Five Historic Radio Broadcasts

Radio broadcasts have informed people about some of the most profound historical events of the last two centuries. With today’s internet radio, the radio broadcast will continue to have a niche in providing news and entertainment to an information- and entertainment-hungry world.
Consider the following five historic events that came to mass attention via radio broadcasts.

War of the Worlds
Orson Welles wrote and directed this radio drama. It was adapted from the novel The War of the Worlds. This radio broadcast was supposed to be a Halloween special which aired on October 30th, 1938. For 60 minutes, the broadcaster delivered a series of fake news bulletins. The bulletins were so real that people believed that there was a real invasion of Martians. In some cities on the East Coast there were outbreaks of pandemonium and mass hysteria.

Victory over Japan in World War II
On September 2nd, 1945, Japan officially surrendered after two atomic bombs were dropped on the nation. The first bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, but when this did not prompt a surrender, US President Harry Truman promised Japan that there would be another such attack if they did not end their participation in the war. When nothing was heard from the Japanese, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The Japanese surrender officially brought an end to World War II. There were a couple of unofficial radio broadcasts announcing the surrender over the course of a few hours, but finally the news of the surrender was made official.

Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
Martin Luther King had a vision of racial equality in the United States. His famous “I Have a Dream” Speech was delivered in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial during a civil rights march in Washington, DC. His speech was geared towards jobs and freedom, and for blacks and whites to live together harmoniously and equally. King’s Dream Speech is considered a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement in America.

The Hindenburg Disaster
On May 6th, 1937, in Lakehurst, New Jersey, the Hindenburg disaster was reported live via radio broadcast as it happened. Herb Morrison was the reporter at the scene reporting for WLS of Chicago. Morrison was broadcasting when the helium-filled airship crashed and burst into flames.

The Cuban Missile Crisis
President John F. Kennedy warned the Soviet government that they must remove their nuclear missiles in Cuba or risk invasion of the island by the United States. The Soviets installed nuclear missiles in Cuba in retaliation for the American nuclear missiles the United States had in Turkey. The crisis lasted for 13 days in October of 1962. President Kennedy spoke to the nation on October 22, 1962, informing the citizens of the United States that an agreement had been reached and the Soviets would dismantle their nuclear weapons which lessened the threat of a global nuclear war.

Careers in radio broadcasting encompass several fields:
• Maintenance Technician: This job requires technical experience in installing, repairing, and maintaining electronic broadcast and microwave equipment necessary to ensure legal and quality operation of radio broadcast equipment and signals.

• Sales/Director: Sell advertising slots to local clients, hire sales people, and be responsible for leading a sales strategy.

• News Anchor: Supervised by the news director, the anchor must work under deadlines, deliver newscasts and breaking news. Produce daily news broadcasts, and special reports and report stories for broadcast live on-air or pre-recorded.

• Investigative Reporter: One must possess strong writing and editorial skills, a professional, polished on-air delivery and the ability to improvise during breaking news. An investigative reporter must be an excellent communicator.

Whether it’s a transistor radio circa the late 194’s or a cell-phone with internet access, the radio broadcast is here to stay. Learn more about careers in radio at M&S Media Schools.