JFK and TV

Friday, November 22, 2013


In television's younger days, going live was extremely difficult, costly and rare. But 50 years ago, a monumental tragedy made live coverage essential, no matter the cost, whenever a president left the White House. WNYC’s Sara Fishko recollects those dreadful days in November when everyone was paralyzed in front of the small screen.  

Produced by:

Sara Fishko

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Dec. 13 2013 01:16 AM
Fred Leonard from Philadelphia, PA

It's curious that a radio broadcast would be so disparaging of the role of radio at the time. Yes, on Sunday people were home and things were happening in front of the big, immobile TV cameras of the day. On Friday, when the shooting occurred, most people - those not watching soaps - were out and about and getting news from radio. TV receivers were also big and immobile at the time and available only in living rooms and possibly bars. So everybody was NOT watching TV, as your story says.
Also Walter Cronkite did not break the story. It was announced first by the ABC Radio Network (in many cities over top 40 stations to which baby boomers were constantly glued).
And among TV viewers, most were not tuned to Cronkite. NBC was the dominant news network then and consistently got the largest audiences for evening news broadcasts and for special events coverage. It's a triumph of after-the-fact PR that space launches and the Kennedy assassination are now associated with Cronkite when most people were watching Frank McGee.

Nov. 28 2013 04:56 PM

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