carl 
Mydans. A few days after U. S. troops had pushed into 
Manila into the American lines east of the Philippine Capital, 
came a man in a tattered and dusty uniform. He had lines 
on his face, and more years than his age. He was escorted to 
a nearby command post. 


Major Anderson reporting, sir. 

Not Andy Anderson! 

Yes, sir. United States Armed Forces in the Far East. 

(BE SURE TO SMILE) Well, Major, if I wanted fifty 
thousand pesos, I could turn you over to the enemy. 

(SMILE) Yes, sir, I understand there is a price on my head. 
But all I care about right now is to get to Manila. 

I'm sure we can arrange that, Major. 
You see, I'm going back to Betty Lou. 
Betty Lou? 
My fiancee. 

It's been a long time. It's been Betty Lou who kept me going 
when things got so tough in the hills I thought I was reaching 
the end. When the Japs were closing in and there was no 
food and you felt like this is it, I thought of Betty Lou and 
kept going. 
(SOFTLY) We'll get you to Betty Lou, Major . . . 

I haven't seen her for more than three years, sir. It was New 

Year's day Nineteen Forty-two in Manila. I'll never forget it. 

It was early, very early in the morning. Her father, Captain 

Gewald, had already left for Bataan. (FADE) I was with 

her in her mother's apartment . . . 

Oh, darling, after you've gone, 111 think of so much we 

should have said. 

I know, Betty Lou, there's so much and so little to say. Here 

we were to have been married on January 10, but that will 

have to wait, now, until I come back. 

212 News by Radio 


ANDY: (UP) What is it? Oh, hello, Bert. 


PETTIT (OFF) Andy! Come on! We've got to go now. We're going 
to blow up the last bridge to Bataan. 

ANDY: (UP) 111 be right with you, Bert. (LOW) Goodbye, Betty 

Lou. We'll be back as soon as possible. 

BETTY LOU: Yes, darling, I'll be here. I'll be waiting for you. 

ANDY: Betty Lou and her mother stayed behind in Manila waiting 

for the Japanese. For them, it meant Santo Tomas intern- 
ment camp. After the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, Bert 
Pettit and I managed to escape to the mountains. We 
planned to go on to Mindanao and Australia, but everywhere 
it was the same. Filipinos flocked around us. 

FILIPINO i: You not going to leave us? 

PETTIT: Yes, I'm sorry, but Lieutenant Anderson and I have to leave 

FILIPINO i: No, no! 

ANDY: We'll come back with MacArthur! 

FILIPINO H: You stay, please. You tell us what you want us to do. 

FILIPINO i: We want to fight the Japans. 

PETTIT How about it, Andy? 

ANDY: Bert, it looks like maybe we got a job to do here. 

PETTIT: Yeah, it looks that way. All right, you guys, but understand 
this: There's no pay, no allowance. Any man who joins up 
does so for one reason and one reason only love of his 
country. (APPROVALS) Okay. 

ANDY: You know, Bert, I'm gkd we're staying. I'll be closer to Betty 



ANDY: In three years, not one man backed out on us. It wasn't long 

before we had word from General MacArthur: 

Multivoice News Shows 


MACARTHUR: Hit the enemy wherever he can be hit. Destroy his communi- 
cation lines, his dumps, harass him so he cannot move with- 
out protective strength! 


ANDY: Our problem was not in finding men. It was sorting the 

best out of the endless stream of volunteers. When our funds 
ran out, we were overwhelmed by offerings from Filipinos. 
They fed and clothed us. At first, I kept in regular touch with 
Betty Lou in Santo Tomas camp. And always, I could hear 
her say: 

BETTY LOU (FILTER) Yes, darling. I'll be here. Ill be waiting for you. 

ANDY: Later, I had to stop writing for fear it might mean her life. 

Besides, we were always on the move. We now had hundreds 
of men and our chief shortage was arms. Two men, then 
three, were assigned to every pistol, every rifle, every machine 
gun, so that if one man was killed, another could carry on. 
Of news from outside, we heard nothing. The guerrillas 
would ask me: 

FILIPINO i: When are the Americans coming back? 

ANDY: I don't know, son. Honestly, I don't know. 

FILIPINO n: When the Americans do come back, sir, wfll we be free? 

ANDY: That will be up to you Filipinos. The problem now is to kill 



ANDY: Finally, in 1944, we made contact with guerrilla forces on 

Mindanao and Samar, and we became part of the United 
States Armed Forces in the Far East. Two Filipino radiomen 
arrived with full equipment. Supplies and men began to 
come in. Our orders were to avoid combat with the Japs 
that might endanger the safety of the people. But on January 
6, three days before the Lingayen landings, a new order came 
through the island radio network: 

VOICE: (FILTER) Now is the time for maximum violence against 

the enemy. 


















News by Radio 

For three years, my men had trained for this moment. Bridges 
were blown up. Railroads were cut. Jap units were cut off, 
annihilated. My job was done. Now I could look forward to 
Manila and to Betty Lou: 

(FILTER) Yes, darling, 111 be here. I'll be waiting for you. 


This way, Major. 

Three years. I wonder how she'll look. It's been a long time. 

Yes, and a horrible time for everybody in the prison. You'd 
best be prepared for .... 

I understand, Colonel. 
(FADING IN) Yes, Colonel? 

This is Major Anderson. (AD LIBS) We're inquiring for a 

Betty Lou Gewald. Tell her Andy's back. 
Fin sorry, Major Anderson. 
Don't be sorry, fella. Just take me to her, 
Miss Gewald died two weeks ago, 


In Manila, Carl Mydans cabled, there are big pennants 
welcoming Major Anderson, greatest of guerrillas. As Andy 
walks down the streets Filipinos crowd about him, show off 
their babies named in his honor. But one welcoming face is 
missing, the thought of which sustained him for more than 
three years, brought him back to Manila. 

Betty Lou is not there. 

Here tonight at the March of Time's New York microphone 
is the first United States Marine to return home from Iwo 
Jima. His name: Marine Gunner Paul White. As combat 
photographic officer he has participated in D Day landings 
on three of the greatest Marine Corps amphibious operations 

Multivoice News Shows 215 

in the Pacific, and at Iwo Jima, working under Commander 
McLain, he was attached to the staff of Task Force Com- 
mander Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner and Lieutenant 
General Holland M. Smith, tough, able commander of the 
Marines' toughest landings. Gunner Paul \\Tiitc! 

WHITE: During D Day I spent most of the time in a small rocket- 
firing ship very close in shore, to coordinate the work of 
several teams of photographers. At dusk of D Day I saw one 
of the unforgettable sights of the war. The sun was setting 
on the other side of the island from us, which threw every- 
thing into sharp black relief. At our left was the volcano 
mountain Surabachi, which we knew was honeycombed 
with caves filled with Japs and guns. We went in at Iwo Jima 
with our eyes open. Every man who hit the beach knew as 
much of what to expect as our top commanding officers. We 
could see the black shapes of several of our tanks crawling 
up the slope of the mountain. In front of each one were the 
figures of four or five Marines, and in back of each, perhaps 
ten more. While they were advancing, our Navy ships were 
firing at the mouths of the caves, hoping to seal them up. 
But the Japs kept firing. Then I saw our first tank take a 
direct hit and burst into flame. We saw silhouetted figures 
hurled into the air by the explosion. Marines around the 
tank hit the dirt, then got up and moved ahead. 

Then another tank was hit. I saw the silhouette of one man 
bend down to pick up a fallen comrade. But he couldn't pick 
him up alone. Another Marine came to help him. Then, very 
slowly, the three men came down the slope and disappeared 
into the darkness. That entire sight, in sharp black relief lit 
up only by gun flashes, hit me harder than anything I have 
ever seen. On shore for the next nine days the Marines fought 
slowly ahead through the toughest fighting they have ever 
faced. Iwo Jima is not like other islands we have taken, 
where we have been able to secure some territory and hold 
it safely after a few days. Iwo Jima is so small that even four 
days after D Day, every inch of the part we held was still 
under Japanese shell and mortar fire. The mortar fire especially 
inflicts horrible wounds. In spite of that, our wounded were 
evacuated with wonderful speed, by ambulance jeep from the 
fighting lines and by small boats out to the hospital ships. If 
civilian nurses could have been with me when I went along- 






News by Radio 

side a navy hospital ship, and took a look at the hundreds 
of bleeding broken bodies waiting to be lifted aboard, the 
Navy wouldn't have to take our precious time and personnel 
to do recruiting. In battle when we are not doing our own 
jobs we pitch in on anything else we can find. We helped 
carry wounded, and I took messages back and forth between 
the 'fighting areas and the ships offshore. The worst of that 
was having to report the deaths of men who had been my 
friends. Compared to all the other shows I've seen, this one 
makes the others seem almost like rehearsals. 

It is more intense, more explosive. In the eight or nine days 
I was there, there wasn't a letup. The whole thing is close-in, 
pointblank firing by heavy weapons. On an island only five 
miles long by two and a half miles wide, how could it be 
anything else? It is like getting caught inside an arsenal that's 
blowing up in every direction. On the night of D Day plus 
three, we heard a Japanese broadcast ordering the Japs on 
Iwo Jima to annihilate ten Marines each before they died. 
The score to date is the price of seven dead Japs for every 
one dead Marine. 

Thank you, Gunner Paul White. 

This week, in Mexico City, the Inter American Conference 
is ending. Its prime accomplishment, the Declaration of 
Chapultepec, uniting twenty North, Central and South 
American republics against aggression from within and from 
without. One little noted meaning of this Declaration: It 
marks the failure of Fascist Spain under General Francisco 
Franco to win Latin American republics to a Spanish Fascist 
ideology. And, while Fascism fails in the west, in Europe, 
too, General Franco's friends are growing weaker. Spain, 
scene of the first military victory for Fascism in Europe, may 
soon be the last openly Fascist country in Europe. Therefore 
shrewd observers are asking these questions: Which will 
come first: peace in Europe or revolution in Spain? And will 
the overthrow of Franco really solve Spain's internal prob- 


Newest, most comprehensive report on Spain today appears 
in the current issue of TIME'S sister magazine FORTUNE, 

Multivoice News Shows 


based on first-hand material gathered by Gabriel Javsicas. Its 
title: "Spain Unfinished Business." Its author: Henry Hart. 
Mr. Hart. 

HART: Spain was the scene of the bloodiest civil war in modern his- 

tory. It lasted from 1936 to 1939, cost a million lives, and in- 
capacitated a million more, ended in victory for the Fascist 
rebels under Franco and a single Fascist political party, the 
Falange. Yet Franco is now certain of only one thing, that 
the people are waiting to get rid of him. On the surface Spain 
appears to have recovered somewhat from her civil war. There 
has been some revival of Spanish industry. 

VOICE i: Most important cause of that revival: 160 million dollars 
poured into Spain by the American and British governments 
since 1941. 

VOICE n: Its purpose: To buy up wolfram, the ore of tungsten, indis- 
pensable in war material, and prevent the Germans from get- 
ting it through conquered France. 

HART: But the liberation of France last summer ended the Allied 

need for buying Spanish wolfram. Thus, Franco has lost his 
chief economic support. Now goods are getting scarcer. Prices 
are rising continuously. The masses of Spain wait grimly for 
the disintegration of the Falange, which has totally controlled 
Spain for six years. 

VOICE i: There is no freedom of press, religion or public assembly. Four 
different kinds of secret police and armed guards spy on the 

VOICE n: All employment depends on the Falange, which supervises or 
manages all production and distribution, 

VOICE m: The Falange rules by martial lawl 

HART: Early in its regime the Falange tried to win the Spanish people 

over by a grandiose program of social and economic reform. 
[One of its main features the export of Falange ideology to 
Spanish-speaking people elsewhere in the world is a failure 
in Latin America. The workers, who were promised new rights, 
are instead kept in abysmal poverty by rigorous wage ceilings 
in the face of fantastically rising prices.] But the ten-year plan 
of industrialization is still only a blueprint. For example: 

News by Radio 

Out of four thousand kilometers of railroad scheduled to be 
electrified, only fourteen have been completed. 

The new factories envisaged to make synthetic rubber, ni- 
trates, gasoline and oil, do not exist. 

The proposal to break up the great private estates has resulted 
in the resettlement of only six hundred families, at a cost of 
more than eighteen thousand dollars per family! 


The real explanation of Spain's food shortage is the business 
activity of the Falange itself, which creates three different 
prices on food all black market. 

Farmers and land owners are compelled to sell their produce 
to government syndicates, at ceiling prices, but actually sell 
most on the black market. 

The government syndicates in turn sell a great deal of produce 
on their own black market. 

The Army contributes bread to still a third black market, be- 
cause it sells its surplus at illegal prices. 

The result is that today the Spanish people get from one- 
fourth to one-half the minimum number of calories they 
need. As one Spaniard said: 

They spilled so much blood to give us this! 

Private business men are constantly protesting, with amazing 
frankness, against the arbitrary acts, regulations and corrup- 
tion of Falange officials. For example: in the office of the 
transport ministry: 

Your new decree is graft! It is our ruin! 

But senor, you are free to join the new syndicate. 

Hombre! Much good that will do usl Our profits will go to the 
syndicate, to our competitors, and to the minister who signed 
this decree! 

HART: In Spain such talk is a daily occurrence because so few of the 

people, even in the Falange itself, really believe in the Franco 
regime. One of the current jokes goes like this: 

SPANIARD i: Hey, Gonzales, who is the greatest general in Spain today? 



VOICE ii: 
VOICE in : 



WICE n: 
VOICE in: 







Multi voice News Shows 219 

SPANIARD ii: It is not General Franco. It is General Protest. 

[HART: The top army officers have become hostile to the Falange. 

And finally, the Church has begun to oppose it. These are the 
facts about the Catholic Church in Spain: 

[VOICE i: Before the civil war, only ten to fifteen per cent of the popula- 
tion were active Catholics. 

[VOICE n: During the civil war, the Spanish Church supported Franco, 
which alienated many of those who had remained faithful, 

[HART: Soon after coming to power, Franco helped the church by 

restoring property and schools to the religious orders. But he 
has now alienated the church by dissolving Catholic unions 
and, through Fascist youth organizations, loosened the hold 
of the church over the young.] 


HART: The present political situation was summed up for Fortune 

Magazine by Franco's hard-boiled, cynical Minister of In- 
dustry and Commerce, Demetrio Carceller: 

CARCEIXER: The monarchy gave us bad government and took recourse to 
dictatorship under Primo de Rivera. Then the Republic was 
rotten. We, of course, are no good, either. The fellows who 
come after us will be just as bad. Look at the Spaniards in 
exile. All of them are agreed only on the obvious: They don't 
like us. No one in Spain likes us, either. But no one can agree 
on what they want instead of us. 


HART: In spite of that cynical estimate all Spanish political leaden 

want to avoid another civil war. They want a parliamentary 
government free of the use of force. But whoever follows 
Franco will have to give land to the peasants in the South, and 
develop industry in the North. Until that happens, Spain 
will continue to be the most explosive element in Western 

VAN: Thank you, Henry Hart r for that report on Franco Spaia 

VAN: Time Marches On! 


220 News by Radio 

VOICE: Over this same network every afternoon at 4 o'clock Eastern 

War Time, listen to TIME VIEWS THE NEWS, another 
program prepared by the editors and correspondents of TIME 
magazine. And next Thursday evening, at this same time, 
listen again to the MARCH OF TIME. 




A second news dramatization script this one broadcast by WCCO- 
Minneapolis on March 9, 1947, in the "Northwest News Parade" 
seriesmakes some of the same points, and some different ones. Like 
the "March of Time/' the "Parade" series went on the air weekly. 
Usually it included four episodes, the pattern changing according to 
the news. It had two purposes: to "humanize" the news that is, to 
present human interest material and to background the news. 

The show given here* fulfills both purposes. The first story it tells, 
heavy in human interest, also backgrounds a crime story so that the 
listener unfamiliar with the situation will thoroughly understand its 
curious aspects. The second, aimed primarily at explaining an involved, 
difficult-to-understand matter, takes advantage of every opportunity for 
human interest development. 

Ralph Backlund, one of the script writers of the story of Ruben 
Shetsky, has this to say of the script: "The Shetsky story was written 
after midnight on Saturday (because the news had just broken) and 
was substituted for two other pieces that had been incorporated into 
the script earlier. When the cast arrived for rehearsal at 7 A. M. Sunday 
(broadcast time was 10:05), they found it all waiting for them but I 
got only three hours of sleep that night. That, obviously, is the reason 
we so seldom attempt to cover spot news in the 'Parade/ " 

Like the "March of Time" script, the original script for the following 
dramatization shows a number of deletions (they are not included 
here) . The "Parade" is a somewhat simpler script using only organ 
music, for instance, rather than orchestra than the "March of Time." 
The script: 

* By written 'jennission of WCCO, Minneapolis, September 17, 1947. 

Multivoice News Shows 221 

NARRATOR: It's deadline time again, and here is .... 


ANNOUNCER: Each Sunday morning at this time WCCO brings you the 
dramatized story of the top news of the week in the North- 
west. Ever}' day the people of the Northwest make news. 
You hear those stories each day over your WCCO newscasts. 
And each Sunday morning the WCCO NEWS DEPART- 
MENT selects the best of those stories, and brings them to 
you in living drama .... 

ISTMAN: Stories which make the headlines .... 
ZND MAN: Stories from the backroads .... 

BRD MAN: And the human side of the news .... the little-known, but 
fascinating sidelights discovered by WCCO's news reporters. 


ANNOUNCER: And now, to report today's chapter of NORTHWEST 
NEWS PARADE, here is Paul Wann. 


NARRATOR: Shortly before noon yesterday, a car pulled up before a modest 
house in Sunland, California. The address was 1-0 8-1-9 
Woodward Avenue. Two men stepped out of the car, strode 
up the sidewalk, and rang the bell .... 


WOMAN: (VERY COMMON SORT) Yes? What do you want? 

G-MAN: Is Lou Gimmel here? 

WOMAN: Yes ... no ... i don't know. What do you want with 


G-MAN: Take a look at this card, lady. 


G-MAN: That's right F. B. I. Now, call him. We Icnow he's here. 

WOMAN: (OBVIOUSLY SHAKEN) 111 ... Ill go get him .... 

G-MAN: No you won't. Stay where you are and call him from here. 

WOMAN: (PROJECTING) Lou . . . Lou . . . come here a minute. 

222 News by Radio 


WOMAN: Come here . . . please. 


G-MAN: Are you Lou Gimmel? 

SHETSKY: Yeh, that's me. Whadda ya want? 

G-MAN: You are also Ruben Shetsky, aren't you alias Wayne 


SHETSKY: Uh ... oh ... all right. I'm Shetsky. 

G-MAN: Okay, come along. Your vacation is over, Mr. Shetsky. 


NARRATOR: And so the long-dormant story of Ruben Shetsky suddenly 
came to life once again. It is a strange, fantastic story ... a 
sordid story. And it had its beginning on the night of July 
27th, 1945, in a Minneapolis night club the Casablanca cafe 
at 408 Hennepin Avenue. 


NARRATOR: It was between two and two-thirty A.M., long after the closing 
hour. A few lights were still burning . . . and a group of 
people were seated around a table in an alcove, concealed from 
the street. 


NARRATOR: Among those present was Ruben Shetsky, then known as 
Wayne or "Big Waynie" Saunders. Shetsky was part 
owner and operator of the Casablanca. His wife, Bernice, was 
there. So were two or three other women, including Ruth 
Hutchinson and Hilda Castle. So was Tommy Banks, reputed 
owner of several Minneapolis night spots. And so were two 
brothers Al Schneider, organizer for General Drivers Union 
Number 544, and Fred Snyder. Exactly what led up to that 
brutal scene at the Casablanca is still a matter of doubt . . . 
but there is no doubt whatever about what happened next. 
Ruben Shetsky suddenly leaped at Al Schneider, and the two 
men started to scuffle. 


















Multivoice News Shows 

(GASPING) Listen, Shetsky, I don't care who you are or 
where you come from you don't mean anything to me .... 
Okay, then .... 



And now, Fred Snyder, I'll get you too ... you .... 


Leggo of me .... 

If you shoot me, you'll shoot him too .... 

Get out of the way, so I can get the rat! 




stop, police . . . stop . . 

inside. Somebody's shot 
. go on in ... (FACE) 

(HYSTERICAL) Stop . , 
What's the matter, sister? 

There's been a murder . , 
Al Schneider's been shot . 
it was a murder .... 

POLICE: Hey, wait a minute, come back here! 


NARRATOR: Ruben Shetsky was apprehended and charged with second de- 
gree murder. But before he came to trial, six affidavits were 
submitted in his behalf one of them by Shetsky himself. It 
attempted to show that the shots had been fired in self- 
defense .... 

IAWYER: (READING) The defendant was in deathly fear of both of 
these men, who were of exceptional strength and brutal force, 
with a temperament and desire to cause trouble. Thus he feels 
he was fully justified in protecting his life by shooting Schnei- 
der ... It was a question of his life and his fear thereof, and 
his absolute belief in the fact that he knew he would have 
been beaten to a pulp and his bones broken, and killed if he 
had not acted in self-defense in the manner in which he 
did .... 

224 News by Radio 

S-ARRATOR: But County Attorney Michael Dillon shortly expressed his 
opinion of this fantastic document .... 

DILLON: The proper place to try a lawsuit is in the courts and not by 
affidavits. It is a laughable matter to hear a man who is over 6 
feet tall and who weighs over 220 pounds, and who is armed 
with a deadly weapon, say he was afraid of a man not quite so 
big, who had no gun or club, nor any defense of any kind 
except his fists. It is a cowardly thing to blacken the character 
of a man who is dead and unable to speak for himself .... 

BARRATOR: And when the trial came up in district court, County Attorney 
Dillon said in his opening statement .... 

DILLON: We will show you that while every one of the five shots from 
first to last was being fired, Schneider was in the corner of an 
alcove. He never moved from the time the first shot struck 
him. He was hit by a second and a third, and then he lay in 
that corner. There was blood in just one spot, and that was in 
the corner underneath the body. 

BARRATOR: The testimony was long and often contradictory, but one fact 
was rather well established just who fired the shots. It was 
brought out by Mrs. Ruth Hutchinson, who was one of the 
women present at the bloody scene .... 

)ILLON: Now, Ruth, as you were standing there, was your attention 
called to anything? 

itrTH: Yes. 

DILLON: By what? 

IUTH: A shot. 

>ILLON: What did you do then? 

IUTH: I turned quickly. 

>ILLON: In what direction did you look? 

LUTH: South. 

>ILLON: What did you see? 

KJTH: Mr. Saunders Shetsky, that is and Mr. Schneider were in 

a sort of a clinch. 

DILLON: As you stood there, how many shots did you see fired? 

KJTH: I counted five. 

HLLON: How many did you actually see fired? 

Multivoice News Shows 225 

RUTH: Two. 

DILLON: Who fired the shots? 
RUTH: Mr. Saundcrs Ruben Shetsky. 


NARRATOR: There was another witness who told almost the same story 
. . . Miss Hilda Castle, who was also present that night .... 

DILLON: What was it, Miss Castle, that attracted your attention? 

HILDA: A shot. 

DILLON: What did you do then? 

HILDA: I turned around. I saw Shetsky standing and firing two 

more .... 


NARRATOR: But on Monday, September 24th, the trial took a sensational 
turn. Ruben Shctsky's two lawyers arrived at the courthouse a 
half hour early, and went to the office of County Attorney 
Dillon. The three of them then hurried into the offices of 
District Judge Paul S. Carroll. Police Chief Ed Ryan and 
Sheriff Earle Brown were called in. Clearly, something was 
up. Just what, was announced by Judge Carroll when he 
called in the reporters .... 

CARROLL: Gentlemen, the defendant in this case has disappeared. He 
has been missing since yesterday morning. I have been told 
that he received a telephone call at his apartment . . . and 
went out. (FADE) He is said to have been expected back 
shortly .... 


NARRATOR: And that was the signal for one of the greatest manhunts 
Minnesota has ever seen .... 

POLICE: (FILTER) This man, Ruben Shetsky, alias Wayne Saunders, 
is wanted by the Minneapolis Police Department. Age 38. 
Height 6 feet, 1 inch. Weight 210 pounds. Eyes medi- 
um hazel. Hair dark chestnut. (FADE) Complexion 
medium dark. Build stout .... 

2ND POLICE: (NO FILTER) Every detective on our force has been as- 
signed to this case. The uniformed police, also, have been 
asked to be on the alert. In addition, the help of St. Paul 

226 News by Radio 

police, state highway patrol, and sheriffs throughout the state 
has been asked .... 

NARRATOR: There were immediate reports that Shetsky had been the vic- 
tim of foul play. As a matter of fact, that theory was advanced 
by his lawyer .... 

MCMEEKIN: He was afraid of something. He was not the sort of man who 
would walk out on his friends. He appeared before the grand 
jury and he appeared for arraignment and for the trial. He has 
just disappeared. I think he'll be found in a ditch somewhere. 

NARRATOR: But Ruben Shetsky was never found in a ditch. And as time 
went by, there were numerous and completely unfounded 
reports that he had been seen here ... he had been seen 
there ... in a St. Paul telephone booth ... in Minne- 
apolis ... in Chicago ... in Milwaukee. And then the 
case became unique in the history of Minnesota courts. The 
trial was resumed in his absence, and the jury brought in a 
verdict .... 

JUDGE: Gentlemen of the jury, have you arrived at a verdict? 

FOREMAN : We have, your honor. We find the defendant, Ruben Shetsky, 
guilty of murder in the second degree. 


NAKRATOR: More than six months later on June 6, 1946 Judge Carroll 
pronounced sentence on the still missing Shetsky . . , . 


CARROLL: The court hereby sentences Ruben Shetsky, in absentia, to 
serve the rest of his natural life in the Minnesota state peni- 
tentiary at Stillwater .... 


NARRATOR: Thus Ruben Shetsky became the first man in the history of 
Minnesota to be tried, found guilty, and sentenced in ab- 
sentia. A kind of raffish legend began to grow around the man; 
he was a riddle was he dead, or alive? Today, we have the 
answer to that riddle. He is not only alive, but he will be re- 
turned to Minneapolis to pay his debt to society. And now, 18 
months after his sensational disappearance, the final chapter 
in his career is about to be written. It is already being written 
by the people who were most deeply involved in the strange 

Multivoice News Shows 227 

and lurid affair ... by Mrs. Annabelle Schneider, widow 
of the man who was so brutally slain on the night of July 27th y 


This whole thing upsets me very much ... It brings it all 
back to me. I'd never like to hear about it again. Still, I'd like 
to talk to Shetsky, and find out what really happened .... 

It is being written by Slietsky's former attorney, Thomas 
McMeekin of St. Paul . . . . 

All I can say is that the case is over. He won't need me. 

And most of all, it is being written by Henncpin County At- 
torney Michael Dillon .... 

I am delighted to hear of Shetsky's capture. By absenting him- 
self voluntarily, he has waived his rights to further trial, or 
even to be present at his sentencing. The mechanics of jailing 
him are all that remain to be done .... 


We Americans have an emotion, bordering almost on rever- 
ence, when we hear the word "Constitution." The feeling is 
the result of our acceptance of the Constitution of the United 
States as the cornerstone of all our rights and privileges, but 
that same respect has extended over into our attitude toward 
the constitutions of our respective states. For that reason, 
many of the people of Minnesota have been disturbed during 
recent days by a growing tide of criticism against their own 
state constitution. 


(ORATING) And I say it's time we go to work and examine 
this horse-and-buggy constitution of ours. Gentlemen, we're 
using exactly the same document to govern us that we did 
ninety years ago. The struggling settlements of this great state 
were connected by ox-carts in those days. The oxen have been 
gone for generations, but we're still trying to get along with 
an ox-drawn constitution .... 

NARRATOR: After hearing such statements, the people of the state are 
gradually becoming aware that a state constitution has noth- 
ing of the sacred quality of the document which governs our 
nation. They've been surprised to learn that many states have 









228 News by Radio 

had half a dozen or more different constitutions. And now 
they're beginning to wonder about the document that governs 
Minnesota, and why there is a growing demand for a new one. 


KARRATOR: Before we talk about the shortcomings of the Minnesota con- 
stitution, let's move back in history to the year 1856. A cluster 
of small villages had grown up on the St. Croix River and on 
the Mississippi across from Wisconsin. Everything else was 
unbroken prairie or forest belonging to the Indians. A terri- 
torial legislature sat in St. Paul and argued about state- 
hood .... 


DELEGATE i: Mister Speaker, I say it's time we think of taking our place 
among the great sisterhood of states. Think of the glorious 
prestige. But even more, think of the other advantages. A new 
state gets large grants of federal land. A state can borrow 
money. A state .... 

DELEGATE ii : And let me add that a state has to pay taxes. Why, our taxes 
are so light now we hardly think about them. Why not let well 
enough alone? 

NARRATOR: And in the National Congress at Washington, there were also 
a good many who had no special desire tp see Minnesota be- 
come a state, especially so the Senators from the South. 
Senator John B. Thompson of Kentucky was talking in the 
Senate .... 

THOMPSON: ... I am opposed to the admission of new states. I regret 
that Wisconsin and Iowa were ever admitted. For my part, I 
would rule the people of a territory as Great Britain rales 
Afghanistan, Hindustan and the Punjab, making them work 
for you as you would work a Negro on a cotton or sugar plan- 
tation. Territories should be governed by proconsuls, and 
should be made to know their place. I don't want Slavs, Ger- 
mans and Swiss to swarm up in these northern latitudes and 
eventually come down upon the South. (FADE) I am not de- 
sirous of seeing Senators from a new state, arrogant, presum- 
ing, Free-Soilish .... 

WARRATOR: But Congress, nevertheless, passed an enabling act, and 
Minnesota got ready to draw up a constitution as its blueprint 
for statehood. It was an unfortunate time to demand any ac- 
tion requiring sober judgment and cooperation. Democrats 

Multivoice News Shows 


hated the new upstart Republican party with a bitter con- 
tempt . . . and the Republicans responded in the same man- 
ner. The issue was largely the burning slavery question, and 
the newspapers of both sides rose to new heights of invec- 
tive .... 

MAN: The burning issue, as I see it, is between White Supremacy 

and Negro Equality. The Black Republicans are desirous of 
upsetting the laws of God and Nature. They wish to see the 
Negro in the jury box, on the witness stand, and even and I 
shudder to write this to see their daughters married to 

ZND MAN: The Democratic party represents the very dregs of all that is 
unholy. They are dough-faces and boot-licks; they are all that 
is looked down upon by us Republicans who represent the 
rights of man and the nobleness of human nature. 

NARRATOR: These, then, were the two parties who were to take over the 
important job of writing a constitution for a new state. When 
the people of the territory elected their delegates to the con- 
stitutional convention, both sides claimed the victory. There 
were men from both parties who were elected by fair majori- 
ties. But in between was a large group of duplicate delegates, 
each claiming victory in his own district. And everyone of 
them came to St. Paul. On the July day set for the convening 
of the assembly, the Republicans were on hand early in the 
Capitol building, and sat apprehensively around .... 


MAN: Wonder when the Democrats arc going to show up? 

ZND MAN: Don't know, but I don't trust them. But I think we're all set 
for anything they might try. Right at noon John North is go- 
ing to call the convention to order. If the Democrats aren't 
here by noon, that's just their misfortune. 

MAN: Suppose they come early and try something, 

2ND MAN: Then North will call the convention to order right away. 
(FADE) Don't worry we have everything planned out 

NARRATOR: And outside in the corridor the Democrats quietly collected. 

DEMOCRAT: (SOTTO VOCE) Now, you all know how this is going to 
be handled. The minute we open the doors we all rush in. 
Then Charlie Chase here takes over. You all set, Charlie? 

230 News by Radio 

CHASE: All ready. I'll rush right up front, and call the meeting to 

order. Well be in charge before they know what's happened. 

DEMOCRAT: And if they make any attempt to interfere, we'll adjourn the 
meeting right away. That still gives us control. All ready? 
Now, open the doors and let's go! 


CHASE: (PROJECTING) The meeting is now called to order. 

NORTH: Hey, just a minute. I'm in charge. 

NORTH: I am calling this meeting to order. Will the delegates please 
take their seats. 

MAN: I move that the meeting be adjourned. 

CHASE: (RAPIDLY) It has been moved that we adjourn. All in favor 

signify by the usual method. 


CHASE: The "ayes" have it. I now declare this meeting adjourned un- 

til noon tomorrow. That's all. 


NARRATOR: The historians are still arguing over that incident. But the 
Democrats were gone as suddenly as they had erupted into the 
meeting. The Republicans stayed on, and went about the busi- 
ness of organization. The Democrats took over another hall, 
and proceeded to hold their own convention. And so instead 
of one, there were two separate constitutional conventions in 
the territory. Each one went about its business as though the 
other had never existed. And some of the matters debated 
sound strange to the people of the present state of Minnesota. 
For instance, there was a strong move to make the northern 
boundary of the new state a line running west through what is 
now the city of Little Falls, with the western boundary at 
the Missouri River. 

MAN: (PROJECTING) . . . And let me say, gentlemen, the. 

simplest kind of intelligence calls for the east-west boundary. 
Such a line would give this state the rich prairie lands lying 
between the Mississippi and the Missouri in the Far West. 
Common sense dictates that we forget about the northern part 
of this territory. After all, what does it consist of? An eternal 

Multivoice News Shows 



wilderness, dark and impenetrable, which will never be in- 
habited by anyone save hunters, trappers, traders and Indians 
(FADE) from whom we would never collect a penny in 
taxes .... 

That argument sounds strange to us these days, when \ve con- 
template the wealth of the northern part of the state which 
many of these constitution makers wanted to throw away. 
Today it includes the wealthy Mesabi iron range, the fertile 
farm lands of the Red River Valley, and the lumber and recre- 
ation facilities of the pine woods. It includes such thriving 
cities and villages as Duluth, Cloquet, Hibbing, Bcmidji, and 
Crookston. Needless to say, that move failed. But as the two 
conventions continued, an uneasy feeling grew up on each 
side .... 

We're getting to be the laughing stock of the whole nation. 
Maybe we should get both sides together. 

But wouldn't that look as though we were giving up the fight? 

Somebody has got to compromise. Otherwise we'll never get 
anything done. I say we should appoint a committee. (FADE) 
Otherwise we never will be a state .... 

There were too many hot-headed younger men on both sides 
to prevent the two conventions from meeting together. But 
each one appointed a committee, and so the two groups got 
together. The meeting got along better than one might have 
expected, if you disregard such minor incidents as the time a 
Democratic delegate broke his cane over the head of a Re- 
publican. But they managed to compromise, and the constitu- 
tion was drawn up. Two copies were made. One was ratified 
by the Republican convention; the other by the Democrats. 
And that fact has given the historians something else to argue 

PROFESSOR: My studies have convinced me that the Congress of the 
United States received and approved the copy signed by the 
Democrats. However, there is a fair body of proof which indi- 
cates that it was the Republican version which was sent to 
Washington. (FADE) May I quote Peabody, Volume Two, 
Pages 9 8 and 99, in which he has this to say .... 

The constitution was accepted in Washington, and Minne- 
sota became a state. But is there any wonder that a document 
drawn up in such a fashion should be full of weaknesses? The 






one section. 

Listen carefully right here. 

232 News by Radio 

wonder is that it has lasted for ninety years. And what do the 
experts say about the constitution? 

WOMAN: Pardon me, but may I be accepted as something of an expert? 
After all, I did my graduate work on the Minnesota constitu- 
tion, and wrote a thesis about it. I don't think you could find 
a better example of the weaknesses of the constitution than by 
turning to Section Ten of Article Nine. Why, there's a whole 
(OVERLAP) tragedy tied up in that READER: Section ten: The credit 

of the state shall never be given 
or loaned in aid of any individ- 
ual, association or corporation, 
except as hereinafter provided. 
Nor shall there be any further 
issue of bonds denominated 
"Minnesota State Railroad 
Bonds" under what purports 
to be an amendment to Sec- 
tion Ten of Article Nine of the 
Constitution which is hereby 
expunged from the Constitu- 
tion (FADE DOWN) saving, 
excepting and reserving to the 
state, nevertheless, all rights, 
remedies and forfeitures accru- 
ing under said amendment. 

Maybe you can sense the 
hard feeling in that talk 
about what purports to be 
an amendment. That all 
goes back to 1858, when 
there were a bunch of fly- 

by-night companies that 
promised to build railroads in Minnesota. The constitution 
forbade state loans to such companies, so it was amended. 
And, of course, the railroads went broke and the people lost 
their shirts. That section you just heard is a tombstone on a 
dream that died and, incidentally, cost the people of Minne- 
sota several million dollars. Why, if you want to look up the 
whole history of that episode, you'll find the reason why 
Minnesota came to be called the Gopher State. 

NARRATOR: That sounds like a good story. How about telling it to us .... 

WOMAN: I'm sorry, but I didn't put that in my thesis. But if you're 
really interested, I suggest you go to Folwell's History of 
Minnesota. (FADE) You'll find it in Volume Two, Pages 
45 through 49 .... 

NARRATOR: We can't forget that the Minnesota constitution changed 
through the years with all sorts of amendments. Some of them 

IJultivoice News Shows 


plugged up loopholes in the original constitution. Others just 
grew up to reflect the particular prejudices of the moment. 
By now it resembles a pair of work overalls, so thoroughly 
patched that there is very little of the original fabric visible. 
And what still remains is often disregarded. Ask any member 
of the state legislature .... 

LEGISLATOR: I could give you a hundred examples. But just take, for in- 
stance, that bit about requiring that half the state Senators 
should be elected in alternate years. We've just ignored that 
in Minnesota. And in the legislature itself there's a consti- 
tutional provision that every bill should have three readings. 
We just forget about that over in the state Capitol. It just 
doesn't work out. 

NARRATOR: But the greatest complaint is against the difficulty 7 of amend- 
ing the constitution. It takes a majority of all the people voting 
at an election to make a change, and most Minnesotans who 
go to the polls refuse to vote either way on an amendment. 
They just leave that square blank on their ballots, and so, by 
not even voting, they kill it. 


NARRATOR: But this is the point where the people of the state take over. 
If they have any interest in their own government, they'll ac- 
quaint themselves with the issues. There's a movement in 
the state legislature to draw up an entirely new constitution 
and submit it to the people. If that fails, there's another 
campaign to make it easier to amend the document. We on 
NORTHWEST NEWS PARADE are taking no sides. But 
we do insist that it's the duty of the people of Minnesota to 
find out the issues at stake. Remember, without an en- 
lightened public, there can be no democracy. 



NARRATOR: And so we end today's chapter of NORTHWEST NEWS 
PARADE, but already the Northwest is making the news 
stories you'll hear next week at deadline time on NORTH- 
WEST NEWS PARADE. Be with us, then, as we open 
another chapter in the news of this great part of the United 


234 News by Radio 

ANNOTHS-CER: NORTHWEST NEWS PARADE is a. regular weekly presen- 

(Optional tation of Station WCCO. It brings you the drama behind the 

if needed/ week's news events in the Northwest. Listen to your daily 

WCCO news broadcasts for the news as it occurs, but be sure 

to turn to NORTHWEST NEWS PARADE for the story 

behind the news. 


duced in the WCCO Department of News and Special 
Events. Writers were Ralph Andrist and Ralph Backlund of 
the news staff, with Bob Sutton directing today's chapter. 



Radio's Local News Service 

Late in 1945, Illinois radio newsmen met at Springfield in a "radio 
news clinic" to discuss common problems. The clinic was the first of 
a series sponsored by the NAB News Committee; in the next eighteen 
months others met in some twenty other states. The program for each 
was arranged by a committee of station news editors from the region 
the meeting served. At each, one topic stole the show: 

Local news: What are we doing with it? What can we do with it? 

This was a surprise only to the benighted station operators for whom 
news had been no more than easy and inexpensive canned program- 
ming to fill spots between recorded shows. Everybody in the radio 
business who had given serious thought to radio's news service, either 
as programming in the public interest or as a highly salable commodity, 
had been predicting since before V-E Day that local news was destined 
to increase vastly in importance to the radio newsroom. 

This prediction was coupled with a fear that, the war over and the 
flow of vital and dramatic news from abroad dwindling, listener- 
interest in news would go back to prewar levels. The fear turned out 
to be unjustified. Six months after the war ended, a CAB report showed 
that seventeen commercial network news programs had dropped less 
than one percentage point in average listener rating (eight of the 
shows increased their rating; two held it constant; seven declined). 
Two years after V-J Day (July 30, 1947), Radio Daily reported that a 
survey of 636 program directors' opinions showed news second only 
to music, "the perennial favorite," in audience pulling power. "This 
vote," said Frank Burke, editor of Radio Daily, "refutes the claim in 
some agency circles that interest in news broadcasts is falling off and 
that the quality of news programs fails to sustain interest among 
listeners." As further evidence, he pointed out that 398 of the 636 
program directors expressed belief that news programs held as much 
audience interest as they had during the wartime period. 


236 News by Radio 

The prediction that local news offerings must increase had come 
from many quarters, and in many forms. Ralph W. Hardy of KSL- 
Salt Lake City, speaking before an NAB district meeting in February, 
1945, had said, "Instead of trying to 'outnetwork' the networks, it 
would be wiser to augment the network services with features conceived 
and handled throughout from a local point of view and thus do a job 
the networks are not in a position to do." And a month later the NAB 
News Committee spoke more specifically. The closing paragraph of 
its lengthy set of recommendations for handling radio news said: 

From the standpoint of local news reporting, it is recommended that sta- 
tions study the possibility of their coverage in this field. Undoubtedly local 
material will form an ever-increasing part of news broadcasts after the war. 
Opportunities for added public service are manifold in this phase of news 

Some newsmen had for years been cultivating and reaping from 
the rich local field. In 1930 KMPC-Beverly Hills had put ten reporters 
on the Los Angeles news runs. WFOY-St. Augustine started including 
local stories in newscasts in the early 1930's. WMBD-Peoria had offered 
ten minutes of local women's news daily since 1932. KYSM-Mankato, 
Minn., like a number of other stations in vigorous competition with 
local newspapers, had had local and regional coverage, with its own 
news staff, since 1937. Scores of stations though certainly not a 
majority had devoted some attention to local news. 

Such stations had a generous lead over others when, with the end 
of the war, there came the inevitable re-evaluation of radio news serv- 
ice. The news clinics, enthusiastically supported by the radio stations 
(and credited by the radio editor of Editor & Publisher with contrib- 
uting "to the general improvement of radio news which nearly every- 
body in the business recognizes"), were an evidence of the general 
interest in such re-examination. Another was the rash of pieces in print 
on successful local news operations; another the appearance of the 
National Association of Radio News Directors, led by John F. Hogan, 

The first periodical solely for radio newsmen made its appearance just 
after the war. It was the Newscaster, a four-page monthly published by INS 
for free circulation "in the interest of radio men handling the news." In- 
evitably, its first few issues devoted a good deal of space to the selection of 
a Miss Radio News of 1946! Most of its material consisted of news of radio 
news personnel and of brief discussions of local radio news problems. 

Radio's Local News Service 237 

news editor of WCSH-Portland, Maine, and of a number of city, 
state, and regional associations. In May of 1946, the Institute for 
Education by Radio at Columbus, Ohio, offered two well-attended 
panels for discussion of radio news problems under the leadership of 
members of the Council on Radio Journalism; one was devoted 
entirely to local news handling, the other to radio news copy. 

That news editors' re-evaluation of their craft was not confined to 
local news alone was suggested by Jack Shelley in the Ne\v$caster 
(November, 1945). Shelley, director of the excellent newsroom at 
WHO-Des Moines, said in part: 

The people who are going to get hurt most in this transition period arc 
those who abused the "get-rich-quick" possibilities of the war boom in radio 

They're the people who sold every newscast they could cram into the 
schedule, because any sponsor would buy news. 

They're the people who filled their shows with nothing but war news, 
because it was so easy to use up ten or fifteen minutes with a couple of nice 
long round-ups off the wire. 

They will find the adjustment to peacetime newscasts the hardest of all; 
but for all of us the signal is to swing more and more emphasis to regional 
and local coverage, plus good features. 

There is, for example, no law which requires newscasts invariably to begin 
with overseas or Washington news. When you've got a good state or even 
local story, don't be afraid to lead with it. 

Most of all, we are going to have to become reporters again. Now is the 
time to cover your police court and statchouse with your own men, if youVe 
never done it before. With wire or film recorders, there are dozens of state 
and local stories which can be covered with on-the-spot material you didn't 
have room for during the war days. 

In other words, Shelley urged that radio newsmen should think in 
terms not alone of finding substitute material for war news, but also 
of avoidance of stereotyped patterns; that they should provide news not 
only because of its salability, but because of its public service values. 

Another shot in the arm came when the FCC, in March, 1946, made 

In its December 2, 1946, number, Broadcasting Magazine published re- 
sults of its second annual Broadcasting Trends survey. Among the findings: 
Seventy-six per cent of American stations broadcast more local news in 1946 

than in previous years. 

Forty-one per cent either were broadcasting or planned to broadcast more 
news shows than formerly. 

238 News by Radio 

public its "Blue Book" called "Public Service Responsibility of Broad- 
cast Licensees." Much of the report (reputedly written by the same 
Charles A. Siepmann who criticized broadcasting severely in his Radio's 
Second Chance) was devoted to the Commission's insistence that 
the extent of a station's "live" local programs was an important factor 
in FCC evaluation of the station's service, and that local news pro- 
grams would receive high rating among local offerings. Though the 
report rested on a firm base the provision of the Federal Communica- 
tions Act that the FCC would be responsible for holding stations to 
operation in the public interest it was received with anguished howls 

The FCC Blue Book in its original form (dated March 7) defined as a 
wire program (hence not a local live program) "any program the text of 
which is distributed to a number of stations by telegraph, teletype, or similar 
means, and read in whole or in part by a local announcer. Programs dis- 
tributed by the wire news services are wire programs. A news program which 
is part wire and in part of local non-syndicated origin is classified as wire if 
more than half of the program is usually devoted to the reading verbatim of 
the syndicated wire text, but is classified as live if more than half is usually 
devoted to local news or comment." 

Robert W. Brown, executive news editor of INS, protested to the FCC 
that "it is arbitrary to force the licensee to devote more than half of all news 
programs to local news to obtain a local live rather than wire program 
classification/' and that a licensee using a full news service, with editors 
selecting news of interest to the area, is in reality performing a local live 
function. Radio news editors were widely in agreement that arbitrary de- 
mand that more than 50 per cent of a news show be local was unreasonable 
and unrealistic (though the FCC language was indefinite enough so that 
nobody was entirely sure just what it meant) . But they also pointed out 
that the INS request for clarification might result in an interpretation favor- 
able to INS over other news services. If the FCC should rule that a news 
program rewritten in a station newsroom from a news service wire is a local 
live program, they said, it would mean that stations using the INS wire 
would be in safer position than those using AP, UP, or TP radio wires and 
not rewriting them. 

The FCC responded to INS that its language had been misconstrued and 
misunderstood, but asked that INS suggest changed wording. Early in July 
the FCC issued revised definitions; that of the wire program was altered 
only by the insertion of the words "or virtually verbatim" after the word 
"verbatim" in the last sentence. 

On August 1 Brown asked for further clarification; on August 30 the 

(continued on next page) 

Radio's Local News Service 239 

of "censorship! government control!" by a large portion of the broad- 
casting industry. Anguished or not, however, the industry was im- 
pressed; and one evidence was the fact that the rate of establishment 
of newsrooms in radio stations a rate that had already spurted since 
the beginning of the year was further stepped up. 

FCC made response.. "It is not required," said the FCC letter, "that fifty 
per cent or more of a news program usually be devoted to 'purely local 
items' in order for such a program to be classified as local live. A news pro- 
gram based upon material received by wire, but more than half of which is 
very substantially edited and rewritten by a station staff member or by a 
writer employed by a sponsor and announced in its edited or rewritten 
form should not be classified as a wire program because of its being based 
upon material received by wire. 

"The important factor in this regard is the treatment given locally to the 
news rather than its origin. For example, a program consisting of a verbatim 
reading by a station in New Yorlc of a wire news text about New York 
affairs would still be wire. On the other hand, a program of national and 
international news based entirely upon material furnished by the wire news 
services would be classified local live if more than half of it consists of ma- 
terial which has been very substantially edited and rewritten as indicated 

This definition has been accepted by INS and by the radio newsrooms 
of the country. But it still leaves questions. What, precisely, is meant by 
"very substantially edited and rewritten"? Is it enough merely to clip 200 
lines of copy from a printer, arrange them in some kind of order, and put. 
them on the air? Is this "substantial"? If it isn't, the 25 per cent of 26,000 
news scripts examined by Charter Heslep in the Office of Censorship during 
the war that, in Heslep's words, "hadn't had a pencil touched to them/' 
would not qualify as local live. If it isn't, the relatively large number of sta- 
tions that depend heavily or wholly on radio wires for their news shows, and 
that don't have genuine news editors to "edit and rewrite" them, must 
mend their ways if they wish to get local live credit. On the other hand, the 
stations with only newspaper wires, presumably facing a rewrite job in 
order to turn newspaper copy into radio style, would be in better position. 

Those who believe that the public can best be served only by a writing 
newsroom would say that the definition, so interpreted, is desirable. Cer- 
tainly it builds a fire under stations slow to establish their own newsrooms. 
But it also handicaps the small station that cannot afford a newsroom elab- 
orate enough to do a thorough editing and writing job; and by the same 
token it favors the larger station which is already in better position than the 
little fellows to build up its hours of local live shows. 

240 News by Radio 

The FCCTs interest in local news in station programming was under- 
scored in April, 1946, when it favored for a license in Orangeburg, S. C., 
the one of two applicants that showed both the intent and the facilities 
to place heavy emphasis on local news service. Of this situation the 
FCC said: 

We believe that an essential function of a radio station's operations in 
the public interest should contemplate the gathering and broadcasting not 
only of national and state news received over one of the regular news wire 
services but also the gathering and broadcast of local news on a regularly 
scheduled news program. On the record, Edisto Broadcasting Company 
seems unwilling to assume that function. We do not believe that the busi- 
ness of dissemination of local news should be left solely to the local news- 
paper as proposed by Edisto, and we do not believe that the discharge of 
this function would prove unduly onerous to the owners of a radio station 
operating in Orangeburg. 

Another stimulus to local news on the air came in the 1945-47 period 
from a series of newspaper strikes. When delivery services of most 
New York newspapers were tied up in mid-1945, radio stations in the 
area were bombarded by requests for news time (and for advertising 
time, by such advertisers as the movie houses). WABC canceled two 
regular shows to present news round-ups from the New York papers. 
WLIB, affiliated with the Post, broadcast three half-hour news shows 
for the duration. WJZ and WNEW doubled their news coverage. 
The Times station, WQXR, put on three emergency shows each 
morning. WEAF increased the percentage of local news in its regular 
shows. The World-Telegram and the Journal- American bought time 
for news offerings. WHOM mimeographed copies of AP reports and 
distributed them to hotels and restaurants. And Mayor LaGuardia 
acted out the adventures of Dick Tracy over WNYQ the municipal 

KGVO-Missoula, Montana, found itself in a situation like WPAY's in 
October, when the Missoula papers suspended. But it took a different tack 
in meeting it. Analyzing its daily news output network as well as local 
KGVO discovered that it had 35,000 words of news on the air each week- 
day. This, it figured, was the equivalent of a sixteen-page paper. On this 
basis KGVO decided not to increase its news service. The analogy is not, 
however, entirely fair, since much news is repeated in a radio station's day. 

Radio's Local News Service 241 

In Portsmouth, Ohio, WPAY faced a similar situation. Pressmen 
on the local Times struck in November, 1945, and stayed out seven 
weeks. WPAY, a 250-watt station, serves almost precisely the same 
area as does the Times. The station at once arranged with the paper 
a cooperative news service. Four local news shows a day were provided 
by the paper's reporters; the paper's columnists and comics were read 
into WPAY mikes. In seven weeks WPAY became so convinced of 
the value of local news that it developed a local news-gathering staff, 
and after the Times resumed publication it continued a heavy and 
expanding program of local news. 

That local audiences respond to local broadcasts was demonstrated 
in a survey of news listening in early 1948 conducted by the Bradley 
University Department of Journalism at Peoria, Illinois. Peoria audi- 
ences expressed a preference of more than three-to-one for a local 
newscaster, Brooks Watson of WMBD, over H. V. Kaltenborn and 
Edward R. Murrow, the next two on the list; and Kaltenborn and 
Murrow were only a shade ahead of two other local newscasters. 

What Is "Local" Radio News? 

To the newspaper man the term * local news" means just that: news 
of the area served in concentration by his paper, news of the town ox 
city or county; news of city government, schools, sports, clubs, business, 
"society." In some newspaper shops with regional or state circulation, 
the term acquires a wider geographical meaning, but the news it 
describes changes little in kind. 

To the radio newsman, it means many of these things but with a 
number of differences. 

A prime difference is that of the medium's coverage. Whatever a 
station's power, whatever its promotion literature describes as its 
primary area, its coverage is subject to considerable fluctuation. Atmos- 
pheric conditions, season of the year, time of day all change the extent 
and power of its signal. Moreover, the extent of both primary and 
secondary areas is likely to be greater than that of the newspaper. The 
importance of this factor is greater for the clear channel station than 
for the local channel; Class I (50,000 watts) stations have listeners 
spread over tens of thousands of square miles. The man in Baton Rouge, 

242 News by Radio 

La., is little interested in the doings of the Knights of Pythias over in 
Shreveport; KWKH-Shreveport, with a primary area of forty-seven 
counties, can give little attention to what the Knights are doing. But 
KRMD-Shreveport, with 250 watts, covers a far smaller area, and can 
count on interest among a high proportion of its listeners in the inti- 
mate activities of Shreveport citizens. 

A second difference is that of "space." This factor the fact that 
newspaper stories can be, and usually are, longer than radio stories- 
has already been examined in this book. It is one that the local radio 
reporter must keep foremost in mind. 

Also explored is the fact that radio news is informal in manner, that 
it can take advantage of color and human interest in news more 
effectively than can the printed word. This factor will be developed 
further in this chapter, 

In brief, then: Local news for radio is the briefly and sharply told 
story of local events of fairly general interest to listeners within a 
station's primary area. For some stations, those with state or wide-area 
coverage, "regional" is a better adjective than "local"; but the term 
"local" is loosely used in this special meaning by radio newsmen, and 
it is so used here. 

How Does Radio Cover Local News ? 

Nobody in radio or out of it has developed a method of news- 
coverage superior to that of the newspapers: The use of reporters 
who cover major news sources regularly, and special occurrences fires, 
accidents, conventions as they come up. Radio has followed the 
essential pattern. 

But with a number of significant departures. 

A good many of the differences have been suggested or described, 
some at length, in this book. But it is worth while here to re-examine 
some of them in the light of the coverage problem. 

Primarily, it must be remembered that radio unlike the newspaper- 
is not fundamentally a news medium. The newsroom is the heart of 
the newspaper. News is the prime "programming" it has to offer. But 
ie radio newsroom is only one of tie sources of radio programming, 
rhe radio day emphasizes a variety of audience-attractions different 

Radio's Local News Service 243 

from those of the newspaper; and r since a radio day normally includes 
more "editions" than does that of the largest newspaper, it demands 
more repetition of news and briefer development of most stories. 

The effect of its shorter stories on radio's news coverage is, in a sense, 
to make it sketchier than that of the newspaper. The radio reporter, 
therefore, has to guard against interpreting brevity in terms of super- 
ficiality. He must know as much about the news he is covering as does 
his newspaper competitor; but he must be more selective in his fact- 
gathering, or he'll waste a lot of precious time in collecting material 
he can't possibly get on the air. For the newspaper man turning to 
radio, this means an adjustment of sights. His need for speed and 
accuracy remains; but he must learn to discard almost by instinct the 
nonessentials that he might weave into the later paragraphs of a news- 
paper story perhaps twice as long. 

Partly because of this, the radio newsroom can usually do its job with 
a comparatively small staff. "Typical" staffs and their duties have been 
described in Chapter 4. Each situation has its own controlling factors- 
competition, management's attitude to the news function, area cover- 
age, and so on and no two are exactly alike. A 5,000-watt independent 
station with a relatively wide primary area, in a Rocky Mountain state 
where press service regional coverage is not complete, with a strong 
signal and with vigorous newspaper competition an entirely hypo- 
thetical example may well decide that it needs two news services 
and a six- or eight-man round-the-clock newsroom staff, augmented 
by correspondents. A clear channel station, on the other hand, may 
decide to let its network and a two-man force carry the load (though 
most radio newsmen would call it lunatic if it did) . 

Radio has not yet come forward with the station devoted to newscasting 
alone. Such a station may one day be projected. One can dream up a station, 
say, with contracts with two or more networks so as to have the advantage 
of big network names, and with a daily schedule made up entirely of straight 
news shows, commentaries, interviews, news dramatizations, specialized 
news of agriculture, sports, business, women's affairs, "cultural" matters and 
the like and local news. What kind of audience such a station might build 
is a matter for speculation. One thing is certain: Its newsroom would be like 
none described in this book. And its reportorial operations would be far 
more extensive than anything here contemplated. 

244 News by Radio 

Best thinking in recent years is (as NAB has recommended) that, 
since news is of vital program importance, every station must have at 
least one competent, well-trained newsman to direct news operations. 
At a radio news conference in mid-1946, when one editor after another 
was detailing his station's experiences and practices, a representative 
of a Class IV station in a small city finally complained woefully that 
he did not see "how a 250-watter could afford a real news operation." 
His answer came from "Curly" Vadeboncoeur of WSYR-Syracuse, 
then chairman of the NAB News Committee. 

"No station, no matter what its situation, can afford not to put in 
a news operation," Vadeboncoeur said. "From every point of view- 
all the way from the dollar angle to the public service problem a com- 
petent newsroom is the soundest kind of investment." 

The specific use a station makes of whatever news staff it maintains 
also depends on its special circumstances. Essential is the production 
of the copy in time for the ever-present deadlines, whether by type- 
writer or scissors-and-glue. The gathering of local news is worked out 
by the individual staff to fit its broadcast schedule some of it by the 
standard legman technique of the newspaper, a great deal of it by 
telephone. Many radio newsmen with newspaper background find 
themselves making far more use of the telephone than they did as 
newspaper reporters, because of their more frequent "editions" and 
because they almost always can gather satisfactorily by 'phone the 
highlight material they need. 

What About Recording Devices? 

A brand new tool, the recording device, has become standard equip- 
ment in the enterprising radio newsroom, 250-watter or clear channel. 
Before the war radio had only the record-cutting machine, a clumsy 
and cumbersome instrument at best, for this purpose. The war saw 
development of portable magnetic-wire and magnetic-tape recorders 
(captured German tape recorders lent much to American development 
of this kind of machine) . In the postwar years a number of these 
machines have become available; many newsrooms are finding tape 
recorders most useful because of the ease with which they can be 
"edited." It is certain that their efficiency and ease of use will increase 

Radio's Local News Service 245 

in the hands of electronic technologists. 

By the use of one or another of these machines, a newsroom man 
or crew can go to the mayor and get his own words, in his own voice, 
on the current city tax situation; or to a council meeting and record 
a hot debate; or to a fire and let witnesses, firemen, and those who 
inevitably fled into the icy night in scanty clothing describe the event; 
or to a speech and record it all; or to the gaffer who is celebrating his 
hundredth birthday anniversary and let him cackle his recipe for 
longevity into the mike. The recording can then be turned over to the 
newsroom, edited and cut to fit a newscast's pattern, and put on the 
air. (Such editing, as has been said, is easiest with the tape recorder 
because of the speed and accuracy with which the desired excerpts can 
be cut and spliced.) 

One of the pioneers in use of the recorder on local news is William 
Ray, who holds the dual role of director of news and special events 
for the NBC Central Division in Chicago and news director of NBC's 
Chicago outlet, WMAQ. Ray's station uses the recorder not only to 
gather spots for insertion in regular news shows, but also for a daily 
ten-minute all-recorded local show, "News on the Spot." Ray, enthusi- 
astic about the device, points out: 

"The recorder lets radio take the listener where the news is. It has 
the vigor, realism and color of on-the-spot broadcasting, plus the 
advantage gained by careful editing, plus the important factor of 
being able to broadcast events not alone when they occur (as in 
genuine on-the-spot broadcasts) but at regular stated times, when 
listeners are in the habit of tuning in." 

So WMAQ uses recorders all day long, and spices many news shows 
with their offerings. So do many other stations. But not all stations 
go all the way with Ray. George Lewin, former newsroom manager 
of KMPC-Los Angeles, had this to say: 

We use our wire recorders to cover all local stories of special interest. We 
find that it is better to have a 2- or 3-minute insert in a regular show than to 
devote a 15-minute period to any one story unless it be of transcendent 

Occasionally, however, we take a full period for one story. When Douglas 
and the Navy unwrapped the new turbo-jet supersonic plane, we did a 15- 

246 News by Radio 

minute wire-recorded show at the scene, using description and interviews. 
We put it on the air that afternoon in a sustaining period. 

Our wire recorder goes to the state capitol periodically. We record inter- 
views with the governor, other officials, and leading lawmakers on topics 
in the news, plus any good features kicking around. These are used in the 
10 p. m. "Voices in the News" and on Clete Roberts' news commentary 

Though the recorder broadens the base and scope of newsroom 
operations, its merits are subject to warm debate among radio news- 
men. Most acknowledge readily that it is a valuable tool; but some 
say it should be used more sparingly than its more ardent partisans 
advise. Among the criticisms leveled at it: 

1 The recorder is too often used "for its own sake" for no profit be- 
yond the unmeasured promotional advantage of boasting the recorded ma- 
terial in the show. One news editor who makes this criticism says that often 
the recorded quotation is less effective, and harder to knit into the show, 
than would be a quotation written into the body of the story. 

2 The recorder sometimes closes the lips of news sources. Public figures 
who talk willingly to reporters often become close-mouthed when the re- 
corder's mike is thrust before them. Herbert Hoover, holding a news confer- 
ence for press and radio following his return from his postwar worldwide 
famine inspection tour, read a prepared statement to newsmen, but refused 
to permit its recording (on the ground that he was to make a full radio re- 
port a week later) . General Omar Bradley talked freely to reporters on 
veterans' affairs, but denied KYA-San Francisco the right to put his state- 
ments on records. And many lesser figures get mike fright. 

It has been cynically suggested that public figures who talk willingly to 
reporters but shy from recorders do so because they can always say of broad- 
cast statements merely attributed to them that "I was misquoted," but that 
they cannot deny their own voices. 

3 The necessity of editing recorded statements and tying them nicely 
into newscasts adds to the labor, time, and difficulty of producing news 

4 Some of the statements made on unrehearsed recordings interviews, 
man-on-the-street shows, crowd scenes and the like are nonbroadcastable, 
and editing recordings to remove such statements takes away from realism, 
color, and continuity. 

5 Expense of using recorders in stations employing union labor is high, 
since union regulations demand three men to handle them (an announcer, 
a reporter, and an engineer) . But one man can do the whole job with many 
recorders, and the nonunion shop does not face so heavy an expense. 

Radio's Local News Service 247 

6 Skill rnd experience are prerequisite for the man who is to handle the 
recorder especially skill in ad libbing interviews and other nonscript 
shows. But no part of radio news work can be handled without skill and 

None of these objections is insurmountable. As experience in the 
use of recorders expands, more and more stations will use them, to 
greater and greater advantage. 

The Public and Radio News 

One distinctive radio news problem is that the public, longer 
accustomed to the press, thinks of the newspaper as the prime news 
medium. To whatever extent this attitude is justified, the distance 
between radio and press will be narrowed in the public mind as radio 
develops its local and regional coverage. One cause behind the attitude 
is the fact that radio offered relatively little local news in its first 
fifteen years as a news medium; because of this the man in the street 
who observes an auto accident, or the woman whose bridge club is 
going to entertain its husbands, thinks first of telling the newspaper 
about it. If radio were apparently as much interested in the local scene 
as it is in the national and international (affairs with which the average 
man has no personal contact), the man who knows some news would 
be far more likely to call the radio newsroom as well as the city desk. 

In recent years a good many stations have taken active and effective 
steps to overcome this attitude. They have asked listeners to telephone 
news tips to the station; they have offered small cash fees for tips, put 
on contests, and used other devices. They have publicized their interest 
in news, their desire for tips, on the air and by mail. 

Akin to public tardiness in recognizing radio's interest in local news 
is hesitation in many quarters to grant radio reporters the privileges 

When CNKW-New Westminster, B. C., instituted a system of prizes 
for news tips $1.00 for the best tip daily, $5.00 for the best of the week 
it drew immediate results. On March 12, 1947, a male voice called the 
newsroom and announced that its owner had just robbed a Vancouver 
home of $230. CNKW broadcast the story and asked the caller to come 
to the station for his $1.00 award. The man telephoned the next day to 
reject the offer. But ten days later he called again to announce a second 
robbery, a $250 job! Neither CNKW nor the police caught up with him. 

248 News by Radio 

traditionally given to newspapermen. Fulton Lewis's fight to get radio 
newsmen into the Congressional press gallery, and the struggle to gain 
similar privilege for radio reporters in the Massachusetts legislature, 
have already been mentioned (Chapter 1 ) . In 1942 Edward R. Murrow 
had to stage a minor rebellion in London to procure parity for radio 
war correspondents in the war and diplomatic news centers of the 
Western Front. The Association of Eastern Fire Chiefs resolved to 
limit radio coverage of fires to prevent hordes of radio-informed specta- 
tors from impeding fire-fighting (a genuine radio news problem); 
Dave Driscoll of WOR-New York won a promise of full cooperation 
with radio reporters from the New York fire commissioner by promis- 
ing to keep the problem foremost in mind in fire coverage. In Chicago, 
radio newsmen formed the Chicago Radio Correspondents' Associa- 
tion to stage a campaign against discrimination against radio reporters 
in court coverage. In 1946, the UN Security Council closed its doors 
to mike coverage but not to newspaper and periodical coverage; radio 
newsmen were not invited to a news conference at Alcatraz during a 
prisoners 7 riot. 

But the attitude of news sources is slowly changing. In 1945 the 
Radio Correspondents' Association culminated three years of effort 
by opening a radio news gallery broadcast room in the Senate wing 
of the Capitol in Washington. The next year Harold Ickes not only 
invited radio men to his final news conference as a Cabinet member, 
but permitted WOL-Washington to record his red-hot remarks. And 
in 1947 live microphones were permitted for the first time at a Congres- 
sional committee hearing (the hearing on proposed aid to Greece and 
Turkey), and in June NBC was allowed to make special arrangements 
to present a vote-by-vote account of the Senate's action to override 
President Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley Bill. In September, when 
the Daytona Beach, Florida, city authorities turned down the request 
of local WNDB for permission to broadcast a policeman's plea for 
reinstatement before the Civil Service Appeals Board, the Daytona 

Radio itself has contributed to public failure to recognize its news rights 
by persistently referring to "press conferences/* Radio news editors who 
see this problem urge their fellows to use the terms "news conference" or 
'^press-radio conference." 

Radio's Local News Service 219 

Beach News-Journal attacked the refusal and upheld the station's 
and the public's right to hear the proceedings. 

Broadening the Coverage 

Newsrooms that interpret "local" coverage as "regional" have taken 
another leaf from the newspaper book: the practice of developing 
strings of correspondents. This is an obvious and necessary step if the 
station is to be on top of the news not alone in its own city but also 
throughout the region it reaches. To depend entirely ori news service 
splits for regional coverage is to broadcast much of such news after 
it has appeared in the newspapers in whose cities the stories originated, 
for this kind of news usually comes to the services from "stringers" or 
correspondents who depend heavily on local papers for their material 
(often, as laudably loyal members of the local newspaper staffs, they 
permit the papers first use of news) . 

So more and more stations have built up their own stringers. WRBL- 
Columbus, Georgia, covers nine Georgia and Alabama counties 
through correspondents in county seats and large towns two weekly 
newspaper editors, a drug store manager, a school teacher, a lawyer, a 
filling station operator, an advertising man, and a clubwoman. It pays 
half a cent a word for news for broadcast, double for especially fasi 
coverage, bonuses for scoops of which it has had many. KYSM- 
Mankato, Minnesota, uses high school journalism students in twenty 
surrounding towns as stringers, and stimulates them by contests. 
WMRN-Marion, Ohio, also uses high school students. WIGM- 
Medf ord, Wisconsin, has correspondents throughout its coverage area. 
WCCO-Minneapolis, with both AP and UP regional services, has 
radio newsmen in Duluth and other stations as its correspondents. 
And so on. Scores of stations now use the string system. The telephone 
is the most common means of communication between correspond- 
ents and their newsrooms, though telegraph, mail, and even teletype 
are also used. 

A few examples of radio stations' cooperation in news-gathering 
have appeared. A "co-op news bureau" set up in the Olympia, Wash- 
ington, state capitol in 1946, under Carl Downing, former news editor 
of KPQ-Wenatchee, prorated posts to seventeen member stations at 

250 News by Radio 

$4.50 to S26.50 weekly, and furnished spot service, response to queries, 
and transcriptions. In New York state nine upstate stations linked 
themselves together by telephone line to share stories originating in 
any of the nine localities; each station had the privilege of taking as 
many or as few stories as it wished, and shared costs accordingly. 

In some situations radio newsrooms have cooperative agreements 
ivith local newspapers for interchange of news. This is a natural 
arrangement when radio station and newspaper are under the same 
ownership as in Winona, Minnesota, where carbons of late stories 
are furnished by the Republican-Herald to KWNO. In St. Cloud, 
Minnesota, the Daily Times local staff gathers news both for the 
newspaper and for KFAM, and does much of the rewriting for radio. 

KATE-Albert Lea, Minnesota, independent of the local newspaper, 
has a "swap deal" with the paper and with another in nearby Austin, 
whereby KATE is provided with the newspapers' local news half an 
hour after the papers' press time. This means that the papers and the 
station present the news at virtually the same time. 

And in New York City WEAF (now WNBC) set up direct lines 
to newspapers in Newark, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Westchester, and 
suburban Long Island to increase its local coverage. 

But there are many situations in which the local radio station, 
whether newspaper-owned or not, is in violent competition with the 
local paper. 

WHAT Does the Newsroom Cover? 

In the broad sense, news is news. Anything that the newspaper 
prints may be broadcast material; anything that the radio newsroom 
puts on the air is pretty sure to be newspaper material. 

In a narrower sense, a sense already much discussed in this book, a 
lot of news given extensive space in the press gets little time, or no 
time at all, on the air. News that comes under the various taboos of 
"good taste" and undue emotional impact, or that is too detailed for 
broadcast purposes, or that is published in the press primarily in its 
function of daily historian (such as vital statistics), or that cannot be 
made anything but so dull or complex as to be unlistenable, is rarely 
broadcast. All these limitations, however, disqualify less news than 

Radio's Local News Service 251 

might be expected; and the definitions of broadcastable news are 
broadening as radio newsmen learn to make more interesting, or less 
offensive, types of material they have shied away from. 

In short, virtually all the local news to which the press gives more 
than routine playvirtually everything that makes front page or other 
main news columns, in contrast to compressed or departmentalized 
standing-head coverage is fodder for the radio mill. And even this 
generalization leaves loopholes. 

For instance: A good many radio newsmen have worked on the 
principle that newscasting has no place for a counterpart of the news- 
paper "society" or "personal" columns, especially the detailed notes 
about the petty activities of the local citizenry: "Mrs. Abner Wilkins 
has gone to Emeryville to spend a week with her sick aunt." Yet a 
Peoria, Illinois, station, WMBD, has outstanding success with a ten- 
minute, six-day "Town Crier" program, one on which thirty-Eve to 
forty local items for women, gathered by one woman newsroom 
employe, are presented. WPAY-Portsmouth, Ohio, gives extensive 
time to "personals" and minor local items on its six local shows a day. 
WMAZ-Macon, Georgia, covers women's meetings and activities 
through its civic and education director. WHIZ-Zanesville, Ohio, 
broadcasts three local "calendars" each day: "Club Calendar" at 
10:45 A.M., "Birthday Calendar" at 11, and "Obituary Calendar" 
(which has the highest audience-rating of the three) at 12:15 P.M. 

Which is to say that the smaller station, aiming at developing its 
strictly local audience, can build better-than-respectable listenership 
for the precise kind of minor local news that is so important in every 
small city daily or weekly. Dozens of examples to buttress those just 
given might be cited. 

KABR-Aberdeen, South Dakota, found that high school students were 
not always dependable news sources. KABR, like most stations, in winter 
storm periods broadcasts lists of schools which are to be closed because of 
impassable roads or severe cold. After it had several times been the victim 
of long-distance calls from students who, representing themselves as high 
school officials, announced the closing of their schools, KABR developed 
code words which had to be employed by principals in such telephoned 

252 News by Radio 

The clear channel station, or that selling essentially regional rather 
than strictly local coverage, approaches such news with a good deal 
more caution. But any newsroom maintaining a local operation must 
give time, attention, and manpower to such local sources as city and 
count}' offices, local businesses, and the like. 

And even the clear channel, big city station knows that certain 
types of local news having to do with events other than governmental 
and political are always audience-pullers. Food news, for example. For 
years Don Goddard has had two successful fifteen-minute shows on 
WNBC-New York. Appealing to thousands of rural and small town 
housewives, Goddard invariably includes the latest market news on 
strawberries, cabbages, pork roasts, and so on their availability, their 
prices. Rather than offer mere lists and prices, Goddard presents such 
material in chatty, friendly fashion, as though he were talking across 
the back fence with each listener. 

This kind of newsnews dealing with food, clothing, household 
necessities, the commodities about which every American is thinking 
every day can always be handled effectively on the local level, more 
understandably and meaningfully than in regional or national round- 
up stories. 

Regional or national stories on these and many other subjects, how- 
ever, can almost always be turned into local stories. Suppose the wire 
brings a story saying that a government agency promises a sharp up- 
swing in the production of men's suits. The newsroom man hops on 
the telephone, calls three or four local clothiers, and comes up with a 
strong local story (but one with more than local implications) on what 
the increased production is going to mean in the retail stores the 
listener's point of contact with the news development. 

Another example: A Washington story forecasts vastly enlarged 
need for beef for export. The station in a cattle-raising area Texas or 
North Dakota or Colorado develops, through its local markets and 
perhaps the county agent or a livestock association, a local story that 
makes the national news intimately significant to the station's listeners. 

Some stations apply the same technique to stories that break in the 
newspapers with which they compete. One Midwestern clear channel 
newsroom director explains it this way: 

Radio's Local News Service 253 

Though we maintain an elaborate news operation and write all our own 
shows, we can't hope to gather and broadcast all the local news the papers 
offer. We'd have to have a forty-man newsroom, instead of a seven-man, and 
practically twenty-four hours of air time to do it. Inevitably, we get beat on 
some local stories. But we can still capitalize on them. When a good story 
breaks in a local paper, we examine it carefully to see what it doesn't say 
where it has failed to fill the gaps, where it needs explanation. Then we'get 
busy, send a man out or put him on the telephone and come up with a 
follow story that has all the virtues, for us and for our listeners, of an original 
news break. 

Of necessity, whether the radio newsroom uses this technique or 
not, it must check its local competition, newspaper or radio, closely. 
What the other fellow is doing will always affect what it will decide 
to do. 

"Backgrounding" the news, of which the technique just described 
is an example, is considered at greater length in Chapter 11. On-the- 
spot coverage, another phase of local activity, is given consideration in 
Chapter 9. 

Two approaches to newspaper competition appear in the methods of 
two big newsrooms in one metropolitan center. The director of one says 
frankly: "Just before each news show we check the bannered or featured 
stories in the latest editions of our local papers. Then we make sure that 
we feature the same stories in our newscasts. Often our shows get to the 
public before the papers do. So we get credit for breaking the big news first/' 

The competing newsroom director speaking: "We decide in our own 
newsroom, before we see the papers, what are the feature stories, and play 
them regardless of what the papers do. In other words, we believe in our own 
news judgment. Often the papers' judgment and ours are the same; we 
think that when they differ we are at least as likely to be right as are the 

Most competent newsmen prefer the second approach. 

Weather News 

"The first training for a new man in our newsroom is learning to 
write the weather story." 

That's the statement of the director of a clear channel station news- 
room, made before radio newsmen at the Institute for Education by 
Radio at Columbus in 1946. It's one way of expressing a principle on 

254 News hy Radio 

which radio editors are unanimous: that weather news gets high 
priority on any kind of newscast. 

The wire services pay their respects to the principle by providing 
frequent and full weather forecasts they move on the wires several 
times a day, so that the predictions can be kept fully up to date and 
by giving elaborate coverage to weather phenomena of any kind. When- 
ever there's a flood, a storm of more than local proportion, a blizzard, 
a twister, a Florida hurricane or a Los Angeles snowfall, a cold wave 
or a stretch of temperatures above ninety, th* wires carry full reports 
both as separate stories often headed UNDATED WEATHER if 
the story covers more than one localityand in the round-ups and 

A local newsroom can do fairly well in weather coverage by depend- 
ing wholly on the wire. But only fairly well. Weather stories become 
more meaningful and more interesting if they're developed locally, 
following the method described above. 

'We go direct to the United States Weather Bureau for our weather 
data, rather than rely on the printers," said the newsroom man at 
Columbus. "We use a full and I mean full analysis of weather 
conditions whenever it's justified; Temperatures, wind, barometric 
pressures, and so on. We don't hesitate to devote a full fifteen-minute 
show to weather alone, if in our judgment the story is really the head- 
liner of the day. 

"That means a lot more than bare statistics. When we're building 
a weather story, we get our men out into the weather, or on the 'phone 
if time presses, and find out what's happening to people. If it's a heat 
wave, we report on the swimming pools and the parks, the kids playing 
in sprinklers, the heat prostrations. In a blizzard, it's routine for us 
to give long lists of schools closed throughout our area we have a 

At KRKD-Los Angeles one morning, News Editor Doug Douglas was 
broadcasting a 5:45-to-6 show. At 5:50 he observed light fixtures swinging 
and the building shimmying. Without a pause, as Douglas finished a story, 

he ad Jibbed a Los Angeles date line and said, "There she goes, folks it's 

a real earthquake. But don't let a little shake like this get you down. Just 
stay tuned to KRKD for all the latest earthquakes. Let's travel on now to 
Washington, D. C., for a few political shakes." 

Radio's Local News Service 255 

deal with county school authorities to keep us informed. And we get 
lots of information from the state highway department about the 
condition of the roads." 

WDAY-Fargo reported, at a radio news short course at the Univer- 
sity of Minnesota in 1947 7 that it had put on 4 'a solid hour" of news 
during a recent storm, and that this kind of effort is not unusual in 
WDAY weather coverage. 

In Iowa, the Highway Commission and the state's radio newsrooms 
have worked out a cooperative system whereby the state highway 
patrol makes immediately available to the newsrooms all information 
about highways. Individual stations in other areas have made similar 
arrangements. WHO-Des Moines has a fifteen-minute weather show 
daily at 8 A.M. one that gives forecasts for eight states and abundant 
detail on Iowa temperatures, rain or snowfall, wind velocity and 
direction, and other such data. 

The Feature Angle 

The warmth and intimacy of the human voice and the informal 
manner of radio news give radio a notable advantage over the press 
in the presentation of feature or "color" stories. To emphasize such 
news is sometimes to limit further radio's already tightly-packed time 
for straight news detail; and it may be to run the risk of overplaying 
the feature angle. But feature material, used with caution, may do 
much to add to the effectiveness of radio news. Color is always more 
attractive to the consumer of news than the black-and-white of 
straight reporting. And, in the hands of skillful news editors and 
reporters, it often helps the listener to understand a news situation,, 
to "get the feel of it," better than he could from less imaginative 

Here is the area in which the local newsroom can do most to dress 
up its news presentation. In national and international news, the news- 
room is at the mercy of its printers if they don't bring color with 
their straight reporting, the newsroom can do little about it. But its 

Once in a while a local newsroom can do something to add color even 
to international news. On D-Day in 1944, when its printer was grinding 
away factual detail on the start of the Normandy invasion, KUOM-Univer- 

( continued on next page) 

256 News by Radio 

local news, gathered by its own men on the spot, can be plentifully 
spiced with feature material. 

Suppose, for example, that an early morning fire occurs in an apart- 
ment building. The story could be presented factually and accurately 
something like this: 

A two-alarm fire sent twenty-five Midtown apartment dwellers out into 
chilly fall weather about 3 this morning. The fire was in the Milmar apart- 
ments at the corner of Third and Main Streets. The building was entirely 
burned out before firemen managed to control the flames. Nobody was 

Fire Chief Maher says the fire started in a mattress in a first-floor apart- 
ment. The apartment was occupied by Miss Patricia Maloney, a stenog- 
rapher. Miss Maloney spread the alarm, so that all residents of the building 

And so on. The story tells the major news. It does not take the 
listeners to the fire. 

Suppose, instead, a reporter goes to the scene, talks to spectators, 
interviews Miss Maloney and other residents of the building. His story 
may take a very different tack: 

Miss Patricia Maloney, a Midtown stenographer, who lived in an apart- 
ment at Third and Main Streets, smoked a last-minute cigaret early this 
morning . . . and the result was that twenty-five occupants of the Milmar 
apartments had to rush from their beds into chilly fall weather. 

Miss Maloney fell asleep before she finished her smoke and her cigaret 
fell onto her mattress. She told about it as she stood shivering in a fur coat 
over her night clothes all she saved from the fire. 

"I don't know what woke me," she said. "The smoke, I guess." She went 
on to say, "Anyway, I realized my mattress was on fire. I just grabbed my 
coat and ran through the hall screaming." 

Miss Maloney's warning roused all tenants of the building, and all 

sity of Minnesota found on the university faculty a man who had spent 
many summers in the areas of France where Allied troops were landing. 
This man put on a fifteen-minute personal-experience account of the coun- 
try one in which he gave first-person knowledge of the terrain, the beaches, 
the railroads, the Norman towns and fields that lay in the path of the 
invasion. The result was a colorful and revealing picture that gave KUOM's 
listeners understanding they could not have got from the news service 
stories, packed as they were with detailed information. 

Radio's Local News Service 257 

escaped. But the fire was spreading fast by the time the firemen arrived 
two alarms were turned in and this morning the building is a total loss. 

Edgar Upson was the last tenant to leave the building. He explains it 
this way: "I was halfway down the stairs when I remembered my new 
camera. I just got it yesterday, and I didn't want to lose it." 

So Upson tore back to his apartment to grab his camera and two suits of 

Upson was luckier than most tenants. Mrs. Walter Mandell told a 
KWWW reporter tearfully that she saved only the night clothes she wore. 

She said she never saw anything burn so fast. And she continued. i4 I 
wanted to go back to bring some things out, but I didn't dare." 

Spectators supported Mrs. Mandril's story. A motorist passing just as the 
alarm was spread says that he stopped his car half a block away and that 
by the time he got back flames were shooting from half a dozen windows. 

The story could go on for as long as the newsroom chose to extend 
it. And it would carry to the listener a much more colorful and interest- 
ing picture than the straight news account. It would also take more 
time a factor the editor must consider. 

Stories in this vein can, however, be employed more concisely than 
in the example, and in situations less dramatic than fires and catas- 
trophes. The flavor of a taxpayers' protest before the city council can 
be better presented by a description of the council chamber scene, 
with some quotes, than by the unadorned report and the flavor may 
be more meaningful than a factual, but colorless, report. A church 
picnic can be brought to life by telling of the mishaps in the three- 
legged race. 

Siegfried Mickelson, newsroom director of WCCO-Minneapolis r 
who believes color reporting a prime factor in radio's local news cover- 
age, has this to say: "I want my reporters to tell what they see, hear, 
smell. I want them always to get the major significant details, of course. 
But I want such details clothed in revealing human-interest color. 
Thus we show the audience that we are not merely reading from a 
newspaper, but that our men are on the scene. We gain not alone in 
interest but also in authoritative tone." 

Newsroom men have experimented with first-person coverage in 
events they report "I saw, I heard, I talked with ..." Sometimes 
the technique is sharply effective. But some of those who have used it 

258 News by Radio 

think the problems it raises discount its value. If the reporter is also 
the broadcaster, it is likely to work well. But if the announcer must 
introduce the reporter, a small production problem arises. Sometimes, 
indeed, the reporter cannot have returned to the studio in time for 
the program. Mickelson says on this point that "third-person writing, 
handled so as to show clearly that our reporters are on the job, has 
proved so effective that we rarely bother with first-person reporting/' 
The wire recorder is often a boon to reporting events of this nature. 
An account recorded by the shivering Miss Maloney of her experience 
at the apartment fire would lend greater vitality to the story than the 
announcer's quotation does. 

Local News and Promotion 

When the Detroit News started broadcasting in 1920, its purpose 
was promotional. At first by broadcasting news, later music, it thought 
(as its radio editor said in 1924) that "goodwill is about the only return 
we expect from our station." 

Most of the other early "broadcasters looked on radio in the same 
light. Of the 576 licenses in force on May 1, 1924, two-thirds were 
held by radio and electric companies and a few newspapers which 
thought of broadcasting not as a business for its own sake, but as a 
promotional adjunct of other businesses. 

When broadcasting celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1945, 
it had become a billion-dollar business. And its thoughts of promotion 
were of self-promotion, not of building up other enterprises. 

The relationship of the newsroom to this fact has two contrasting 
facets: A station's news programming may be used as one of its most 
vigorous avenues of promotion for the station as a whole; and the 
remainder of the station programming may be used to promote its 
news services. 

The second half of this contrast is obvious. Throughout their broad- 
cast days, many stations use station breaks to announce their next 
news shows; they call attention to newscasts, commentaries, special- 
event shows, and others emanating from the newsroom by familiar 
and simple devices. 

Radio's Local News Service 259 

The first facet is more complex. There are scores of methods by 
which a station may employ its news operations for station promotion. 

Most common is the familiar advertisement of the extent or fre- 
quency of news programming. WMIN-Twin Cities, a 250-watt station, 
uses movie-screen and other announcements of its hourly on-the-hour 
news shows; WIND-Chicago, 5,000 watts, boasted more than fifty 
news programs daily in 1946 (twenty-four of them, five minutes each 
hour, sold to one sponsor). The "independent," non-network station 
is more likely to adopt and promote such a plan than the larger 
station; its time is freer, and with the limited programming facilities 
usually characteristic of the smaller station it may depend far more 
heavily on the relative ease of preparing news shows. When it does, 
it uses every kind of promotion to let its audience know that it is "the 
station with the news." 

A number of stations, however, have developed more imaginative 
and probably more telling methods of using news in promotion. Some 
use specific news stories especially local stories- for this purpose. 

WFOY-St. Augustine, for example, which puts on the air each week 
more than 450 minutes of local news, issues the WFOY Daily News 
Sheet, on 8V2- by 14-inch paper, with copies of local stories it has 
broadcast. Carrying the dates and times of broadcast, these News 
Sheets are mailed to local or primary-area citizens whose names have 
appeared in them. WKBH-La Crosse, Wisconsin, WILM- Wilming- 
ton, Delaware, and a number of other stations get out "news memos" 
of like nature. 

Some stations believe that modesty about their news operations is 
not a virtue. John Verstraete, former news director of 50,000-watt 
KSTP-Twin Cities, considered it profitable to call unabashed atten- 
tion to his newsroom's "scoops." "We always let the listener know 
when we have beaten the newspaper and radio competition," Ver- 

The radio trade press especially Broadcasting, Radio Daily, and Radio 
Showmanship cany hundreds of stories detailing the promotional activ- 
ities of American radio stations. Many such stories deal with the use of 
news in promotion, and the alert newsroom director has to keep abreast 
of them. 

260 Newa by Radio 

straete said, "not once but each time the stoiy is used." KSTP closes 
most of its news shows with the reminder that its next newscast is to 
come at such-and-such an hour. 

WRBL-Columbus, Georgia, prints its newsroom slogan "Accuracy 
Speed Human Interest" on cards and drops them on the desks 
of the sheriff, the city clerk, and other news sources. The practice, says 
WRBL, wins friends for the station and stories for the newsroom. 

News shows may also be used to inform listeners of newsworthy 
events the station is to cover political speeches, on-the-spot broad- 
casts, and the like. In these cases the newscast is providing news as well 
as promotion. 

A Miscellany of Local News 

WMAZ-Macon, Georgia (10,000 watts) puts a news editor and 
two reporters on duty early in the morning, and two more reporters 
on the afternoon and evening shift. They cover the city thoroughly, 
put on six newscasts with local and UP and INS news. The station 
also uses nine network news shows daily. 

WINR-Binghamton, New York (250 watts) broadcasts seven 
straight news shows, two sports shows, and a local commentary daily. 
It carries local news on every show; believes that news shows should 
run to fifteen minutes because "five or ten minutes devoted to news 
is insufficient to present the complete news story." It has AP service. 

WHIZ-Zanesville, Ohio (250 watts) found through a cross-section 
listener panel of fifty-eight listeners that they "got enough national 
and international news from network shows"; the station therefore 
concentrates on local and regional news in the newscasts it originates. 
One man gathers all local and regional news. The station has AP 

WPAY-Portsmouth, Ohio (250 watts) sent several thousand post- 
cards to "a selected list" of listeners telling them of the station's news 
department and soliciting news tips. One man gathers local news and 
edits shows, in direct competition with the newspaper which owns 
the station. It has AP and UP service. 

Radio's Local News Service 261 

WIZE-Springfield, Ohio (250 watts) has a "woman ace reporter 
from the newspaper" who gathers local news. She is "so well estab- 
lished" that local stories are often reported to her ahead of the news- 
papers. WIZE has three all-local five-minute news shows, at 7:55 and 
10:25 A.M. and 4:25 P.M. It has UP service. 

At WING-Dayton, Ohio (5,000 watts), one newsman gathers, 
writes, and broadcasts two fifteen-minute all-local newscasts at noon 
and 6 P.M., and a ten-minute all-local show at 3 P.M. These are "the 
station's major newscasts." WING has AP service. 

WJTN-Jamestown, New York (250 watts) maintains a local news 
bureau of four full-time men because "our listeners want complete 
local coverage of news and sports." One of the men devotes his time 
to near-by Warren, Pennsylvania. WJTN has UP service. 

WOW-Omaha (5,000 watts) has a staff of seventy-five correspond- 
ents. It picks them from names suggested by county sheriffs, pays them 
on "enterprise, initiative, quality, and quantity, with no set formula." 
It gives correspondents credit on the air for especially noteworthy 
work. It has AP and UP. 

KNEL-Brady, Texas (250 watts) has no wire service, but operates 
its newsroom strictly on a local basis. Its listeners "have learned to 
depend on KNEL for news of their friends and neighbors." KPAB- 
Laredo, Texas (250 watts) also operates on this basis, without a wire 

WBNY-Buffalo (250 watts) operates an aggressive newsroom with 
a five-man local staff, a full-time Washington correspondent, and 
three news services (AP, UP, and INS). A station without network 
affiliation, it makes extensive local and national news service its prime 
weapon to combat opposition. Roy L. Albertson, owner, advises 
straight-from-the-shoulder handling of local news, and has a number of 
successful "campaigns" against local abuses to his credit. 

WSLB-Ogdensburg, New York (250 watts) has a sixty-man cor- 
respondent staff, puts on a daily "Rural Reporter" show at 10:50 A.M. 
It has UP service. 

262 News by Radio 

WLBR-Lebanon, Pennsylvania (1 7 000 watts) boasts three local 
and regional features: A ten-minute "Capital City Daily" show from 
HarrisbuTg, made up chiefly of Harrisburg local (as distinguished from 
state government) news; news of each of six primary-area communities, 
one a day, in a radio version of the community weekly newspaper; and 
a "Local News Review" at 7 P.M, daily, a rewrite of the day's local news 
for listeners who missed earlier programs. WLBR has AP service. 

WLIB-New York (1,000 watts), the New York Post station, puts 
heavy emphasis on local news in its ten-minute hourly newscasts (which 
are broadcast by reporters rather than announcers) . It maintains a full 
newsroom staff of reporters and editors, uses a wire recorder extensively, 
offers two periods of news devoted exclusively to Brooklyn and the 
Bronx. It seeks the local angle on national and international news, 
and sends special correspondents to cover important international 
events. It has AP and UP service. 

WINR (see above) "never uses an individual story more than three 
times in a day." Each time a story is re-used, it must be rewritten. 

WFBL-Syracuse (5,000 watts) has two daily regional news shows, 
at 9 A.M. and 5:45 P.M. Four correspondents in near-by primary-area 
cities report twice daily by teletype to the WFBL newsroom; eleven 
stringers at other points supplement these reports. WFBL has UP 

KGKY-Scottsbluff, Nebraska (1,000 watts) has been offering a 
thorough local news service since 1938, with a small staff. Its "What- 
is-news?" policy is broad: "Drunkenness and drunken driver stories are 
never withheld everything goes. That's what makes a newscast." 
KGKY has UP service. 

KSTP-Twin Cities (50,000 watts) has activated its entire station 
personnel as a local news-gathering force by offering $5.00 for the first 
tip any employe turns in, $2.00 for each additional tip, and $10 for 
the best tip each month. The device has led to a good many scoops 
over radio and newspaper competition. KSTP has AP and UP service. 

Radio's Local News Service 263 

WIGM-Medford, Wisconsin (250 watts) broadcasts a fifteen-min- 
ute "Community News Show" daily. Four reporters "all women with 
a nose for news" cover not only major spot stories, but also per- 
sonal news, births, deaths, "socials/' and the like. The news editoi 
spends five hours a day putting the show together. WIGM has UP 

KELA-Centralia-Chehalis, Washington (1,000 watts), located twc 
miles from the borders of the two cities, has twelve miles of leased wire 
linking the two communities to the station. It has forty-nine remote 
outlets along the system so that spot broadcasts may be made from 
almost any location in its area. One man does leg work, news writing, 
and broadcasting. KELA has UP service. 

WIND-Chicago (5,000 watts), to meet a sponsor's need for z 
special-pattern show, developed 'Today's News in Chicago," a seven- 
day fifteen-minute program of local and regional news. It has thra 
sections: "Chicago News" (strictly local); "News of the Neighbor 
hoods" (close-in suburban); and "Chicagoland News" (regional). Ifc 
materials are drawn from the regional splits of UP, AP, and INS. 

KPO-San Francisco (50,000 watts) puts on at 1 : 30 P.M. each Satur 
day a fifteen-minute show called "News in Advertising." Ina Stephen 
son, assistant manager of KPO's news department, assembles for th< 
show news culled from advertisements in magazines, newspapers, anc 
radio "ads telling the story of new developments in business anc 
industry score the most often on the program, but also included ar< 
many institutional and educational advertisements." 

At KVOO-Tulsa (50,000 watts), Ken Miller, news director, and hi 
assistant sometimes with added newsroom personnel participating- 
put on a half-hour show one night a week in which they quite frankl; 
gossip about the news. As material for the program, Miller says, the 
save feature stories that don't rate time in regular newscasts, an< 
instead of broadcasting them straight, present them in informal cor 
versation. They throw in a few records, make and drink coffee durin; 
the show, and offer six to eight stories in this framework. 

264 News by Radio 

WKBH-La Crosse, Wisconsin (1,000 watts) and WLOW-Norfolk, 
Virginia (1,000 watts) both make broadcasting of city council pro- 
ceedings regular features. 

Bill Leonard puts on a forty-five-minute show called "This Is New 
York" at 9:15 each morning over WCBS-New York (50 r OOO watts) 
nine minutes in commercials which is "more like a magazine than 
a newspaper/' according to Jerry Walker's excellent description of it 
in Editor & Publisher (January 31, 1948). Leonard stresses feature 
angles of the news and movie^ book, theater, and radio criticism. 
"When Leo Durocher was having a press conference to talk about 
his return as the Dodgers' manager," says Walker, "Bill Leonard was 
telephoning Burt Shotton in Florida, asking him how it felt to be an 

KATL-Houston (1,000 watts) has a "public service partnership" 
with the Houston Press whereby the newspaper provides full local 
news coverage to the station, as well as publicization of station activi- 
ties, in return for standby announcement mentions of the partnership 
with the Press in five noncommercial news and feature broadcasts 
daily. KATL has the AP radio wire, the Press the UP news wire. 

Harry Van Slycke of KSIW-Woodward, Oklahoma (250 watts) 
was in a Woodward cafe for a commercial broadcast when fire broke 
out in a shop across the street. Van Slycke, with his portable mike, 
gave seventeen minutes of live running commentary on the fire (until 
power was turned off as a precautionary measure) , and summoned aid 
from fire departments in five near-by towns at firemen's request. 


Special Events 

Special events got regular broadcasting started, back in 1920. 

SMK-Detroit and KDKA-Pittsburgh to refer again to the pioneers- 
opened their regular schedules by telling their few thousand listeners 
about the outcome of elections. They chose these events because their 
audiences were ready-made, requiring no build-up; because, as matters 
o public concern, they provided excellent material for a bit of brag- 
There, in essence, are the characteristics of what radio today calls 
"special events." Events that have wide popular interest; events with 
a good deal of color, or drama, or warmth and human interest; events 
whose reporting may, one way or another, be considered "in the public 

As broadcasting developed after that flimsy start in 1920, it continued 
to make the special event its prime device for snaring public notice. 
The Dempsey-Carpentier fight at Boyle's Thirty Acres in 1921 . . .a 
Princeton-Chicago football game in 1922 . . , the opening of Congress 
in 1923 . . . the arrival of an unknown named Lindbergh in Paris in 
1927 . . . the inaugural of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 (an 
event followed immediately by the first Fireside Chat) . . . the 
Munich conference . . . the outbreak of war in 1939 . . . Pearl 
Harbor . . . D Day, V-E Day, V-J Day . . . elections, coronations, 
Olympic games, atom bombings, conventions, funerals. The list is as 
long as the history of broadcasting. 

Obviously, radio came early to realize that mere telling about such 
events wasn't enough. To describe them at second or third, or tenth 
hand failed to take advantage of one of radio's prime advantages over 
other means of mass communication: the advantage of taking the 
listener to the scene, of letting him hear the thud of the prize-fighter's 
glove, the cheers of the French mob at Le Bourget, the very voice of 
the most effective speaker radio has known. So special events became 


266 News by Radio 

part of the programming problem of every network and of every indi- 
vidual station. 

For the problem is one for the station whose world is no larger than 
the boundaries of its own county as well as for the network. MBS may 
broadcast a national-championship football game; the 250-watter puts 
the local high school basketball games on the air. ABC tells the nation 
which of Hollywood's charmers gets the current Oscar; the station in 
Podunk broadcasts the county spelling bee. Opening of the United 
Nations Assembly or Midtown Fourth of July parade . . . Republican 
national convention or dedication of the new bridge across Swamp 
Creek: each is a subject of news interest to a particular audience; each 
has human interest; each is an activity whose broadcast in some degree 
serves the public interest. 

Unfortunately, the harassed manager of a small station can't toss 
off a special event broadcast merely by writing a memo to his boys. 
Such a broadcast has to be thoroughly planned, sometimes long in 
advance some stations and nets planned D Day and V-E Day broad- 
casts for years; it takes the efforts of many members of a station's or 
a network's staff. It demands imagination, time, and money. The small 
station has little time, and no huge reserve of money, to spare; and it 
usually takes both to put imagination to work. 

Nevertheless, the small stations are more and more naming "special 
events directors" on their staffs the big stations and the nets have 
had them for years. And in most cases the special events director is the 
news director. A special event is usually a news event; the link is a 
natural. Any news director who is more than a figure-head is con- 
stantly thinking up special broadcasts that conform to the type, 
whether or not he bears the title or uses the term. 

A few notable broadcasting feats have taken on the flavor of special 
events although they were not planned in advance. Radio's observance of 
the death of President Roosevelt of which more later is one such feat; 
the reporting of Pearl Harbor is another. Broadcasting in connection with 
events like these, though it cannot be made ready beforehand, calls for the 
same kind of mobilization of radio facilities. Radio has met such emer- 
gencies with noteworthy success perhaps in part because of its experience 
in preparing for the usual type of special event. 

Special Events 267 

Arranging a Special Event 

Here's station WWWW, in whose city the annual Fall Festival 
Parade is going to be the biggest ever. Two hours and scores of floats 
long, half a dozen bands complete with drum majorettes, a reviewing 
stand with the governor in it, and half the citizens of the county jam- 
ming Main Street sidewalks. WWWW's news editor thinks his station 
can carry the parade off Main Street to the stay-at-home half of the 
county. The job perhaps turns into something bigger than he bar- 
gained for, for these are some of the chores he has to do: 

Get a map showing the parade's route; check it for desirable points 
from which to broadcast; arrange remote lines (doubtless WWWW 
has some remote lines in, but more may be needed); install micro- 
phonesespecially one in the reviewing stand, so as to pick up the 
governor's bestowal of a medal on the most agile baton twirler. 

Get a list of all participating organizations from the Fall Festival 
committee, complete with hundreds of names of marchers, Boat- 
riders, parade marshals, and the like; get a schedule of the order of 
their appearance in the parade. Prepare a card for each float, marching 
unit, or other element in the parade, giving pertinent names and 
other data. 

Put a script-writer to work to prepare a hundred or more pieces of 
copy, thirty seconds to three minutes long copy giving appropriate 
data on the history of the Festival, the overpowering size of the parade, 
the number of steps each marcher will take, the difficulty of making 
some of the floats, the donors of prizes, and so on. There must be, too, 
reminiscent bits on the time Joe Fobes' horse ran away back in the 
1916 parade, and the fact that nine-year-old twins won the drum 
majorette award in 1945. 

Assign announcers and engineers to each microphone; brief them 
thoroughly on their parts in the broadcast; give them batches of copy 
to use at appropriate times, including pieces for fill-in during the periods 
when the parade has been stalled "by the breakdown of a truck. Warn 
them to be on the lookout for fox terriers that frighten parading horses 
or youngsters that wander into the line of march. 

Arrange for interviews perhaps set interviews with the parade 

268 News ty Radio 

chairman or other notables (the copy probably written in advance) 
and ad-lib interviews for which interviewers must be prepared. 

Assign a man to do on-the-spot interviews among the crowd of 
spectators; arrange for his traveling mike or mobile broadcasting unit. 

Plan and execute recorded features interviews, brief speeches, band 
music, and so on. Arrange for their appropriate timing in the broad- 

See that the station's regular schedule during the period is cleared 
for the special broadcast. 

Finally, make sure that the station's studios are standing by to take 
over in case a cloudburst postpones the parade until Tuesday. 

The success of such a broadcast will depend heavily on the amount 
of sleep the director misses during the preceding month. When the 
show goes on the air, it should have the effect of being spontaneous, 
unarranged; achievement of this effect is in direct ratio to the amount 
and skill of advance preparation which is to say, to the degree to 
which it is carefully nonspontaneous. 

The hypothetical special event here outlined is perhaps more elabo- 
rate than most. But it is also typical of special events. If a Fourth of 
July speech is to be broadcast, there are mikes ancl lines to set up, and 
announcers' scripts to get the main speaker on and off the air. When 
a football victory celebration seems to be coming up, man-on-the- 
street interviews and other events must be prearranged. When the 
local visit of a great symphony orchestra is to be broadcast, there are 
permissions to be gained as well as involved technical preparations to 
make. _ Q _ 

Now an actual special event. This was a broadcast * by WCCO- 
Twin Cities on December 31, 1946. Siegfried Mickelson, news and 
special events director, started work on the show early in December, 
upon learning that the sixty-five-year-old Minneapolis Chamber of 
Commerce was to conduct special ceremonies to mark its relinquish- 
ment of its title to the Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association. 
His first step was to confer with officials of the two associations and 
gain approval for the broadcast. Then he made preliminary arrange- 

* By written permission of WCCO, Minneapolis, September 17, 1947, 

Special Events 269 

ments with the WCCO program manager, and wrote the following 

FROM Sig Mickelson 













Master Control 

E. C. Hillweg 


Jim Hayes 

December 6, 1946 

We have scheduled a half-hour broadcast from the 
Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce on Fourth 
Street and Fourth Avenue for Tuesday, December 
31. This show will be transcribed at approximately 
II A. M. and played back, subject to later confirma- 
tion from the program manager's office, from 5 to 
5:30 P. M. the same day. The occasion is the yielding 
of the name "Chamber of Commerce" to the 
Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association and 
the assumption of the name "Grain Exchange" by 
the present Chamber of Commerce. 

Will the chief engineer's office please have lines in- 
stalled to the floor of the Grain Exchange? The con- 
tact there is E. C. Hillweg, secretary. Our outlet 
should be at the pit end of the floor, just off the plat- 
form near a corridor on the side of the room closest to 
Third Street. 

The lines should probably be available from approximately 10:30 A.M. until 
approximately 12:30 P.M. 

We shall probably want to use four microphones on this operation. One 
would be on a stand for the speakers' platform, one on a stand for band 
music and crowd noises, one portable with sufficient cable to move around 
the room with some freedom, and one, either portable or on a stand, for 
the announcer handling the written copy on the show. 

We do not as yet know the exact starting time for the broadcast, but as- 
suming that the Grain Exchange on this day will close at 1 1 A.M. our sched- 
ule will follow roughly these timings: 

10:55 to 11:00 A.M. Color and background largely from prepared copy. 
The sound of the gong closing trading for the day. 

General celebration from the crowd with band music 
and spontaneous group singing. 

Ceremony in which the name "Chamber of Com- 
merce" will be presented formally and officially to 
Emmett Salisbury of the Civic and Commerce Asso- 
ciation and the assumption of the name "Grain 



270 News by Radio 

Exchange" by the present Chamber of Commerce. 
There will be very brief talks by Mr. Tearse of the 
Grain Exchange, Mr. Salisbury of the Civic and 
Commerce, Mayor Humphrey and Governor-elect 

Officials of the Grain Exchange are now developing 
ideas for this ceremony. They will perhaps have some 
sort of document which they will pass on to Salis- 
bury, and there may also be some little ceremony 
commemorating the assumption of the name "Grain 

11:20 to 11:2430 Group singing of "Auld Lang Syne" and general 
crowd noises and celebration. 

This schedule is, of course, a very tentative one and is subject to constant 
revision. It however will provide a working outline on which we can build 
a show later. The exact timing will be dependent upon the scheduled time 
for the closing of the grain exchange on that day. For example, if trading 
should be closed at 12, our show will run from 11:55 to 12:25. It is also 
quite probable that we shall wish to start a couple of minutes earlier than 
five minutes before the hour for the end of trading. This will give us more 
time to describe activities in the pit and also give us a chance to broadcast 
the two-bell gong five minutes before closing time as well as the three-bell 
gong at closing time. 

At the moment, it is my assumption that no production man need be 
assigned to this job, but I suggest that Mr. Wilkey assign an announcer as 
soon as possible. It is my feeling that Larry Haeg, who is closely identified 
with the grain business, handle the roving mike to describe the actual oper- 
ation in the pit. 

There then followed a series of conferences between Hillweg and 
other officials of the two associations on the one hand, and Mickelson 
and station officials on the other. It developed that trading would end 
at 12:00, so the time of making the transcription was changed from 
10:55 to 11:54. Frank Butler was assigned as announcer for the show. 
Haeg, WCCO farm director, was briefed on his part in it. 

Following these conferences, Hillweg presented to Mickelson, on 
December 19, a revised tentative schedule. Starting at 1 1 : 54, it followed 
Mickelson's original suggestion closely. It contained a good deal of 
actual script introductions of speakers and the like, and a resounding 
pat on the back for the Pillsbury Mills band, which was to perform. 

Special Events 271 

Mickelson responded with a second revision of the schedule a simpli- 
fied version, omitting the script and circulated it among station 
officials. In a letter to Hillweg with his revision, he commented in 

12:00 NOON I think we might allow a couple of extra minutes for a 
demonstration here. A band number alone should take a little more than 
two minutes and if we should get thirty or forty seconds applause, both be- 
fore and after the band selection, it should run our time out to a minimum 
of three minutes preceding the introduction of Mr.' Tearse. I would like to 
see approximately three and a half minutes allowed here. . . . 

12:08.30 There is a problem here as to whether, because of union regu- 
lations, we will be able to introduce the Pillsbury Band for a selection. It 
might be better if at the conclusion of Mr. Tearse's introduction of Judge 
Youngdahl the band automatically break into "Hail to the Chief without 
any formal introduction. In that way we could carry the music as sound- 
effects and not as a definitely programmed band selection. I am checking 
now to determine whether the band is composed exclusively of union musi- 
cians. If it is, we can then disregard the union angle entirely. . . . 

I am rather interested in having at least a five-minute pad at the end of 
the show. If the program runs at all behind schedule this will permit us to 
take up the slack at this point. If it runs directly on schedule this five 
minutes will permit us from three to four minutes of group singing and a 
minute or two of sign-off. . . . 

There followed another conference Hillweg, Mickelson, and Ralph 
Backlund, the writer assigned to the show another minor revision 
of the schedule, and final instructions to performers and technicians. 
On December 27 Mickelson sent to all parties to the program a final 
version of the schedule. The day before the broadcast, he issued the 
following memorandum: 

FROM Sig Mickelson December 30, 1946 


Joscelyn Haeg 

Wilkey Backlund 

Beloungy Newsroom 

Ziebarth Master Control 

Dawson Butler 

Ward Jim Hayes 

Lucas E. C. Hillweg 


272 News by Radio 

Following is a relatively complete schedule for the grain exchange pick- 
up Tuesday morning, December 31, at 11:54 A.M. This show is being 
recorded for play-back at 5 P.M. 

1 1 : 54 A.M. Show opens cold from Grain Exchange by Butler doing 

voice. Butler reads two minutes copy prepared by news 

11-.56A.M. Butler cues in Larry Haeg in pit. Haeg describes pit 

operations, gets color and sound effects of Grain Ex- 
change in motion. 

1 1 : 58.30 A.M. Haeg cues in Butler. Butler does more prepared copy up 
to 11:59.45, when he awaits sound of gong closing 

12:00 NOON Gong and we hope a demonstration from the brokers, 

traders, and guests on the floor. We will try to establish 
sufficient claque to make this demonstration work for 
at least ten or fifteen seconds. Following it the Pillsbury 
Band will play probably two selections. Butler can take 
the first selection straight and then ad lib about the 
second, describe the demonstration in the room and call 
attention to the program which is to follow immedi- 
ately. He should also be able to describe the speakers' 
platform and the arrivals of the featured speakers. 

12:06 P.M. Butler calls attention to the fact that H. H. Tearse, 

president of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, is 
to preside over the meeting and will start speaking at 

12:06-12:09 P.M. Tearse speaks and presents scroll to Emmett Salisbury. 
12:09-12:12 P.M. Salisbury responds. 

12:12 P.M. Band plays a few bars from "Hail to the Chief pos- 

sibly about a minute. 

12:13 P.M. Tearse introduces Governor Youngdahl. 

12:13^ P .M. Youngdahl speaks. 

1 2 : 16 Yi P.M. Tearse introduces Haeg. 

12:17 P.M. Haeg speaks. 

12:20 P.M. Tearse announces group singing of "Auld Lang Syne." 

12:23^p.M. Sign off. 

Special Events 273 

NB If for any reason the program should run short Butler 

will have adequate copy to fill the end. \Vc could also 
use a minute preceding the show at 5 o'clock to intro- 
duce it if we need any further fill. 


1 Butler will be able to get copy from Ralph Backlund for his 11:54, 
11:56, 11:58.30, 12:00 and closing pieces. He should note that there will 
be a gong at 11:55 signifying that only five minutes remain before the end 
of trading. 

2 Haeg It will help immensely if Larry will have his microphone as 
close as possible to the gong at 11:55, and then if he will have it back up 
there in a similar spot at 12:00; otherwise he can determine where he wants 
to work and where he can get the best sound effects and best description 
of the final moments of trading in the pit. 

3 Engineering Department Would it be possible to put earphones on 
both Haeg and Butler and feed them cue through ear phones? This would 
simplify the switching problem during the first six minutes of the show, 
when it may be a little difficult to throw cues because of the crowded 

4 Note to all hands The program will carry itself from the point at 
12:06 when Mr. Tearse takes over until approximately 12:22, when the 
band is playing and the crowd is singing "Auld Lang Syne." 

Backlund^ carrying out his part of the assignment, provided three 
pieces of copy. The first, of forty-four typewritten lines, covered the 
1 1 : 54 and 1 1 : 56 items on the schedule; the second, of twenty-six lines, 
the 11:58.30 and 12:00 items; the third, of forty-five lines, the closing. 
Note that the third piece is divided into "takes," so that the announcer 
might cut it where necessary. The copy: 

11:54 to 11:56 

This is Frank Butler, speaking to you from the floor of the Minneapolis 
Chamber of Commerce. The sounds you hear in the background the 
steady murmur of voices and the occasional sharp outcries are those of one 
of the world's great grain exchanges in operation. For this spacious room, 
with its tall windows and slightly old-fashioned atmosphere, is the world's 
largest cash grain market, its second largest futures market. No other spot 
in the Twin Cities is so intimately tied up with the history of the North- 
west* For sixty-five years, the men in this room have been keeping their 
fingers on the pulse of the Northwest's vast agricultural production. They 

274 News by Radio 

have seen our good years and our bad years come and go, our bumper crops 
and our failures. 

In a few seconds from now at 11:55 A.M., on the last day of 1946 
they, and you, will hear the sound of a gong striking twice. That will be a 
signal a signal that only five minutes of trading are left under the historic 
name of the "Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce." 

When trading is resumed here tomorrow, it will be under the somewhat 
more descriptive title of "The Minneapolis Grain Exchange." 


Five minutes left five minutes in which to recall some of the history of 
this famous institution. The Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce was 
officially incorporated on October 19th, 1881 and, if we want to be spe- 
cific about the time it was at 9:30 A.M. What was its purpose? Well, in 
highly untechnical language, it was to provide a market-place for all of the 
grain produced in Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, North- 
ern Nebraska and Iowa. Similar grain exchanges had been established else- 
where in the country, all of them operating under the name "Board of 
Trade." But that name already had been pre-empted in Minneapolis by 
an organization equivalent to the present Civic and Commerce Association. 
And so the newly organized exchange became the "Minneapolis Chamber 
of Commerce." 

During recent years, it has been the source of endless confusion. Every 
day the Chamber gets hundreds of letters from persons wanting to know 
about the business and recreational opportunities in Minneapolis. 

And every day exactly at noon a messenger has carried a bag full of 
this mail over to the Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association, where 
these questions are answered. Altogether, it amounts to about a ton of mail 
a year. That, in itself, has been reason enough to change the name. But the 
Chamber also has wanted a name more perfectly descriptive of its highly 
important function. 

We've already told you what the function is. Part of it is to provide a 
place for trading in grain futures the colorful "pit/' Now, for a descrip- 
tion of the last few minutes of trading in the pit, under the old name, we'll 
turn you over to WCCO's Farm Service Director, Larry Haeg. 

Jl:5830 to 11:59.45 

That was Larry Haeg, describing the last few moments of trading in the 
pit of the "Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce." To the uninitiated, trad- 
ing in grain futures sounds like the utmost in confusion. The air of excite- 
ment and the constant shouting make it seem like a very feverish business. 

Special Events 275 

Actually, of course, it is just a highly-developed business routine. Much of 
the noise is explained by the fact that federal laws and the rules of this 
grain exchange require all bids and offers to be made by "open outcry." 
There's a very good reason for it to assure that all offers are open to all 
buyers, and that buyers have access to all supplies of grain. In other words, 
it prevents "deals on the side" and it assures the farmer of the best possi- 
ble price for his crop in an open market. 

Far less spectacular to watch, but equally important, is the cash grain 
market at the other end of this huge room. Here, clustered around high 
tables, are buyers and sellers with their samples of grain. They are all experts 
men who can determine the exact value of a sample by its feel, looks and 

Because color is such an important factor with barley, the barley samples 
are displayed in the north windows where the steady, cold daylight shows 
up the slightest variation in color. 

But now, everyone is waiting for 12:00 NOON and the sound of the final 
gong. When you hear it, you will know that a kind of milestone has been 
passed that 65 years of operation under the historic name of the "Min- 
neapolis Chamber of Commerce" are over. The name will pass to the Civic 
and Commerce Association, and this great market henceforth will be 
known as the "Minneapolis Grain Exchange." 



With the singing of "Auld Lang Syne," we have come to the close of an 
important day in the history of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. But this 
is one place where "Old Acquaintance" certainly will not be forgotten. 
Under its new name, the Grain Exchange will continue to function just 
as it has for the past 65 years during all the time it has been known as 
the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. 

* # # 

Those years have left few marks on this high, paneled room with its pit, 
its blackboards, its balconies for the markers, its telephones, and its almost 

endless rows of buyers' tables. 

# # # 

But in 65 years, many things have happened. There have been tre- 
mendously dramatic moments on the floor of this grain exchange 
moments that have been vital to the whole Northwest. 

276 News by Radio 

There have been days when word flashed round the room of a destruc- 
tive wave of rust in the Northwest wheat fields, or of an expected crop fail- 
ure with its tremendous implications for our economy. 

# * * 

There have been moments of wild celebration, such as the time when 
wheat first reached the wonderful price of a dollar a bushel. That happened 
before the turn of the century, and was a fulfillment of every farmer's 
dream. Maybe you remember those popular old cigars "P-V Cigars" 
whose slogan was "As Good As Dollar Wheat." 

# * # 

But dollar wheat no longer has the same significance. Because wheat 
climbed to 2 dollars before the first World War, and up to 3 dollars before 

it was over. 

# * * 

The earliest days of the Grain Exchange are identified with some of the 
most famous names in the history of the Twin Cities and the Northwest 
with the Washburns, the Crosbys, the Pillsburys, the Bells. H. G. Harrison 
was its first president, G. D. Rogers its first secretary. And among the 
original incorporators were A. C. Rand, C. M. Loring (for whom Loring 
Park is named), and D. C. Bell. 

# * # 

The early years were ones of struggle. But the Grain Exchange grew and 
expanded right along with the Northwest which it served. 

# # 

The time of greatest expansion came during the Nineties when the 
growers of the Dakotas and the Red River Valley started raising Northern 
Hard Red Spring Wheat. That was the finest wheat in the world and the 
demand for flour made from it was tremendous. 

Rail lines pushed out to the west and north. With them went the grain 
elevator builders ready to buy the first crops almost as soon as the farmer 
had turned over his sod. Then came mechanization and diversification of 
crops oats, rye, barley and flaxseed. 

* * * 

As the crops became bigger and more varied, the role played by the Grain 
Exchange in marketing them became greater and greater. 

# * # 

It is because the Exchange has been so closely identified with the growth 
of our region, that WCCO has been pleased to bring you this broadcast 

Special Events 277 

today. We have heard the formal ceremony in which the Minneapolis 
Chamber of Commerce relinquished that name to be known henceforth, 
and more accurately, as the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, 


The term "special event'' usually is taken to mean a remote broad- 
castone emanating from a scene outside the studio. But hundreds of 
studio broadcasts each year may properly be described by the term- 
anniversary programs, dramatizations to signalize important occasions, 
forums to discuss current problems of consequence. One series of 
programs that occupied a third of a station's time for six weeks may 
properly be described as special event: KUOM-University of Minnesota 
met a critical polio epidemic in 1946 by putting on the air some hun- 
dreds of programs whose purpose was to keep children occupied and 
entertained during a long quarantine period in Minneapolisand, 
when the epidemic closed the schools, to get school work started at 

The networks are in better position to stage long-planned special 
events than are individual stations. They have to their credit such 
notable programs as Norman Corwin's "On a Note of Triumph/' an 
hour-long V-E Day dramatization, which CBS had commissioned 
Corwin to write six months in advance; the NBC series of United 
Nations programs in 1946 and 1947; the superb on-the-spot broadcast 
by ABC's, George Hicks off the Norman coast on D Day; the coverage 
by all nets of the atomic bomb trials at Bikini; hundreds more. 

Another type of special event of interest primarily to the local station 
is the big spot news-break. A three-alarm fire is an obvious example; 
or a flood, or a railroad wreck (or, indeed, a local epidemic). Usually 
such events cannot be predicted their coverage is a challenge to the 
newsroom's energy, inventiveness, and split-second mobility. Broad- 
casting them is usually a matter of on-the-spot reporting, with no 

Special-event broadcasting, whatever its type, is sure to become an 
increasingly important technique in the local station's operation. As 
competition grows, the distinction it lends to a station's programming 
will more and more demand its practice. It is one of the best means of 

278 News by Radio 

mating events intelligible as well as colorful. Moreover, it is always 
"local live" broadcasting; in view of FCC emphasis on locally origi- 
nated programs as part of a station's public service, it can hardly be 

"Man-on-the-Street" Broadcasts 

Most radio stations now and again put traveling mikes on the streets, 
or into crowds at county fairs and the like, for on-the-spot ad lib 
broadcasts. These may be put on the air live, or recorded for broadcast 
later. Devoted to offering comments of average citizens on current 
topics, they are of several types: 

The buadcast whose purpose is to bring to listeners the flavor of a par- 
ticular situation or event: The New Year's Eve throng in Times Square, the 
crowd at a movie star's funeral, picnickers at the annual festival of the 
Polish-American Society. 

The broadcast whose purpose is to discover typical attitudes toward cur- 
rent news: The cost of living, the latest decision by the United Nations 
Assembly, salaries for high school teachers (or taxes to pay them) . Similar 
to this type is the feature broadcast, taking its cue from the familiar news- 
paper Inquiring Reporter column: Do you believe wives should work? 
Where do you intend to vacation this year? Do you think firecrackers should 
be permitted on the Fourth of July? 

The commercial broadcast one selling soap, bread, or sealing wax in 
which the announcer takes a mike, for instance, into a grocery store and 
works in questions about the sponsor's product along with those on the 
topic chosen for the day. (This type is not ordinarily a newsroom project.) 

The prerequisites for such broadcasting are evident. There has to be 
a certain amount of advance preparation script, questions, and so oru 
The man on the mike has to be alert, and skillful at ad libbing; he has 
to be thoroughly versed in his subject if the broadcast is to deal with 
a topic in the news. Most such broadcasts are essentially ior entertain- 
ment, even though their ostensible purpose may be to get serious 

During the war, man-on-the-strcet broadcasts were outlawed by the 
broadcasting industry at the request of the Office of Censorship. Obviously 
it would have been possible for an agent of the enemy, knowing that such- 
and-such a broadcast went on the air regularly, to insinuate himself into a 
position to be interviewed, and to inject prearranged signals or code re- 
marks among his responses. 

Special Events 279 

answers to serious questions; this means that humor is important. 

The dangers inherent in any unrehearsed show bulk large in man* 
on-the-street programs. The individuals interviewed almost always 
picked at random may be tongue-tied, or they may be given to titter- 
ing or telling all about Uncle Henry's operation. They may be annoyed 
at being questioned, or overcome at the fact that their voices are going 
on the air. They are sometimes given to profanity, occasionally to 
obscenity. Quick control of what goes into the microphone is a 

A common objection among discerning listeners to shows of this 
type is the bad taste by which some of them are characterized. Some 
broadcasters have attempted to achieve the effect of humor by putting 
their victims on the spot, sometimes by being thoroughly insulting. 
That most giggling respondents don't appear to object makes this 
practice nonetheless offensive. 

A Miscellany of Special Events 

Two explosive-laden vessels in the Texas City, Texas, harbor blew 
up, and carried a good deal of the city with them. Communications, 
too telephone, telegraph, railroad, radio. WOAI-San Antonio, a 
50,000-watt station with a big news operation, sent a man 200 miles by 
police squad car to Texas City; he relayed messages to WOAI by police 
short wave. Jerry Lee, special events director, flew oVer the area and 
broadcast descriptions (some of which NBC picked up) . Other mem- 
bers of the news staff worked on San Antonio angles. . . . Other 
radio stations in southeast Texas and adjoining states performed 
similar jobs. KCRC-Enid, Oklahoma (1,000 watts) was credited by 
the Enid Morning News with "an outstanding example of unusual 
and timely public service in a time of great tragedy." 

Radio's coverage of the disaster was not without criticism, however. 
Pat Flaherty, news editor of KPRC-Houston, made these comments 
to a radio news conference at the University of Denver a few months 
after the disaster (July, 1947) : 

The most glaring fault among the many radio news crews working from 
the disaster area was the tendency to sensationalize a story which spoke of 
tragedy and pity from all angles of its presentation. The situation called for 

280 News by Radio 

a straightforward presentation of the facts and it was no place for radi 
to become "newspaper-minded" and blare out with sensational heac 
lines. . . . 

Press services carried stories which were very much off base, and ther 
were times when our direct broadcast from Texas City contradicted networ 
newsroom reports on the same story. 

In an effort to maintain a steady straight "filler" broadcast, some station 
brought unqualified persons to the microphone for their reports on a dan 
gerous and threatening situation. I actually saw and heard people on th 
microphone who were there just because they were dirty and ragged. . . 
It is safer to talk with these people first to find out what their story is be 
fore they are given the liberty of an open microphone. That all goes back t< 
the fundamental that the spoken word is the most powerful. Therefore, i 
must be right. 

WJR-Detroit (50,000 watts), tying in with WFBG-Altoona (25( 
watts), put on two special pick-ups from the scene of the wreck o 
the Pennsylvania Railroad's Red Arrow, near Altoona. Local tie-up 
The Red Arrow is a crack Detroit-New York passenger train. 

WCPOCincinnati (250 watts) sent a newsman, Paul Dixon, crawl 
ing through a tunnel with a microphone to pick up calls for help fron 
six men trapped in the wreckage of a building that had collapsed. Fo' 
thirty hours WCPO and WKRC-Cincinnati (5,000 watts) continuec 
on-the-spot broadcasts describing the rescue work. 

KILO-Grand Forks, North Dakota (1,000 watts) put on a two-houj 
show in 1946 to find homes for veterans. It offered one pair of nylon; 
for a room and two for an apartment, and ended the two hours (origi 
nally scheduled as a one-hour show) by housing 150 veterans. 

Both stations and networks regarded the United Nations organiza- 
tion conference in San Francisco as a special event. Networks senl 
whole squads of newsmen and technicians to cover it, after weeks oi 
preparation; individual stations sent commentators and reporters. 
Incidentally, both networks and stations came in for severe, and 
deserved, criticism for "Hollywoodizing" the conference devoting 
too much time to feature broadcasts by Hollywood glamour girls. 

The 1945 airwaves were laden with special-event programs com- 
memorating broadcasting's twenty-fifth anniversary. Many, stations 

Special Events 281 

put on their own shows to celebrate a quarter of a century of operation. 
Many stations have arranged special broadcasts in the interests of 
traffic safety, prevention of juvenile delinquency, the fight against race 
and religious prejudice, and other matters of public interest. 

KSD-St. Louis (5,000 watts) sent its news and special events director, 
Frank Eschen, to Rome to originate programs in connection with the 
formal election of thirty-two cardinals at the Vatican. All four major 
networks carried Vatican programs. 

WTMJ-Milwaukee (5,000 watts) converted its entire program- 
ming, when an eighteen-inch snow fell on the city, to broadcasts on 
the crisis. Its staff, snowbound at the station, broadcast nearly a thou- 
sand announcements in twelve hours: messages from stranded victims, 
direction of volunteer services, lists of food distribution centers, post- 
ponements of meetings and other events, emergency instructions in 
case of fire or accidents, and so on. 

ABC broadcast a special program in July of 1947 to present the 
ceremonies at the opening of the long-sealed documents of Abraham 
Lincoln. An ABC commentator was assigned to describe the scene 
and introduce the speakers. 

KLZ-Denver (5,000 watts) broadcast an eye-witness account of 
"falling stars" as the earth passed through the tail of a comet. The 
program, originating on the hilltop location of the station transmitter, 
offered a description by a station announcer and technical comments 
by an astronomer. 

Allen Stout, of WROL-Knoxville (1,000 watts) won the annual 
medal for "outstanding achievement in radio reporting" offered by 
Sigma Delta Chi, professional journalism society, for his 1946 on-the- 
spot broadcast of a gun battle between ex-GIs and politicians during 
an election campaign in Athens, Tennessee. The citation said in part: 

Because he had to whisper in order not to reveal his position to partici- 
pants in the gun battle near him, his voice was not always intelligible above 
the gun fire, but he was able to impart to the listener enough of the excite- 
ment, the danger, and the ebb or flow of the battle to permit the listener to 
see, feel, and hear the battle as it progressed. The broadcast undoubtedly 

282 Newa by Radio 

rank*; above most of the attempts of the armed service and radio corre- 
spondents to broadcast on-the-scene events as they took place in World 
War II. 

WJR-Detroit (50 7 000 watts) and WCAR-Pontiac (1,000 watts) 
had remote mikes ready to broadcast news of the settlement of the 
General Motors strike in 1946 as the Federal mediator announced it. 

The news editor of KXOK-St. Louis (5,000 watts) relayed on-the- 
spot reports of a million-dollar fire from an automobile with radio- 
telephone equipment. 

Perhaps no event in American history has received the thoughtful, 
dignified, and appropriate radio treatment accorded the death of 
Franklin D. Roosevelt. The President's death was not a special event 
in the usual sense it was not a foreseen piece of news, and not one 
which demanded speed in its handling. Rather it was a portentous 
occurrence whose every facet was of vast interest and importance to 
the American people and the world. Radio interrupted its programs to 
bring the shocking news to listeners, and canceled hundreds of pro- 
grams as the story developed. It brought eulogies of FDR, testimonials 
of a nation's grief, from every corner of the land. Networks and many 
stations canceled commercial messages during the three-day mourning 
period after April 12, 1945. Radio's public service in broadcasting the 
full story to the people won accolades from the press and from public 
figures everywhere. 


News of Special Fields 

Broadcasting Yearbook for 1948 devotes some twelve pages to names of 
news, sports, farm, and home economics directors of American radio 
stations. About two-thirds of the stations are shown by this directorv 
to have personnel specifically assigned to one or more of these special 
programming fields. The listing is not complete, for not all stations 
provided information to the editors of the Yearbook. On the other 
hand, it may be misleading, because some stations list individuals who 
give only a few hours a week to the specialties part-time workers, or 
workers whose major operations are in other activities. 

Nevertheless, the list establishes a fact: Radio stations are aware of 
the need for specialized treatment of material in certain fields. 

Newspaper men have been aware of it for some years. One of the 
most recent of the textbooks on newspaper reporting is devoted to 
this thesis that jack-of-all-trades reporters, though certainly not pass 
(particularly in the smaller newspaper shops), are being replaced or 
supplemented by specially-qualified men and women who can give to 
the intricacies of special fields the understanding and technical knowl- 
edge without which much news can no longer be made intelligible. 
The larger newspapers today boast specialists in fields ranging from 
business, agriculture, social service, politics, and science to stamps > 
chess and enameling of the finger nails. 

Radio newsroom specialization has not gone so far largely because 
of the natural limitations of the medium. Radio, in the American 
broadcasting pattern, is not primarily a news and information medium, 
but an entertainment medium. Radio does not carry nearly as many 
words each day in any of the special news fields as do the newspapers. 
Radio does not present detailed box scores, or complete market 
reports. It offers less commentary, fewer individual stories (especially 
when repeats are omitted from the count) , and, on the whole, narrower 
news coverage than do the papers. 


284 News by Radio 

Radio, in short, does not and is not likely to go all the way with the 
newspapers in specialization. The limitation on size of radio news 
staffs, which is an affecting factor, has been discussed in Chapter 8. 

All of this to the contrary notwithstanding, radio is slowly building 
up its corps of specialists. 

Let's examine that Broadcasting Yearbook listing a little further. 
It shows that sports directors, in numbers, top the roll (fewer than a 
fifth of the stations fail to list sports men) . News directors come next. 
Perhaps three-fifths of the stations have "home economics" directors; 
a few less have farm directors. 

Impressive figures. But not to be taken at face value. A lot of the 
stations show one man in two "directorships"; several show one man 
in three. Many of the listings describe part-time which is likely to 
mean casual operations. In one North Dakota station the farm 
director not only handles broadcasts beamed at farm listeners, but also 
sells time to agricultural industries. Few stations have full-time sports 
editors; it is not unheard of that the "sports director" is an announcer 
who used to play right field for his junior high school team. 

And it must be observed that few radio stations boast business, or 
religious, or science, or political specialists to suggest only a few 
neglected areas. 

What is the relationship of the specialist to the newsroom? 

One of the four categories shown by Broadcasting specifically 
represents the newsroom, 

The sports director in almost all cases works closely with the news : 

The farm director usually depends heavily on news services, local 
and wire. 

The "home economics" or women's director all too frequently oper- 
ates without reference to the newsroom. Her area is commonly limited 
to "home economics" recipes, child care, beauty hints without 
reference to news. More of this later. 

Let's look in more detail at these and other fields in which radio has 
done most to meet specialized news problems. 

News of Special Fields 285 

Agricultural News 

"The farm director's jobthe one we thought of a few years ago 
as a part-time one for an announcer now requires a full-time man 
and a secretary, and a part-time announcer who can cover while the 
farm director is on the road. An ideal set-up would call for a full-time 
reporter in the field, acting as a teammate of the men in the offices 
and newsroom." 

That's Earl Williams, manager of KFAB-Omaha, talking before a 
Nebraska radio news clinic. (His full talk, an excellent one, is reported 
in Radio Showmanship for August, 1946.) Williams has just finished 
pointing out that handling farm news if it is to grow to full stature, 
and to deliver full value to station and listener alike is no sinecure. 
"It's a job for a man with a nose for news, the ability to write, ani 
most of all, the natural feeling for the farm angle, which comes from 
background and constant association with the people involved, from 
those in government down to the smallest farmer in the area." 

Specialization means specialization. The farm editor needs to be a 
man who knows the farm. He's a reporter, to be sure one who can 
gather and write news. But he's a reporter who knows the difference 
between a barrow and a boar . . . who won't talk about sowing 
corn . . . who can make the term "parity" meaningful. He's one who 
will know what is important to farmers and, as well, to nonfarmers 
dwelling in an agricultural community; he's one who can talk about 
trends as well as about spot news. 

It's obvious that stations in agricultural sections are those most 
interested in farm news service. Yet stations in Washington, Boston, 
New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh maintain farm directors. The 
reason is that the news of agriculture (as Williams of KFAB makes 
clear) can be reported and interpreted not alone to fanners, but also 
to city dwellers. Not in the same way for both audiences not even 
always using the same news. But always recognizing that agriculture 
is, after all, one of the nation's top industries. 

All of which is to say, first, that direction of a radio farm news 
service is a demanding job for a competent, well-qualified man; second, 
that such a service may be offered effectively by any station, anywhere* 

286 News by Radio 

How does a station located, say, in a city of a quarter million popula- 
tion in a predominantly agricultural area go about installing a farm 
news service? 

First, it selects that competent, well-qualified man to direct it. 

Then it examines its broadcast day to decide when to put on its 
programs for the farmers, and when to offer its agricultural news 
beamed to urbanites. The answers to these questions have been estab- 
lished by many surveys. The best time to reach farmers and farm 
families is at noon 12:00 to 1:00. Next best: early morning, 6:00 to 
7:30. Third: supper time and early evening (rural listening drops off 
sharply after 8:30 or 9:00 P.M.). For the urbanites: any time when 
they are accustomed to listening to news programs breakfast time, 
noon, late afternoon or dinner hour, the mid-evening hours. For this 
audience the farm news is knit into regular news shows, not segregated 
into specialized shows. 

Now the station looks over the kinds of agricultural material it can 
offer to farm listeners. This depends to some extent on the station's 
purpose: Is the farm service being instituted chiefly as an audience 
builder, for promotional purpose? Then it is likely to concentrate on 
entertainment familiar music, quiz and comedy programs and news. 
Is it intended to buttress the public service record? Informational, 
religious, educational programs and news. Is it to extend the station's 
news service as such? News programs of wide variety are the obvious 
means of achieving the third purpose. And since they also serve for 
purposes one and two, as shown by many competent studies, they are 
pretty sure to form the farm director's first concern. 

What kinds of news? 

Straightforward News of Community Agricultural Activities This 
includes 4-H Club meetings, gatherings of farm associations, county 
fairs and the like, soil conservation meetings, machinery demonstra- 
tions, farm sales, visits of county agents and home demonstration 
agents, and so on. Such news can be gathered only by vigorous report- 
ing; it comes from a thousand sources. The farm director may need 
to develop his own string of correspondents. 

News of Governmental or Other Broad-Scale Activities of Special 
Farm Interest Such news embraces the doings of the Department of 

News of Special Fields 287 

Agriculture and its many branches, Congressional and legislative meas- 
ures affecting the farmer, and so on. This news is likely to come from 
the news wire; often the farm director uses it as a springboard from 
which to jump into carefully-planned localized stories. How will the 
new plans for agricultural subsidies affect the fanners of the station's 
primary area? What are local plans for the forthcoming visit of the 
Rural Electrification administrator? 

Weather News as It Affects the Farmer The range covers heat and 
drouth, frost and blizzard, flood and storm. What protective measures 
are suggested against a predicted late-spring freeze? Should farmers 
be warned to shelter livestock against a blizzard? 

News of Individual Farmers' Activities Here are included feature 
stories on the new kind of incubator Fanner Brown has developed, 
the success of Farmer Smith with crop rotation, the fact that Farmer 
Jones is sending six sons and daughters to college. Opportunities for 
such stories are legion. Their development depends only on the amount 
of imagination and legwork the farm editor exerts. 

News oj Advances and Changes in Agricultural Techniques This 
news deals with stories that come from the county agent, from the 
special features carried by the wire services, from state and Federal 
agricultural bulletins, from the agricultural colleges and experiment 
stations (which furnish abundant news services, including radio 
scripts), from individual fanners. 

News of the Economics of Agriculture Such information comes 
from many of the sources already mentioned, from local bankers, from 
farmers and farm marketing associations stories of farm income, the 

Listen to Larry Haeg, farm director of WCCO-Twin Cities and first presi- 
dent of the National Association of Radio Farm Directors: 

"A distinction must be made, sharply and clearly, between farm NEWS 
which is urban as well as rural in interest, and farm INFORMATION 
markets, weather news expanded for the fanner, technical stories, and the 
like. Every news show put on by a station in an agricultural area must carry 
cunent farm news; but only the shows directed specifically to farm homes 
should cany farm information. 

"And of course it isn't enough for a station to carry just any farm news or 
information. I believe that every local station must do its own farm service 
job. There's no cotton in Minnesota!" 

288 News by Radio 

value of the fanner's dollar, the importance of adequate farm manage- 
ment practices. 

Market and Crop Reports This news is often carried in bulletin 
form, as it comes from the wire services or from local agricultural 
industries and organizations. 

These categories, though they make no attempt to include all 
possible varieties of agricultural news, suggest the wide possibilities 
open to radio farm service; and they show why Earl Williams told his 
audience that a farm director "must be willing to devote a tremendous 
amount of time to the job, which will range from actual field work to 
outside reading, from poring over the wire services to expanding wire 
sen-ice stories into yarns of rare importance to the farm listener." 

What about farm news for the city, or the general, listener? 

It's similar news. In some newsrooms the farm editor, having com- 
pleted his early morning farm news show beamed squarely at rural 
areas, rewrites a selection of his stories for inclusion in the general 
news show coming perhaps an hour later. A selection because the 
general listener doesn't need and won't take as much detail as will 
the farmer. And he isn't concerned in the technical aspects of farm 
news that are of prime importance on the earlier show. 

What about writing style in the two kinds of programs? 

Again, within limits, it's the same. It's true that terminology may 

The United States Department of Agriculture has issued an invaluable 
little handbook Radio Handbook for Extension Workers which, though 
it is intended for men and women seeking radio time, offers much that is 
useful to the farm director and more to the small newsroom without a full- 
time farm man. It is described as Miscellaneous Publication 592. Another 
useful USDA publication, this one issued by the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics, is Attitudes of Kurd People Toward Radio Service (January, 
1946). 7 

Also of value to the farm news broadcaster: 
The People Look at Radio (cited in Chapter 2) 
"Radio Comes to the Farmer" by William S. Robinson (Chapter VI in 

Radio Research, 1941, cited in Chapter 2) 

Two articles in the August, 1942, issue of Radio Showmanship: "How to 
Reap Farm Dollars" by Harry Truax and "Farmer in the Dell" by Tod 

News of Special Fields 289 

be indeed, sometimes has to be somewhat more technical on the 
farm show. But ideal treatment means that both shows should be 
entirely understandable to any listener. A lot of farmers and farm 
families are tuned in on the general news shows. And at least a few 
city dwellers are listening to farm news programs. Robert White, 
ABC's agricultural director, recognizes this when he says that "what 
interests the farmer will interest the city man if it is properly presented/' 

The famous NBC farm show, "The Farm and Home Hour," and 
its ABC counterpart, "The American Farmer," both expect a minority 
of urban listeners, and they're edited with these listeners in mind. 

It should be remembered that the farm news show is not limited 
to news of pigs, wheat, and the cost of tractors. Farm families are not 
insulated from contact with "the outside"; they want news of the 
world as well as specialized news. Herb Plambeck, farm director of 
WHO-Des Moines, always heeds this fact. During the war, his early 
morning farm program gave complete war coverage the war news 
rewritten "not in the farm vernacular, but with a basic farm concept." 
All of Plambeck's shows are rewrite jobs everything tailored tight 
to his purpose. 

Ken Hutcheson, farm director of KGA-Spokane, is another of the 
many farm editors who tailor shows to fit. Hutcheson writes his daily 
"Farm News Reporter," 12:15 to 12:30 P.M., in "everyday, colloquial- 
ized American" not in farm jargon, but in simple conversational 
form as understandable in the city restaurant as in the farm kitchen. 

All of the special devices used by the newsroom in its general shows 
are of use to the farm editor. KLZ-Denver sends its Lowell Watts 
KLZ calls him "farm consultant" around Colorado with a recorder 

KALE-Portland y Oregon, has developed two "farm emergency" services: 
The fire service and the farm labor service. Its agricultural area is one in 
which there are sometimes emergency demands for special types of farm 
labor, such as fruit-pickers; when such emergencies develop, KALE puts on 
repeated broadcasts to recruit labor and to direct it to the scenes where it's 
needed. As for fire service: "If people will provide authentic information on 
fires (farm or forest) in the Northwest," says Burton Hutton, head of the 
farm service department, "we wfll interrupt any program to call help in- 

290 News by Radio 

to talk to farmers, record interviews, and the like. Watts (who used to 
be a leader in 4-H Club work and studied agriculture at Colorado A. 
& M.) uses his gleanings on a special program, "The Farm Reporter," 
and on other news shows. Many stations are finding the recorder of 
special value in farm news work because it is not easy to bring farmers 
in to the studio. 

KGLO-Mason City, Iowa, went the recorder one better in 1945 by 
sending a mobile broadcasting unit to every fair in twenty-four counties 
in its area. 

Farm news programs may also use all of the program-patterns: 
straight news, interviews, dramatizations, special events of all kinds. 
Many farm shows originate at county and state fairs, livestock shows, 
farmers 7 meetings, and on agricultural campuses. Bill MacDonald, 
farm director of KFAB-Omaha, has covered for his station farm events 
in Columbus, Ohio, and Denver, and many points between. 

Sports News 

Sports fans like their news hot. They like it partisan. And they like 
plenty of it. 

Radio has not been slow to take advantage of America's interest in 
sports witness the fact that stations have more "experts" in sports 
than in any other field. Few stations are without their daily sports 
shows everything from straightforward sports news roundups to 
features, interviews, on-the-spot coverage, and so on. Some stations, 
indeed, have made their sports service their prime promotional 
feature KRSC-Seattle, for instance, known as a "sports station" 
because it plays up all sports, especially Seattle high school athletics; 
or WRRN-Warren, Ohio, with its daily fifteen-minute local sports- 
cast and its on-the-spot coverage of Warren athletic events. 

The straight news sports show follows a fairly standard pattern. It 
gives results of games, "dope stories" on forthcoming events, informa- 
tive bits about athletes and coaches. The most common sports show 
is a five-minute roundup about 10 in the evening, scheduled across the 
board; it gives the day's baseball, football, basketball, and other scores, 
and perhaps saves thirty seconds or soif there aren't too many scores 
to tell fans that another big leaguer has been sold to the Boston 

News of Special Fields 291 

Braves. Many stations, during the baseball season, add another five- 
minute show in the late afternoon. Others save a few minutes at the 
end of regular news shows to cut in the baseball scores. 

Sports news is usually handled by one man from start to finish he 
gathers the news, gets it ready for broadcast, and puts it on the air. His 
sources: The wire services (including an A. T. & T. sports ticker in 
some stations) for major scores such as league baseball, college and 
professional football, most other college sports, hockey, and the like; 
local or regional sources for high school and other amateur sports which 
the wire services ordinarily are not equipped to handle. Building up 
these local sources is one of the prime jobs for the sports editor. 
Usually it isn't difficultcoaches, managers, or players are only too 
glad to telephone a station immediately after the last play and report 
the major facts. Sports directors build up lists of such sources by per- 
sonal contact, or by the easy expedient of sending cards to all schools 
and other sports organizations in their areas. At the height of the 
basketball season a station's telephone switchboard is ? on Friday nights, 
a madhouse of incoming calls, often with a corps of extra operators on 

Interviews with sports authorities or round-table discussions of cur- 
rent sports are common features in most stations' sportscast schedules. 
In the spirit of sports, such shows are most effective when they're 
breezy and informal. The sports editor interviewing the local coach 
is talking to a man he knows well, and it's more natural for the two 
of them to chat ad-lib, using first names or nicknames for each other, 
than to put on a formal prepared interview. The same thing is true of 

Most sportscasters putting the scores-roundup kind of show on the air 
work not from a carefully-prepared script but from a mass of notes strips 
of copy torn from the printers, scribbled messages from the telephone oper- 
ators, and so on. Since one of the virtues of such shows is that their news is 
hot, sports editors rarely have time to work them into finished scripts. 
There's a lot of ad Jibbing in such shows: "The Red Birds down at Midvale 
won another basketball game tonight their ninth in a row. They took 
Centerport, 51 to 39. The Midvale lightweights won from Centerport, too 
squeaked out a 33 to 31 victory." 

Tliis method obviously won't work if the sports announcer isn't the 
sports editor if he hasn't gathered and arranged his material himself. 

292 News by Radio 

the fourway discussion after a football game among the sports editor, 

the two coaches, and a visiting expert who saw the game. 

"Dope stories" predictions, analyses, commentaries are also part 
of a sound radio sports schedule. But they're not to be indulged in 
unless the sports man is really a sports authority. It's dangerous business 
to let the high school senior or the part-time announcer go out on limbs 
too often he gets the saw on the wrong side. 

As in other kinds of radio news operations, the recorder is a useful 
instrument. It can bring statements by sports figures, perhaps a brief 
view of the players' bench, into shows. One of its best uses is to take 
the listener into the locker room after a game a place he can't pene- 
trate on his own. 

Certainly the most spectacular kind of sportscasting is the on-the- 
spot coverage of a game itself. Like special events broadcasting of any 
kind, covering a game requires a lot of preparation, as well as a lot of 
knowledge, a gift for grasping the color and drama of an event, and 
high enthusiasm for what the boys are doing on the gridiron or the 

The station staff and the sportscaster get busy days before the event 
a football game, say. Likely the stadium is provided with broadcasting 
booth and remote pickups. Most such broadcasts require several 
microphone installations two in the booth, one or more on the field. 

The sportscaster equips himself with a sheaf of prepared material: 
Opening and closing announcements, histories of the teams and 
their current performances, elaborate data on every player, color and 
historical bits for fill-in purposes, credits, announcements, and so on. 
He has to train a "spotter" for each team a man whose duties are to 
inform him who is carrying the ball, who makes the block, who the 
tackle. He needs a statistician to provide between-the-halves summary 

"He Talks a Wonderful Touchdown" by Pete Martin in the Saturday 
Evening Post of October 12, 1946, gives an excellent picture of the trials 
and tribulations of a sportscaster. It tells how Byrum Saam, who puts 226 
words a minute into the microphone during more than twenty football 
games a season as well as during scores of other sports events through the 
remainder of the year got that way. It's required reading for anybody in- 
terested in the art. 

News of Special Fields 293 

of downs, yardage, penalties. Perhaps he arranges one or two interviews 
to put on in the intermission. Likely he has a man to take over the 
between-the-halves commentary and this man, in turn, must prepare 
himself with data on the band's gyrations on the field and other half- 
time ceremonies. 

Finally, there are sports-feature shows. Many perhaps mostsuch 
shows are based on the five- or fifteen-minute features provided by the 
AP, UP, or TP wire services. Several of these come over the wire each 
day, along with a number of weekly features. They have the disadvan- 
tage that they are almost never local, and not susceptible to local tie-ins. 
Some stations supplement them or straight sportscasts with local fea- 
turespersonality and success stories about local athletes, or, as at 
WMAQ-Chicago, interviews with local or visiting sports celebrities. 
(But the WMAQ pattern, easy to follow because of the wealth of 
celebrities always available, would be less effective in Midvale.) 

A shortcoming of radio sports news is that (like newspaper sports 
news) it has become stereotyped little inventiveness has appeared in 
sportscasting since its first days. Another, and more serious, defect is 
that many radio sports editors use neither their legs nor the telephone 
enough. Though there are distinguished exceptions, many titular sports 
directors let the wire services and mere box-score reporting do their jobs 
for them. They fail to vitalize their shows with thorough and imagina- 
tive reporting and this in a field that yields hundreds of excellent 
stories to anybody who digs for them. Unquestionably some of the 
onus for this fact lies at the stations' doors if the "sports director" is a 
mere teletype-tearing announcer, he won't be much of a news editor or 

What about news of racing? 

Some stations prohibit it as a matter of policy, just as do some news- 
papers. Others go all out, broadcasting on-the-spot descriptions from the 
track as well as elaborate stories on betting odds, racing personalities, and 
the like. 

In 1947 the FCC was asked to decide whether racing news may not be 
illegal because bookmakers (illegal in all states but Nevada) use such broad- 
casts in their business. The 1948 decision: Such broadcasts are not illegal, 
since they are given in the ordinary course of news presentation, come from 
regular news services, do not go into undue detail, and are put on the air ten 
or fifteen minutes after the races are ran. 

294 News by Radio 

reporter. And he certainly won't be up to "interpretative" news han- 
dlinga type of responsibility that finds its place in sports news as in 

any other news field. 

Women's News 

Among radio's many hundreds of women's shows, few have been 
news programs. 

Critics of American broadcasting have been concerned because, 
they say, the soap opera has been radio's prime contribution to the 
happiness and advancement of the nation's womanhood. There have 
been cooking and recipe programs, beauty hints, talks on child training 
and care of the home, health programs (must interest in health be a 
feminine monopoly?), educational and other shows their subject 
matter the kind you find on the women's pages of the newspapers. 
Many of these have been excellent. But to repeat few of them have 
been news shows. 

Unquestionably this is partly due to the fact that there is no large 
area of spot news development that is solely of interest to women. 
Most of the news that appeals to women also appeals to their husbands 
and brothers. Consequently any attempt to reach women with news of 
interest to them alone is stymied at the start. 

It is generally held and supported by reader-interest surveys that 
personal news, society news, gossip are read more avidly by women than 
by men. These are news categories in which radio has, until lately, 
been little interested. Broadcasting has small place for gossip news as 
such, thanks to the fact that most broadcasters consider this kind of 
thing in bad taste; and small place for "society news" because the tra- 
ditional interpretation of this news field restricts its subject matter to a 
sharply limited audience. And personal news the news of the minor 
activities of average citizens has been developed and used by few sta- 
tions (Chapter 8, however, suggests that it is growing in importance in 
the local news picture) . 

A type of women's program masked as news is the women's feature 
showthe show built out of the women's feature material provided by 
tie wire services, or of like material. Once in a while such features are 
genuinely newsy when they develop meaningful discussions of new 
theories of child care, for instance, or when they interpret current news 

News of Special Fields 295 

of the food markets (KLZ-Denver uses wire-recorded interviews with 
wholesale produce dealers during a regular newscast even- Friday morn- 
ing). More commonly they are devoted to personalities, to human in- 
terest tales stories that have little real news in them. 

There have been, also, interview and discussion programs carrying 
the "for women" catch line. Again, these have been more frequently 
feature than news shows. 

Radio will undoubtedly provide special news sen-ice for women as 
newsrooms grow and as their directors provide more news-imagination. 
But they arc not likely to carry this kind of news activity as far as they 
go in special fields such as farm or sports news. 

Political News 

News of the stratagems and tactics of American politics has not been 
developed as a separate news field. Political news is general news, and 
properly should be treated as such given its place in the general news 

One influence that leads broadcasters to eye political news askance 
is the principle that radio must maintain an Olympian impartiality. If 
radio is not to take sides since it must offer equal time and position to 
rival political views and candidates, and may be called to answer for 
failure to do so it has felt that it must walk with extreme care at all 
times. In some cases caution has been translated into emptiness. 

Radio's record in coverage of political news, nevertheless, is a good 
one. Though individual stations have developed few political special- 
ists, they have covered most political events with straight news stories, 
they have provided plentiful network and some local commentary and 
analysis, and they have given excellent service on election returns. 

WMAQ-Chicago met the problem of political impartiality in the 1946 
elections (as described by News Director William Ray) : 

"On each 1 5-minute program during the campaign, we departmentalized 
the political news, lumping all Republican news and political statements 
together and making sure that an equal amount of copy on the Democratic 
side was used on each broadcast. We did not accept party handouts, but 
wrote our copy from candidates' statements and speeches. If we used ten 
lines of Democratic copy, we followed with ten lines of Republican. We 

(continued on 

296 News by Radio 

Radio reporters cover Congress and the legislaturesgovernmental 
bodies with sharp political implications. They often make national or 
local political conventions the occasions for special-events coverage. 

Election returns provide a very special headache for radio news- 
rooms. The newsroom staff is never large enough to cover all the pre- 
cincts to the fullest ('indeed, the newspaper staff, much larger than its 
radio competitor, has to be augmented to do it) . A common expedient 
to remedy this deficiency is a cooperative arrangement with the local 
newspaper a deal whereby the newspaper is paid for service, or given 
air mention in return for its help. Newspapers were at one time gener- 
ally chary of such an arrangement (see Chapter 1). But they have 
learned that broadcasts of election returns stimulate newspaper sales 
the man who heard election returns in general terms last night wants 
them specifically, in black and white, this morning. 

Most radio schedules network or local are shelved for election re- 
turn service. Radio knows that its listeners are moie eager on election 
nights for the news of the vote than for any of the regular shows, and it 
is more than ready to cancel programs especially since this kind of 
service builds up the public service record. 

News in Other Special Fields 

If the newsrooms have done little to develop specialized services in 
the fields of politics and women's interests, they have done less in other 
fields. Further discussion is as much about what might be done as about 
what has been done. 

did not attempt so strict a balancing of copy in programs shorter than 15 

WMAQ introduced such political material with a statement like this: 
"Now, here's the political news. In accordance with the policy of this sta- 
tion, equal representation is given each side." 

In time and space, this is "fair*' treatment. But what if the Democratic 
candidate made a hell-raising speech charging the Republican candidate 
with every crime in the book, and the Republican remained a clam? 

In Texas in 1946, seventy newspapers and thirty radio stations banded 
together and spent $10,000 to cover election returns in the nation's largest 

News of Special Fields 297 

Take business news for example. Here is an area of news of the ut- 
most importance yet an area in which radio has done almost nothing 
in intensive or specialized treatment. Some stations not all use the 
stock market briefs carried by the wire services. Some put on the air the 
daily market or business features also provided by the radio wire. Many 
do good jobs in the development of spot business stories : the local angle 
on the story from Washington that real estate values are declining; or 
what local retailers have to say about a consumers* strike against rising 
butter prices. 

But few stations put regular, carefully-planned, expert business news 
shows on the air. 

One reason, of course, is the stereotype that business news is dull- 
that it is technical, limited in interest, hard to understand. This is a 
lame excuse. Business news is of interest and significance to everybody. 
It is available in abundance. The newspapers have shown that it can be 
presented simply and comprehensibly, and that there are business fea- 
tures inside every door in a downtown office building. 

Radio newsrooms are missing an obvious bet when they fail to build 
regular daily business programs not dry-as-dust listings of Wall Street 
transactions, but colorful and meaningful stories of what is going on in 
the local business community. What radio listener, man or woman, 
WCTU-er or alcoholic, would not listen with interest to a program 
telling what has happened to liquor sales as a result of the state tax im- 
posed a couple of months ago? Or to one on the effect on local payrolls 
of the shortage in basic materials plaguing an important local industry? 
How about a success story on the local boy who is just opening the 
fifth in a prosperous chain of cut-rate drug stores? Is there any chance 
that the lack of millwork holding up new housing will be relieved? 
Should the Chamber of Commerce try to do something about diversi- 
fying the city's industry? And so on. 

The opportunities slap the radio reporter in the faceif he is aggres- 
sive and imaginative, and if he's sensitive enough to the fundamentals 
of business to feel the slaps, and energetic enough to dig ably for their 
meaning. He doesn't need to be a Ph. D. in economics, but he shouldn't 
be the kind of cloistered intellectual who thinks business operations 
begin and end with the law of supply and demand, 

298 News by Radio 

Religious news is another neglected field. In this area, again, there 
are some effective attempts at coverage "Tomorrow in Midvale 
Churches" is a Saturday show to be found here and there; Easter and 
Christmas church news sometimes gets adequate treatment. Most sta- 
tions make feeble gestures by broadcasting Sunday services, network or 
local; these are not strictly news, and their use is usually perfunctory. 
Even the handful of stations operated by religious organizations and 
denominational colleges do little to make religious news as virile and 
meaningful as it ought to be. 

There are few religious news editors in radio; and genuine effort and 
news-imagination devoted to religious activitiesa field high in latent 
audience-interestare notable only by their absence. Church conven- 
tions, Sunday school picnics, new pastorates, retirements, campaigns 
to raise funds for new churches, drives to combat juvenile misbehavior 
these get passing notice. But the effort to develop significant "enter- 
prise" stories, to cover adequately the religious holidays of the Jewish 
and other numerically smaller faiths, to provide illuminating interpre- 
tation of religious movements and trends, is lacking. This may be due 
in part to fear of showing partiality. It is an unnecessary fear. News is 
news, trends are trends; they can be handled fairly, revealingly, and in- 
terestingly. And there are millions of listeners to whom religious ac- 
tivity is a major passion. 

What about news for children? Not news of children, but news for 
children? Is this a field for development? Can children be interested in 
news? Will the standard news program serve their needs? At what age 
do children develop interest in news? 

Lazarsfeld and Stanton ("Radio and the Press Among Young 
People" by Frederick J. Meine, in Radio Research, 1941 ) have shown 
that radio listening is high among children from thirteen to eighteen; 
and, more significantly, that radio is the preferred news medium among 
them, especially the younger ones. They also show that, as children 
grow older, the extent of their radio news listening declines they tend 
to turn to other news media. 

Sound treatment of the problems and possibilities of radio news of 
religious activities appears in Religious Radio, a book by Everett C. Parker, 
Elinor Inman, and Ross Snyder (Harper, 1948) . 

News of Special Fields 299 

The question arises, then: Should not radio newsrooms, in llicir own 
interest, make special effort to hold on to this audience that falls into 
their laps? 

A few efforts at presenting news for children have been made mostly 
by educational stations in the universities or public school systems. 
Here the purpose has been essentially to inform young listeners, to 
clarify the obscurities of the news for them, to cement and enlarge their 
basic news interest. That is to say, it has been an educational purpose 
rather than the commercial goal of building young audiences and hold- 
ing them as they grow older. There appears to be no reason why com- 
mercial stations should not aim at, and achieve, both purposes. 

Commercial stations might consider, too, the fact that the develop- 
ment of children's news programs perhaps in five- or ten-minute spots 
would be one way to meet the widespread criticism of cliff-hangers 
and thriller shows as radio's prime offering for younger listeners. Such 
shows, larded with human interest and audience-participation, -with 
humor and perhaps with appropriate recordings, can certainly be made 
effective. They would never have quite the youngster-appeal of Jack 
Armstrong. But they could be built into attractive offerings; and they 
would serve excellently, for the station giving its news service big play, 

An educational station which has for some years successfully broadcast a 
children's news show is KUOM, the University of Minnesota station in the 
Twin Cities. The show fifteen minutes once a week is part of KUOM's 
School of the Air schedule. The latest pattern for this show is: Four or five 
questions on important state, national, and international news, each fol- 
lowed by a fifteen-second pause during which children in school rooms 
answer orally or in writing; about ten minutes of elaboration on one of the 
topics suggested in the questions; finally, a record from one of the "Songs 
of Friendship" albums, selected to tie in with the major topic. Young listen- 
ers to the show suggested two changes: a minute or so of the week's sports 
news, and a brief quiz at the end of the major topic discussion. 

Before arriving at this pattern, KUOM experimented with a standard 
newscast offering a fairly broad selection from major news stories of the 
week. The pattern was finally narrowed to the one major story, presented 
with background and explanation. The script writer says: "The show is not 
'written down'; it is written simply, with unusual words eliminated, or ex- 
plained by specific illustration. I use all the color I can, and as much humor 
as can legitimately be worked in. I make the script chatty and informal." 

300 Newa by Radio 

to establish early the habit of turning to it for news. 

There are other areas of specialized news largely neglected to date 
but susceptible of development. Educational news is one such area. 
News of racial and religious minorities is another. Entertainment news 
theater and movies, music, recreation of all kinds suggests possibili- 
ties. And then there is cultural news, scientific news, social service news, 
veterans' news the list can be refined indefinitely. Few of these areas 
deserve elaborate attention. All of them may be fields worth occasional 
specialized broadcasts. 


Making the News Meaningful 

The State Department's Board of Consultants on Atomic Energy issues 
a report proposing a "safe" method of control of the power of the atom. 

Radio and the newspapers report the facts. They tell the public time 
and place of the report, personnel of the Board; they condense the pro- 
posals into language as concise and simple as they can manage. They 
report that "dangerous" aspects of atomic energy would be exclusively 
under the control of an international authority; that fissionable ma- 
terials would be issued in "denatured" form for development of "non- 
dangerous" uses by individual nations and their citizens; and so on. 
They do a competent, thorough job of reporting what the recommenda- 
tions say. 

Have they finished their task? 

Clearly they have not. For however sharply and precisely they tell 
-what has happened, they have not helped their publics to an under- 
standing of the event unless they find ways of telling -what it means? 
what may be its impact on the life of a troubled world. 

The atomic control story is a dramatic example of the need for more 
than mere factual reporting. But it is not in essence different from 
thousands of other stories. It is, rather, typical of thousands. 

Newsmen of the last two decades have become deeply aware that the 
news methods of a simpler world will not meet the necessities of com- 
plex modern society. It is not enough merely to give listeners and 
readers the factual picture of the day's events, however complete and 
accurate it may be. The mass public is a lay public. It is inexpert in 
chemistry and physics, economics, politics, medicine, social welfare, 
psychology. It cannot understand the interrelations and impingements 
the meaning of news without more help than mere information 
gives it. 

And so the newsmen have acknowledged that they must give the 
public material to help it understand as well as to help it know. "When 


302 News by Radio 

workers in the gigantic steel industry* strike, the public must not only be 
told when, where, why, how many, and the other basic facts; it must 
also be given a view of the effect of such a strike on other industries, a 
background to reveal the underlying causes, an insight into relation- 
ships with other current events and with the daily life of the common 
man. When a Central American republic overturns another govern- 
ment, the public must be offered historical and political and geograph- 
ical background that will clarify the situation. When medical scientists 
produce a fantastic new drug under which infections dissolve, the lay- 
man has to be told how widely it can be used, how it will be made 
available, how its advent will affect medical practice. 

Newspapers have developed a number of methods of meeting this 
new demand. Editorials have for many years been partly devoted to ex- 
planation, but they haven't been enough. Columnists have since 1930 
become a standard phenomenon in daily papers, their function largely 
to explain and interpret the day's events. Supplement of straight news 
by background material has become common Herbert Brucker's 
The Changing American Newspaper (Columbia University Press, 
1937) and Sidney Kobre's Backgrounding the News (Twentieth Cen- 
tury Press, 1937) are among the soundest discussions of what the press 
can do in this direction. 

The growth of Time and Newsweek stems in part from the need for 
backgrounding. Other magazines Nati on and New Republic, Atlantic 
and Harpers, Free World and Christian Century, a score of others- 
have lent their energies to meet the need. 

Radio, of course, has envisioned the problem. The radio commenta- 
tor is one of broadcasting's answers. Programs frankly called "Back- 
ground of the News" are another. Inclusion of explanatory material in 
straight news shows is a third. Programs such as "Chicago Round 

John Bartlow Martin, in the August, 1946, Harpers, quotes a typical 
whitccollar worker: "There are so many things in the background you don't 
know who to believe. Every newscaster that comes on says the UN did this, 
it did that, 'til it don't mean a damn thing and you shut it off. I get a belly- 
ful. That may not be the right thing to do but I don't know what to dc* 
about it." 

Making the News Meaningful 303 

Table" and "America's Town Meeting of the Air" spring from the same 

Most critics of radio news think, however, that radio has by no means 
done all it might. The commentator has done a part of the job; news 
dramatizations in some cases are helpful. But insertion of back^ound 
in the ordinary news show is still rare enough that its absence gives 
point to the criticism. 

Backgrounding the Straight News Show 
Since there is never enough time on any news show for all the news 
its editor would like to include, the space available for explanatory ma- 
terial is limited. Every paragraph of background cuts out a paragraph 
of news. That underlines one of the problems in backgrounding the 
need for simplicity and concision. If the background can be presented 
in one sentence, good. 

And since the time for editing the show is also limited, an editor can 

devote to digging for background only a few minutes out of the two 

hours he ordinarily spends getting his copy ready another reason that 

keeps the backgrounding brief, 

A third reason is that the listener, though he may be subconsciously 

Before World War II Elmer Davis's five-minute evening news summary 
on CBS was one of the most highly-respected and most widely-heard news- 
casts. He gave it up to become director of OWL The war over, he returned 
to broadcasting as a commentator on ABC. On December 3, 1945, he wrote 
these views of the meaning of the commentator's task: 

"There never was a time when dependable analysis of the news, whether 
on the air or in print, was more important than today. . . . There are half 
a dozen lines of force in the world, and it is not yet by any means clear where 
some of them lead. The news is complex and confusing, and on the surface 
less interesting than the news of the war years; but it is just as important, 
and in the long run may be just as dangerous. How dangerous it will be, what 
will be the ultimate direction of some of the lines of force, what solutions 
may be found for our present problems all that will depend in a large 
degree on what the American people decide to do about it; and the wisdom 
of their decision will depend on how well they understand what is going on. 
To analyze and explain that news to the utmost of his ability imposes a 
heavy responsibility on any commentator for the newspapers or the radio/' 

304 News by Radio 

appreciative of background, tunes his news show in primarily to hear 
the latest developments on current stories. 

To save time both in preparation and on the air, then, the editor 
needs a number of shortcutting aids. 

The first of these is his own qualification for the job. This means that 
above all he has to be a thoroughly competent newsman. He has to be 
able instantly to evaluate the news as it comes to him, to decide whether 
it needs explanatory material to show its meaning or its relationship to 
other news. Ideally he will be able to supply the backgrounding for 
a good many stories without leaving his typewriter. In short, he must 
be a man with sound background himself the kind of man suggested 
by the "Standards for Education for Radio Journalism" outlined by 
the Council on Radio Journalism (see Appendix B). 

But no man can background every story that needs it merely by draw- 
ing on his own knowledge. 

So the well-equipped newsroom supplies him with sturdy crutches. 
Many of these are suggested in Chapter 4 reference books, files of cur- 
rent newspapers, news magazines, and specialized periodicals, atlases, 
and the like. There should be also a "morgue," a carefully-built file of 
clippings, "obits," other material saved against just this need. Im- 
portant in such a file will be background material furnished by the radio 
news wires geographical and personality features, roundups of his- 
torical data, Washington columns, commentaries. 

The editor writing his show from a newspaper wire will often find in 
the copy with which he works the background he needs. Newspaper 
stories, written more fully than those for radio, often contain explana- 
tory material omitted from radio stories in the interest of brevity. The 
editor can often extract from such copy enough data to fill in the gap 
that mere factual presentation of the hot angle of the news might leave. 

In short, the problem of material is not difficult when the radio news- 
room has been properly set up when it has competent newsmen and 
an adequate shelf of reference works. 

Of course no such shelf, and no newsman's personal reservoir, will 
meet every situation. Occasions arise when the editor has to get on the 
telephone call a local businessman, a chemist at the local college, a 
doctor, a city official. When he sees such a need arising in advance 

Making the News Meaningful 305 

hell see it often if he's on top of his job he will make time to go out 
and interview some such expert, perhaps using a wire recorder, to fill 
out his program. 

Writing background material offers no special problem. All the prin- 
ciples recited earlier in this book for simple, concise, conversational 
manner apply, just as they do to straight news presentation. Look at 
some examples. 

A story comes over the wire let us suppose to the effect that 
Marshall Field has decided to establish a daily newspaper in San Fran- 
cisco. The story: 

San Francisco is to have another daily newspaper. It will be called the Sezn 
Francisco Sun, and its first issue will appear on July 1. Marshall Field, the 
Chicago multi-millionaire, is putting up the money. 

The editor knows that most listeners, if they think anything about 
Marshall Field, think of a department store. He pulls some facts out of 
his head and writes: 

This will be Field's third venture in daily newspaper publishing. He 
established the Chicago Sun just before Pearl Harbor . . . and bought the 
New York "picture magazine" called PM just a month later. He has since 
sold PM . . . it's known as the New York Star . . . and combined the 
Sun with the Chicago Times . . . He's known as a political liberal. 

Another story says that: 

From United Nations headquarters comes word that Belgium wants to 
put a territory in East Africa under UN trusteeship. The territory is called 
Ruanda Urundi. The Belgians have held it as a mandate since the Germans 
lost it at the end of World War I. 

Here the editor is in luck. The name Ruanda Urundi rings a bell in his 
memory, and he digs into the morgue to find a UP radio wire feature, 
"Places in the News," moved a day or so earlier. From this five-minute 
feature he condenses an add to the original story: 

Ruanda Urundi is famous chiefly for having both the tallest and the short- 
est people in the world. Ifs pretty primitive the Belgians have allowed its 
four million natives to govern themselves. The natives are grain and cattle 
growers but the Belgians have successfully introduced coffee raising. And 
they have set up an enormous game reserve to keep the big game alive. 

306 News by Radio 

To a story reporting that a city in another section of the country has 
adopted the city manager form of government, the editor adds a 

Three cities in this area Midland and Central City in Pennsylvania, and 
Centervflle in Ohio will vote on the same proposal later this month. 

A telephone call to the governor's office follows receipt of a story on 
Federal aid to would-be housebuilders. As a result of information the 
call develops, the editor completely rewrites the story, weaving the 
background material through the original rather than tacking it on at 
the end: 

Congress plans to make liberal loans available to American home-builders. 
But a string attached to the plan will probably prevent citizens of this state 
from taking advantage of it. 

Governor Blinkerton said today that the state doesn't have the necessary 
legislation to take part in the plan. And he says he has no intention of call- 
ing a special session of the legislature. 

The Federal plan calls for loans from the national treasury for the actual 
home building. But it asks that state or municipality lend the money to 
purchase lots. 

That's where, according to Blinkerton, this state can't go along. The gov- 
ernor says he doesn't think the Federal plan is sound because, he goes 
on .... 

In another case, the editor may put the additional explanatory ma- 
terial first, before giving the late news: 

It looks as though Midland is going to go through another summer with- 
out a city swimming pool. 

You'll remember that in four of the last five years groups of Midland resi- 
dents have tried to get the city council to build a pool. Each time they've 
failed due to lack of money, lack of agreement on a site, and other ob- 

For the last few weeks it has seemed that this might be the year. The 
Midland Rotary Club had agreed to raise the money by popular subscrip- 
tion. And the Midland Golf Club had talked of deeding to the city three 
acres for a swimming pool and park. 

But today the club voted against releasing the land it's needed for ex- 
pansion of the golf links. And the Rotary Club thereupon decided against a 
money-raising campaign. As President Wilmer Jones explained, "Money 
without a place to use it wouldn't do anybody any good/' 

So Midland's swimmers are high and very dry for another year. 

Making the News Meaningful 307 

Other methods of providing background for news presentation aie 
described elsewhere news dramatization, which is a most effective 
method of clarifying involved aspects of news situations; various multi- 
voice techniques, of which "Colorado Speaks," the KLZ-Denver show 
described in Chapter 7, is one (similar to this program is "Radio Edi- 
tion of the Weekly Press," on which WHCU-Ithaca, New York, b-oad- 
casts news and comment from weekly papers in its area); the use of 
recordings with fact and comment from authorities; and so on. 

Still another device is the show devoted entirely to backgrounding. 
Such shows, commonly under titles like "Behind the Headlines" or 
"Background of the News," are usually fifteen-minute programs; they 
are not commentaries, but are attempts to fill in the gaps left in the 
average listener's comprehension by mere factual recitations. Obviously 
they must hang directly on current news pegs. But they do no more 
than summarize the news pegs; they devote their time to what underlies 
the news. 

Some such shows important to a station because they build up its 
public service record are handled in a pretty shoddy manner. One sta- 
tion each afternoon reads into its microphone articles from the Nation, 
the New York Times, and other sober periodicals as its contribution to 
understandability. The material is often excellent. The manner is not 
often good radio. Such material is likely to come out of the receiving 
set pretty formidable and stuffy. 

Properly handled, each such show must be a rewrite job, just as news- 
paper news must be rewritten for the ear. There are no new rules all 
the familiar ones apply. Aside from the problem of radio style, the im- 
portant aspects are that the material these shows present be competent 
and authoritative; that it be nonpartisan, selected so as to offer con- 
flicting views or explain contradictory influences on the news they dis- 
cuss; and that the editor or writer who gets them up be himself a 
competent newsman, one well enough informed so that he can do an 
adequate job of selecting, compressing, evaluating, and interrelating 
his material. 

308 News by Radio 

What Is "Commentary"? 

Commentary is something else again. 

Commentary, in radio news usage, is generally taken to be explana- 
tion of a news event in the light of the speaker's personal knowledge 
and judgment. Its essential difference from backgrounding lies in this 
subjective element. Backgrounding, as has been made clear, is the 
presentation of factual material, offered without comment to build a 
framework into which the listener may fit the day's events. Commen- 
tary, seeking also to build a framework for understanding, is the ex- 
pression of judgment. It is qualitative. The backgrounder tells his 
audience, after Colonel Lindbergh has made a speech on American 
foreign affairs and the speech has been reported, that Lindbergh was 
an avowed isolationist before World War II T that he withdrew from all 
political activity after Pearl Harbor, and so on. The commentator may 
say all this; but he adds that in his judgment Lindbergh's views are 
sound as a drum (or dangerously incompetent), that they will lead to 
peace (or war), that Lindbergh should stick to his own field (or that 
he should be made President). He seeks not merely to infcrm the 
audience, so that it can come to its own conclusions on the basis of the 
pertinent evidence; instead he tries to lead the audience's thinking in 
the direction in which he thinks it should go. 

All of this may be very obvious. But it is obvious only to the student 
of radio news, to the man who has his thinking straight. Evidence of 
this is the general misuse of the term "radio commentator." To most 
radio listeners, anybody who talks into a microphone on anything hav- 
ing to do with news is a "commentator." Ask ten of your nonradio 
friends which commentator they prefer, and nine of them will name 
one or another newscaster as often as not a man who knows nothing 
whatsoever about news beyond the fact that it is something that ap- 
pears twenty-four hours a day on a convenient automatic typewriter in 
the radio station. These nine friends will lump Swing, Heatte^ 
Sevareid, and the high school kid who reads the 7 AJVC. news on the 
local 100-watter all into the same class. They're all to these nine 

It is equally obvious that the line between the newscaster and the 

Making the News Meaningful 309 

commentator cannot always be sharply drawn. Winchell, almost al- 
ways referred to as a "commentator/' is primarily a newscaster. His 
broadcasts gain their character largely from the fact that he offers his 
particular brand of news factual material. But as he has come more 
and more to view himself as a seer and a capital-letter Authority, he has 
larded his revelations with warnings, viewings-with-alarm, encomiums 
in short, with comment. Drew Pearson is another who reports and 
gives views in consecutive breaths. Many of radio's top-slot corre- 
spondents, foreign and domestic, do both often with extremely high 

On the other hand, Kaltenborn, Swing, Harsch, and Heatter are 
pretty definitely commentators. The character of their broadcasts de- 
rives not from the fact that current news forms the framework of what 
they have to say ? but that the framework is clothed in their own sub- 
jective explanations. 

"Commentary" or "Analysis"? 

The American Broadcasting Company describes Elmer Davis, one of 
its most highly regarded newsmen, as "news analyst and commentator." 
CBS declares that it has no "commentators" on its payroll, but only 
"analysts." ABC says the two are one; CBS says they are sharply dis- 

The CBS view, announced as a company policy in September, 1943, 
immediately brewed a storm. Paul White, CBS news director at the 
time, had issued a memorandum "to CBS news analysts" on September 
7, defining the distinction. CBS saw its news services, said the memo, 
as a public charge a charge that, since the number of broadcasting 
channels is limited, CBS would violate should its "analysts" become 
special pleaders. 

The analyst (said the memorandum in part) should attempt to clear up 
any contradictions within the known record, should fairly present both sides 
of controversial questions, and, in short, should give the best available in- 
formation upon which listeners can make up their own minds. Ideally, in 
the case of controversial issues, the audience should be left with no im- 
pression as to which side the analyst himself actually favors. . . . 

Actuallv freedom of speech on the radio would be menaced if a small 

310 News by Radio 

ences and have regular broadcasting periods in which to build up loyal 
listeners, take advantage of their "preferred position" and become pulpit- 
eers. . . . Then freedom of the air, within the genuine spirit of democ- 
racy, would be merely a hollow phrase. . . . 

The "analyst," in other words, explains, clarifies, elucidates, elal> 
orates. He keeps clear of the presentation of personal opinion; he does 
not harangue, preach, nor tell the public how to think. If he does, he 
becomes a "commentator." 

The CBS definition did not fall from a clear sky. The fundamental 
principle on which it was based that the broadcasting channels are 
public property and that they must be used to further "the public in- 
terest, convenience, and necessity" had been expressed in the Federal 
Radio Act of 1927 and the Federal Communications Act of 1934. It 
had been implemented by dicta of the FCC to the effect that holders of 
broadcasting licenses must not grant freedom of the air only to views 
they approved, but must treat all causes and all comers alike; by fre- 
quently-repeated suggestions from the NAB to its members that they 
not only avoid special pleading but also frown on broadcasts dealing 
with controversial issues; by codes of "ethics" or practice issued time 
and again by networks and by individual stations. 

The "Mayflower decision" of the FCC was for years broadcasting's guide 
on the problem of editorializing. The decision was issued on January 16, 
1941, as an incidental part of an FCC order granting license renewal to 
WAAB-Boston, whose channel had been asked for in an application from 
the Mayflower Broadcasting Corporation. After nearly two years of hesita- 
tion, the FCC decided in favor of WAAB; a factor in its hesitation, the 
FCC said, had been the fact that the station had for more than eighteen 
months "broadcast so-called editorials . . . urging the election of various 
candidates for political office or supporting one side or another of various 
questions in public controversy. In these editorials, which were delivered 
by the editor-in-chief of the station's news service, no pretense was made at 
objective, impartial reporting. It is clear indeed, the station seems to have 
taken pride in the fact that the purpose of these editorials was to win 
public support for some person or view favored by those in control of the 

Nevertheless, the Commission concluded to renew the WAAB license, 
upon the station's promise to give up editorializing (it 'had in fact already 
done so, the FCC reported). But the formal statement of policy included 

(continued on next page) 

Making the News Meaningful 311 

Nobody quarreled with the principle. There had been violations of 
it, real and imaginary; the FCC had before this time, and has since, 
called to account stations that failed to maintain scrupulous attention 
to presentation of differing or opposing points of view. There had been 
cases in which individual broadcasters had, according to public and 
private charges, failed to represent the public interest. Boakc Carter, 
once the most popular, as he was the first, of the national!}" broadcast 
commentators, had lost a sponsor, it was said, largely because of the 
extremity and virulence of the personal opinions he had expressed. 

in the decision became a basic rule-of-thumb for broadcasters' guidance. It 
said, in part: 

". . . Under the American system of broadcasting it is clear that re- 
sponsibility for the conduct of a broadcast station must rest initially with 
the broadcaster. It is equally clear that with the limitations in frequencies 
inherent in the nature of radio, the public interest can never be served by a 
dedication of any broadcast facility to the support of partisan ends. Radio 
can serve as an instrument of democracy only when devoted to the com- 
munication of information and the exchange of ideas fairly and objectively 
presented. A truly free radio cannot be used to advocate the causes of the 
licensee. It cannot be used to support the candidacies of his friends. It 
cannot be devoted to the support of principles he happens to regard most 
favorably. In brief, the broadcaster cannot be an advocate. 

"Freedom of speech on the radio must be broad enough to provide full 
and equal opportunity for the presentation to the public of all sides of 
public issues. Indeed, as one licensed to operate in a public domain the 
licensee has assumed the obligation of presenting all sides of important 
public questions, fairly, objectively and without bias. The public interest 
not the private is paramount. These requirements are inherent in the con- 
ception of public interest set up by the Communications Act as the cri- 
terion of regulation." 

Through the war years the Mayflower decision stood apparently sacro- 
sanct. But with the passing of war as the top news subject, and with the 
development of broadcasters' interest in local news and local topics, a few 
and then many radio men began to question it. Why, they asked, should 
not radio have the same editorial privileges of the newspapers? Why should 
not radio men, even under a system of private operation of public facilities, 
be permitted to take and express positions on public questions? Some broad- 
casters, it is true, commented cannily that the Mayflower decision removed 
from them the responsibility to stick their necks out. But in late 1947 a 
Broadcasting Magazine survey showed 88 per cent of managers of com- 

( continued on next page ) 

312 News by Radio 

Fulton Lewis had often been charged with representing essentially the 
"NAM point of view" a charge given color by the fact that he was at 
one time in the employ of the National Association of Manufacturers. 
Many other cases had arisen. 

CBS's pronouncement, however, was the first broad-scale attempt to 
draw a line between background and opinion in the offerings of the 
men ordinarily called commentators. (CBS had announced a policy 
based on the same principle in 1939, but it had not drawn much atten- 
tion.) "Censorship!" shouted a number of such men'. Cecil Brown, 
burning under Paul White's sharp reproof for broadcasting, on August 

mercial AM stations saying they thought stations should have the right to 
editorialize, and 55 per cent that they would do so if they could; only 10 
per cent said they would not. Most of the managers reported themselves 
ready to face the new political, social, and other problems they thought the 
privilege of editorializing would raise; two-thirds of them thought the 
privilege should be limited to individual stations and not granted to net- 

Already in September of 1947 the FCC had recognized the growth of 
such attitudes by scheduling formal hearings on the problem to be held 
early in 1948. Specifically, the Commission was responding to a petition of 
WHCU-Cornell University for a flat statement as to whether a station 
might broadcast its own views along with those of others on a subject of 
local interest. Actually, it was influenced by statements of the NAB News 
Committee, of many of the radio news clinics held in preceding months, 
and of scores of individual broadcasters. 

The hearings developed conflicting attitudes both within and without 
the industry. Favoring abolition of the no-editorials ruling were the NAB, 
which stood consistently against any kind of programming control by the 
FCC, a number of stations which held that broadcasters should have the 
same right to expression of opinion as have the newspapers, and others who 
expressed the view that the Mayflower doctrine is an abridgment of Consti- 
tutional freedom. CBS, incidentally, asked abolition of the doctrine de- 
parting from its 1943 position largely on the ground that the "theory of 
scarcity" of broadcasting channels is no longer valid. Many of those desir- 
ing the right to editorialize, however, said they had no intention to put it 
immediately to use. Opposed to change in the doctrine was an array of wit- 
nesses who held that the public interest demands that the "privileged 
group" holding broadcasting licenses should not be given the right to ex- 
press opinion. 

The decision of the FCC had not been rendered up to late 1948. 

Making the News Meaningful 31 3 

25, "what Cecil Brown thinks" (White's words) rather than, as White 
saw it, facts to enable the listener to decide what to think, resigned 
from the CBS roll. H. V. Kaltenborn, perhaps CBS's top man in the 
public mind, resigned some time later to join NBC. The small but im- 
pressive Association of Radio News Analysts, of which Kaltenborn was 
a leader, objected vigorously. Essentially, the objections asserted that 
CBS was denying its men the right of free expression. 

This, of course, White denied. He declared that what the ARNA 
asked freedom for qualified men to express their views freely was in- 
consistent with public responsibility. He quoted Kaltenborn to show 
that what Kaltenborn and ARNA wanted was substantially what CBS 

The radio news analyst (Kaltenborn had said in a recent speech) cannot 
and should not function night after night as preacher and soap box orator. 
He cannot constantly make himself the medium for passionate expression 
of personal or minority opinions. 

Kaltenborn had gone on to say that "no news analyst worth his salt 
could or would be completely neutral or objective" that news evalua- 
tion, selection or rejection of material, exercise of editorial judgment all 
must be subjective. To which White replied that "complete jour- 
nalistic objectivity is probably only an ideal, but the fact that it is 
difficult if not impossible to attain does not impair the ideal itself, nor 
excuse the broadcaster from a constant and vigilant effort to attain it." 

The views of Edward R. Murrow CBS are pertinent. When Murrow 
opened a series of newscasts over CBS in October, 1947, he explained 
his conception of his job: 

News periods should be devoted to giving the facts emanating from an 
established newsgathering source, to giving all the color in the proper sense 
of the word, without intruding the views of the analyst. 

The news analyst further can and very often should give as much light as 
possible on the meaning of events. In other words: The news analyst should 
not say that they're good or bad in his opinion, but should analyze their sig- 
nificance in the light of known facts, the results of similar occurrences, and 

And in this he should always be fair. He is fully entitled to give and should 
give the opinions of various persons, groups, or political parties when these 
are known, leaving the listener to draw his own conclusions. . 

314 News by Radio 

We shall do our best to identify sources and to resist the temptation to 
use this microphone as a privileged platform. . . . And we shall try to 
remember that the mechanics of radio which make it possible for an indi- 
vidual to be heard throughout the land don't confer great wisdom or in- 
fallibility on that individual. 

Most newsmen have appeared to feel that the dispute is somewhat 
academic. "Analysts'* and "commentators" alike have said that the 
CBS definition would make little difference in their work. They agree 
with Kaltenborn that the self-respecting and competent analyst-com- 
mentator has no right to mount a soap box. They agree with White 
that the ideal of objectivity in the approach to facts is a goal to shoot 
at. They present their broadcasts, they say under whatever descrip- 
tive title with the aim of helping listeners to understand the news as 
they think it ought to be understood, always as soundly as their knowl- 
edge, judgment, and experience let them. 

The difficulty of hitting on an acceptable definition of the term 
''analyst" is aptly illustrated by an article in the April, 1946, Free World 
by Cesar Saerchinger. Saerchinger, for years an NBC commentator, 
defines the news analyst as "the man who not only selects his news but 
analyzes or interprets it, either with or without personal or political 
bias." In Saerchinger's dictionary, "analyst" means precisely what CBS 
says it doesn't. 

Evidence mounts, in any case, that the CBS policy has not hampered 
its news service. A Peabody Award for "outstanding reporting of the 
news" went in 1946 to CBS, with a special orchid to Paul White. The 

In the Atlantic Monthly for November, 1943, appeared a discussion of 
the problem of control of radio commentary, "Policing the Commentator/' 
by Quincy Howe. It elaborates some of the points discussed in this chapter. 

An excellent longer dissertation on radio commentary and commentators 
also appeared in the Atlantic: "Hearing Is Believing/' a series of three 
articles by Dixon Wecter (June, July, and August, 1945). Mr. Wecter de- 
votes most of his space to comment on individual radio news figures 
Swing, Harsch, Kaltenbom, Thomas, George Fielding Eliot, Dorothy 
Thompson, Pearson, Winchell, Heatter, Lewis, and Upton Close. 

Further development of the subject will be found in The American 
Radio, by Llewellyn White (University of Chicago Press, 1947) , one of the 
series of reports of the Commission on Freedom of the Press. 

Making the News Meaningful 315 

CIO-PAC, making a study of thirty-three daily news programs on the 
four major networks during seven weeks of the 19+4 Presidential 
campaign, concluded that CBS alone maintained a balance between 
pro and con in "moral judgment" in matters related to the PAC. And 
more than one critic has declared CBS news service to be the soundest 
of its kind. 

Commentary and the Station 

Radio listeners are aware that commentators and analysts are usually 
employees of networks rather than of individual stations. Upwards of 
a hundred men (and a few women) go on the chains, daily or weekly, 
with analyses of the news; the total number of such broadcasters in the 
employ of individual stations is probably no larger, though there are 
more than a thousand stations and only a handful of networks of all 

The prime reasons are easy to define: cost and fear of charges of 

Cost of putting a commentator on the air is relatively high because 
the commentator is ordinarily a select kind of performer. Dixon Wec- 
ter, in the Atlantic articles just cited, presents a glib account of "the 
typical evolution of a commentator" in which he declares that com- 
mentators are usually golden-voiced boys who grow up from jobs as 
news announcers to find themselves suddenly become authorities. This 
is a little too glib. Most commentators are individuals who, before they 
turn oracles, have attained a degree of public acceptance in the news or 
public affairs fields. They are foreign or Washington correspondents, 
social scientists, or authorities of other kinds whose special distinction 
gives their comment on current affairs public standing. Because they 
have such standing, they can command bigger figures on their salary 
checks (as is indicated in Chapter 4) than most stations care to pay for 
talent for only one or two shows a day. 

The second reason derives from the thinking that has led much of 
radio to avoid controversy. The local station, particularly the small local 
station, knows that it must make its facilities available equally to all 
parties to contested issues. Commentators even "analysts" no mat- 
ter how objective and fair and conscientious they try to make theii 

316 News by Radio 

broadcasts, can at times hardly avoid taking, or seeming to take, sides. 
From the point of view of the public interest, this is not necessarily ob- 
jectionable; but it can become troublesome. Most stations choose the 
course of avoiding trouble rather than seeking it. Ergo, few commen- 

There are other reasons why many stations do not employ com- 
mentators. Even though a small station might be willing to stand the 
cost and face the charge of taking sides, it is not likely that it would 
find a competent commentator easy to come by. And even though it 
should overcome this obstacle, it could hardly hope that his offerings 
would do much to raise its Hooper ratings. Comment on public affairs 
does not draw "big audiences. 

All of this to the contrary, some stations have made significant efforts 
in this field. KDAL-Duluth puts a daily three- or four-minute com- 
mentary on a local subject into the middle of its major local news show. 
WINR-Binghamton, New York, schedules local commentary regu- 
larly at 7:45 P.M. each day. A. D. Willard, NAB executive vice-presi- 
dent, told an Ohio news clinic in 1946 that "soon radio will accept the 
same responsibility" assumed by newspapers in presenting views on 
local issues. "NAB will do everything to hasten the day," he said, "when 
every radio station will build for itself the same position newspapers 
have built for themselves in their editorial policies, and in standing up 
for what they believe is right." The NAB radio news committee, in 
1947, went on record in favor of radio "editorializing" as a function of 
the competent radio newsroom. 

Closely related to controversial commentary is the matter of vigorous 
championing of causes in the public interest on which there is no con- 
troversy. Nobody denies the desirability of attacking municipal corrup- 
tion, juvenile delinquency, unsanitary restaurants, and the like; what is 
needed here is not the willingness to engage in controversy so much as 
the energy to dig into hidden situations and the courage to say what 
needs to be said about them. Radio stations offer many examples of this 

C. A. Siepmann, in Radio's Second Chance (Rinehart, 1946), writes 
stimulatingly about the questions of partisanship, discrimination, and 
other matters of radio's public policy. The book is worth every broadcasting 
worker's time. 

Making the News Meaningful 317 

kind of thing. WBNY-Buffalo, by hard-hitting, insistent reporting, 
caused a clean-up in a local police problem that had been given scant 
attention by other local communication agencies. WSB-Atlanta and 
WCCO-Twin Cities won widespread praise by their repeated shafts 
at racial and religious intolerance WSB in its series of dramatized 
"The Harbor We Seek" programs and WCCO in a special series of six 
documentary shows, "Neither Free Nor Equal," which has not often 
been equaled in calling spades spades. Harry M. Cochran of WSTV- 
Steubenville, Ohio, won a 1946 Sigma Delta Chi medal for docu- 
mented reporting of the criminal background of one of the operators of 
local gambling dens. WCAU-Philadelphia put on a campaign to aid 
the "Philadelphia Plan" of reducing food costs. Radio stations through- 
out the land put on all kinds of programs, in 1947, to combat the juve- 
nile delinquency problem. KRNT-Des Moines aided its community in 
an impressive reduction in the number of traffic fatalities. And so on. 
In any case, commentary is an integral and a vital part of the radio 
news profession (or business) . That it is difficult, that it is seeded with 
booby traps, that it is costly all such facts do not justify radio's avoid- 
ing it. American broadcasting will not, indeed, be fully accepting its 
responsibility until it shoulders the burden of leadership implied by its 
position as trustee of a vastly important means of mass communication. 
The FCC appears to feel that it is a necessity, and so does the public. 
Radio as shown by the demand for modification of the Mayflower 

Evidence of public interest in what a station does with its commentators 
came dramatically in Los Angeles in the spring of 1945. Station KFI an- 
nounced in February that all news analyses would be restricted to employees 
of the station. In the following months the California legislature denounced 
the action by resolution, and a citizens' "Emergency Committee on KFP" 
was formed to protest on the ground that such action removed from the 
air competent commentators whose broadcasts were of value to the public, 
and that limiting comment to KFI employees might mean that only the 
views of the station's owners would be broadcast. KFI countered later, after 
formal protest to the FCC had been made, that it had no intention of tak- 
ing off its schedule its NBC network commentators. The FCC promised to 
watch "developments" in the case. The important point is not the merit 
of the specific problem, but the fact that a portion of the public was aroused 
to action against what it thought might be a threat to freedom of expression, 
and to radio service in the public interest. 

318 News by Radio 

principle seems ready to devote more and more time to this kind of 
leadership, in its own interests as in the interests of its clientele. 

How the Commentary Grows 

Most commentators "write their own stuff." They choose their sub- 
jects, decide on their attitudes, write their copy, and broadcast it them- 
selves. Cases crop up in which commentators have ghosts who do their 
real work, leaving to them the glory of microphone appearance, but 
they are rare. 

This is as it should be. Commentary is nothing if not personal, and 
the "commentator" who does no more than parrot analyses prepared 
for him by a hack no matter how competent a hack not only is a 
parasite and a fake, but is also pretty sure to lack conviction in presenta- 
tion. In a day when the trend is toward making newscasters their own 
writers and research men, it is doubly important that commentators 
be the real thing. 

Commentary to repeat is a highly personalized business. No two 
commentators approach problems in just the same way, nor work in the 
same mental or physical environment, nor turn out the same kind of 
copy. Each man, if he is to maintain the individual flavor that is so im- 
portant a factor in his effectiveness, must write copy that is distinctly 
his copy copy that would be less effective (and perhaps nothing but 
hash) in any mouth other than his. For this reason, precise and abso- 
lute rules for the writing of commentary copy cannot be laid down. 

Here, then, are general suggestions rather than specific precepts. 
Though Raymond Swing and Gabriel Heatter produce widely differing 
broadcasts, they have some of the same starting points. What is said 
here is not intended to shape the individual commentary, but rather to 

The copy of a commentator who here shall be nameless has for years been 
the despair of other writers in his newsroom. Sample sentences from one of 
his wartime broadcasts: "We have been subjected to a series of rude shocks, 
militarily, and, as a result, on the homefront. Now, increasingly disturbed, 
the American people are buckling down, but, even so, are starting to inquire 
the reasons for mounting casualties, and a situation that presages a war 
barely begun/' Nobody but the man who wrote them could put such rhetor- 
ical monstrosities over. But this man somehow made them both meaningful 
and forceful. 

Making the News Meaningful 319 

present the broad, common aspects of the commentator's task. 

What are the common starting points? 

First, long and thorough grounding in public affairs. Most commonly 
such grounding is that of the newspaper man. Most of the commen- 
tators who were big names during the war were former newspaper men 
Godwin, Sevareid, Lewis, Pearson, Swing, K^ltenborn, and a host of 
others. These are men who have for years been deeply concerned 
with the understanding and evaluation of news; men, too, who ap- 
proach news with respect for it and with a passion for making it mean- 
ingful to a public that hasn't their background. 

Work directly with news, however, is not the only avenue. George 
Fielding Eliot was a professional soldier and a pulp-magazine writer 
before he became a military commentator. Edward Murrow was an 
educator and a youth worker; Upton Close was a world traveler and 
student of Far Eastern affairs. Many commentators, especially those 
allied with individual stations, are university professors or specialists in 
social science fields. After V-J Day there was a swing toward the employ- 
ment of prominent political and governmental figures: Sumner Welles, 
Harold Ickes, and Fiorello LaGuardia are examples. 

A second starting point is constant access to latest news reports. Most 
commentators work in intimate contact with network or big-station 
newsrooms, where printers chatter twenty-four hours a day. Heatter has 
printers installed in his Long Island home, his Connecticut farm, and 
his New York apartment. Many commentators, in addition, have their 
own personal news channels. The modern commentator is a "big 
name," and he can usually gain access to important news sources by 
picking up a telephone. Some, like Pearson and Winchell, capitalize on 
what they say are private sources "men in high position/' "authorita- 
tive voices on Capitol Hill" who, they would have their listeners believe, 
open their hearts to Pearson or Winchell alone. It goes without saying 
that every commentator draws heavily on his own experience and 
knowledge, and that he has at his right hand many shelves of reference 

Finally, the commentator must have certain special skills. He needs 
to be able to turn out effective radio copy effective either in the sober, 
orderly manner of a Swing or the flashy, sentimental style of a Heatter. 

320 News by Radio 

He must have a presentable radio personalitynot necessarily one 
characterized by golden voice and broadcast glamour, but at least one 
that carries conviction and has the ring of authority. 

And it doesn't hurt if he has a touch of the crusader, and at least a 
modicum of showmanship. Commentators who draw largest audiences 
are those who can, on occasion, get excited. Though commentary is a 
serious business, it can be made more effective by the impassioned voice 
(if it isn't worked to death) and by the use of the showman's devices 
of suspense and color. 

All of this suggests that the commentator works hard at his job. He 
does. Most commentators do no more than one show a day, and no 
more than five a week. They ordinarily put in a full day's work at each 
show. Typically, a commentator rises in the morning along with the 
rest of the world, has breakfast by 8 o'clock, and starts his day's routine. 
This means reading a variety of newspapers (the New Yorfe Times is a 
"must" for most commentators) and news and discussion periodicals, 
perhaps "catching" several news broadcasts, checking the printers for 
late news developments. It also involves going through a mass of "hand- 
outs," bulletins, special pleas, and other such material which comes by 
the mailbagful some bidden and welcome, some routed direct to the 
fireplace. By noon (supposing that his show goes on the air in the eve- 
ning) , a commentator will usually have decided what subject or sub- 
jects he is to treat. 

After lunch the commentator may start to work on his copy; or he 
may need to do some reporting, some additional fact-finding and re- 
search and opinion-sampling. At any rate, he will need to have put him- 
self before his typewriter four or five hours in advance of broadcast time. 
No two men work at the same speed. One political scientist who has a 
three-times-a-week evening commentary of ten minutes clears all the 
time after noon on broadcast days for his job. Another who writes his 
copy longhand allows five hours for the actual writing. 

This discussion deals with the commentator whose work is essentially 
confined to news in the term's broad sense current social, political, and 
economic developments. There are also specialized commentators: Men 
like George Fielding Eliot and Hanson Baldwin in military matters, Clifton 
Fadiman on books, Jimmy Fidler on movies. 

Making the News Meaningful 321 

In any case, the commentator must make sure that he has ample time 
for final polishing, and for checking again the latest news developments 
before he goes on the air. Once in a while he may find such develop- 
ments completely altering a situation, so that he will have a thorough 
revamping job to do. If he's a Kaltenborn, perfectly at ease in an ad-lib 
broadcast, his problem may be simple. If he isn't, there may be a 
hectic hour just before air time. 

Organization of the commentary is, and should be, simple. Ordi- 
narily a five- or ten-minute show deals with only one or two major sub- 
jects, and a fifteen-minute with no more than three. The commentator 
chooses topics of wide interest, or importance, or preferably both. 
Since his job is to illuminate, to explain, to show values, rather than 
merely to report (though at times he may choose to do nothing beyond 
report relevant facts bearing on a subject in the news) , he needs at least 
several minutes for each topic. Consequently his main organization 
problem is to decide which topic will make his opening most effective, 
and perhaps how to move smoothly from one topic to another. If his 
show carries a mid-commercial, he needs to devise a convenient break 
either a pause in the discussion of a single topic, or a shift to another 

Most of what there is to say about the actual writing, the rhetorical 
form, has already been said. Though the commentary is a special type 
of news broadcast, it is still a news broadcast. Therefore it needs to have 
the qualities of informality, of directness, of simplicity, and of color 
that characterize any effective news show. Within this generalization, 
however, there are several specific requirements: 

L The news peg the current news on which the comment is to 
hang must appear early in the script. Unless the news is of transcend- 
ent importance and interest the death of a President or of a price con- 
trol system, for example the commentator must write on the principle 
that many among his audience will not be intimately conversant with 
it. He must therefore show in his opening remarks precisely the occa- 
sion for his choice of topic, and present enough of the current factual 
news so that no single listener will be puzzled. 

2. The commentary must get a running start. Commentary audi- 
ences are never large most radio listeners vastly prefer a Jack Benny 

322 News by Radio 

to a Joseph Harsch. The commentator has to take hold of the dial- 
twisters in his first sentence, or forever lose them. Use of a vital news 
peg in the opening sentence is often effective. Posing a question to 
which thousands want to know the answer "How high are food prices 
going to go?" is another. An anecdote may do the job: "Here's a story 
that will interest you. . . ." Or a personal experience: "I heard two 
housewives in the corner grocery talking about the price of butter to- 
day. . . ." Promise of something striking may do it: "What happened 
to the price of butter in a little Southern town today, thanks to short- 
ages, scares the life out of me. . . ." These and other devices have a 
number of common characteristics: they talk in listener-terms; they 
show immediately that the subject is of current and broad interest; 
they promise something to come. 

3. Most scripts should be plentifully larded with specific facts. The 
listener can tie his imagination and his attention to specific facts; but 
he is puzzled and often bored by generalization or by philosophical 
rumination. The use of incident, anecdote, concrete example or illus- 
tration, moreover, is one of the sure methods of putting life and color 
into a broadcast. Finally, much of any commentary normally consists of 
the presentation of factual background behind the news of the day. 
Though the commentator is picked for his job because his opinions are 
competent and trustworthy, he is expected not merely to offer think- 
pieces to his audience but rather to show that the facts add up to what 
he considers a logical over-all view of a news situation. 

4. The commentator has responsibility like that of the newscaster to 
avoid sensationalizing, sentimentality, and overemotionalism. Not that 
all do: Pearson and Winchell glory in sensationalizing, and Heatter 
gives sentimentality and emotionalism (as much in his fervent, dedi- 
cated voice as in his words) high standing among his wares. On the 
other hand, Swing with his Olympic calm seems to make a fetish of 
avoiding any suggestion of excitement about the news or what it means. 
The ideal, doubtless, is somewhere between the extremes. The point is 
that a commentator who depends on overcoloration, either in voice or 
words, is gaining audience but rendering it a disservice and, in some 
cases, doing it positive injury; one who consistently understates, orally 
or verbally, loses audience and may also be guilty of disservice. 

Making the News Meaningful 323 

5. The commentary must "come out right." The newscaster, with an 
eye on the clock, can pick and choose among short news stories as he 
nears the end of his air time so as to bring his show to a close within a 
few seconds of his allotted period. The commentator usually has no 
such handy adjusting device. Since his comment on a subject is in the 
nature of a brief essay, its organization demands that the conclusion 
often the most important part of what he has to say be timed down to 
the last period. ABC boasts that Swing, working with a stopwatch in 
his hand and the knowledge that thirteen lines on his typewriter ac- 
count for a minute on the air, invariably comes to the end of his last 
paragraph on the nose. Most commentators have not figured it so fine; 
but all must give serious attention to timing. 

Radio commentators have come in for a lot of attention from American 
magazine and book publishers in recent years. Two books dealing with them 
are The Columnists by Charles Fisher (Howell, Soskin, 1944) and Molders 
of Opinion, edited by David Bulman (Bruce, 1945). Fisher's book, though 
it is concerned with newspaper as well as radio commentators (many men 
are both) , is the more complete and revealing. 

Among magazine articles on commentators *(in addition to those cited 
earlier in this chapter) : 

"Edward R. Murrow" by Robert J. Landry, Scribner's, December, 1938 
"Fadiman for the Millions" by John Chamberlain, Saturday Evening Post, 

January 11, 1941 
"The Crier" by Philip Hamburger, a Profile on Gabriel Heatter, New 

Yorker, January 20, 1945 
"Radio's Public Opinionators" by Jessyca Russell, Magazine Digest, July, 


"You're on the Air" by Cesar Saerchingcr, Free World, April, 1946 
"The Role of the Radio Commentator" by Hadley Cantril, Public Opinion 

Quarterly, October, 1939 
"The Voice" by R. O. Boyer, a Profile on Raymond Swing, New Yorker, 

November 14-21 (two parts), 1942 
"Pugnacious Pearson" by Jack Alexander, Saturday Evening Post, January 

6, 1945 
"Kaltenborn Edits the News" by Giraud Chester, American Mercury, 

October, 1947 
"The Shortage of News Analysts" by Charles A. Siepmann, Nation, 

January 24, 1948 

324 News by Radio 

6. The commentator who likes his job must avoid becoming a special 

7. The commentator ought to try to avoid confusing himself with 

The Professionals at Work 

Through the good nature and courtesy of H. R. Baukhage, Gabriel 
Heatter, Eric Sevareid, and Raymond Swing, readers of this book are 
here given an opportunity for line-by-line examination of several of 
their actual scripts. 

First, there are two by Baukhage, for years a member of the ABC 
Washington news staff. Baukhage works from a triple-spaced script 
which he types himself. He is an inexpert typist, and there are many 
errors with penciled corrections. Since he reads his own copy, he permits 
some errors that won't mislead him to go uncorrected, and he pays no 
attention to the standard rule that sentences or words must not break 
from one page of copy to another he is so familiar with what he has 
written that he can deliver it smoothly. To the script that follows, 
broadcast from Washington on September 9, 1946, he has appended 
his own comments. His preface: 

Many people express surprise at the answer to one of the most frequently- 
asked questions about broadcasting: "How long does it take you to prepare 
your script?" 

It takes as long to prepare most good broadcasts as it does to prepare 
for the painting of a good picture. Whistler said that took him a lifetime. 

Working on a single script, if you simply count the time which has 
elapsed on the day you do the writing, would be from about 7 A.M., when I 
reach my office, to 1: 15 P.M., when I leave the microphone. However, all my 
working day except the time devoted to the preparation of a weekly column 
and the writing of a few articles and lectures is spent on the broadcasts. 

Now the script,* with Baukhage's comments where they apply: 

'The script starts with a descrip- Baukhage talking, 
tion of the weather, which required 

a perusal of the weather map. Fre- If I had my way this morning I'd 

quently I call up the Weather Bu- be talking about the weather and 

reau and consult them when there nothing else. It isn't unusual or un- 

* By written permission of H. R. Baukhage, September 17, 1946. 

is some unusual meteorological phe- 
nomenon worthy of comment." 

Making the News Meaningful 325 

expected it is just Washington 
showing us what I told you it would 
that these delightful pre-fall days 

didn't mean we weren't going to have a post-summer. 90 is predicted for 
this afternoon. Yesterday it was hotter here than it was in Miami or New 
Orleans. Somewhere in between those two cities a lot of hot air pushed 
north out of the Gulf of Mexico, and I understand that it pushed clear up 
into the Susquehanna Valley. It looks as if the chilly spot was Reno, which 
is more or less advantageous to the city's leading industry. 

"The second paragraph takes up 
the question of strikes and, while it 
is more or less factual reporting, it 
reflects a long interview I had the 
previous d*y with a member of the 
Labor Department, dealing with the 
machinery of conciliation, and also 
opinions garnered from various offi- 
cials on the current situation per- 
haps two or three separate conversa- 

Strikes are the chief topic of the 
day again, and the pessimists who 
warned us to look for another round 
seem to have been right. As far as I 
have been able to learn at this hour, 
it looks as if the Maritime people 
had the government where they 
wanted it, right out on a limb, and 
the prediction is that they'll have to 
saw themselves off. And when the 
stabilization bough breaks, up will 
go wages and prices and all. 

I suppose there will be more than the 30 lines which the Russian papers 
gave to the Byrnes speech in Germany, devoted to our internal troubles. 

I'm sure most of you blame the governmental labor machinery for the 
present dilemma. What would you have done? The CIO maritime workers 
on the west coast struck and the government stabilization board okeh'ed 
a minimum wage raise. Meanwhile the AF of L was negotiating on 
its end. The ship owners granted a higher rate to them than CIO won. 

The government had named its 
limit and so the workers struck 
against the board's decision. That is 
one of the disadvantages of having 
two rival union organizations which 

"I mention 'the disadvantages of 
having two rival union organiza- 
tions/ Views stated there are based 
partly on an interview I had with 

Secretary of Labor Perkins when she have to holdjheir membership^ by 
was in office and also on a telephone 
call confirming the fact that the 

breach between the two organiza- 
tions is as wide as or wider than 

competing. Today there is less 
chance of amalgamation than ever, 
if we can judge from some of the 
choice remarks CIO head Murray 
made about AF of L head Green, 

326 News by Radio 

That isn't the only obstacle in the government's path when it comes to 
labor disputes. There is a breach between the White House and the labor 
department. It is no secret to Secretary of Labor Schwellenbach that Pres- 

< <rrn . , . . ., ident Truman has been valiantly 

This paragraph mentions the , . ., . -, ,. 

,.- *\ * ^ n , ,, , v seeking some other nice iob for him. 

differences between Schwellenbach Schwe | enbach is not ^ to it if 

and the President. My comment on he undr ^ fte J ^ 

this situation is the result of at least president answered a tion ^ his 

half a dozen recent mtemews with conference last week H made it p i ain 

people who reflect the attitude of thattheMaritimestrikewasent i r el y 
theWhiteHouse,theUborDepart- Labor Secret - s hot ta j 

ment Schwellenbach and his ^ ^ ^^ / 

fnends. Among the interviews is .. r . r . , , . r .-, , 

T , , .? . tl _ c , it was mst a straw but one that 
one I had earlier with Schwellen- . . ', , , , , ., 

, , ^ , L . .., was intended to break the camel s 

bach hvo long conversations ; with Qthers sgid ;t wQu 

one of his intimate friends, the re- make Schwellenbach hum 

port of a very reliable source con- , , . r 

r ., J , . . , . , and keep on going. 

cernmg the advice given him by r D 

another of his counsellors. On that r^, . ., . . , *... 

,. . , . . -L v The strike is no ioke. If it starts a 

is predicated my view of the policy , . . . J n ,-, , ,. 

r chain reaction, Paul Porter won t 

^ " " have to resign as OPA head as 

Broadcasting Magazine said he was going to and the President said he 
wasn't. There won't be any price control. And the stabilization board will 
find it's no use to try to lock the stable after wages have stolen another up- 
ward march. 

As John Steelman, chief stabilizer, says in the current American Maga- 
zine (I'm quoting it and him), "Before winter sets in it will be apparent 
whether those old forces supply and demand can operate quickly enough 
to stabilize our economy with the controls which we now have available. 
If we are to avoid a riotous price and wage chase ending in a crash, we must 
cooperate with the government agencies . . . Business and industry must 
police themselves and refrain from seeking bigger mark-ups and high-priced 

lines. Labor must seek higher 

'Two articles are quoted one wages only in cases of obvious hard- 
from Fortune and another from the ship. . . ." 
American. I read both at home, out- 

side of office hours/* There is more advice to bankers 

and farmers and buyers. But the 

boom is on, and the consumers are the craziest of all. As Fortune Maga- 
zine remarks, there seems no bottom to the American purse. Mink coats at 
fifteen thousand and men's wrist watches at a thousand dollars all sell just 

Making the News Meaningful 327 

about as fast as egg beaters, table radios and pork chops. They're off, and 
you might as well try to stop a bandersnatch. 

As Fortune comments, there are more people in insane asylums than ever 
before. Maybe, what with the housing system, THEY are just crazy like 
Reynard R-E-Y-N-A-R-D (Hie class can look up the allusion for to- 
morrow) . 

The latest embroidery to the labor situation is the assumption of the 
duties of the State Department by the International Longshoreman's 
union. They have decided to amend our foreign policy toward Jugoslavia. 
Joseph Ryan, president of the organization, says no more ships carrying 
supplies to Jugoslavia will be loaded. La Guardia says there are 37 UNRRA 
ships now unloaded how many are bound for Jugoslavia he didn't say. 
While mari^ people will think it's at least rough justice to amend the ancient 
saying and cease feeding the mouth that is biting you, after all, it would 
seem proper to let Mr. Byrnes do his job until we decide to make Mr. Ryan 
secretary of state. 

One thing it is well to remember. UNRRA is not an American organ- 
ization. It is an international or- 

"On the question of UNRRA ganization. All of its employees, 
and America's relation to it, no regardless of nationality, are working 
authorities are mentioned. But the for it, not for the country of which 
opinions expressed are based on they are citizens. The United States 
three long and intimate talks with has made certain pledges to deliver 
one of my friends who at the time certain supplies. If we don't want to 
held a position in UNRRA very live up to our pledges we can get 
close to the Director General." out of the organization, I suppose. 

But we can't change the rales arbi- 
trarily. In any case, we won't spite Tito or his bosses. 

We'll just starve some poor Slav who doesn't even know we had a plane 
shot down and who perhaps has been kind to his mother. 

With the speech of Secretary Byrnes still echoing over Europe, some 
saying it is a challenge, others saying it's an invitation to Russia, the Peace 
Conference pursues its weary way. And may still pursue to the point of 
postponing the meeting of the assembly of the United Nations in New 
York set for the twenty-third. Molotov managed to get through a resolution 
to poll the UN members as to whether they would be willing to wait a 
month. The United States didn't vote. Some of the delegates are said to be 
already en route. 

328 News by Radio 

Criticism of the Peace Conference swells into a bitter chorus. Even the 

more conservative observers are be- 

\ r M. c 1.1- j. r J.-L -L j i. ginning to grow a little bit cynical. 

Most of the rest of the broadcast f A ^ - ^ T^- , 

, , L , n , . j I note the magazine Corps Diplo- 

is purelv factual. Reference is made .. . A * v *. 

. r o : , .. , ., matic quotes an Austrian journalist 
to a third article on the peace con- , . v j 

fercnce, late news developments on 

phich' I got from the Associated ^ . $ &e ^ intemational 

conference which I have covered/' 
he says, "and it's always the same; 

the debate is only for the gallery. There are only two worlds, a capitalist and 
a non-capitalist one, which are trying to make a temporary truce." Well, 
I'm glad our Austrian friend feels it's a TRUCE. But from where I sit, it's 
a truce stranger than fiction. 

I am afraid that there isn't much more unanimity on the question of for- 
eign affairs in the peace conference than there is here at home. Unless you 
whole-heartedly approve of a sentiment you are a fanatic. I was highly 
amused by two letters that arrived at the same time, one from Ohio, one 
from New York. The Ohio lady accused me (I'm quoting) of "red-baiting, 
labor-hating and being a Roosevelt-smearer." She explains that fairness and 
justness have colored all of her living. 

Which reminds me of the swain's lament: "If you be not fair to me, 
what care I how fair you be?" That goes both ways. 

However, this is mild compared to the New Yorker, who signs his card 
with a not-too-modest pseudonym. He calls me a New Deal pundit and 
accuses me and rny horrendous ilk of the following: 1) Unleasing the 
atomic bomb in spite of the fact Japan had made peace moves; 2) selling 
out Poland, Finland, China, Korea and Mihailovitch et cetera ad nauseam 
ad insomniam. 

As I have remarked, I have long since learned that good and evil, black 
and white, are to a large extent in the ear of the listener. 

There was good and bad in the Byrnes speech according to the private 
interests of the listeners, too. France was frightened at the thought of a 
stronger Germany; Poland sent angry crowds screaming at the American 
Embassy in Warsaw. 

A rumor immediately spread that Russia, in order to outbid Byrnes for 
German cooperation, was about to offer her Silesia, a part of the now-occu- 
pied Russian zone lying between the present Polish border and Germany. 

Making the News Meaningful 329 

What the Russians seemed to consider the important thing in the Byrnes 
speech and it WAS the important thing was that he made clear that 
any power, including Germany, that thought we were going to fold our tents 
like the Arabs and silently steal away from Europe had better revise its plans. 

The Soviet-controlled Berlin radio announced that with half the pre- 
cincts heard from, the communist unity party was running ahead of its 
two conservative opponents in the communal election of yesterday. That 
was for Thuringia only. Yesterday it looked, in Saxony at least (from which 
there is no report today), as if the anti-communist votes were higher. 

As Greece welcomes back her king, Bulgaria ousts hers. The Bulgarian 
plebiscite established what they call a Republic, and little nine-year-old 
Simeon the Second will go into exile. He helped his mother pack, and 
expressed his formerly royal pleasure that he was going to see his grand- 
daddy, ex-King Victor Emmanuel, and all the other exiled Italian royalty. 
He is interested in botany. He was popular, personally, with his former 
subjects, but his best friends probably feel that it will be better for him to 
study his daisies and other flowers from the top, looking down, than to run 
the chance of difficulties that might enforce a root's eye view of them. His 
head will doubtless rest much easier than the crowned one of his neighbor, 
King George. Already there is thunder on the left in Greece. The initials of 
FDR, in sky-writing half a mile long over Athens, okey'ed the Greek verdict, 
but they have gone with the winds and the Aircraft Carrier Franklin Roose- 
velt, out at sea, has long since beheld dock-lights die. 

The British cabinet discusses the Palestine problem preparatory to the 
forthcoming conference, which dispatches say may have to include the 
Jewish Agency on its own terms those terms are statehood for the Jewish 
state and adequate territory. 

It was learned today that under Chiang Kai-shek's orders a translation 
of the New Testament had been completed last February, but kept secret. 
The translator, Dr. WU, noted Chinese jurist, worked closely with the 
Generalissimo on the translation. The other news from China said govern- 
ment troops were fighting through the defenses of Tsining. 

Now Baukhage adds general comments on his news sources and his 
characteristic methods of operation: 

News sources are broadly divided into three classifications: 1 White 
House press-radio conference, which I never miss; others held by govern- 
ment officials which I attend if possible; and those held by private persons 
of importance or representatives of non-governmental organizations. 2 

330 News by Radio 

The hand-out or mimeographed statement written by the publicity staffs 
of agencies in and out of government. I read many of these personally, and 
have others digested by my assistants. 3 Perhaps the most important, the 
personal interview. Many such interviews dealing with late news are con- 
ducted over the telephone, and they are quite as satisfactory as personal 
visits if one has sufficiently intimate acquaintance with the individuals 

Comment, interpretation, explanation, and background in a single broad- 
cast might call upon data assembled years before. For instance, material 
which I gathered while covering the Versailles Peace Conference after 
World War I is of value in reporting similar international gatherings today. 

As to use of the script, once it is prepared, I might say that I believe the 
commentator must look upon radio as a medium requiring a style of writing 
and delivery of its own. To attempt to apply the technique of the printed 
word or the platform is wrong. The style must be informal and conversa- 
tional, for the listener is in an informal atmosphere. The speaker is a visitor 
in a home, not a lecturer on a rostrum. You can't talk the way you talk, 
either, unless your script is 'written the way you talk. 

Another factor: The listener is blind. Therefore, the speaker must substi- 
tute for gestures and facial expression, special phrasing and inflection which 
convey the desired impressions without distracting the thought. 

A broadcast can, of course, be too informal. Personally, except when I am 
describing some event happening before my eyes, or one so recent there is 
not time to prepare a text but whose scene or facts are deeply etched on my 
brain, I want a script in front of me. But in reading (I use the word as it is 
used on the stage) the art must, as in the theater, conceal the art. There is 
nothing so "spontaneous" as the speech that has been carefully prepared. 
Commentators can't and shouldn't memorize, but I want to be familiar 
enough with what I am going to say so that I know exactly how a sentence 
is going to end when I start it. 

Examination of Baukhage's script reveals a number of characteristics. 
It opens "soft," with a weather story of wide interest; it closes with sev- 
eral short stories so that Baukhage can adjust his closing to the clock. It 
discusses only three main topics: the current economic situation, the 
meaning of the Byrnes speech, and an aspect of the Balkan situation. 
But it embroiders each of these with what Baukhage views as their im- 
portant ramifications. It strives throughout for a light, informal tone 

Making the News Meaningful 331 

both in the language employed and through the use of frequent quips 
and puns. 

In his general comments above, Baukhage speaks of the situation in 
which he may broadcast ad-lib. The script * that follows is of this 
nature. It won a Headlined Award for 1945, and was given an accolade 
in the Congressional Record, where it was reprinted, as "one of the 
classics of the several programs" describing its subject President 
Roosevelt's funeral ceremonies. Of the script, Baukhage says: "It was 
taken from notes I put down while the Roosevelt funeral services at 
Hyde Park were going on, using the fender of a Signal Corps truck 
parked in the rose garden for a desk. There was no time between the 
end of the ceremonies and the broadcast itself to prepare a script. The 
transcript was taken down in shorthand from the broadcast as re- 

Baukhage talking from a little house down the Boston Post Road a bit 
from Hyde Park where I've come, following the President's funeral. A little 
way from the rolling farmland, the woodland and hedgerows, and stone 
fences, and plowed fields, the old home behind the trees where Franklin 
Roosevelt first saw the light over the hills of the Hudson, and where I've 
just left him in the midst of his own acres, taking his last long rest. 

I'm not going to talk about the death of the President today because I'm 
thinking of something else. I'm thinking about an American like others 
who fell at Lexington, Appomattox, at San Juan Hills, and Chateau Thierry, 
on the Normandy beaches, on Guadalcanal, at Aachen, and now at the very 
gates of Berlin. I am thinking of Franklin Roosevelt that way because of the 
last broadcast I made from Hyde Park on September 8, four years ago on a 
mellow autumn day. On that day thousands in America were not thinking 
of the most thought-about man in the country then in terms of politics or 
policies or rank or title or achievements or failures. But they were thinking 
of him humanly, and vainly trying to share the grief that a son alone must 
bear when he repays with the anguish of parting, the debt for the travail 
of her who bore him. That was the day when Sara Delano Roosevelt passed 
away. And that is what I said then then, not a President but a man mourn- 
ing for his mother. 

And today a Nation mourns not for a President but for a loss made the 
more poignant by the sorrow of the mothers all over the Nation whose sons 

* By written permission of H. R. Baulchage, September 17, 1946. 

332 News by Radio 

have been lost on the wide battlefields of the world. To me there is no ques- 
tion whatever but that Franklin Roosevelt died in the service of his country, 
a service grown too great for any single man to bear, just as other mothers' 
sons have died for their country, the ones who gave their lives in action. To 
me, this ceremony that I have just witnessed is part of the great panoply of 
sacrifice that men since time began have made, giving their life to preserve 
an ideal which lived on because they were willing to exchange their own 
lives for it. A part of the eternal miracle of nature when earth takes back her 
seed only to return it in the rich harvest, in flower and stalk, to be the nour- 
ishment of others that mourn. 

I have come, as I say, from Hyde Park where in an ancient old-fashioned 
garden, protected by the high walls of a hemlock hedge, another American 
has gone to rest on the acres where he was born, the acres he loved. He 
chose this spot among the old-fashioned blooms, now only brown shoots I 
noticed before me, brown and unobtrusive compared to the mountain of 
riotous color heaped above the grave. But those were plucked flowers they 
will fade. The others, they will bloom again in this eternal miracle of spring. 
Over the boxwood hedge the old red barn looks down. Thousands of those 
red barns are on America's farms. Beyond and hidden by the great trees is 
the old home; and beyond the Hudson River is flowing gently to the sea. 

And now, as I have taken the notes down, I'll give them to you: 

First there was the roar of planes overhead and then the sharp order 
"Attention/' the salute, and then echoing over those deep hills of the Hud- 
son, like Hendrick Hudson's bowling balls, came the salute of 48 guns. 
And between those shots all was so silent that you could hear bird songs 
everywhere. And then "Present arms," and then the planes coming back. 
And then last in the distance, the low tap of the muffled drums from the 
West Point band and then the sound of the slow rhythm of the dead march 
which grew louder and louder as they entered the grounds. And now they 
come in before us, and the West Pointers follow at that strange slow march, 
and finally the caisson is outside the hedge you can hear it. It halts just 
beyond the little entrance where I am standing. The bombers soar over 
and now the colors are advanced the Stars and Stripes, the gold of the 
Presidential flag. And now "Order arms/' "Present arms/' and the bugles 
sound off, the Star Spangled Banner, and at that moment the cool wind 
from the Hudson River blew and whipped out the flags. "Order arms/' 
"Parade rest," and now softly the band began "Lead, Kindly Light." And 
now a choir boy with the crucifix comes in, behind, in white surplice, the 
white-haired minister, and then the coffin with the pall bearers, soldiers and 
sailors and marines, and next the wife and the daughter and the son, 

Making the News Meaningful 333 

Elliott, and men President Truman. The coffin rests, a flag upon it the flag 
is raised and held above it. And now, the minister speaks, there comes a 
prayer, and then the poem that he reads with this refrain: "Father in Thy 
gracious keeping leave we now Thy servant sleeping/' And then, after the 
silence, bird songs again. And then the sharp order to the firing party: "Fire 
three volleys," "Ready," "Aim," "Fire." The shots ring out three times 
the volleys are shot over the grave and after each the bark of a little lonely 
dog. And then that sweetest and saddest of all music the bugle sounds 
"Taps." There is a pause as the echoes die and the coffin is lowered into the 
earth. The sergeant, with military precision, marches over and lays the flag 
that decked the coffin in the hands of Mrs. Roosevelt. And so, an American 
has gone to rest in the green of the garden, in the shadow of the old red 
barn, and his spirit, like that of all his fallen comrades on the battlefields, 
rolls on like the eternal river flowing softly to the sea. 


The following broadcasta wartime Sunday afternoon program 
(January 7, 1945) by Eric Sevareid of CBS in London may be ex- 
amined in light of the CBS distinction between "analyst" and "com- 
mentator." In the script Sevareid reports late news; he offers related 
facts, or background, to give the listener points of reference for the 
news. All of this comes within the frame of the CBS definition of anal- 
ysis. But few would argue that Sevareid does not also present his own 
personal views of the meaning of the news. Note, for instance, the two 
paragraphs at the middle of the script beginning "Mr. Archibald 
MacLeish. . . ." "A beginning [of freer flow of news]/' says Sevareid, 
"will have to be made in some high places ... it is not so much be- 
cause information was stopped, as because bad information has been 
issued . . . apparently our aviation experts have been the worst of- 
fenders." Sevareid is considered one of radio's most careful and thor- 
ough reporters, a man scrupulously careful of his facts; when he makes 
statements like those just quoted, he usually presents dependable facts 
to back them up. But he does not merely present the facts and leave all 
conclusions to the reader; he suggests or states flatly the conclusions he 
has reached* Is this analysis? or is it commentary? 

And what about the remarkable essay to which Sevareid devotes the 
second half of his broadcast? It is well documented, with specific factual 
examples and with generalizations for which it would be easy to pro- 

334 News by Radio 

duce factual basis (for instance, "generals and journalists use big, 
standard words like 'teamwork 7 or 'soldierly behavior' ") . But is it not 
essentially the speaker s attempt to aid the listener to see what war 
means as he, from his vantage point, sees it? Whole paragraphs are 
strictly, and peculiarly, personal. 

Analysis or commentary? 

Aside from this question, other points in the script may be noted. Its 
opening paragraphs offer the latest news, not in the detail that a straight 
newscast would present, but packed into a few sentences (note the 
eleven-word paragraph on a bombing attack the straight newscast 
might devote a paragraph to this). As it moves through the following 
paragraphs, each new subject is introduced by brief reference to current 
news, and each is developed with material to show how it looks in 

Note, also, certain mechanical peculiarities. In the first half of the 
script, Sevareid uses semicolons to separate closely related sentences, 
suspension points ( . . .) to separate closely related subjects, paragraph- 
ing for sharper breaks. 

The script*: 

This is Eric Sevareid in London. 

The news reaching London from the Western Front this afternoon 
shows no decisive change in any sector, though there have been local gains. 
The most important, in the German salient, has been the cutting of the 
road between Saint Vith and Laroche, accomplished by our Third Armored 
Division; this is important, because the whole struggle in this area is bas- 
ically a battle for the network of roadways; and now Von Rundstedt is 
reported to be left with only two minor routes with which to supply the 
central and western part of the salient; the Saint Vith road was cut yester- 
day, details of the fighting since are sparse but the First Army offensive was 
still moving on, however slowly and painfully, at last report this afternoon 
... all that one can say is that the battle of the Salient has not yet been 
won or lost; it just goes on and it is very hard; there are no authoritative 
reports of any big scale German evacuation of the salient indeed one story 
today puts the German strength there at a new total of thirty divisions. . . , 
The big German attack in the Saar, which appeared dangerous at first, has 
apparently made little general progress in the last day, but more Germans 
have crossed the Rhine. 

* By written permission of Eric Sevareid, August 1, 1946. 

Making the News Meaningful 335 

From England, hundreds of bombers went to west Germany this morn- 

Today, millions of British people were reading the President's speech to 
Congress; in its confident tone, there was tonic for all those depressed about 
the turn of battle; in his plea for unity there was relief, to all those who are 
tired of Transatlantic bickering; his generalities about American foreign 
policy were at least the right kind of generalities and a sedative, to all those 
upset about isolationism in America. 

More and more British people understand that the President can accept 
the political responsibilities which follow in the wake of battle, only in the 
measure the Congress allows; they do not understand that when a Congress- 
man makes a reckless attack upon an ally at a critical moment in the war, 
he may be just acting a part for a home town audience and the headlines; 
here, voters are accustomed to a legislative system which permits lawmakers 
to think of national duties first and local obligations second; the American 
Congress bewilders them. . . . 

And so this country waits to see how far America will follow the Presi- 
dent's lead; people wait for the Big Three meeting, which may include 
General DeGaulle before it is ended; there were hints here today that the 
meeting will occur early in February, that none of the three leaders will be 
host at home, but that all will have to travel. ... In Britain, the public 
attitude has changed about these conferences; the mere fact of meeting 
will no longer satisfy people; general declarations at adjournment that all 
sides agree upon all matters will not be enough this time. Upon all but 
the most secret military plans, people here will insist upon knowing what the 
principles of agreement actually are. . . . Too many people agree with the 
British Journal, which writes of Teheran, Quebec and their aftermath: 
"The fruits of secret diplomacy are gathered even before they have ripened, 
and the taste is already bitter in the mouth." . 

Most of those here who write and speak are convinced the Big Three 
must make at least two major decisions. One is purely military how to find 
and send the tremendous reinforcements now obviously required in West- 
ern Europe; military commentators here claim the German offensive and 
our reactions to it show clearly that we had no strategic reserve behind the 
line; that those reserves are in the Far East, committed there by the Quebec 
assumption that we could go at full steam against both Germany and Japan 
at the same time; the other necessity is military and political: Solid agree- 
ment upon a truly allied policy for Germany; men still talk of unconditional 
surrender of Germany when Germany already knows some of the condi- 
tions uprooting of millions in East Prussia; loss of the Rhineland and 

336 News by Radio 

Silesia; these at least are the conditions being announced by the French. 
Russians, British unilaterally and piece-meal. 

Mr. Archibald MacLeish calls for a freer flow of news among the Allies. 
A beginning will have to be made in some high places. Interlocking agree- 
ments among governments for political censorship have developed all over 
the world. The Chinese, with the concurrence of the American War and 
State Departments, stopped nearly every attempt to tell the truth about 
internal China and so the public was surprised and shocked by the Stilwell 
affair; from New Delhi it was impossible to tell the whole truth about 
India; in Cairo, by connivance of various authorities, Americans included, 
no reporter could tell the political truth about Egypt, Syria, Greece or Yugo- 
slavia for a long time; and so people were shocked to find liberated Greece 
actually in a state of civil war, and puzzled over the disappearance of 
Mihailovitch. There was, and is, political censorship in Italy and Belgium; 
it is called military censorship and the stock excuse in all these places is that 
military and political affairs are so intermingled that news about politics has 
to be bluepenciled. . . . 

If people are also shocked by present military events, it is not so much 
because information was stopped, as because bad information has been 
issued; nearly every important general and admiral has been seriously and 
publicly wrong in his estimate of enemy resistance; which means that our 
intelligence, about German morale, manpower, oil reserves, aircraft produc- 
tion, has simply been bad intelligence; apparently our aviation experts have 
been the worst offenders; and perhaps there is some explanation in this fact: 
that the people whose mission it is to smash German plane production are 
the very same people who estimate the results, for government and public; 
there is no independent judge in the picture. . . . 

A great many people here have a maddening sense of having been led up 
the garden path; and at least one paper calls for a purge among the ex- 
perts. . . . 

* # # 

We began this broadcast by describing what the war is like, this Sunday 

That's what all those called correspondents or commentators, analysts or 
observers will be saying it's like; they believe it, the listeners and readers 
understand it and what we say is true enough but only within our terms 
of reference; in the unreal language of standard signs and symbols that you 
and I must use. To the soldier, in the line, that isn't what tie war is like, at 
all. He knows the real story, he feels it sharply, but he couldn't tell it to you, 
himself. If I plucked one from his foxhole now and put this microphone 

Making the News Meaningful 337 

before him, he would only stammer and say something like this: "Well, uh, 
I was lying there, and uh, I saw this Jerry coming at me with a bayonet, and 
uh, well . . ." That's how most of them would talk. I know because 
I've tried them. If the soldier can't tell you what happened to his stomach 
at that moment, what went on in his beating heart, why the German's belt 
buckle looked as big as a shining shield if he can't tell you, no onlooker 
ever can. 

The army treats all men alike, but the war does not. Not this war. It's 
too big and far flung. It has a thousand faces and a hundred climates. It has 
a fantastic variety of devilish means for testing a boy's brain, for stretching 
his nerves, for making him ashamed or making him proud; for exposing his 
heart, or for burying his heart. It treats no two exactly alike; and so, even 
two soldiers from the same front sometimes don't understand what the 
other is talking about. 

Generals and journalists use big, standard words like ''teamwork" or 
"soldierly behavior," which are like interchangeable parts and can be fitted 
into the machine without thinking. But the soldier's handbook gives little 
guidance on such matters as how to learn the patience of a saint, how to 
quench bitterness when your officers make a costly mistake, or how to 
master the homesickness that comes at Sunset. 

Who is to relate these things, which make up the real but secret story of 
the war? Who is to reconstruct, in scenes and acts, the drama of that Amer- 
ican on the desolate airfield in the gulf of Aden? The one who sat three 
hours, unmindful of the crashing heat, his eyes fixed upon a stone. He had 
been at that airfield eighteen months, and he didn't talk to his comrades 
any more. 

What about the soldier with the child's face, who stumbled from the 
exploding wheatfield near Anzio, with not a mark on his body, but his eyes 
too big, his hands senselessly twisting a towel, and his tongue darting in and 
out between his teeth? 

What was it had expanded in the soul of a young man I first knew when 
he was a press agent lieutenant three years ago; then, he was rather silly and 
talked too much and his men smiled behind his back. I met him next in a 
French forest; he had learned control and dignity; he was a Major com- 
manding a fighting battalion, and the General was silent while he spoke. 

There was a regimental Colonel at Anzio who received notice one night 
that he could go home next day to Des Moines, where his business was 
prosperous and his family large. His division had been decimated, but this 

338 News by Radio 

man's life was now assured. Why, at dawn, at his regular hour, did he risk 
the mortar shells, and crawl on hands and knees from foxhole to foxhole, 
not missing one, just to speak a confident word to his men? 

Who could redly explain about that young Corporal with the radio post 
deep in the Burma jungle; the one who rose suddenly from his bunk in the 
night and walked straight into the woods walking westward? 

Only the soldier really lives the war, the journalist does not. He may share 
the soldier's outward life and dangers, but he cannot share his inner life, 
because the same moral compulsion does not bear upon him. The observer 
knows he has alternatives of action; the soldier knows he has none. Their 
worlds are very far apart, for one is free the other, a slave. 

This war must be seen to be believed; but it must be lived to be under- 
stood. We can tell you only of events, of what men do. We cannot really 
tell you how, or why, they do it. We can see, and tell you, that this war is 
brutalizing some among your sons, and yet ennobling others. We can tell 
you very little more. 

War happens inside a man. It happens to one man alone. It can never be 
communicated. That is the tragedy and, perhaps, the blessing. A thou- 
sand ghastly wounds are really only one. A million martyred lives leave an 
empty place at only one family table. 

That is why, at bottom, people can let wars happen, and that is why 
nations survive them and carry on. . . . And, I am sorry to say, that is also 
why, in a certain sense, you and your sons from the war will be forever 

If, by the miracles of art and genius, in later years, two or three among 
them can open their hearts and the right words come, then perhaps we 
shall all know a little of what it was like. And we will know, then, that all 
the present speakers and writers hardly touched the story. 


No two commentators could be much farther apart than Gabriel 
Heatter (MBS) and Raymond Swing (ABC). The two scripts that 
follow, broadcast two days apart and dealing with some of the same 
news configurations, show the contrasts. (The contrasts in the attitudes, 
methods, and personalities of the two men are vividly portrayed in tie 
two New Yorker Profiles cited earlier in this chapter.) 

Heatter thinks of himself as a kind of people's evangelist. He is ready 

Making the News Meaningful 339 

to comment on virtually everything. Not that he talks about everything 
what he calls "Heatter stories" are those high in human interest, in 
opportunity for sentirnentalization. Note in his script that every news 
subject to which he gives more than a line or so is treated emotionally; 
that his comments are largely emotional and opinionated rather than 
the outgrowth of careful logic (and that they frequently raise the 
specter of impending doom). He uses a baseball story as an avenue to 
annoyed ruminations on the lack of "a reasonable and decent civilized 
old age pension payment" (his audience of somewhere near fifteen 
million each night is heavily rural, and a high percentage of it is of an 
age to which the Townsend movement appeals); after mentioning the 
desire of small nations for majority rule in the peace conference, he 
does not analyze the meaning or eff ect of the movement, but expresses 
his opinion with a hearty "more power to them." Note the ominous 
admonitions of his closing passage on the atom bombeffective soap- 
box oratory but hardly factually supported reasoning. Note the charac- 
teristic "good news" passage just before the mid-commercial, one 
predicting nirvana largely because Heatter foresees it; and the copybook 
transition to the commercial itself (included in the script because 
Heatter writes and delivers it himself) . 

Note all these things. But don't miss the simplicity, informality, and 
directness of Heatter's style, the homely and effective figures of speech, 
the easy popular diction. Whether or not one likes what Heatter says, 
his skill and craftsmanship cannot be denied. 

The script * (opening and closing commercials, voiced by an an- 
nouncer, omitted) : 

Good evening, everyone. Here's an echo of last week's underwater atom 
bomb explosion at Bikini. The Japanese battleship Nagato has gone down. 
It went to the bottom in Bikini Lagoon five days after the underwater atom 
bomb went off. The Nagato weighed 32-thousand tons, one of the heaviest 
armored ships in the whole world and the third largest capital ship sent to 
Davey Jones' Locker by that one underwater explosion. 

Here's a prediction. The cost of nearly everything men and boys wear is 
going up ... way up. 

* By written permission of Gabriel Heatter, March 18, 1948. 

340 News by Radio 

And here's another. The war profits investigation has only begun. Presi- 
dent Truman tonight gave full authority for the inspection of all tax returns, 
income and excess profits filed by war contractors. 

A third prediction. If and when war comes again, cost plus on war con- 
tacts will be a thing of the past. Washington is shocked tonight to hear 
that government officials and Army officers were fraternizing with war con- 
tractors. That many who handled settlements of war contracts running into 
untold millions of dollars later went to work for the same companies cov- 
ered by those settlements . . . shocked to hear that cost plus made it 
possible to tack on entertainment bills which will cost John Q. Taxpayer 
plenty. All this while GI Joe was sweating it out in foxholes. 

Well, the new decontrol board is in OPA the new board approved 
tonight by the Senate. Perhaps you've wondered how high can prices go. 
Here's one a watermelon brought $2.25 recently. The man must have 
had a tremendous yen for watermelon. 

We're waiting for new prices on new cars. Tonight's indications are 
about $85 more on the popular priced models. 

The Big 4 domination of international affairs may be over. Dr. Herbert 
Evatt, representing Australia, opened a real fight in Paris today to give 
smaller nations a real voice in the Peace Conference. I once heard a diplo- 
mat say that when you come out of a conference with Mr. Molotov you get 
more perspiration than you get negotiation. Well, now 17 smaller nations 
have determined to make Mr. Molotov experience perspiration. They want 
majority rule. More power to them. 

One thing is plain tonight. The French are going to lose again. Great 
Britain is going along with the United States to merge both their zones in 
Germany into one economic unit. France has been holding out for inter- 
nationalizing the Ruhr where the coal, iron and blood make wars. You 
remember France fought for that in 1919 and lost. She'll lose again. And 
so we get the amazing paradox Trieste internationalized but the Ruhr 
where war is born the Ruhr remains intact. 

Another paradox. Finland, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria are probably 
done for. They're completely behind the Russian iron curtain. That's 
where they're likely to remain. And Germany is to come out strong and 

Well, they're hunting for Martin Bormann tonight. Bormann,, Hitler's 
party leader. Munich is alive with rumors saying Bormann was seen a few 
days ago. Put me down as saying if they find Martin Bormann alive, they 
may find Hitler too. 

Making the News Meaningful 341 

Well, here's some good old fashioned figures. 10-thousand head of cattle 
delivered to mid-west markets today. You can have meat for breakfast, meat 
for lunch and meat for dinner now. 

Here's some figures of another kind. Farm land up 65% in cost over pre- 
war figures in Illinois. 55 in Iowa. And a late report reveals farm land gen- 
erally over the entire country is now selling at 60% over the figure of 7 
years ago. 

For any man who wants a brand new field with a future, here are some 
figures. Total sales of frozen foods are now nearly 10% of all the grocery 
volume business in the entire country, and they're going up every day. 
Frozen food there may be a real future in that for a man who wants a 
new deal. 

The men who want a new deal in baseball may get it. The conversations 
began today. 26 men representing 480 players began their talks with the 
management. What do they ask for? A minimum salary somewhere between 
$5000 and $7500 a year. 10% of whatever money they bring when they're 
traded. 50% of all money brought in by exhibition games. And most im- 
portant of all they want old age pensions. Yes, a few men who made big 
money were in good financial shape when their playing days were over. A 
few could move into other good paying jobs. For the most part ball players 
are old at 40. For the most part it isn't easy after that. We'll hear more 
about that phrase old age pensions in a good many other fields. We're a 
hundred years behind on that matter. We look upon old age pensions as 
charity or a crackpot scheme. We forget how many millions of elderly per- 
sons whose toil and whose very lives are poured into a given industry are 
forced to depend on their children when they want and need and deserve 
the dignity of independence which old age has certainly earned. They put 
billions of dollars into appropriations of all kinds and never worry about the 
cost. Mention a reasonable and decent civilized old age pension payment 
and we look upon anything over a pittance as a crackpot idea. 

Now here's some really good news. I want to emphasize it good newsl 
We've made the turn and here it is. For the first time since VJ-Day we're 
turning out as many tons in steel, we're loading as many freight cars, we're 
using as much electric power and this may be the most important of all 
we are finally building as many new cars as we did in a really good week at 
any time before the war. We're on our way at last. If we can avoid rocking 
the boat now, if we'll just be good to ourselves long enough to let the tide 
roll along for, well, a year or even half a year, we'll fool everyone who is 
waiting for the next American depression. You know we've been fooling 
people that way for a long time. In '76 we put out a new trade mark and 

342 News by Radio 

called it Liberty! They'll never make a go of it, said the broken down royalty 
in Europe. Well, you know what we did. In '64 we had a war at home. There 
they go, breaking up, said the tumbled down chancellories of Europe. We 
came out united and fooled them again. In '39 Hitler said the war would 
be over before America could deliver a plane. Did we fool Hitler? Now the 
gentlemen in dark glasses say we can't make it without another depression. 
We've made the turn the biggest and most important turn of all. We're 
back to prewar figures in production for the first time! Let no man rock 
the boat now and we're away. Figures never lie and they tell an eloquent 
and heart-warming truth tonight. Department store volume up again for 
another week, up again for the entire month of July when it generally falls 
off. The profits [sic] of gloom point to disaster the figures point to better 
business, more jobs and an amazingly healthy national economy and better 
living for millions of American homes. . . . 

.... There's bound to be more room now for the men who are deter- 
mined to plug and get ahead. 

You know the right appearance helps a good deal. And Kreml on your 
Hair is a good password to better hair grooming. No, water don't [sic} do 
it, can't do it. Kreml Hair Tonic will. Kreml to help keep your hair soft and 
smooth in appearance. Keep it well groomed for every occasion. Thousands 
upon thousands of men everywhere know it and rely on it, and use Kreml 
every day. They know there's a treat to look forward to every day and they 
feel all that quiet inner confidence a man feels when he knows his hair is 
well groomed . . . looks his best and he feels it and knows it. I know you'll 
like Kreml. I'm sure you'll look forward to it every day. Will you begin 
tomorrow? Thank you very much. 

Well, Congress is preparing to go home, possibly by Friday. . . . 

.... And tens of thousands of men who fought the war can't find a 
home. The Housing Bill seems to be dead for this session. Divorce is setting 
all time records. One reason they are forced to drift apart they can't 
live together they can't find a home. Children are in trouble. We've never 
had so many children in trouble before. The/re without the great American 
influence a home. Congress is going home. There are millions of homes 
where they've been waiting two and three years for the 65# an hour mini* 
mum in pay, where they can't live on less. Congress is going home and the 
bill remains pigeon-holed. Yes, Congress is going home and blind children 
are waiting for the appropriation which makes life bearable and the ever- 
lasting dark in which so many are compelled to live. 

Old friends of Hitler, now masquerading as friends of America, they have 
their hands out. We don't seem to have the money for our own people. 

Making the News Meaningful 343 

Hitler's old friends, they have their hands out. I know what I'd like to put 
in those hands and you would too, I'm sure. 

Ladies and gentlemen the greatest race in all history is on tonight. A 
race between man and the atom bomb. For the first time in thousands of 
years man has finally built a weapon which makes mass suicide possible 
for the entire human race. Will it be suicide or will it be the end of war? 
The end of fear, the end of violence, and that dream that golden dream 
of peace on earth. The race is on to a finish. There can be no halfway vic- 
tories in this race. Man or the bomb will win. You know other forms of 
life have lived on this earth and vanished completely. Is it man's turn to 
blow himself out of existence now? Are we going back to the cave, to the 
deepest, darkest kind of cave to live in fear and trembling fear of atom 
bombs? Or will man live with the dignity with which God has endowed 
him? This is it last call. This conference in Paris and the others to come. 
Let the little men all over the world who think this is the time to say my 
way or else think well and think hard. We are racing against time and 
we're late. The odds are on the bomb. In the past four thousand years man 
had only 265 years without war. The drunk who could barely stand but had 
to have just one more the one that finally finished him off he would fit 
the role of any man who was mad enough to think we can handle just one 
more war. The dead move in their sleep tonight. They move silently and 
come together and ask each other will the living keep faith? The mothers 
of all the dead have taken up their vigil and they wait, and the mothers of 
all living children pray and wait. Watch out for the man who would tell 
everybody where they get off now . . . whatever his nationality . . . 
watch out for him. Watch out for the man who can't speak with the 
humility we all need in this fateful hour for he's like a man reeling and yet 
demanding just one more. Well, which will it be, the atom bomb or peace? 
It can't be both. This is last call . . . the very last. 

Half a minute, please, your good friend and mine, Frank Waldecker, . . . 

Now contrast to this the Raymond Swing commentary of two days 
later (July 31, 1946) . Swing's script is more nearly "pure commentary" 
than any of the others reprinted here. He gives no news as news he 
uses news pegs, such as the Paris conference and Secretary Byrnes 7 com- 
ments, but he appears to assume that his listeners already know the 
news-facts involved (not often a valid assumption, especially when the 
news is "difficult"; it may account in part for the fact that Swing's audi- 
ences have never been large). He makes no concession to anecdote, 
wisecracks, homely allusions, sentimentalization, or folksy language. 

344 News by Radio 

Instead, he subjects the news to calm and almost cold analysis, mar- 
shaling his comments into a carefully unified construction really a 
single essay on intimately related subjects. Note the painstaking transi- 
tions from paragraph to paragraph. Note, too, that when he talks of the 
desire of the smaller nations for more voice in international affairs, he 
does not stop, like Heatter, with a mere expression of approval (though 
he does express approval), but rather shows exactly what he believes 
the desire means and what its chances of achievement are. This is com- 
mentary at its most meaningful. 
Swing's script*: 

Two observations need to be made about the Paris peace conference. One 
is that it is not really a peace conference at all. The most accurate name for 
it is a peace discussion. It is not writing the treaties, it cannot change the 
drafts already written. It cannot prevent the treaties as written from being 
adopted. It is a debating club. It will debate the treaties as already drafted, 
and it will make recommendations on these and on the portions of the 
treaties not yet agreed to by the Big Four. In the course of its deliberations 
it will come to vote on what it recommends. But that vote is not binding 
on the Big Four, who are pledged only to give the recommendations of the 
Paris conference their consideration. 

Never before has such a conference of nations been held. It is unprece- 
dented that many nations, members of the coalition which won a world 
war should have so little authority. But they did not win the war, it was 
won for the coalition by the great powers. And the peace will be made by 
those who won the war. Therefore, the peace conference, socalled, is not the 
proper address for the prayers which a hopeful world is sending up for the 
writing of a real peace. This is not a second Versailles which might learn 
from the mistakes of the first Versailles. This is a second-class conference, 
with considerably less than second-class authority. 

One must go on from there to say that it also is making recommendations 
on what are in fact no better than second-class peace treaties. And that is 
the other observation that needs to be made. 

An editorial in the current issue of the Free World pleads eloquently 
for a peace treaty that will establish true peace. It must, it says, "put an 
end to the tragic cycle of history: war, defeat, agitation against conditions 
of previous peace treaties, and again war; must break up the endless chain 

* By written permission of Raymond Swing, August 2, 1946. 

Making the News Meaningful 345 

of elements of hatred which have brought so much sorrow on humanity, 
and must open up new vistas. In other words it must not be like the Ver- 
sailles Treaty or like the other treaties of the past, all of which were fifty 
years or more behind the times it must be a truly twentieth century 

But the draft treaties laid before the twenty-one nations do not come 
within hail of the world as it is, as is shown by the single fact that they do 
not even mention atomic energy. The defeated powers, so far as the drafts 
cover the problem, are quite free to make atomic bombs. They are not listed 
among the banned weapons, though there is a loophole which permits the 
addition of other banned weapons at a later date. 

But mention of atomic energy is not what distinguishes the atomic era. 
That can be done only by making peace that leaves no chance whatever of 
war. The Paris treaties have no such objective. They have arisen from a 
war and are drawn up with the possibility of another war in view. The 
treaties are punitive, the territorial changes are strategic or mainly represent 
conquest. In a world of war, a peace treaty is bound to express the terms of 
victorious power. And the terms of victory have never yet been the tenns of 
permanent peace, nor are they this time. Such a peace will not be under 
discussion by the twenty-one nations at Paris. Indeed the conference is 
dealing with only one nation, Italy, which fought against the Western 
powers, and with four which fought only against Russia. So most of the 
treaties are drawn up in the interest of Russia, and nothing said or done 
at the Paris conference is likely to change that aspect of them. 

Moveover, the Paris conference does not deal with the central peace 
problem, Germany, or with the Austrian treaty, on which an end of military 
occupation in that country, and in Hungary and Roumania, depends. What 
is done with Germany will set the pattern for the Europe of the next decade 
or more, not what is done with Germany's satellites. Hence the conference 
in Paris is not only limited in scope and without any authority, it cannot 
be expected to lay foundations for a world of law and justice, which alone 
can sustain the world of peace. 

Seen in this perspective, the doings of the conference are hardly of 
remarkable importance. And the mere fact that holding this conference was 
counted a great victory for American diplomacy should not lead us to 
attribute undue significance to anything taking place there. It is, of course, 
good that the small nations should be meeting and lifting their voices. But 
that they are doing so does not make their meeting a peace conference, 
and it is inaccurate, if not dishonest, to call it one. Everything happening 
in Paris has to be understood in these terms, Thus it is not a revolution in 

346 News by Radio 

diplomacy that all sessions of the conference are to be open to the press, 
not only the plenary sessions but commission meetings as well. If that 
happened at a real peace conference, it would be realizing the Wilson 
aspiration of "open covenants openly arrived at". But at Paris, no covenants 
are being arrived at. What is to be open will be discussion, recommenda- 
tions and voting. The treaties then go back to the Big Four, who are utterly 
free to reject any and all recommendations. 

Nor is it of great promise that Mr. Molotov for the Soviet Union today 
bespoke equal treatment at Paris for all nations, great and small. That 
sounded almost like Mr. Evatt, the Australian delegate, with his resumed 
campaign to break the dictatorship of the Big Four. But equality of all 
the nations at Paris means only equality in discussion and recommenda- 

An issue has arisen over how the conference should vote whether by a 
two-thirds majority or a simple majority. If a two-thirds vote is required, 
eight states can defeat a decision by the conference. If a majority vote is 
enough, it will take eleven states to defeat a decision. 

The two-thirds rule was recommended by the Big Four, and Secretary 
Byrnes has duly backed it, as he was bound to do as one of the authors of 
the recommendation. A two-thirds vote was more liberal than Versailles, 
where there was unanimity on substantive matters. Mr. Byrnes seemed to 
be modifying the Big Four unanimity by a promise he made in his speech 
before the conference yesterday. In this he said that he would undertake to 
back any recommendation made by two-thirds of the conference powers. 
That looks like taking the small powers into peace treaty making so far 
as the United States is concerned. But closer examination gives Mr. Byrnes' 
promise a much narrower effect. Since it takes only eight votes to prevent 
a two-thirds majority from forming, four of these eight can be supplied by 
the Big Four themselves, and the other four could easily come from the 
Soviet bloc, consisting of Poland, Czechoslovakia, WTiite Russia, the 
Ukraine and Jugoslavia. The Big Four are pledged to stand by the parts of 
the treaties they themselves have accepted. And Russia can be counted on 
delivering all her satellites on demand. So the Byrnes promise cannot 
change what already has been agreed, unless he and the British or French 
change their minds about standing by the decisions already reached, which 
would be a breach of faith. 

As to the parts of the treaty on which agreement has not yet been reached, 
the Soviet Union still can muster six of the eight votes needed to prevent 
a two-thirds majority going against Soviet interests, and it is quite possible 
that Russia in many cases will be able to pick up two more votes. So it is 

Making the News Meaningful 347 

no foregone conclusion that Mr. Byrnes has pledged himself to back up 
much in offering to support all decisions by a two-thirds vote. 

Most Americans probably have sympathy with the determined fight of 
Mr. Evatt of Australia to whittle away from the power of the Big Four and 
get more power for the smaller allies. But it is one thing to have sympathy 
for what appears to be a move toward greater democracy, and quite another 
to believe that what Mr. Evatt wants is practicable or even desirable. It 
is to be doubted that Americans as a whole would approve of settling ques- 
tions affecting their own rights by a majority of sovereign nations. They 
would hardly give the final say over United States rights to a majority or 
even a two-thirds vote of sovereign nations. There would be no freedom in 
that for us. Just now it is popular to wish to see Russia outvoted, but to this 
the Russians object, as should we if we found ourselves outvoted in vital 

If there are to be unlimited sovereignties, there can be no hope for inter- 
national agreement by which a great power is overruled in what it considers 
vital matters. Moreover, the basis on which the Russians were brought into 
the United Nations was the maintenance of sovereignty with a veto in all 
matters of vital importance to the great powers. So the small powers are 
trying to talk their way into sharing power which is not theirs and will not 
be given to them, since power is not something that nations can be talked 
into giving away. 

The one way to obtain a really democratic rule of international affairs is 
the subordination of national sovereignty to a world sovereignty. In this 
naturally there could be no veto. But in this, decisions would not be reached 
by diplomacy and conferences but by the enactment of laws, which would 
be enforced. But until there is a system of enforced law, the veto is the 
only 'final assurance of the freedom of the states which might otherwise 
be outvoted. 

Even if there were a world parliament to enact world law, that could not 
function by the formula of a simple majority vote of nations for that would 
permit the small nations to dominate the big ones. Such a parliament 
would have to be chosen, too, by some other criterion than the democratic 
basis of population. Otherwise, the countries with the most people would 
become the strongest lands politically, which in fact they are not. India 
and China, with more than 800 million inhabitants, would never be per- 
mitted to outvote the United States and the Soviet Union with fewer than 
half that many. That is just as obvious as that the United States and the 
Soviet Union would not permit any three small nations to outvote them. 

348 News by Radio 

So what the small powers propose would not work in the world as it 
exists, nor would it in the world one must hope is going to exist. And the 
small powers are not greatly serving the cause of the peace in asking for 
more power for themselves, even though the diffusion of power is something 
devoutly to be desired. For the present, the one thing that keeps the peace 
is good relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. So long 
as "they agree there can be no world war. The longer they disagree, the more 
probable world war becomes. Nothing the small powers can offer will 
change that truth. No majority of nations conceivable can enforce its will 
on either us or the Russians. 

The Discussion Program 

The discussion program the show in which a group of "experts" 
talks and argues about a topic current in the news is ordinarily not a 
concern of the newsroom. Radio's two top discussion shows, the "Chi- 
cago Round Table" and "America's Town Meeting/' are both pro- 
duced independent of newsrooms. Nevertheless, this kind of program 
has as its main function the topic of this chapter: the backgrounding 
and illumination of significant current subjects. As such a program, it 
may well become a newsroom function, especially since the FCC dic- 
tum of early 1946 increasing its emphasis on public service program- 

Consider the structure of the "Round Table" and the "Town Meet- 

"The Chicago Round Table" described as "a cooperative enterprise 
of the University of Chicago and NBC 7 " though NBC's share consists 
only in providing broadcast time is strictly an ad-lib program.- But 
this fact does not mean lack of preparation. Advance work before the 
show takes the air at midday Sundays is arduous and lengthy. Here is 
the procedure: 

Some ten days in advance of the date of broadcast the staff of the 
University of Chicago radio department selects a topic for discussion- 
one that will remain newsy and, preferably, controversial ten days later 
and chooses three experts to discuss it. Men or women with differing 
points of view are picked when possible. If the topic involves labor 
and management, participants are likely to be a CIO official, a United 
States Chamber of Commerce representative and, perhaps, a professor 

Making the News Meaningful 349 

of economics who may be expected to be "disinterested." 

The radio department's research staff goes to work, assembling data 
on the topic, making bibliographies, briefing and digesting pertinent 
material. The result of this work is provided to each participant, three 
or four days before the broadcast. 

Saturday evening the participants meet at dinner in the University's 
Quadrangle Club. There they sit from 6 o'clock often until midnight, 
arguing, planning, discussing many phases of the subject. The director 
of the radio department makes notes; then he prepares a detailed out- 
line, showing major topics on which the participants have put their 
fingers and offering an orderly plan for the program. 

At 10 Sunday morning the three meet around the triangular "round 
table" there is no moderator for this program and, using their out- 
lines, proceed to go through a half-hour discussion. A transcription is 
made, and immediately played back. From it the participants discover 
their errors in manner, in under- or overemphasis, and so on and 
make plans for the final presentation. At length, after all this prepara- 
tion, they go on the air. 

It has been argued that a show with such elaborate rehearsal and 
planning cannot be spontaneous. Perhaps. But it has the effect of spon- 
taneity; and it is unquestionably a sounder and more effective discus- 
sion than it would be were any of the preparatory steps omitted. 

Few radio station newsrooms are equipped to undertake anything so 
elaborate as the "Chicago Round Table" plan, though simpler modifi- 
cations of it are part of the broadcast schedules of many stations. 
"America's Town Meeting," of different format, is also a model on 
which stations may base presentations. 

The "Town Meeting," though younger than the "Round Table" (it 
started in 1935, the "Round Table" in 1931), is better known. This is 
largely because more ballyhoo and showmanship have been exerted on 
the show it tours the country, uses New York's well-known Town 

On occasion, careful advance plans may be discarded to permit the 
"Round Table" to take up a "hot" subject. When Germany invaded 
Czechoslovakia, ten days of preparation were thrown out the window and, 
on twenty-four hours' notice, Dr. Edouard Benes, former Czechoslovak 
president, was substituted. 

350 News by Radio 

Hall as its base of operations, is an audience-participation show. It is 
broadcast at an evening hour, and it has at times been sponsored. 

Unlike the "Round Table," it is only in part an ad-lib program. Its 
format employs from two to four authoritative speakers, representing 
opposing views of the topic under discussion; George V. Denny, Jr., 
owner and director of the show, serves as moderator. The program 
opens in a large theater or auditorium about half an hour before broad- 
cast time. Mr. Denny explains to the audience the plan of the show, 
gives essential background on the topic, starts discussion. When broad- 
cast time arrives, he introduces the speakers, each of whom has been 
admonished to use his few minutes and no more. After their formal 
speeches, which may be from script, Mr. Denny propels them into in- 
formal debate and discussion the more spirited the better. Before the 
hour closes, a number of questions from the audience are read and 
answered by members of the discussion panel. After the show goes off 
the air, the discussion continues for fifteen minutes or half an hour 
this to carry out the structure of the program as a version of the old 
New England town meeting. 

Sponsorship of the "Town Meeting" by Reader's Digest, in 1944, 
aroused anxiety among a good many listeners that the nature of the 
program would change that it would suffer from dictation, censor- 
ship, and "packing" on the part of the sponsor. Vigorous among such 
worriers was George Seldes, whose concern stemmed from his opinion 
that Reader's Digest was a "native fascist" organ. Mr. Denny has just 
as vigorously denied that any such influence existed. The sponsorship 
increased the show's broadcasters from 120 to 181 stations, he says, and 
gave it additional income that enabled it to set up a research depart- 
ment to provide factual material to speakers in advance of programs. 
But it gave the sponsor, he says, no control of any sort over selections 

Transcripts of the "Chicago Round Table" programs, with bibliographies 
and discussion questions, are offered at low price by the University of 
Chicago radio department. Transcripts of the "Town Meeting" programs 
appear in the Town Meeting Bulletin, published by the American Educa- 
tion Press, Inc., Columbus, Ohio. Both enterprises provide manuals for 
speakers manuals jammed with useful hints for planners of discussion 

Making the News Meaningful 351 

of topics or speakers, and in no way affected the conduct of the pro- 

Mr. Seldes was also concerned about the fact that Mr. Denny, be- 
fore each broadcast, "plants" a number of questions in the audience. 
Mr. Denny, however, explains that this is not an ideological but a show 
manship device that its purpose is to make certain that there will be 
questions at the proper time. Unplanted as well as prearranged ques- 
tions are always included in the programs, he says. 

Directors of both programs offer suggestions as to qualities vital in 
such shows. Sherman H. Dryer, for a number of years director of the 
"Round Table/' says that "in the long run, the audience of any (dis- 
cussion) program will grow in size and loyalty in proportion to the 
efforts of the program to provide three things, in this order informa- 
tion, clarification, stimulation." Mr. Denny, speaking of techniques of 
interesting audiences, says in his Discussion Leader's Handbook that 
vital qualities are conflict (divergent views as to methods of meeting 
common problems), suspense (""anything may happen at these meet- 
ings"), and fair play ("questions must relate definitely to the subject, 
and no personal or libelous attacks may be made") . 

How these elaborate and costly network discussion programs may be 
scaled down to fit the limited budgets, production and research facili- 
ties, and time of the individual station is a problem for each individual 
station to solve. It is not always easy. But it is being done, and effec- 
tively, by an increasing number of local broadcasters. 


The Law Says . . . . 

Most of the books that would fill a long shelf titled Radio Law are yet 
unwritten. When they get into print, a heavy majority of them will 
concern license applications, frequency allocations, and similar com- 
plex subjects subjects that gray the hair of station managers and own- 
ers, but that trouble the boys in the newsrooms little. 

Radio law as it affects the newsroom is no more formally codified 
than are its other aspects. An NAB Radio News Clinic in Minneapolis 
in mid-1946 petitioned the NAB to prepare a "workable treatise" on 
libel and slander in broadcasting, but to date no such compilation has 
appeared. Let's look first at this matter of defamation on the air the 
area of law that harasses newsmen more than any other. 

Libel or Slander? 

No one, be he a Supreme Court judge, a justice of the peace, a cor- 
poration counsel, or an LL. D., can tell you whether defamation by air 
is clearly libel or slander. Indeed, it has been declared libel in some 
situations, slander in others. Libel is defined as defamation in writing 
or print; slander, defamation by word of mouth. But defamation in a 
radio script is written, and when it's broadcast it is oral. Which does 
that make it? Or is it both? 

No, because each is a separate category of law, and you can't be put 
in jeopardy twice for the same offense. It has to be one or the other. 

The safest approach to this ticklish question is to consider it libel. 
Here's the reason: The law considers libel the more serious offense 

A discussion of "Defamation by Air: Libel or Slander?" appears in the 
QuiU for May- June, 1946. Its author, Norris G. Davis, presents a number 
of relevant opinions and decisions some pointing one way, some the 
other and arrives at the conclusion that radio defamation ought to be 
made a "new and separate class of offense with its own penalties/* 


The Law Says . . . . 353 

(since published defamation is judged more permanent and more 
damaging than oral defamation) and it carries heavier penalties. 
Radio defamation is of course oral, but court opinions and decisions 
have pretty well established the legal fact that to broadcast is, in effect, 
to publish. Consequently, to guard against committing libels is the 
smart thing to do. By guarding against the greater danger, you're help- 
ing to protect yourself against the smaller. 

To establish a Statement as actionable under the libel law, three ele- 
ments are necessary: 

1. That the statement is published. 

2. That it is defamatory. 

3. That it refers to an identifiable person. 

If you broadcast it, you publish it. No proof is required. 

What makes it defamatory? 

Defamation, says the law, is holding a man up to "contempt, oblo- 
quy, scorn, hatred, or ridicule/' Some defamatory statements accom- 
plish this per se on the face of it; others per quod by insinuation or 
"extrinsic circumstance/* In the first category are wo-ds like "burglar/' 
"corrupt/' "drunken," "prostitute" words or phrases that impute 
characteristics that are socially or professionally unacceptable. In the 
second category are such statements as one that such-and-such a man 
is "not qualified to hold a teaching position" (if the man is a teacher) 
or that he "has been known to participate in business deals with the 
convicted embezzler." These references to the man are not defamatory 
in their actual words; the questionone for the jury to answer is, are 

By Illinois law, radio defamation in the state is definitely libel rather 
than slander. A New York state court decision in 1947 supports this view. 
But the California Civil Code makes such defamation slander rather than 

The courts have held that to call a man "Communist" is to libel him 
per se. 

And they also are inclined to the opinion that a kind of "statute of 
limitations" sometimes operates on certain truthful libels. They won't let 
you speak of a man as a Communist or an ex-convict, for example, if the 
truth is that the man -was a Communist some years back, or if his conviction 
dates back some years, but that he has in more recent years lived a life to 
which such terms do not apply. 

354 News by Radio 

they accepted by a reader (or listener) in a defamatory sense? 

The third element, identification, means this: Is a specific person 
called to mind by the defamatory statement? When a name, or name 
and address, or other such specific information is presented, there is no 
question about identification. When no such highly identifying in- 
formation is given, however, identification may still be present. Sup- 
pose a broadcast says, "A well-known local lawyer was seen among the 
mob of drunks." This doesn't name the lawyer, and there may be any 
number of lawyers who are well-known locally. But if one of them can 
produce evidence that, rightly or wrongly, he was believed by some of 
the listeners to the broadcast (or even by one listener) to be the man 
so indicated, identification is established. 

What does all this mean? 

That any broadcast of a defamatory story applying by any stretch 
of the imagination to a specific person may be actionable. 

But not that any such broadcast will necessarily open the broad- 
caster to payment of damages. 

For there are a number of defenses for the publication of libelous 
material. Some of them are absolute; others serve only to "mitigate 

The absolute defenses, in most cases, are: 

1. Truth of the libel. 

2. The doctrine of qualified privilege. 

3. The laws permitting "fair comment and criticism/* 

The first defense, truth, means that whenever the accuracy of the 
defamatory statement can be established, the defamed individual can- 
not be successful in a suit for damages. A man may safely be called a 

Since many libelous statements may safely be broadcast, the news editor 
needs to be doubly on his guard. He becomes so accustomed to handling 
safe libel that he is likely in a moment of relaxation to let dynamite slip 
through something that is indefensible, and that may cost his station 
money (and, perhaps, deprive him of gainful employment) . The best rule 
for any news editor or reporter is this: 

Loo& on anything defamatory as potentially actionable libel. 

If he thus schools himself to see every red flag, then examines the flags 
to see whether they are in the safe or the unsafe category, he's fairly sure 
to avoid trouble. 

The Law Says .... 355 

burglar if proof is available that he is a burglar. You can call a woman 
unchaste if you can show a court without cavil that she is unchaste. 

But don't take a chance if you can't prove what you say. There may 
be a lot of reason to believe that Joe Doe is the guy who poisoned seven 
pet dogs; but don't put mere belief on the air unless you can produce 
the evidence. Don't broadcast news telephoned by volunteer informers 
unless you have checked it. 

"Qualified privilege" is the legal doctrine that gives anybody the 
privilege of reporting fairly and accurately the proceedings of judicial 
and legislative bodies, without liability for any libel such reporting may 
contain. This means that anything that is an official part of the proceed- 
ing in a courtroom of any kind, or in Congress, a state legislature, or the 
city council, may safely be broadcast, as long as the broadcast remains 
factual and strictly accurate and fair reporting. But everything in it 
must be relevant to the proceedings; it must contain nothing that has 
been officially erased from the record or that has been officially ordered 
nonpublishable; it is not "fair 7 ' if it reports, however accurately, only 
enough of the proceeding to give a one-sided picture. Moreover, com- 
ment, insinuation, or deduction is likely to destroy the privilege; and 
inaccuracy destroys it as, for example, describing a criminal charge 
by anything but its formal title (if the formal charge is "breaking and 
entering in the night-time," call it that not burglary, or robbery, or 
anything else). In Atlanta, substitution of the word "Academy" for 
"College" in a damage suit story got a wire service into trouble. 

Under this doctrine, you may safely report a trial in which some of 
the statements turn out to be untrue. If a man charged with d-unken- 
ness is found by judge or jury to be innocent, you may report the charge 
and the trial without fear of liability, even though the charge is later dis- 
proved. You may also report that one city councilman, without proof, 
calls another a liar, if he does it in the course of regular council proceed- 
ings. But beware of putting it on the air if he makes the charge while 
talking with you in the washroom. Beware, also, of reporting a libclous 
outbreak by a spectator in a courtroom it isn't part of the proceeding, 
and it isn't privileged. Beware especially of such an outbreak if your 
mike is in the courtroom; you're responsible if it goes on the air. 

Remember that in most states privilege does not apply to court pro 

356 News by Radio 

ceedings until they have somewhere been acted upon by a judge. That 
is to say, preliminary papers filed with a clerk of court are usually not 
privileged merely because they have been filed; they do not become a 
formal part of judicial record until a judge enters the case. Grand jury 
reports similarly are usually not privileged until they have been re- 
turned in court. 

Another caution: Don't assume that because a policeman makes a 
statement to you, you have privileged material. A cop, even if he's a 
captain, is neither a judicial nor a legislative officer. A few states have 
statutes making police statements and police records, such as the police 
blotter, privileged; most don't. The best rule is something like this: 
Use what a policeman says if you are convinced that its truth can be 
proved. Otherwise, watch your step. 

Most states do not have specific laws relating to defamation by radio. 
Where laws or judicial interpretations and decisions exist, they vary from 
state to state, and from state to Federal jurisdictions. The descriution of 
laws, practices, and precautions given in Chapter 12 is generalized for 
general use. But every radio newsman needs to check the laws under which 
he practices to ascertain the areas in which they are the usual ones, and 
the areas in which they depart from the usual. 

The NAB in 1947 proposed a standard radio defamation law (calling it 
libel) in an effort to strengthen and make uniform the state laws in this 
field. This law providing protection to stations which exercise due care 
has been adopted by Colorado and Wyoming, and a similar one by Virginia. 

A Utah law limits liability where malice is absent, and offers certain 
other protections. A Florida law eliminates liability unless lack of due care 
can be proved. In Illinois stations are relieved of liability when neither 
station nor employes have advance knowledge of broadcast defamation, 
or opportunity to prevent it; defamatory statements by candidates for 
public office are not liable. Indiana and North Carolina laws eliminate 
punitive damages if retractions are made. Iowa has a law similar to the NAB 
standard law, as has Oregon. Montana law says that recovery can be had 
only when actual malice is proved. An absolute defense is provided in 
Washington if a retraction is broadcast promptly upon written request 
and if the station can show that the defamation was made without its 
knowledge and "against (his) wishes by one without authority" to broad- 
cast it. California provides that recovery may cover only damages to prop- 
erty, business, or occupation if a retraction has been properly broadcast. 

Other states appear not to have special protective laws for radio. 

The Law Says .... 357 

Moreover: Don't make the mistake of thinking that you're freed 
from responsibility because you attribute a libelous statement to its 
source, or because you call a man "the alleged burglar." Such devices 
may serve to show that your motives are good, and so to reduce penal- 
ties. They won't do more than that, if the libel is false. You're still 

The doctrine of qualified privilege has been extended to the pro- 
ceedings of "quasi-judicial" and "quasi-legislative" bodies such as 
committees, standing or special, of legislative bodies, as well as to ad- 
ministrative bodies like the Federal Trade Commission. But, again, be 
sure the proceedings you report are official and open, if you need to rest 
your security on the doctrine. 

"Fair comment and criticism/' the third absolute defense, is absolute 
only under carefully restricted circumstances. It means that anybody 
who is offering himself or his performances or creations for public ap- 
proval may be criticized. An author's writing, an actor's acting, a radio 
commentator's speaking and opinions may all be criticized, however 
scathingly. But criticisms must be directed strictly to the public per- 
formances. You can't criticize an actor by saying that he beats his 
mother-in-law (unless you stand ready to prove that he does beat his 
mother-in-law). You'd be safest not to take a raucous middleaged 
movie comedienne to task on the ground that you think she would act 
Ophelia badly. If she does act Ophelia, and you think she has done it 
badly, you can say so. 

Allied to the principles of fair comment and criticism are those of 
comment and criticism on public officers and candidates for public 
office. Your latitude for adverse comment on such individuals is wide. 
Again some cautions, however: Be certain that the facts on which you 
base your criticisms are true and that your criticisms are reasonable 
deductions from the facts. Be sure that there is no ground for accusing 
you of malice of having reason other than the public benefit for mak- 
ing the criticisms. If it can be shown that you once threatened "to get 

The remarks in this chapter refer to actions in civil libel the type in 
which an individual who considers himself damaged seeks redress from 
the libclcr in a civil suit. The provisions of criminal libel laws, except in 
a few states with special statutes, do not apply to radio. 

358 News by Radio 

the so-and-so because his son hit my son with a shillelagh/' and this 
appears to be the prime reason behind your criticism, you're in trouble. 

The principles of fair comment and criticism apply not alone to indi- 
viduals but also to businesses seeking public patronage or enterprises 
desiring public support. 

A measure of protection to radio stations broadcasting political 
speeches is suggested by an FCC report of mid-1948. "It would ap- 
pear/ 7 says the FCC, "that a station is not liable under Federal law 
for libel in such broadcasts." This interpretation grows out of the con- 
troversial case of WHLS-Port Huron, Michigan, charged with libel 
after a 1945 speech by a supporter of a candidate for city office. Because 
of the libel charge, WHLS withdrew permission for further speeches 
for the same and opposing candidates. The FCC found WHLS guilty 
of violating Section 315 of the Communications Act, which forbids 
station censorship of political speeches: 'The most effective means of 
censorship is complete suppression. . . . Licensees . . . having once 
exercised their discretion to carry such programs, may not censor." 

In other words, if a station grants a request for time for a political 
speech, it may not retract the grant; it may not censor the speech; and 
it must grant time for broadcast of opposition views. Since the station 
may not censor, it cannot ask for deletion of libelous material, and this 
might put it in unreasonable jeopardy. Therefore, says the FCC, "it 

It is impossible, within the limits of this chapter, to present all the 
shadings of the laws of libel and slander. To the newsroom man who wants 
more detail, the following sources are recommended: 

W. R. Arthur and R. L. Crosman, The Law of Newspapers (McGraw- 
Hill, 1940) 

Paul P. Ashley, Essentials of Libel (University of Washington Press, 1948) 

R. W, Jones, The Law of Journalism (Washington Law Book Company, 

J* G. Moser and R. A. Lavine, Radio and the Law (Parker & Company, 

F. S. Siebert, The Rights and Privileges of the Press (Appleton-Century 

Warner, Harry P., Radio and Television Law (Matthew Bender & Co. ? 

The Law Says .... 359 

would appear that the station is relieved by operation of Federal law 
from any responsibility for libelous material." 

But there have been court decisions one upheld by the United 
States Supreme Court that question this interpretation. The state of 
Texas, through its attorney general, has served notice on the FCC that 
it will continue to hold stations liable, under state law, for libel in 
political broadcasts. Other states may do likewise. So the FCC inter- 
pretation is not a foolproof safeguard. Newsrooms should note par- 
ticularly that in any case it applies not to all political broadcasts (such 
as political news), but only to material originating outside the station. 


Who is "liable" in cases of indefensible libel who foots the bill 
when an actionable libel leads to assessment of damages? The answer 
in broad terms is that anybody who may be considered responsible for 
the libelous material may be called upon to pay. This means the owner- 
ship of the station; the station manager; the newsroom director; any 
newsroom employe who has worked on the material (as reporter or 
editor); and, possibly, the announcer. The source of the information, 
too, if he has knowingly given false libelous information for broadcast. 

Not that all these must be named defendants in the suit. When a 
playwright felt himself defamed in a 1947 "America's Town Meeting 
of the Air" program, he asked damages from Town Hall, Inc., the 
program's "packager"; from the speaker who had called him "Com- 
munist" during debate; and from six individuals described in the suit 
as having aided the speaker in the preparation of the offending script. 
The 226 network affiliates and the cooperative sponsors were not 
named in the action (a California slander rather than libel case) . 

But in a New York libel suit at about the same time, an account 
executive of a New York advertising firm asked damages from a net- 
work, from an advertising agency, and firom a radio producing firm that 
had prepared the show for broadcast. The suit charged that the plaintiff 
had been libeled in the course of his impersonation by an actor in a 
dramatization of certain North African operations in World War II. 

The knottiest problem of liability in broadcasting arises in the case 

360 News by Radio 

of the libelous ad-lib statement thrown in by a performer in spite of a 
carefully prepared, pre-read, nonlibelous script. Al Jolson, in a 1939 
network program, threw in an ad-lib remark that such-and-such a hotel 
was "rotten." The hotel sued; a lower court awarded $15,000 damages, 
but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the decision on the 
ground that the network had exercised due care in preparing a libel- 
free script, and that it could not be held for Jolson's unrehearsed and 
unforeseen remark. The difference in opinion of the two courts illus- 
trates the fluid state of the law on this point; there seems to be a 
tendency to hold as did the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Davis, in 
his Quill article cited earlier in this chapter, elaborates on this subject. 

Watch Out for Lotteries 

When Congress passed the Communications Act in 1934, it told 
broadcasters, "Keep anything about lotteries off the air." That's a flat 
and all-inclusive mandate. You'll be violating the law if you tell your 
listeners that a lottery is to occur, or that it did occur with such-and- 
such results. Avoiding the word "lottery" won't help. You may offend 
if you so much as mention, for example, an Irish Sweepstakes winner. 
(This doesn't alter the fact that many radio newscasts do mention 
lottery news; but it's risky.) 

What is a lottery? 

The law says that, to constitute itself a lottery, an event must present 
three elements: prize, chance, and consideration. 

For many years the Post Office Department has had a regulation for- 
bidding newspapers their customary mailing privileges if they contain 
news of lotteries. Until 1947 this regulation was interpreted strictly in 
the same terms as Section 316 of the Communications Act, forbidding 
broadcast of lottery news. When a news story involving a lottery in a 
subordinate relationship became of national interest, however (the story 
of a Negro in North Carolina denied a prize he had won in a lottery), the 
St. Louis Star-Times won a fight to liberalize the regulation. According to 
the 1947 Post Office ruling, stories containing "incidental" mention of 
lotteries will not bar newspapers from the mails. 

The Communications Act provision has not yet been so liberalized. 
Action to bring it into line with the Post Office attitude, however, may 
be anticipated. 

The Law Says .... 361 

The meaning of "p^ ze " eas Y- M somebody gets out of the event 
something he didn't buy a Cadillac or a penny pencil, a movie pass or 
a trip to Calcutta the element of prize is present. 

"Chance'' is also simple to define. "Chance" means that the prize 
went to its winner in a manner completely outside his control in a 
manner that he had no power to affect. If there is competition present, 
or if the element of skill enters, you may be fairly sure there's no legal 
chance. If the prize goes to somebody who throws a beanbag farther 
than other competitors, or who writes a better last line to a limerick, or 
who stands on his head longest, there's no "chance" it's skill. But if 
his name is drawn at random from a hat, or by random choice from the 
city directory, or if his winning ticket is designated by a whirling spin- 
dle on a movie stage, chance is present. 

"Consideration" is a little more difficult to pin down. It means some 
kind of effort on the part of an individual to make himself eligible for 
the prize: the payment of money, the purchase of a ticket or filling out 
of an entry blank, the rendition of a service. If his name is drawn at 
random from the city directory, and he can do nothing to aid such 
drawing, there's no consideration. But if he buys the raffle ticket that 
goes into the hat, there is. 

Some examples: 

A woman attending a movie fills out a card and puts it into a box 
along with others like it. Her card is drawn, and she gets the turkey. 
Verdict: a lottery, because prize (the turkey), chance (random draw- 
ing), and consideration (buying the movie ticket and filling out the 
card) are involved. 

A man walking down a street strictly on his own business is pointed 
out at random and given a $5.00 bill. Verdict: no lottery, because 
there's no consideration (the man had made no effort to make himself 
eligible) , though there are prize and chance. 

A child at a church supper has his name read off as the first drawn 
from a box containing names of all those present, but receives no other 

In response to inquiries from its members, the NAB in 1947 issued a 
"General Guide on Lottery Law in Day-to-Day Station Operation." The 
"Guide" appears in NAB Reports for June 9, 1947, page 459. 

362 News by Radio 

reward, Verdict: no lottery, because chance and consideration (the 
child's presence) aren't supplemented by prize. 

A man is given a pair of boxing gloves for having named more dead 
prize-fighters than anybody else in the room. Verdict: no lottery, for 
there's prize and possibly consideration, but no element of chance. 

In 1948 the FCC proposed tightened regulations to drive from the 
air the fabulous "giveaway programs 7 ' that had become so popular. The 
proposal had hardly been made public when it was discovered that 
Congress had removed from the Communications Act the sections 
covering lotteries, and transferred them to the Criminal Code. The 
FCC, undismayed, announced promptly that it intended to see that 
the law was respected, whether it lay in one statute or another. It held 
firmly that most "giveaway" shows are lotteries. 

As for Censorship .... 

Radio is protected against governmental censorship by the First 
Amendment to the Constitution, and the Fourteenth, just as are all 
other avenues of communication. And the Communications Act says 
that the FCC shall exercise no censorship over what is broadcast by 
the stations it licenses. As has just been pointed out, the Act forbids 
lottery news; it also denies the right to broadcast obscenity, indecency, 
and profanity. This is censorship of a sort. But it is a sort that fits with 
American mores, and laws of this kind are not disqualified by American 
judicial practice or opinion. 

The radio industry has more than once leveled the "censorship!" 
charge at the FCC. It did so in 1946 when the Blue Book was issued, 
and again when the FCC held extensive hearings on an application for 
a license by the New York Daily News to listen to allegations that 
some of the News's editorial opinions rendered it unfit to broadcast. 
Every time the FCC examines a station's or an applicant's program 
content the cry is raised. The FCC has, however, stayed pretty clear of 
dictation of content. It has insisted that a broadcaster devote a portion 
of his time to programs "in the public interest," and it has emphasized 
balanced programming programming consistent with the Communi- 
cations Act provision that no station may be a special pleader, that 
balancing time must be provided for divergent controversial views. 

The Law Says .... 363 

But this provision does not restrict views or statements it says only 
that if Jones gets time to say black is black, Brown must be given equal 
opportunity to say it is white. 

The Communications Act also provides specifically that stations 
may exert no political censorship on scripts. The FCC interpretation 
of this provision is discussed earlier in this chapter. 

Radio is about as subject to internal and external, but unofficial, non- 
governmental, extralegal censorships, as other communication agen- 
cies. The officials of a network, the manager of a station, may and do set 
up restrictions on the types of matter that may be broadcast. They may, 
if they are unwise, even lay down dicta as to what views and opinions 
may go on the air. Sponsors are entirely free to put into their programs 
commentators who espouse their attitudes, and to remove, or keep off, 
those who see things differently. (But the station over whose channel 
a sponsored commentator presents one-sided views may have to provide 
equal time for opponents to have their say.) Women's clubs, churches, 
political parties, fellow-travelers may bring all the pressure they can 
command to persuade radio to say this and not to say that. 

But don't confuse this kind of censorship with that contemplated, 
and guarded against, by the First Amendment. They are cats of quite 
different breeds. 

A word about "indecency." Indecency (blasphemy and obscenity, 
too) is what each day makes it. Values on which judgments are based 
change constantly. The Communications Act does not say that specific 
words or ideas may not be broadcast, but merely that obscene words 
or ideas are barred. But to the Victorians no one had 'legs"; today 
they're practically universal. As broadcasting has grown a bit beyond 
adolescence, and as its listeners have altered attitudes, a great many 
ideas and words once spoken only in Pullman smokers have been ac- 
cepted as socially permissible. This subject has already been treated in 
Chapter 3. 

So the rule is, simply, that of good taste good taste that takes into 
account the particular mores of the listeners to be served and the social 
values of the news. Often it's more desirable to omit entirely news that 
may be offensive if it's not of real importancethan to present it with 
verbal disguise that enhances rather than covers its saltiness. 

364 News by Radio 

What Is "Privacy "? 

The man who comes up with a thoroughly workable definition of 
the "right of privacy" and a suggestion as to how, in a democratic so- 
ciety, to enforce it will have the blessing of the law book writers. Most 
such writers agree that whatever the "right" may be, it's difficult to 
make it meaningful. Some fifty years ago the chief justice of the New 
York Court of Appeals said that "the so-called right of privacy is ... 
founded upon the claim that a man has the right to pass through this 
world, if he wills, without having his picture published, his business 
enterprises discussed, ... or his eccentricities commented upon 
whether in hand bills, circulars, catalogs, periodicals, or newspapers." 
But ten years later a court in Seattle said that "unless controlled by 
some independent consideration, it has been generally held that there 
is no such right. Not so much because a primary right may not exist, 
but because, in the absence of a statute, no fixed line between public 
and private character can be drawn." 

Boiled down, this means that every citizen has the inherent right to 
live his private life as he wants to, without finding himself in a fish 
bowl. The apparently insoluble problems are: Exactly how, except in 
the broadest of general terms, can the right be defined? Where does a 
man step from the private to the public? Where can the line be drawn? 
What is the damage when an indubitably private act or situation is 
laid before the public? 

Many of the relatively few suits that have been brought for com- 
pensation for invasion of the right of privacy have yielded verdicts of 
"no recovery." Courts have more than once declared sympathy for the 
offended plaintiffs, but have pointed out, in effect, that definition of 
the tenuous line might result in as much injustice to individuals, or 
as much infringement on society's right to know what is going on, as 
does the shadowy status quo. 

Broadcasters have not often been charged with overstepping the line. 
In one California case, involving a radio dramatization of an auto acci- 
dent seventeen months after its occurrence, a chauffeur characterized 
in the play sued and was awarded damages. Most cases in this field, 
however, have grown out of newspaper publications a high percentage 

The Law Says .... 365 

of them involving photographs of individuals only secondarily con- 
nected with news events. 

In short, invasion of the right of privacy is not a common radio 
newsroom headache. This is partly due to the fact that radio has not 
gone in elaborately for sensational news, or for personal news; and to 
the additional fact that it has stuck fairly close to the major facts of the 
news, and has not embroidered them with peripheral "angles." 

Good taste, again, is a first-rate bulwark against offense. News that is 
properly news accounts of events the knowledge of which keeps the 
public informed rarely invades privacy. For both law and common 
sense hold that a man who by will or accident becomes involved in an 
event of interest to a considerable number of listeners has lost his in- 
herent privacy insofar as the ramifications of the event are concerned. 
One caution : You're safe and justified in reporting that a man has been 
charged with drunken driving, or that he has been struck by a street cat. 
But neither fact gives you the right, moral or legal, to inform the public 
that he hasn't kissed his wife in ten years. 

The Right to Report 

Public business is public business. Most facts that are a matter of 
public record are open to the public; and courts have held that news- 
papers have a special pecuniary and social interest in access to public 
records. (This question has not arisen specifically with regard to radio; 
but there is no doubt that the same principle would hold.) This means 
that almost all activities of government are legitimate news for radio's 
reporters: court proceedings, legislative action, official city actions, and 
so on. It means not only that the records are open to inspection, but 
that the proceedings themselves are ordinarily open to attendance and 

The rule is not absolute. Any judge may close his court and seal 
records. Most legislative bodies may go into executive session. Grand 
jury proceedings are held in private. Quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial 
bodies such as the FCC or the National Labor Relations Board, as 
well as Congressional and similar committees, usually hold hearings in 
public, but conduct deliberations behind closed doors. Executive rec- 
ords are not open to inspection except by executive order. Records of 

366 News by Radio 

such public agencies as mental hospitals and the state fire marshal's 
office are ordinarily closed, in the public interest. Reporters may not 
hamper the activities of peace officers by reporting news of prospective 
arrests, unless the officers themselves release the information. 

But all these exceptions constitute only a small percentage of the 
sources of public news. The general rule holds in a vast majority of 
cases: Public business is properly the business of the public, and the 
accepted agencies of news dissemination have a special right, in the 
public interest, to report it. 

As for unofficial news that coming from private sources rather than 
public radio's right of coverage is precisely that of any other news 
service. The president of General Motors doesn't have to tell anybody 
that his corporation is going to increase wages; but the radio reporter 
is prevented by no law or principle from trying to get him to talk. It's 
the right of a Kansas farmer whose hog was sweepstakes winner at the 
International Livestock Show to keep to himself the secret of his suc- 
cessand equally the right of WWWW's farm editor to attempt to 
persuade him to change his mind. 

The obverse of the right to report, of course, is the right not to re- 
port. No radio station is obligated to broadcast any news it doesn't 
want to. Neither the mayor, the local utilities magnate, nor the press 
agent for an aldermanic candidate may direct a radio newsroom how, 
when, or whether to use a story. (But when a station permits broadcast 
of views on one side of a controversial issue, it must grant equal time 
to the other side.) 

Who Owns the News? 

Anybody may "own" all the news he wants to. 

Anybody has the right to gather whatever news his energy, facilities, 
and desire make available to him, and to publish it by whatever 
medium he chooses. There is no legal or moral monopoly on the news 

Radio reporters have not always been given an even break with news- 
papermen in access to public information, as has been shown earlier in 
this book. But the difficulty here is not one of law, but rather one of con- 
vincing those who make news, official or unofficial, that radio should 
receive the same treatment as the other news agencies. 

The Law Says .... 367 

But does he own it after he gets it? 

The answer is "yes/' but in a qualified sense. The fact that he has 
gathered the facts of an event but has not yet published them does not 
hinder anybody else from getting them and beating him to publication. 
But no one may take from him the facts he has gathered and publish 
them without his permission. The law of ownership is one of fair com- 
petition: He has the right to whatever profit may accrue from his own 
efforts, and the right to control the use of the product of his own efforts. 

The radio news law, in general, is exactly that applied to newspaper 
ownership or news. No afternoon newspaper may "lift" a story from a 
competing afternoon newspaper and publish it immediately. The 
courts have held that such news is the property of the original paper 
during the period of its commercial value usually considered the 
period from the paper's publication time to the appearance of the next 
succeeding morning paper. Under the same principle, a radio station 
may not record a competitor's news show and rebroadcast it; the first 
station owns "quasi-property" rights as long as the news is fresh. And a 
radio station may not lift news from a newspaper, nor a newspaper 
from a radio newscast, under comparable circumstances. 

The idea for a storythe tip on which it is based is another matter. 
A radio station may and most alert newsrooms do take a tip for a 
story it has missed from a competitor's newscast, or from a competing 
newspaper, send its own man out on it, develop its own story, and 
broadcast it. In this case it has expended its own time and effort, and 
has full rights in its own story. 

Note this point: Ownership of a story lies not in the reporter who 
has gathered it for his station, but in the station. News is the property of 
the ownership of the organization which develops it, not of the em- 
ployes who do the actual work. 

The fact that radio "may not" lift newspaper news does not always 
prevent it from doing so. In one American metropolitan center a news- 
caster made a practice of taking a handful of clippings from the latest 
edition of the city paper to the mike with him until the newspaper called 
the station on the practice and let it be known that ownership rights would 
be legally protected. Most radio newsrooms, however, stand on their own 
feet both as a matter of legality and as a matter of pride. 

368 News by Radio 

What about copyright and the ownership of "literary style" the 
precise rhetorical form in which news goes on the air? 

Copyright laws, designed to protect writers against plagiarism, pro- 
tect literary style. When a script has been properly copyrighted, it may 
not be published or broadcast in its copyrighted form except by per- 
mission of the copyright owner. This prevents any except brief verbatim 
quotations from it. But copyright does not protect the subject, facts, 
ideas, or substance in the script. These may form the basis for any 
number of other broadcasts, provided they are rewritten or paraphrased 
so as not to follow the original literary pattern. 

Radio scripts are given broader protection in one direction than 
newspaper material. Uncopyrighted material published in a newspaper 
becomes public property after its commercial or news value has van- 
ished. It may be republished in its original form without penalty. But 
uncopyrighted radio material, even after broadcast, is not "in the pub- 
lic domain" its literary form remains the property of its owner. There- 
fore the rule that a newscast may not be recorded and rebroadcast 
without proper authorization applies not only during the life of its 
news value, but also to any later period. 

NAB Reports for May 19, 1947 (page 406) offers a general state- 
ment on the copyright law as it affects radio broadcasters. 

The Last Word 

Radio kw as summarized in Chapter 12 is a societal development a 
two-way bulwark built up for the protection of society and the pro- 
tection of the broadcaster in his service to society. The radio newsman 
who observes its suggestions and precautions, and who fortifies himself 
with knowledge of the peculiarities of the laws of his state, is likely to 
be able to steer clear of legal involvements. He may add to its protective 
value by adopting the precept, "When in doubt, move slowly and talk 
to a lawyer." 

But no radio newsman worth the name will be as much concerned 
about the letter of the law as about the fulfillment of the high responsi- 

Copyright on a radio script is obtained by filing a complete copy with 
the Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress, Washington, together 
with copyright application Form D-2 and a money order for $1.00. 

The Law Says .... 369 

t>ility he has assumed. The law's protection implies the newsman's 
obligation: to inform the public as fully, as lucidly, and as promptly as 
his facilities and his judgment permit; to look on broadcasting not as 
a private perquisite but as a social instrument; to make accuracy and 
impartiality the touchstones of his profession; to clarify where the 
stream of the news runs muddy; to accept the social responsibilities of 
radio news service as a privilege supported by courage as well as com- 
petence; to make the public interest his necessity. 



Codes for Self -Regulation 
by News Broadcasters 

A Codes of the National Association of Broadcasters 

1. The NAB adopted a "standards of practice" code in 1939 contain- 
ing the following paragraphs relating to news broadcasting: 

News shall be presented with fairness and accuracy and the broadcasting 
station or network shall satisfy itself that the arrangements made for obtain- 
ing news insure this result. Since the number of broadcasting channels is 
limited, news broadcasts shall not be editorial. This means that news shall 
not be selected for the purpose of furthering or hindering either side of 
any controversial public issue, nor shall it be colored by the opinions or 
desires of the station or network management, the editor or others engaged 
in its preparation or the person actually delivering it over the air y or, in 
the case of sponsored news broadcasts, the advertiser. 

The fundamental purpose of news dissemination in a democracy is to 
enable people to know what is happening and to understand the meaning 
of events so that they may form their own conclusions, and therefore, 
nothing in the foregoing shall be understood as preventing news broad- 
casters from analyzing and elucidating news so long as such analysis and 
elucidation arc free of bias. 

News commentators as well as all other newscasters shall be governed by 
these provisions. 

2. In 1948 the NAB adopted a revised statement of standards of 
practice. The passages of the statement dealing with news broadcasting 
are as follows : 


News reporting should be factual, fair, and without bias. Commentary 
and analysis should be clearly identified as such. 

Good taste should prevail in the selection and handling of news. Morbid, 
sensational, or alarming details not essential to the factual report, espe- 
cially in connection with stories of crime or sex, should be avoided. News 


374 Appendix 

should be broadcast in such a manner as to avoid panic and unnecessary 

Broadcasters should exercise due care in their supervision of content, 
format, and presentation of news broadcasts originated by them; and in 
their selection of newscasters, commentators, and analysts. 

Broadcasters should exercise particular discrimination in the acceptance 
and placement of advertising in news programs. Such advertising should 
be appropriate to the program, both as to content and presentation, and 
should be distinctly set apart from the news content. 

In programs of news, news commentary, and news analysis which are 
less than ten minutes in length, no more than two commercial announce- 
ments should be used,, and they should be given at or near the beginning 
and end of the program. 

Agricultural and market newscasts should be governed by the same 
general standards applicable to news broadcasts. 


Political broadcasts, or the dramatization of political issues designed to 
influence an election, should, if accepted, be properly identified as such. 
(Because of the present confusion concerning the laws with respect to 
political broadcasts, broadcasters are advised to consult their lawyers in 
all cases where they have the least doubt as to the proper method of 


A broadcaster, in allotting time for the presentation of public questions, 
including those of a controversial nature, should use his best efforts to 
insure fair presentation. Such time should be allotted with due regard to 
all other elements of balanced program schedules, and to the degree of 
interest on the part of the public in the questions to be presented. 

Discussions of controversial public issues should be presented on pro- 
grams specifically intended for that purpose, and they should be clearly 
identified as such. 

The presentation of controversial public issues should be made by 
properly identified persons or groups. 

Freedom of expression of opinion in broadcasts of controversial public 
issues should be carefully maintained, but the right should be reserved to 
refuse them for non-compliance with laws such as those prohibiting 
defamation and sedition. 

Codes for Self -Regulation 375 


Sound effects and expressions characteristically associated with news 
broadcasts (such as "bulletin," "flash," etc.) should be reserved for 
announcements of news, and the use of any deceptive techniques in con- 
nection with fictional events and non-news programs should be unaccept- 

The regular and recurrent broadcasting, in advance of sports events, of 
information relating to prevailing odds, the effect of which could be 
expected to encourage gambling, should not be permitted. 

Simulation of court atmosphere or use of the term "court" in a program 
should be done only in such a manner as to eliminate the possibility of 
creating the false impression that the proceedings broadcast are vested 
with judicial or official authority. 


The maximum time to be used for advertising, allowable to any single 
sponsor, regardless of type of program, should be: 

Program Between 6:00 All Other 

Length and 1 1 :00 P.M. Hours 

Five-minute 1:00 1:15 

Ten-minute 2:00 2:10 

Fifteen-minute 2:30 3:00 

Twenty-five-minute 2:50 4:00 

Thirty-minute 3:00 4:15 

B Codes Adopted ty Associations of Radio News Men 

A number of associations of radio news editors at national, state, 
and local levels have adopted codes of practice for their members' 
guidance. Following are three such codes: 



1 The basic function of radio news presentation is in the public interest 
and, therefore, the news director's first responsibility is to the people. 

2 The news director should be responsible (within the station organi- 
zation) only to the station manager, as recommended by NARND and 

3 The news director should be consulted in all station programming 
pertaining to news and special events for the purpose of attaining sound 
news program balance. 

376 Appendix 

4 Only the news director should be granted authority by the manager 
to accept or reject news. 

5 Adequate coverage of his own area is the primary obligation of every 
news director. 

6 The minimum essential for every station is one trained news man. 

7 Commercials should be separated definitely from the news content, 
and NARND recommends that a different voice be used. 

8 Selection and presentation of news should be unbiased, accurate, 
factual, impartial and in good taste. 



Radio news broadcasting is a particular type of journalism. Therefore, 
the basic principles of journalism shall apply to the operation of a radio 
news department. Because of its nature, certain other principles also 
should apply to radio news broadcasting. 

The standards which shall govern the members of the Ohio Association 
of Radio News Editors are: 

1 Radio news must always consist of material of good taste, inasmuch 
as the radio enters the family circle in the home. Material on the border- 
line of good taste shall not be broadcast except in cases in which the 
material is of such nature that honest journalism requires its use. In such 
cases, lurid details which in themselves add nothing basic to the report 
shall be omitted. 

2 Material for news broadcasting shall be judged for its newsworth- 
iness alone and shall not be reported for the special benefit of any private 
group or individual, 

' 3 All news reports from private sources shall be broadcast only after 
tiiey have been confirmed as to source, accuracy and truthfulness. 

4 Radio news reports shall be honest, sincere, accurate, truthful and 
unbiased, and none of these attributes should be sacrificed for brevity. 

5 Freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the 
Constitution means freedom to speak the truth. The freedom to speak 
the truth implies the freedom of the listener to hear the truth. The responsi- 
bility for safeguarding these two freedoms is primarily the responsibility 
of the executive head of a radio news department, subject only to the 
authority of the licensee and/or his representatives -in management. The 
news executive should be endowed by management with the authority 
to determine content of news programs in line with station policy. Edito- 
rializing should be clearly labeled in context as such. Commentators and 
news analysts should be identified and labeled in context to distinguish 
them from the straight news reporter. 

Codes for Self-Regulation 377 

6 News broadcasts must not violate the rights of privacy unless such 
an invasion is of definite public interest and not merely public curiosity, 
and is otherwise legally permissible. 

7 A news editor should make every effort to be fair, to present equally 
both sides of a controversy and to give each individual an opportunity to 
reply to any news story which represents him to the public unfavorably. 

8 Every radio station should have the services of at least one full-time 
news editor. 

9 Radio news reporters are entitled to equal access to news sources, 
and shall be recognized as having the same privileges, legally and other- 
wise, as representatives of other news media. Radio equipment necessary 
to broadcasting shall be given equal consideration to equipment used in 
reporting by other news media. 



A well-informed public in our own country and in all parts of the 
world is the greatest single hope for peace in an atomic world. Presenta- 
tion of the news and of other matters of public interest is the greatest 
contribution in the interest of the public performed within radio broad- 
casting schedules. As such, it is also the most forceful single answer the 
broadcasting industry has to its critics who proclaim that radio has been 
subverted into the sole function of a merchandising mart. Since presenta- 
tion of the news occupies this position of importance in radio broadcasting, 
it logically follows that the means of presenting the news is a matter of 
primary concern to ownership, management and sponsorship, as well as 
to those in the profession. Therefore, those of us engaged in the profession 
submit the following recommendations as goals to which radio broad- 
casters should aspire in the interest of further improving this vital means 
of public information. 

1 Newscasts, special events, news commentaries, and news analyses 
should be plainly labeled as such. 

2 Programs of a feature type based on events in the news involving 
such production devices as dramatization or impersonations are logical 
adjuncts to news programming, but should be clearly disassociated from 
newscasts, special events, commentaries, and analyses by being labeled 
for what they are. 

3 Each story should be presented in proportion to its total significance 
in the news, and never for the purpose of advancing a special selfish 
interest. The implementation of this objective will depend on the measure 
of responsibility and integrity of the news man or news staff. 

4 It should be borne in mind that the news editor's job does not end 

378 Appendix 

with the teletype. It is his responsibility, whenever possible, particularly 
on regional or local stories of a controversial nature, to secure first hand 

5 The line of demarcation between commercial copy and the news 
content should always be clearly defined. An ultimate goal in this respect 
would be that the newscaster, analyst, or commentator not read the com- 
mercial message. Lead ins to commercials should include no reference to 
subsequent news. 

6 Joint air credits in the case of news broadcasts prepared and delivered 
by different persons are a desirable professional standard. 

7 News is a special medium and as such demands specially trained 
personnel. In staffing radio newsrooms close attention should be given 
to the news background and training of news writers, editors and broad- 
casters. In order to insure an accurate and impartial presentation of news, 
station management must exercise unusual care in the selection of a radio 
news editor. He must be competent and capable of accepting full responsi- 
bility for the content of all news programs and such content must continue 
to be based entirely on his judgment, without interference by sponsor or 
any outside agent. Continued vigilance against any relaxation of this policy 
is urged. 

8 The radio audience is more diverse than the press audience and hence 
more rigid standards of good taste should apply in the case of crimes of 
sex, violence, and the coverage of accidents of a gruesome nature. 

9 Those who prepare and voice the news should constantly bear in 
mind the power for "slanting" material which rests even in the tonal in- 
flection employed in delivery. Objectivity in material and voicing should 
be at all times the goal of good radio news presentation. 

10 Minimum news staff standards for all stations should be estab- 
lished. It is recommended that at least one experienced news man be on 
duty at all times during the hours of broadcasting operation. 

C "Radio News Recommendations" 
by the NAB Radio News Committee, February 28, 1945 

News is the industry's No. 1 public service obligation. It commands 
the eager interest of all ages, all classes. 

News broadcasts have come to be a "must" in 33,100,000 homes with 
their 120,000,000 listeners. 

Since each news program must be acceptable to all groups and all ages, 
broadcasters are obligated to exercise meticulous care in the handling of 
all matters concerned with their commercial sponsorship. 

It is the hope of the NAB Radio News Committee that recommends- 

Codes for Self -Regulation 379 

tions which follow will prove helpful to those engaged in the specialized 
field of radio news. 


Acceptable Sponsorship of News Programs In the light of the industry's 
obligation to the public, is every type of business acceptable for sponsoring 
the news? 

It is the belief of the Radio News Committee that to a greater extent 
than is the case with any other type of radio program, the type of sponsor- 
ship must be given careful consideration. What might be acceptable 
sponsorship for one type of program might very well be questionable 
sponsorship for a news program. 

It is suggested in all sincerity that the type of sponsorship of radio news 
programs be determined with the same judgment of good taste and seri- 
ousness which governs the preparation and presentation of the news itself. 

Commercial Copy and Length of Commercials It is felt that better 
over-all service would result if commercial copy used in radio news programs 
were prepared in a simple, clear, concise, and straightforward manner to 
match good news writing. The commercial message should be live copy; 
the use of the transcribed musical jingle and other novelty types should 
be discouraged with the idea of ultimate elimination. 

Length of the commercial in news programs should be severely limited, 
with particular attention given to shortening the opening. After specifying 
limitations in the NAB Code, the Code Committee recommended 
"further restrictions by individual stations" so far as 5-minute news pro- 
grams were concerned. This policy is endorsed by the Radio News Com- 
mittee with "further restrictions, etc." applying to news programs of 
5, 10, and 15 minutes in length. Short commercials build good will for 
both sponsor and station. 

Simply as a guide it is suggested that stations think in terms of 1 50 and 
250 words of commercial, respectively, for 5- and 10-minute news programs, 
these figures to include open and close. 

Stations which may sell three 1-minute cbmmercials to three different 
.sponsors, in one "unsponsored" 5-minute news program, are violating 
the NAB Code as amended April 28, 1943. Such practice is also incon- 
sistent with Radio News Committee recommendations. On 5-minute shows 
a short open and close is an ideal arrangement. 

Identification of Sponsor's Message Commercial sponsor identifica- 
tion and the commercial message should in no way be made an integral 
part of the news. Sponsor message should not employ tie-ins with news 
copy nor other artificial devices to attract listeners 7 attention. 

The use of a separate announcer is helpful when commercials are given. 

380 Appendix 

This is not considered mandatory as long as a clear-cut identification of 
the commercial segment of the broadcast is given. 

Placement of Commercials in News Programs In common practice 
there are variations, predicated on local conditions, as to whether news 
commercials are given before, after, or within newscasts. The manner in 
which the commercial is placed is more important than mere mechanical 
arrangement. The position of a commercial with respect to its proximity 
to certain subject matter of the news is of utmost importance, particularly 
in wartime. 

When placed within the newscast, the rommercial may be delivered 
at the conclusion of any news item, but there should always be a clean-cut 
line of demarcation between the news and commercial copy. An individual 
news story should never be interrupted for the sponsor's message. It is 
equally important to guard against improper placement from the stand- 
point of the nature of the news immediately preceding the commercial. 
For example: the commercial should not immediately follow reports of 
casualties, ship sinkings, domestic disasters, etc. 

The number of stations reporting elimination of middle commercials 
is increasing. A station which embarked on such a policy reports that its 
news sponsors are now adhering to this plan and are finding it completely 


Commentators and News Analysts Describing staff announcers and 
other personnel as "commentators" or "news analysts," unless such an- 
nouncers or other personnel are, in fact, qualified to write and deliver 
legitimate news commentaries or analyses, should be eliminated. Long 
continued, such practice would tend to break down the public's confidence 
in the integrity of news broadcasts. 

It is urged that all prepared commentaries, analyses, or other news 
features, furnished by news wires or other sources, be unmistakably identi- 
fied as to source, as a simple matter of honesty and information. For 
example: "Here is John Smith with a news commentary by Global News." 
The Radio News Committee urges credits so full and frank that there 
can be no doubt as to whether a commentary or analysis is actually written 
by the speaker, or whether it is prepared by some other plainly identified 
source and merely delivered by him. 

Identification of Radio News Sources In peace or war it is indispen- 
sable to accuracy and clarity to identify fully the source of all news (partic- 
ularly unconfirmed reports) even at the expense of a few extra words. 
For example: "The Russian armies today reached a point 150 miles from 
Berlin, the Berlin Radio announced this afternoon in a broadcast which 

Codes for Self-Regulation 381 

has not been confirmed by Moscow." Identification should always be 
specific and complete since this very identification of the source may be 
a major factor in evaluating the news it gives out. (Although most stations 
and the networks already follow the above principles, there are some 
stations which in the past have not exercised care in these respects, and 
it is to them that these recommendations are directed.) 


The NAB Radio News Committee re-affirms the principle of presenting 
as completely as possible, within the time limitations of news broadcasts, 
an unbiased and factual account of events as they occur in the world, in 
the nation, and in the locality of the station originating the news program. 
In order to insure an accurate and impartial presentation of news, station 
management must exercise unusual care in the selection of a radio news 
editor. He must be competent and capable of accepting full responsibility 
for the content of all news programs and such content must continue to 
be based entirely on his judgment, without interference by sponsor or 
any outside agent. 

Continued vigilance against any relaxation of this policy is urged. 

In a restatement of "Radio News Recommendations 7 ' on Septem- 
ber 17, 1948, the NAB Radio News Committee repeated its 1945 stag- 
gestions, with alterations to conform to the 1948 NAB Code (see A, 2 
above), and added two paragraphs: One urging the expansion of local 
news operations in all radio stations; the other supporting the NAB 
position in the Mayflower case that stations should be permitted to 

D Codes of Individual Stations 

Most broadcasting stations that operate newsrooms guide their prac- 
tices by codes more often informal than formal, sometimes written 
and sometimes tacit. Such statements of standards, when they are 
codified, vary little in general form or in detail from those presented 
earlier in Appendix A, Their principal variations lie in adaptation of 
broad principles to specific applications to the specific conditions 
their stations must meet. 

An example of the precepts set up to govern individual station prac- 
tice is shown below excerpts from the mimeographed statement pro- 
vided by William R. McAndrew, director of news and special events 

382 Appendix 

of WRC-Washington. WRC is the NBC outlet in Washington, and 
originates many network shows; as such, it is not "typical." But its 
statement of standards is typical in two directions: It uses carefully- 
worked-out network standards as a starting point, and it incorporates 
some of its general standards of practice in its style "book (presented in 
Appendix C). 

Its broad policies are described in the following paragraphs: 

News Policy of WRC The station news policy is governed by the 
"NBC Program Policies and Working Manual/* regardless of whether the 
show is sponsored or is sustaining. Here are the introductory guiding 
principles from the Manual: 

"Those who exercise a stewardship over the broadcast facilities of this 
nation have the duty to bring to radio listeners a full and impartial presen- 
tation of news and public affairs, and of men and events important to 
public understanding. The fundamental purpose of news and opinion in 
a democracy is to enable the people to know what is happening and to 
understand events. 

"The editorial responsibility of the National Broadcasting Company in 
its service of news, commentary, and public discussion is to maintain 
freedom of expression, but to guard against inaccuracy, unfairness, and 
partiality; to see that all important phases of opinion are reflected in its 
broadcasting services; to cooperate in every way with public authority and 
government in the interests of national defense and civilian morale; ami, 
finally, to eliminate from the current day-by-day news and commentary, 
the slanderous or the malicious." 

Policy on Rewriting News The general policy provides that the news 
editor writing a show shall read the various wire service stories, together 
with what information may be provided by special NBC coverage, and 
then evaluate this information. Tack-ups [paste-ups direct from a radio 
wire] are permitted on certain daily 5-minute newscasts because the spon- 
sor has a contract with United Press Radio to provide news for these shows. 
UPR runs a special report of date-lined one-paragraph items which are 
used for this purpose. On other news shows, tack-ups are not used unless 
the news editor is so pressed for time that he does not have room to re- 
write last-minute items. 

Policies on Special Events The policy of WRC is to carry as many 
worthwhile public events as possible, subject to schedule limitations. WRC 
carries all the President's radio addresses and also devotes much time to 
carrying talks by cabinet members, other government officials, and nation- 
ally known leaders. 

Codes for Self -Regulation 383 

The general policy on this is governed by the NBC Manual, which has 
the following to say about "Discussion of Public Issues": 

"The requests of all individuals, groups, or organizations for time to 
discuss public issues of a controversial nature shall be considered in the 
light of the contribution which their use of time would make to the public 
interest and toward a well-balanced program structure. Each such request 
will be considered solely on its individual merits without discrimination 
and without prejudice because of the identity of the individual, group, or 
organization desiring such time. 

"The policy of the NBC on public issues of a controversial nature is 
one of open-mindcdness and impartiality. In connection with its own 
sustaining programs, the Company attempts at all times to give fair repre- 
sentation to opposing sides of every controversial question which materially 
affects the life or welfare of any substantial group. The NBC does not 
censor the opinions of speakers who have been given time on the air. It 
must, however, check for violations of the law and for inaccurate, defama- 
tory, and seditious statements, as the courts have held broadcasters respon- 
sible for damaging statements over their facilities." 

In addition to carrying such talks of national and international interest, 
WRC makes every effort to present purely local District of Columbia 
issues to the public, 

Special Rules for Handling Important Bulletins Each news break or 
bulletin is judged on its own merits. If the bulletin is of sufficient impor- 
tance, WRC notifies the NBC newsroom in New York and arrangements 
may be made to interrupt a program in progress in order to announce the 
news. If the news is of lesser importance, the network may delay the start 
of the next following program to read the bulletin. Or if the bulletin is 
only of local interest or is minor in nature, it will be read at the next 
available "break" between programs, either at the quarter-hour, half-hour, 
or hour. There is a standard NBC introduction and close for these bulletins. 
Special arrangements are provided for announcing tragedies and the deaths 
of prominent persons, so that the next thing heard by listeners will not be 
considered frivolous or otherwise be offensive to good taste. 


Standards for Education 
for Radio Journalism 

The Council on Radio Journalism was established in January, 1945, 
by joint action of the National Association of Broadcasters and the 
American Association of Schools and Departments of Journalism. Its 
purposes, as defined by its constitution: 

1 To coordinate education for all fields of radio journalism with the 
expanding requirements of this rapidly-developing industry for trained 

2 To bring together for counsel and advice representatives of the educa- 
tional institutions and the industry to the end that the educational pro- 
grams of the institutions shall result in the adequate preparation of per- 
sonnel for radio journalism. 

3 To study and investigate such problems in the field of education 
for radio journalism as may be referred to it by the educational institutions 
or by the industry, or as may be proposed by the Council or its individual 

4 To define and, insofar as possible, gain acceptance for minimum 
standards for, education for radio journalism. 

5 To establish itself eventually as the voluntary accrediting agency 
'for education programs in the field of radio journalism. 

Council membership consists of five members appointed by NAB 
and five elected by the AASDJ. 

In its first several years, the Council prepared the statement of stand- 
ards for education for radio journalism given below; it prepared and 
published two bibliographies on radio journalism; it established a con- 
tinuing program of "internships" for teachers of radio news, whereby 
journalism teachers might serve in carefully-selected radio newsrooms 
and gain the experience necessary for effective teaching in the field; 
it provided material for a "radio news number" of the Journalism 
Quarterly (June, 1946); it made a national survey of the nomen- 


Standards for Education 385 

clature and content of college and university courses in radio journal- 
ism, and made recommendations for their strengthening. Headquarters 
of the Council are in the office of Arthur Stringer, secretary-treasurer. 
at NAB, 1771 N Street N.W., Washington 6, D.C. 

The statement that follows comes from a booklet issued by the 
Council in October, 1945. 

This statement of minimum standards for education for radio journalism 
is intended as a guide to colleges and universities offering curricula to pre- 
pare young men and women for employment in radio newsrooms and in 
other forms of radio journalism. It is not the purpose of the Council on 
Radio Journalism to lay down detailed requirements for individual courses, 
nor for departmental jurisdiction. The Council contends, however, that 
any program of education for radio journalism should be designed to con- 
form effectively to the general principles and specific goals here presented. 

I The basis of all education for radio journalism is sound general educa- 
tion that will provide a foundation for an understanding of the 
modern world in which radio is a vitally important means of com- 

Preparation for radio journalism should be offered as part of a 
curriculum of not less than four academic years, leading at least to a 
bachelor's degree. 

At the completion of such a curriculum, the student should have 
gained a comprehensive background in the social studies govern- 
ment and political science, economics, history, geography and soci- 
ology; a grounding in natural science and in psychology; a reading (and, 
when possible, a speaking) knowledge of at least one modern foreign 
language; and a broad knowledge of English and American literature 
and composition. It is urged that this background of general educa- 
tion constitute the major portion of his academic work. 

II Students should be provided opportunity to acquire an understanding 
of the importance of radio as a social instrument and of its relationship 
to government, industry and the public. 

The student should be thoroughly grounded in the broad field of 
communications, especially radio and the press. Such grounding should 
include the history of communications; government regulation and 
the relationship of radio communication to government in the United 
States and in the major foreign countries; radio's social and legal 
responsibilities, its influence in the formation of public opinion, its 
position as an implement of business and as an advertising medium; 

38O Appendix 

standards of practice in broadcasting; and the attitudes of the public 
toward broadcasting, together with an introduction to the techniques 
of radio audience measurement and other pertinent survey methods. 

III Students should be provided training of professional quality in the 
skills and techniques of radio journalism, together with an adequate 
understanding of other aspects of broadcasting. 

Essential among these skills and techniques are: 

The handling of news (news sources; news gathering and news 
writing; news editing); the structure and operation of the news 
services; the operation and use of newspaper and radio wires. 

Handling news for radio; radio news style; news broadcast 
patterns; gathering and writing local news for radio; special events 
and on-the-spot coverage; the commentary; the interview; news 

Microphone technique fundamentals of the actual broad- 
casting of news. 

The student should also have the opportunity to obtain basic 
knowledge and training in other aspects of radio broadcasting. These 

Radio production, radio programming and allied subjects. 

Radio advertising its economics, script forms, merchandis- 
ing, marketing, servicing and sales. 

Station operation, management, public relations, and promo- 

Elementary electronics; control room and studio operation; the 
development of television, frequency modulation and facsimile. 

IV Teachers of radio journalism should be soundly equipped, by practical 

experience, by education and by broad understanding of radio's 
special values and implications. 

Members of faculties engaged to teach courses in radio journalism 
must have had adequate professional experience to enable them to 
present courses at the professional level. They should be fully qualified 
by college or university training and professional experience to deal 
competently and understanding^ with their subjects. Those responsi- 
ble for instruction in graduate courses should have had sufficient 
advanced academic training or professional experience to equip them 
to teach such courses on the level of competency existing in other 

V A college or university, to offer, acceptable preparation for radio 
, journalism, should possess or have access to adequate laboratory 
, . equipment and library and other facilities. 

Standards for Education 387 

Courses in radio journalism can be effectively offered only where 
adequate laboratory facilities provide opportunity for realistic practice 
and experiment. Such facilities should include standard radio studios, 
record libraries, sound equipment, record-cutting and playback 
equipment, etc. Arrangements for students to broadcast their work, 
and to hear it broadcast, are recommended. For students of radio 
news, a regular wire news service is considered minimum equipment. 
Arrangements with radio stations for "internships" are strongly rec- 

There should also be available library facilities with radio materials 
comparable to those available in other disciplines. These should in- 
clude an extensive collection of the books on radio journalism, the 
press and communications; a collection of radio scripts; files of the 
principal trade and technical publications dealing with broadcasting; 
files of governmental and radio industry reports, brochures and like 
material in the field; and readily-available reference and background 
material necessary to provide practical experience in radio news work. 


A Radio News Style Book 

The WRC- Washington "Style Book/' a seven-page mimeographed 
statement, was prepared in 1945, and contains a number of suggestions 
for handling war news. These have not been deleted because, though 
they are specifically out-of-date, they suggest rules or policies for editing 
other types of news. 

WRC Style Book 

. This is a list of do's and don't's in the writing of WRC newscasts. It's 
impossible to lay down a set style for radio news writing, because that would 
defeat our primary purpose: to write shows that sound as naturally conver- 
sational as possible. That word "sound" is the most important thing to 
remember. Good radio writing may read poorly, but if it sounds the way 
people talk, then you've done your job well. You don't even have to use 
full sentences. You can disobey many of the rules of grammar and still do 
a good job. 

Keep it simple Forget the obscure language and the technical data. 
If you can't explain it in everyday language, you're in the wrong business. 
Don't use too many large figures. Make them round wherever possible. You 
can say "about four hundred B-29s" rather than ''four hundred and 32 

Watch those subordinate clauses Take them out of the middle of 
sentences and make them separate ones. Never begin a sentence with a 
subordinate clause. You can't lead a listener's attention in through the back 

Avoid people and places which are not an integral part of the story Say 
"the Paducah police chief rather than "Police Chief Amos J. Winterbot- 
tom of Paducah." Say "a suburb of Tokyo" rather than "Mitsubishihan- 
san," But once a place becomes vital to the day's news, so important that 
it cannot be ignored, start using its name, so that the public can become 
familiar with it. 

WRITE a show! Any Vassar girl can process a news wire. Don't take 
the wire services' literary style as gospel. Make your copy alive. Write the 
way people talk. Write for the ear instead of the eye. And be accurate. Re- 
member here in Washington a lot of the people who are in the news 

A Radio News Style Book 389 

listen to your shows. Get their names correct. And their titles. But you can 
abbreviate a few of their jobs: Make cabinet members the War Secretary, 
Labor Secretary, etc., but it's always the Secretary of State. The Chief is al- 
ways President Truman, Mr. Truman, or the President. He's seldom the 
Chief Executive. Only his wife calls him Harry. 

Cut out first names of persons, if they're famous enough. But some celeb- 
rities' names sound better with first and last, as Clement Attlee, Anthony 
Eden or Cordell Hull. Only if they wear five or four stars are officers called 
simply "General" or "Admiral," 

^ When speaking collectively of members of Congress, you may call them 
Congressmen. Individually, members of the House are Representatives; 
members of the Senate are Senators. 

- Don't say Senator O'Mahoney, Democrat of Wyoming. Say "Democratic 
Senator O'Mahoney of Wyoming" or "Senator O'Mahoney, the Montana 
Democrat." Watch the cliches, the slang and the gobbledy-gook. It's 
better to say "order" than "directive" and "infantryman" than "doughboy/' 
Occasionally use "just about" instead of "virtually." And they're always 
Russians, Soviet forces or ofEcials or Reds. They're never Soviets. A Soviet 
is a collective village. 

There's no such abbreviation as "there're." 

Keep your copy clean. In this job you're combining the duties of a writer, 
editor and printer. The final draft of your show has to be read by somebody 
else. Don't forget to copyread your shows. 

*~ As an editor, sift out the trash from among the day's news. Qualify a 
story if it doesn't look too reliable. NEVER, NEVER put a flashof major 
importance on the air, until a bulletin has moved to back it up. 

Here arc the opening and closing times of all our wires: AP is a 24-hour 
service, on both duplicate printers. UP wires also run 24 hours. INS day 
wire opens at 2:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. Before the night man 
leaves, he should strip all printers, turn off the INS night wire and turn on 
the INS day wire. 

UPR is a 24-hour service. We use the latest World in Brief for a 5-minute 
tack-up, but sometimes these are poorly written, so supplement the World 
in Brief items with other UPR copy. 

Five-minute tack-ups run 55 lines including local and weather. This is 
the proper length for announcers' ease. Local usually is one story, but that's 
not the limit. Use more if they're good. Remember that you can't judge 
local news on the same bases as national or international items and that our 
criteria for a good local story differ from a newspaper's. 

Always check the 'Washington City News Service local copy carefully 
and look over the late Star. 

Try not to use more than two similar datelines in a row, but if this inter- 

390 Appendix 

feres with orderly presentation of the news, forget it. Keep datelines as 
short as possible. UPR has a habit of running datelines almost as bad as 
"Aboard Admiral Turner's fast carrier task force off Honshu." That's a story 
in itself. The dateline is for quick mental identification by the listener. 
^ Dateline Radio Tokyo items "San Francisco." Dateline European radio 
stories "London" or the city in which the station is situated. If it's been 
heard by NBC, make it New York. 

Keep 5-niinute show stories short. A six-line item is the maximum. Two 
sentences is enough to get the idea across. 

Keep the weather concise. Delete "the weatherman," He doesn't exist. 
It's a bureau, like everything else in Washington these days. 

The midnight news runs approximately sixty lines locally and seventy 
lines on network. The network announcer gets the top copy; the local man 
the carbon. Don't cut the ten lines piecemeal out of the entire show. 
Usually there will be one domestic item running ten lines. 

The proper introduction for network news shows is "From the NBC 
Newsroom in Washington." The sign-off is "That's the news from the 
NBC newsroom in Washington. This is the National Broadcasting Com- 

,< It's important to put a new top on the midnight show. Most of the day's 
news will have been wrung dry by the evening commentators. Don't blow 
up some insignificant item just to get a new lead. Hit one story hard. If it's a 
few hours old, but important enough, start it with a new slant. 

Since the midnight show is a Washington origination, national news 
should get a slightly heavier play. Try to make your second lead story a big 
domestic piece. Give it the works for about twenty or so lines. Then a few 
short domestic items. Then, if possible, a cutie. 

The big morning show goes on at 7:00 a.m. weekdays and Saturdays. 
It's a 15-minute shot and runs about 180 lines. It opens and closes with a 
headline summary of the late news, but not one written in the headlines of 
a newspaper. If you like to leave out articles, get a job on Varietyl About 50 
lines of each show are foreign; 125 domestic. Washington isn't the only 
domestic news source. There are a lot of good stories breaking all over the 
country these days. Don't let the second half of the fifteen minutes sag. 
Cet some color into it. Make 'em laugh and cry. 

The domestic portion of the 7:00 a.m. show is written by the night desk. 
The overnights can't be stale. They, too, must cover all national news, not 
only Washington. Get that "today" angle into your overnights, but don't 
fake it. A story about the House passing a tax bill should read: "The Senate 
takes up the tax bill today, now that it's been passed by the House." Not, 
'The House passed the tax bill yesterday. It goes to the Senate today." 

Occasionally you can use a very good foreign feature on the overnights, if 

A Radio News Style Book 391 

you're certain it won't be duplicated in the morning in the show's first 

, - The purpose of the 8:30 a.m. show, like all 5-minute shots, is to sock one 
hot story hard and brush off the rest of the news briefly. The 8:30 is a fea- 
ture writer's dream. You're surrounded by morning music and the audience 
wants the lighter stuff. Don't ignore big news, just because it's serious, but if 
there is none, here's the place for those domestic stories, features and an 
extra helping of local news. The 8:30 runs about 50 lines. 

One danger in working with more than one news wire is that they some- 
times are contradictory. Make sure all your stories agree, and corne in se- 
quences on different shows. 

If you have to begin with "It is rumored in authoritative circles that the 
Ankara radio has a report from Berne that . . .," call it an "unconfirmed 
report from Berne" or else be smart and throw it out. 

Don't put a bulletin into a network show until you've checked with New 
York by phone. When you put a bulletin into a local show, hand it to the 
announcer on duty, not the talent. If it's a bulletin about a tragedy, a serious 
one, tell the producer about it in advance and he'll order up some music. 
A bulletin should be slugged locally "A bulletin from the WRC newsroom 
in Washington." The word "flash" is never used on the air. 
*s Don't use "hell" and "damn" unless they're in a quote by some appro- 
priate authority or unless it's some usage like "the Second Armored *Hell on 
Wheels' Division." 

mt Never call the Japanese "Sons of Heaven," "The Mikado's men/' 
"Nips," "Nipponese" or "yellow." Call them Japs, the Japanese or the 

- Watch the army slang. Beware of snafu, SOP and Sad Sack. GI is OK. 
If you say General Vandegrift went to his CP, the average person will think 
he went to the John. 

Frequently our own correspondents in Washington and abroad have 
good stories. Use them with name credit and an NBC plug. 

Slug each page of your copy this way: 

wrc the date your initials the time 

Don't slug each page with a description of the story. Save that informa- 
tion for the show itself. Keep your copy concise. It's what it says that counts, 
not the number of pages. 

_ Be polite on the telephone. The guy on the other end may be an NBC 
vice president. When something big breaks, call McAndrew. When some 
news regarding the FCC or the radio industry breaks, call McAndrew or 
Mrs. Borras. 

.. Change the teletype paper and ribbons occasionally. Don't get dignified 
just because you're now a member of the Congressional Radio Galleries. 

392 Appendix 

Keep the schedule board up to date. Get your shows out fifteen minutes 
before air-time. 

Once again: Write the way people talk, if not your kind of people, then 
those with education. Keep it simple. Keep it concise. Keep it accurate. 
Keep it clean. 


A Check List 
for Radio Newsroom Self -Analysis 

This check list is designed as a guide by which most newsrooms may 
analyze the adequacy of their news handling and presentation. Posi- 
tive answers to the questions posed by the list count in the news- 
room's favor. 


Is the newsroom director qualified, by training, experience, and judg- 
ment, to meet the responsibilities of his position? 

Are his staff members qualified to carry out their assignments in news 
evaluation, news gathering, and news writing and editing? 
Are there enough members of the newsroom staff to meet all ordinary 
demands? Is there "personnel-leeway" for emergency situations? 
Is the personnel varied enough in abilities to meet differing types of de- 
mands (editing and writing straight news, news gathering, dramatiza- 
tion and other special script work, on-the-spot coverage, etc.)? 
Are members of the staff qualified to broadcast news? 


Is the newsroom provided with wire service adequate for all needs? 

Is the newsroom provided with adequate library and reference materials? 

Is the newsroom provided with adequate working facilities (typewriters, 

desk space, broadcasting equipment, monitoring equipment, recording 

devices, remote lines, etc.)? 

Is the newsroom budget adequate? 


Is full authority for newsroom operation vested in the news director? 
Has the news operation the full and sympathetic , support of station 

Do other departments of the station (production, programming, engi- 
neering, promotion, sales, special services, etc.) understand the news- 
room's necessities and cooperate in meeting them? 
Does the newsroom offer full cooperation to the station's other depart- 


394 Appendix 


a Are significant local and regional news sources covered fully and regu- 

b Is the regional coverage system (correspondents, etc.) adequately de- 

c Does the newsroom pay proper attention to special events, on-the-spot 
coverage, special occasions, etc.? 

d Does the newsroom, either with its own staff and facilities or in coopera- 
tion with other station departments, give adequate coverage to news of 
special fields such as agriculture, sports, etc.? 

e Are recording devices, remote lines, and like facilities used to ad- 

f Is full use made of the wire news available, especially in localizing wire 

g Does the newsroom pay adequate attention to nonroutine coverage, 
"enterprisers," background of the news, etc.? 

h Does the newsroom or the station conduct audience surveys to provide 
reliable, adequate audience information? 


a Is wire news edited, or rewritten if necessary, to achieve concision, 
smoothness, balance, and full comprehcnsibility? 

b Is copy handled in the newsroom made to conform to accepted prin- 
ciples of effective radio news presentation? 

c Is newcast copy written and edited to suit the individual needs and 
characteristics of the announcers who present it? 

d Is the newsroom deadline schedule such that newscasts go to the micro- 
phone only after adequate opportunity for final editing and checking? 

e Are precautions taken to insure that sources of information are ade- 
quately described and that rumors and unauthenticatcd reports are 
adequately labeled? 

Is editorial opinion kept scrupulously out of newscast copy? 

g Are both sides of controversial questions fairly and accurately presented? 

h Do news scripts avoid sensationalism and undue emphasis on minor 


i Do news scripts observe accepted canons of "good radio taste"? 
j Axe the laws governing libel, slander, and other matters affecting news 
practice kept in mind in writing and editing newscast copy? 

A Check List 395 


a Are newscast scripts logically constructed? 

b Is there sufficient variation in newscast pattern and content from show 
to show through the day to provide variety? 

c Is due attention paid to patterns of competing newscasts? 

d Are newscasts, of whatever pattern, smoothly knit together, with ade- 
quate (but not too much) attention to transitions? 

e Are "commercials" used with newscasts placed with due regard for 
established principles of good taste and effective practice? 


a Are newscasts scheduled in number and length to meet both the inter- 
ests of the audience and the program needs of the station? 

b Are newscasts scheduled at hours to take advantage of the periods when 
news audiences are largest? 

c Are newscasts for audiences with special interests (such as agriculture 
and sports) scheduled at most effective hours? 

d Does the newscast schedule pay adequate attention to differing needs 
and interests of local and regional audiences? 

e Are commentary and analysis shows given due attention in news pro- 

f Does the schedule of newscasts of local origin take into account net- 
work news programs? 

g Does the schedule of newscasts take into account the news offerings of 
competitive stations? 

h Does the news schedule include a wide enough variety of shows of dif- 
fering nature straight newscast, commentary, dramatization, inter- 
view, background, etc.? 


a Does the newsroom give adequate attention to legitimate methods of 

calling audience attention to its news services? 
b Does the newsroom give adequate attention to informing news sources 

of the services it offers? 
c Docs the station's promotion department aid in publicizing news 



a Are announcers who broadcast news qualified to present it understand- 
ingly and effectively? 

Radio Station Index 

CNKW-New Westminster, British Co- 
lumbia, 247 

8MK-Detroit (WWJ), 1, 3, 265 

KABR-Aberdeen, South Dakota, 181, 


KALE-Portland, Oregon, 290 
KATE-Albert Lea, Minnesota, 250 
KATL-Houston, 264 
KCRC-Enid, Oklahoma, 279 
KDAL-Dulnth, 316 
KDKA-Pittsburgh, 3 ff., 265 
KELA-Centralia, Washington, 263 
KFAB-Omaha-Lincoln, 9, 285, 290 
KFAM-St. Cloud, Minnesota, 250 
KFI-Los Angeles, 317 
KGA-Spokane, 289 
KGKO-Fort "Worth, 33 
KGKY-Scottsbluff, Nebraska, 262 
KGLO-Mason City, Iowa, 289 
KGVO-MissouIa r Montana, 241 
KILO-Grand Forks, North Dakota, 280 
KJR-Seattle, 123 

KLZ-Dcnver, 190, 281, 289, 295, 307 
KMBC-Kansas City, 58 
KMPC-Los Angeles, 9, 19, 68, 236, 245 
KNEI^-Brady, Texas, 261 
KNX-Los Angeles, 20 
KOIN-Portland, Oregon, 182 " 
KPO-San Francisco, 263 
KPQ-Wenatchee, Washington, 250 
KPRC-Houston, 279 
KRKD-Los Angeles, 253 
KRMD-Shreveport, 242 
KRNT-Des Moines, 317 
KRSC-Seattle, 290 
KSD-St. Louis, 281 
KSIW-Woodward, Oklahoma, 264 

KSL-Salt Lake City, 236 
KSOO-Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 16- 


KSTP-St. Paul, 20, 259, 262 
KUOM-Minneapolis, 162-177, 255, 

277, 299 

KVOA-Tucson, 121 
KVOO-Tulsa, 263 

KVOS-Bellingham, Washington, 16 f. 
KWK-St. Louij, 20 
KWKH-Shreveport, 242 
KWNO-Winona, Minnesota, 250 
KXOK-St. Louis, 282 
KYA-San Francisco, 246 
KYSM-Mankato, Minnesota, 236, 249 

WAAB-Boston, 310 
WABC-New York, 240 
WBAP-Fort Worth, 33 
WBNY-BuFalo, 261, 317 
WCAR-Pontiac, 282 
WCAU-Philadelphia, 317 
WCBM-Baltimore, 121, 185 
WCBS-New York, 264 
WCCO-Minneapolis, 58, 66, 220, 249, 

257, 268-277 passim., 287, 317 
WCPO-Cincinnati, 280 
WCSH-Portland, Maine, 237 
WDAY-Fargo, 255 
WEAF-New York, 240, 250 
WFBG-Altoona, 280 
WFBL-Syracuse, 262 
WFIL-Philadelphia, 37 
WFOY-St. Augustine, 236, 259 
WGHF-New York, 37 
WGN-Chicago, 21 
WHCU-Ithaca, New York, 307, 312 
WHIZ-Zanesville, Ohio, 251, 260 



Radio Station Index 

WHKC-CoIumbus, 67 
WHLS-Port Huron, Michigan, 358 f. 
WHO-Des Moines, 181, 237, 255, 289 
WHOM-Jersey City, 240 
WIGM-Medford, \Visconsin, 249, 263 
WILM-Wilmington, 259 
WIND-Chicago, 121, 259, 263 
WING-Dayton, 261 
WINR-Binghamtown, 36, 260, 262, 


WIZE-Springfield, Ohio, 261 
WJR-Detroit, 280 
WJTN-Jamestown, N. Y., 261 
WJ2^-New York, 240 
WKBH-La Crosse, Wisconsin, 259, 


WKRC-Cincinnati, 280 
WLAC-Nashville, 32 
WLBR-Lebanon, Pennsylvania, 262 
WLIB-Brooklyn, 34, 240, 262 
WLOW-Norfolk, Virginia, 264 
WLS-Chicago, 20 
WMAQ-Chicago, 245, 293, 295 
WMA-Macon, Georgia, 251, 260 
WMBD-Peoria, 236, 241, 251 

WMIN-St. Paul, 259 
WMRN-Marion, Ohio, 249 
WNAC-Boston, 19 
WNBC-New York, 250, 252 
WNDB-Daytona Beach, 248 
WNEW-New York, 240 
WNYC-New York, 240 
WOAI-San Antonio, 279 
WOL-Washington, 248 
WOR-New York, 21 
WOW-Omaha, 261 
WPAY-Portsmouth, Ohio, 240, 251, 


WQXR-New York, 240 
WRBL-Columbus, Georgia, 249, 260 
W r RC-W r ashington, 182, 381 ff., 388- 


WROL-Knoxville, 281 
WRRN-Warren, Ohio, 290 
WSB-Atlanta, 317 
WSLB-Ogdensburg, New York, 261 
WSTV-Steubenville, Ohio, 317 
WSYR-Syracuse, 36, 244 
WTMJ-Milwaukee, 281 
WWJ-Detroit (8MK), 1, 3 

Subject Index 

Accuracy in radio news, 60, 61 ff., 93, 
116 f. 

Advertising, radio, 4-10 passim., 23 ff., 
29, 68 ff. 

Agricultural news director, 285 f. 

American Association of Schools and 
Departments of Journalism, 35, 

American Broadcasters News Associa- 
tion, 19 

American Broadcasting Company, 16, 
34, 121, 195, 266, 277, 281, 289, 
303, 309, 323 

"American Farmer," 289 

American Ncwscasting Association, 19 

American Newspaper Publishers Asso- 
ciation, 4, 7, 11, 14 f., 17, 21-25, 
28, 33 

"America's Town Meeting of the Air/* 
348-351, 359 

Associated Press, 5-18, 21, 25, 28-31, 36, 
38, 62, 67, 73, 82 f., 112 f., 120, 

125, 128 ff., 131, 163, 203, 238, Close, Upton, 319 

Broadcasting stations in United States, 


Broadcasting's economic status, 63-67 
Brown, Cecil, 29, 66, 312 f. 
Frown, Robert W., 238 f. 
Bureau of Applied Social Research, 53 
Burke, Frank, 235 

Canadian Press News, 125 

Carter, Boake, 12, 15 f. 7 311 

Casey, Ralph D., 32 

"CBS Views the Press," 36 

Censorship of news, 24, 34 f. ? 63-71, 
362 f. 

Chicago Radio Correspondents' Asso- 
ciation, 248 

"Chicago Round Table," 348 L, 351 

Chicago Tribune, 13, 18, 21 

Church, Wells, 85 

Churchill, Winston, 30, 42 

CIO-PAC study of radio news bias, 315 

Clinics, radio news, 235, 285, 316, 352 

240, 293 

A. T. & T sports ticker, 74, 132, 291 
Audience, radio news. See Radio news 


Backgrounding the news, 301-307 

methods of, 303-307 
Backhand, Ralph, 220, 269, 271, 273 
Barnouw, Erik, 204 
Barrett, James W., 19, 24 
Baukhage, H. R., 324-333 
Bellingham Herald, 16 
Bickel, Karl, 12, 17 
Blue Book, 237 ff., 362 
Blue Network Company, 16, 30, 34, 64 
Brisbane, Arthur, 13 

Cochran, Harry M., 317 
Codes for self-regulation by news broad- 
casters, 373-383 
"Colorado Speaks," 190, 307 
Columbia Broadcasting System, 7, 12-18 
passim., 26 f., 48, 53, 66, 76 f., 79, 
132, 277, 303, 309-315 
Columbia News Service, Inc., 15, 17 ff. 
Commentary, 308-348 

"analysis" of news, 309-315 
by the individual station, 315-318 
methods and techniques, 318-348 
nature of, 308-315 

Congressional press galleries, radio ad- 
mitted to, 26, 247 
Consolidated Press, 11, 15 

Broadcasting Magazine, 25, 28, 31, 34, Controversial subject matter, 65 f., 309- 
36, 37, 46, 72, 132, 237, 259, 317, 358 f. 

283 ., 311 Cooper, Kent, 12, 17 


400 Subject Index 

Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting, 

46 f. f 53, 235 
Corwin, Norman, 277 
Council on Radio Journalism, 35, 78, 

237, 304, 384-387 
Criticism of radio, 36, 65-69 passim., 

237 ff. 

Davis, Elmer, 47, 49, 94, 303, 309 
Davis, Norris G. y 352, 360 
Daytona Beach News-Journal, 248 
De Forest, Lee, 2 f . 
Denny, George V., Jr., 350 f. 
Detroit News, 1, 3, 258 
Dill, Clarence C., 19, 32 
Discussion programs, 348-351 
Don Lee Network, 21 
Dramatization of news, 203-234 
Dryer, Sherman H., 351 

Edisto Broadcasting Company, 240 

Editor 6 Publisher, 16, 85, 236, 264 

Editorializing, 309-318 

Education for radio journalism, 35, 79 

Eliot, George Fielding, 319 f. 

Enid Morning News, 279 

Ethridge, Mark, 28 

Facsimile, 37 

Fairley, Harry, 14 

"Farm and Home Hour/' 289 

Farm news. See Special fields 

Federal Communications Act, 16, 32, 

65, 310 f., 358, 360, 362 f. 
Federal Communications Commission, 

6, 21, 24 ff., 32-39 passim., 65-74 

passim., 237-240, 293, 310 ff., 317, 

358 f., 362 f. 
Federal Radio Act, 7 f., 32 
Federal Radio Commission, 7 ., 17, 21 
Flaherty, Pat, 279 f . 
Fly, James L., 32 
FM, 39 

Foreign news broadcasting, 26 ff., 29 f. 
Fortune, 50 f . 
Frequency modulation, 39 

Goddard, Don, 252 
"Graf Spee" broadcast, 29 

Haeg, Larry, 269-274 passim., 287 
Hammer, Haakon H., 24 
"Harbor We Seek/' 317 

Hardy, Ralph W., 236 

Harris, E. H., 14, 17, 19, 22 

Headliners' award, 331 

Heatter, Gabriel, 12, 47 f., 309, 318 f., 

322 ff., 338-344 
Heslep, Charter, 239 
Hicks, George, 30, 277 
High-speed news transmission, 37 
Hill, Edwin C., 12 
Hogan, John F., 236 
Hollywood Radio News Club, 377 f. 
Hooper audience ratings, 42, 47, 52 
Hutcheson, Ken, 289 
Hutton, Burton, 290 

Ickes, Harold, 66, 248, 319 
Impartiality in news broadcasting, 64- 

68, 307-318 
Institute for Education by Radio. 237, 

International News Service, 6, 8 f., 12- 

25 passim., 31, 38, 62, 67, 73, 82 f, 

125, 129, 132, 236, 238 f. 
Interviews, 190-202 

Jolson, Al, 360 

Kaltenborn, H. V., 15, 19, 26 f., 66, 

241, 309, 313 f. 
Kansas City Star, 4, 11 
Kobre, Sidney, 302 

LaGuardia, Fiorello, 240, 319 
Law of radio news, 352-369 

copyright, 368 

defamation, 352-360 

defamation by radio, state laws re- 
garding, 356 

defenses against defamation charges, 

fair comment and criticism, 357 f. 

"giveaway programs" as lotteries, 362 

liability for defamation, 3 59 f . 

libel, 352-360 

libel, elements in, 353 f. 

lotteries, news of, 360 ff, 

ownership of news, 5 f. r 7-17 passim., 
366 ff. 

piracy of news, 9, 13 f., 16 f., 367 

qualified privilege, 355 E 

right of privacy, 364 f , 

right to report, 19, 26, 247 ff., 365 f. 

slander, 352-360 

Subject Index 


Lawrence, David, 11 

Lazarsfeld, Paul F., 41, 53, 298 

Lewin, George, 24? 

Lewis, Fulton, Jr., 26, 47, 248, 312 

Lindbergh, Charles A., 12, 308 

Lippmann, Walter, 1 3 

"Living room audience," 40-45, 57-61 

Local and regional news coverage, 9, 19, 
59, 132. See also Local news 

"Local live" news, 238 f., 278 

Local news, 235-264 
and promotion, 258-260 
coverage methods, 242 ff., 247, 249 f., 

'local angle" news, 252 f. 
'local live" news, 238 f , 278 
local newscaster preferred, 241 
postwar development of, 235-241 

MacDonald, Bill, 290 
"Man-on-the-street" broadcasts, 278 f. 
"March of Time," 48, 203-220 
Martin, John Bartlow, 302 
"Mayflower decision," 310 ff., 317 
McAndrew, William R., 381 
Meine, Frederick J., 298 
Mencken, H. L. T 94 
Miami Herald, 37 
Mickelson, Siegfried, 257 f., 268-277 


Milwaukee Journal, 13 
Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce 

special events script, 268-277 
Monopoly ownership investigation, 34 
Moore, Herbert, 19 ff., 23 
Mosse, Baskett, 118, 136 
Multivoice news patterns, 184-234 
Munich crisis, 26 ff. 
Murrow, Edward R., 27 r 29 f., 77, 

1 02 f, 241, 248, 313 f, 319 
Mutual Broadcasting System, 16, 21, 


NAB Reports, 361, 368 

NAB Radio News Committee, 235 f., 

244, 378-381 
National Association of Broadcasters, 17, 

28, 35 ff., 50, 63, 65, 78, 235 f., 

310, 312, 316, 373 ff., 378-381, 

National Association of Manufacturers, 


National Association of Radio Farm Di- 
rectors, 287 

National Association of Radio News Di- 
rectors, 236, 375 f. 

National Broadcasting Company, 7, 12, 
15, 17 f., 26 f., 34, 38,48, 64, 82, 

National Opinion Research Center, 48, 
50 f. 

National Press Club, radio newsmen ad- 
mitted, 26 

"Neither Free nor Equal," 66, 317 

Networks, affiliation with, 1 5 f . 

New York Daily News, 33 f., 362 

New York Post, 34 

New York Times, 12 f., 34, 240, 307 

News in early broadcasting, 1-5, 265 

News, nature of facts, 61 ff. 

News services for radio, 9-18 passim. f 
19-26, 32, 72, 124-133, 250, 296 

News, sponsored evening; network, 46 ff. 

News teletype service, 25, 31 

News time on networks, 31 

Newscaster, 136, 236, 237 

Newsmen as broadcasters, 70 

Newsorn, Phil, 85 

Newspaper attitude toward broadcast- 
ing, 4, 5-26, 28-34, 36, 240, 250 

Newspaper circulation, radio news ef- 
fect on, 10 

Newspaper-Radio Committee, 33 

Newspaper-radio comparisons, 49 ff., 
55 ff, 283 

Newspaper-radio ownership investiga- 
tion, 32 f. 

Newspapers as broadcasters, 1-34 passim. 

Newspapers served by Transradio Press, 

Newsroom, check list for self -analysis of, 
393 ff. 

Newsroom, description of, 72-83 

Newsroom, equipment, 72-75 

Newsroom organization and cost, 79-83 

Newsroom personnel, 70 f., 76-79, 244, 
283 f., 304 

Newsroom, reasons for, 73 f , 

Newsroom, reference materials, 74 f. 

Newsroom, salaries, 78, 81 ff. 

Newsrooms, early development, 9, 19, 

402 Subject Index 

Noble, Edward J., 34 

"Northwest News Parade," 220-234 

Office of Censorship, 35, 239, 279 
Office of Radio Research, 51, 53, 59 
"On a Note of Triumph/' 277 
"Open Letter to the American People," 


Opportunities in radio news, 76-79 
"orchestrated hell . . . ," 102 

Parker, George B., 13 

Peabody award, 314 

Pearson, Drew, 309, 319, 322 

Plambeck, Herb, 289 

Portland Qregonian, 6 

Press Association, 25, 31 

Press-Radio Bureau, 17-20, 22-26, 28, 

Press-radio conflict, 4, 5-26, 28-34, 36 

"Press-Radio War," 15-26 

Price, Byron, 35 

Printer's Ink, 10 

"Processing" as radio news term, 63 

Promotion, news broadcasting in, 3 f., 
258 ff., 290 

"Public interest, convenience, and ne- 
cessity," 8, 18, 63, 65, 310 

Publishers National Radio Committee, 
14, 17 ff. 

Radio Corporation of America, 4, 38 
Radio Correspondents' Association, 248 
Radio Daily, 235, 259 
Radio logs in newspapers, 4, 11, 17, 28, 


Radio News Association, Inc., 21, 25 
Radio news audience 

analysis of, 36, 40-54, 286 

"coincidental" study method, 52 

"instantaneous audience measure- 
ment," 53 

methods of audience study, 51-54 

Nielsen mechanical recorder, 52 

studies of, 36, 41 ff., 47 f., 49 ff., 241, 

study by individual stations, 53 f. 
Radio News Committee, see NAB 
Radio news-days, typical, 181 ff. 
Radio news, nature and characteristics 

of, 55-71, 250-258 
Radio News Service of America, 9, 19 

Radio news techniques 
editing techniques, 133-181 
bulletins, 122, 128 f. 
flashes, 128 f. 

length of radio newscasts, 1 36 
mechanics, 113-116, 177, 388-392 
transitions, 135, 177-181 
format of newscasts, 119-124, 299 
departmentalized format, 119-122 
dramatization of news, 202-234 
headline format, 122 f., 186 
interviews, 190-202 
multivoice news patterns, 184-234 
transitions, 135, 177-181 
gathering news for radio sources and 

court news, 13, 248 
features, wire service, 112, 128, 130, 

293 ff. 

"personal" news, 251 f., 294 
public attitude toward radio news, 

247 ff., 317 
recording devices, use of, 244-247, 

regional coverage methods, 249 f. 
sources of news, 124 f., 132 f., 283- 

300, 329 f. 
strikes' effect on local radio news, 

240 f. 

telephone, use of, 244, 330 
weather news, 254 f. 
writing radio news 
bromides, 96 

conversational style, 84-93 
ear, writing for, 60, 84 f., 93 
feature story writing, 110-113, 255- 


interviews, 190-202 
leads, 105-108, 134 f. 
mechanics of copy, 113-116, 177, 

rewriting the newspaper wire, 133- 


rhythm, 100 
sensationalization, 61 
sentences, 96-99 
simplicity in style, 93-100 
story organization, 108 ff. 
style book, 388-392 
taboos, 58 i, 251 
transitions, 135, 177-181 
vitality, 100-103 

Subject Index 


Radio Showmanship, 259, 285 

Radio Washington, 133 

Ray, William, 245, 295 

Reader's Digest, 350 

Recording devices, use of, 244-247, 248, 

289, 292, 295 

Reference materials in newsrooms, 74 f . 
Regional news. See Local news, also 

Local and regional news coverage 
Reuters, 73, 125 
Roberts, Clete, 246 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 10, 13, 30, 42 f., 

129, 265 f., 282, 331 ft 

Saam, Byrum, 292 

Saerchinger, Cesar, 314 

Sf. Louis Star-Times, 360 

Salaries, newsroom, 78, 81 ff. 

Saroyan, William, 101 

Saturday Evening Post, 69 

Schechter, Abe, 15,26 

Seattle "Post-Intelligencer, 16 

Seattle Times, 16 

Seldes, George, 66, 68, 350 f. 

Sevareid, Eric, 29 f, 324, 333-338 . 

Shelley, Jack, 237 

Shirer, William L., 27, 29 

Siepmann, Charles A., 238, 316 

Sigma Delta Chi awards, 281, 317 

Sinclair, Upton, 66, 68 

Special events, 5, 13 

methods and techniques, 267-282, 
292 f. 

nature of, 265 f., 277 

network handling of, 277 f. 

relation to news, 265 f. 

script, 268-277 
Special fields, news in, 283-300 

agricultural news, 285-290 

business news, 297 

children, news for, 298 ff. 

political news, 295 f., 358 f. 

religious news, 298 

sports news, 5, 13, 290-294 

women's news, 294 
Specialists, radio news, 283-300, 320 
"Sports stations/' 290 
Standards for education for radio jour- 
nalism, 384-347 
Stanton, Frank, 41, 298 
Stout, Allen, 281 
Stringer, Arthur, 385 

Style of radio news. See Radio news tech- 

Swing, Raymond, 94, 309, 318 f., 322 ff., 
338, 343-348 

Taylor, Don M., 32 
Television, 38 f. 
Texas City disaster, 279 f. 
Thomas, Lowell, 16, 47 f. 
Transradio Press Service, Inc., 20-25, 31, 
63, 73, 106, 125, 130 f, 238, 293 
Truman, Harry S., 42, 93, 98 

Ultrafax, 37 

United Nations organization meeting, 
coverage of, 280 

United Press Associations, 6, 8 f., 12-25 
passim., 31, 37 f., 62, 67, 13, 16, 
82 f., 85, 112, 120, 125-128, 131, 
t 203, 238, 293 

United Press Radio News Style Book. 
85, 115 

United States Department of Agricul- 
ture, 286, 288 

Vadeboncoeur, E. R., 36, 244 
Van Voorhis, Westbrook, 205 
Verstraete, John, 259 

War news, censorship of, 34 f. 

Watson, Brooks, 241 

Watts, Lowell, 289 

Weather news, 254 f. 

Wecter, Dixon, 69, 314 f. 

Welles, Sumner, 319 

Westinghouse broadcasting operations, 

White, Llewellyn, 314 

White, Paul, 15, 26, 118, 204, 309, 

312 ff. 

White, Robert, 289 
Wile, Frederic William, 12 
Willard, A. D., 316 
Williams, Earl, 285, 288 
Winchell, Walter, 47, 49, 66, 309, 319, 


Wire news show, editing of, 162-177 
World War II, radio's service in, 65 
Wylie, Max, 94, 204 

Yankee Network, 19 f.