News Commentators, the early voices

The men who first made their name in network radio news were sometimes, but not always, trained newspaper journalists. In their new broadcasting careers they were able to read news copy and then comment (editorialize) on news events. When fighting began in Europe, up to and during World War II, some reported live, such as H.V. Kaltenborn (shown below) from the Spanish Civil War and Edward R. Murrow from the Battle of Britain. Today Paul Harvey continues to broadcast in the style of the early years of radio, "News and Commentary" without the audio sound bites heard on most other newscasts.

H.V. Kaltenborn

Radio news reporters, contemporary voices

Armed with tools unavailable to an earlier generation of radio news reporters, such as small portable tape recorders and tape cartridge players back in the newsroom, reporters in the sixties began to go on-location, record interviews and news conferences, and present a multitude of voices on their newscasts. Here are five perspectives on coverage of local news.

News Talkers and Talk Radio

Larry KingBruce WilliamsRush LimbaughNeal Conan

When the music (and most of the audience) moved to the FM band in the early 1980's, the AM band dried up. Call-in talk shows began to thrive on a number of stations. Two of the first radio talk hosts to develop a national audience were Larry King, who did an overnight show on the Mutual network, and Bruce Williams on NBC Talknet.

In 1988 Rush Limbaugh moved from a local program in Sacramento to a nationally syndicated program and became the most-listened to radio host in the country. By illustrating how a radio host can discuss news issues from a conservative perspective and attract a huge audience, Rush Limbaugh is credited with saving AM radio.

Eventually, over 15 years later, a left-leaning network calling itself Air America, was launched as a response to Limbaugh and other conservative talkers who largely dominate talk radio. In the meantime, National Public Radio launched a call-in show called Talk of the Nation in 1991 to discuss news issues in depth, starting with the Gulf War. Talk of the Nation is currently hosted by Neal Conan.

Today listeners who want to stay current on the news have more choices through the internet. With an iPod or other MP3 player they can download the latest programming from many of their favorite news sources and listen at their convenience.