CBS World News Roundup

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The CBS World News Roundup is the longest-running network radio newscast in the United States. It airs weekday mornings and evenings on the CBS Radio Network.[1]

It first went on-air on March 13, 1938 at 8 p.m. ET as a one-time special in response to growing tensions in Europe -- specifically the Anschluss, during which Adolf Hitler annexed Austria.

The early years[edit]

When the show first went on the air it was hosted by veteran radio personality Robert Trout. The first show gave the world the voices of Edward R. Murrow and William L. Shirer. In fact, it was the first time Murrow had ever delivered a news report. During the early years of the war, Murrow's reports from London and Shirer's reports from Berlin were essential listening to anyone trying to keep informed on events unfolding in Europe.

The program was a 35-minute special report from multiple locations around the world as the pre-war crisis mounts. It was the first time that on-the-scene European field correspondents were linked with a central anchor in New York for a national broadcast. A recording of the first episode, as well as some others, is available at the Internet Archive.[2]

Most broadcast references credit either CBS President William S. Paley or News Director Paul White as coming up with the idea for the show, as a way to trump Max Jordan's NBC coverage of the Anschluss. The previous day, Shirer had flown from Vienna to London at the request of Murrow (the CBS European chief) to give the first uncensored eyewitness account of Germany's takeover of Austria.

It was White who relayed the order to Murrow and Shirer for the first Roundup. The two, Murrow in Vienna and Shirer in London, then had the responsibility of linking up reporters and circuits that same day...a Sunday, when many of the key people would be mostly unreachable.

The format was so successful that it was repeated the following evening, and then revived later that year during the Sudetenland crisis. Eventually, it evolved into a daily show.

As World War II raged in Europe, the Roundup format spawned a weekend edition, The World Today. It was just before one 2:30 p.m. Eastern broadcast, on December 7, 1941, that White and World Today anchor John Charles Daly received word in New York that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Daly's report at the top of the show, among the first on any radio station or network, is the one most often used in audio retrospectives. (For more on that, see John Charles Daly.)

The show today[edit]

The CBS World News Roundup remains an active part of the CBS Radio Network lineup, making it America's longest running network newscast on radio or TV. The 10-minute newscast airs every morning on CBS Radio affiliates nationwide at 8 a.m. Eastern and 7 a.m. Pacific. A late edition airs at 7 p.m. Eastern time and runs for 9 minutes. Westwood One handles the distribution.

The morning edition of the World News Roundup is anchored by Steve Kathan, and produced by Paul Farry. The full show runs for 10 minutes, although many stations - including CBS Radio's own all-news stations - take only the first eight minutes. There is also a local cut-away at four minutes past the hour for the early edition (like the network's other top of the hour newscasts) and five minutes past the hour for the late edition. The late edition is hosted by Bill Whitney, and produced by Greg Armstrong. The morning program was hosted for many years by Christopher Glenn, who died in 2006 and was succeeded by Nick Young and later Steve Kathan. Despite the name of the broadcast, it no longer emphasizes world news and often is devoted to the same national, political and lifestyle stories as the shorter top of the hour news broadcasts.

The longest tenure of one anchor with the Roundup was that of Dallas Townsend, who hosted the morning broadcast for 25 years. Townsend was followed by Reid Collins and then Bill Lynch before Glenn took over. Douglas Edwards also had a long tenure anchoring the evening show in the 1970s and 80s, when it was The World Tonight. Glenn took over as nighttime anchor after Edwards retired.

David Letterman and the Roundup[edit]

June 9, 2010 David Letterman devoted a segment of his show to the Roundup in which he called anchor Steve Kathan to explain while driving his son Harry to Kindergarten they listen to the program and Letterman's son was dismayed when the signature time check and cutaway cue “Time on the Roundup, eight past the hour” was absent. Kathan explained this happened sometimes due to timing issues but promised it would henceforth always be included. When Kathan did the cue the following morning he included a shout-out to Letterman and his son.

The Weekend Roundup[edit]

In 2000, CBS Radio developed a weekly show based on the original Roundup format. The CBS News Weekend Roundup, designed for an hour-long time slot (40 minutes plus slots for commercials and affiliate cut-ins), is produced each Friday and airs on a number of CBS Radio affiliates on Saturdays and Sundays. It includes interviews with CBS News correspondents and other newsmakers. The network's then-news director, Mike Freedman, was the creator and first executive producer of the show.

Bill Lynch, former anchor of the morning Roundup, was the first host of the weekend show. It is now anchored by CBS News National Correspondent Dan Raviv in Washington. Correspondent Howard Arenstein, the Washington radio bureau chief, is the current executive producer. He is also part of the cast as a frequent contributor and guest host.

References[edit]