Guestbook Archive

Comments:  I was based with NBC in Chicago. I worked both radio, on WMAQ, and TV, on Channel 5. On the radio side, I did “News On the Hour”, at 8:00 pm, Central Time, as I recall, although it might have varied. This was during the late sixties.

Summers at Monitor and NBC News staffers in New York wanted vacations. “Aha! There’s this chump in Chicago who reports on radio, let’s have him come to New York, on Saturdays, to fill in.”

I was the chump.

It wasn’t really bad. I was younger and the idea of doing four Monitor “News on the Hours” in an eight-hour shift was okay. The only downside was that I had to fly from Chicago to New York, do the shift until nighttime, be back bright and fuzzy, Sunday morning to do four more News broadcasts, then get on a plane so that I could do my regular Chicago chores Monday-through-Friday.

Although an evil interloper, I was treated well. I do recall one News  staffer who had to do the alternate hourly newscasts throwing things  because he had apparently made other plans.

I later did a stint as an NBC News correspondent and was an anchor on TV for more than 20 years in Chicago.

What a different time. Bob and Ray could be an antidote in this  abrasive world, but no one would hire them.

Jim Ruddle

July 30, 2015

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Today (June 12, 2015) is the 60th anniversary of Monitor. I always acknowledge this day, as I know you and others who make this website a regular part of online listening do.

I’m sure if Pat Weaver or anyone who was involved in deciding to go ahead with this were told that 60 years later we would be discussing Monitor and thanks to you remembering it, they wouldn’t believe it.

What a difference in how news was covered by NBC and the other networks in 1955.

As you pointed out, Monitor had some technical difficulties that first day, but it was great and became a success for the radio network and the businesses who advertised on the program.

I’m looking forward to the tribute tonight on Yesterday USA. I’m sure like last year, it will be great.

Thank you for everything you have done to keep Monitor alive and acknowledge the significant contribution it added to the history of radio.

Larry Stoler
Stamford, Connecticut

June 12, 2015

Comments:  Dennis,

I’m always amazed that Monitor was programming a feature-packed show even at 11 p.m. on a Sunday (Monitor’s first day on the air — June 12, 1955 — now on the Sounds of Monitor page). And, it was done so casually by such seasoned professionals as Ben Grauer, Morgan Beatty, and Walter Kiernan. When you listened, you knew that you were hearing an important revolution in broadcasting. I wonder who chose to do a remote from San Quentin for the premiere broadcast. You sense that it was part of Pat Weaver’s mission to make Monitor socially important and not merely entertaining.

As you said, not everything went smoothly. It was taking quite a bet to do reports from a plane flying over the Atlantic. But Monitor, at its best, was a daring experiment.

Unfortunately, in later years, the radio consultants took over, surgically removed the heart and personality in favor of mechanical smoothness, and radio receded into the background. As Ben wistfully remarked to Jimmy Wallington: “That was in the days of radio.” Pat put up a fight to keep radio important, until he was Sarnoffed.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

May 31, 2015

Comments: Dennis,

I’m sorry to report that Charlie Brown — who did afternoon drive on WNBC from 1968 to 1970 and was a host on Monitor — passed away due to a stroke on March 17, 2015.


I was a fan of Charlie Brown’s, including when he was part of “Charlie and Harrigan” at KLIF and other stations.


We’re losing the best people who contributed so much to radio and gave us hours of wonderful listening.


Larry Stoler

March 31, 2015

Comments: Charlie Brown (aka Jack Woods) of WNBC New York 1968-1970 — and featured on the Christmastime Monitor ’69 track on this website — passed away on March 17 from a stroke. He was 80.

The man had quite a career..from Dallas to Cleveland to New York to San Diego…one terrific talent. And by all accounts, a very nice man.

May he rest in peace.

Hugh Christopher Henry

March 17, 2015

Comments:  Hi, Dennis,

I certainly do remember Monitor. On Sunday afternoons, winter or summer, except in bad weather, we always went on “rides”–sometimes down to the beach (even in winter; best time is when the tourists are gone!), or up to a ski area, to go on a picnic, or to the amusement park, or a church feast, or just to get some fresh air with some ice cream as a treat on the way home. Back then a small child could snuggle next to Mom in the front seat of that old 1958 Chevy and listen to Monitor (on WJAR radio in Providence, RI).

In fact, Monitor and I were both 1955 babies. I don’t remember specific programs, but when I play the themes, a lot of memories come flooding back of happily listening to the news or a comedy skit or music, and feeling safe and warm between Mom and Dad. As I got older, it was a “go to” on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. And of course I remember the “Beacon”–in fact, I now use it as my cell phone ringtone. The sound of it carries so well, and no one has a ringtone like it!

Have your book and am looking forward to reading it.

Thanks for the memories!

Linda M. Young

March 6, 2015

Comments:  Dennis,

I saw Tom Pierett’s entry in the Guestbook (just below). Still some of us AARP candidates around who, to this day, remember Monitor. The sentiments he expressed are amazingly the same as others have — for teenage boys of 50 years ago, Monitor was our connection with the world and the sophisticated exotic milieu of New York and the East Coast.

Maybe it wasn’t the same for our parents (who had been around); but for a young boy, such as I, it was an exciting revelation.

You have to think that many on the Monitor staff were just grown-up kids, still excited by discovery. Perhaps the biggest kid of all was Pat Weaver, who, for all of his urbanity, seemed genuinely eager to explore the world and learn more. His world was more hip than southwestern Ohio. Monitor had a lot of kool kats.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

February 25, 2015

Comments: Dennis,

I much enjoy this page, as it certainly brings back memories of the 1960s. I often had an AM radio with me and it was often tuned to WLW in Cincinnati, which carried weekend Monitor.

I was a teenager back then, and Monitor gave me the feeling that, via my radio, I was connected to New York City. That was a world which seemed more hip than southwestern Ohio.

Tom Pierett


February 20, 2015

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

It was 40 years ago today. January 26, 1975, when network radio’s greatest program, Monitor, ended its 20-year run on NBC.

As I type this, I’m listening to the final Sunday with John Bartholomew Tucker. Both he and Big Wilson made the best of a sad situation.

I discovered your tribute site several years ago. Listening to the airchecks and reading the background material made me appreciate Monitor’s contribution to broadcasting even more.

I used to listen on 660 WNBC in New York. It was a pleasure and something all Monitor fans took for granted.

Pat Weaver and all who were involved deserve all the credit in the world for bringing 20 years of entertainment and information to America.

Larry Stoler

January 26, 2015

Editor’s note: I can remember listening to the final hours of Monitor — 40 years ago today — as if it occurred yesterday. And to this moment, I miss Monitor — as all of you do.

Comments: Dennis,

Congratulations on over 300,000 views.
Merry Monitor Christmas and Happy All-Star Parade of Bands! And in six months, Happy 60th Anniversary! Has it already been 10 years since the 50th? Doesn’t seem that long, does it?

I remember, when I was a kid, it took forever for Christmas to arrive. Now not so much.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

December 22, 2014

Comments: Hi, Dennis,


I’m writing to wish you and your family an enjoyable holiday season.


I look forward to more airchecks and other samples of what made Monitor network radio’s greatest program in the coming year.


Larry Stoler

December 22, 2014

Comments: Dennis,

I was saddened and surprised to read that Mike Nichols has died. His comedy bits with Elaine May were a highlight of my weekends listening to Monitor. For a youngster, this was an exciting glimpse into sophisticated adult wit and satire.

The amazing thing is that these classic segments were all improv. There’s a cut on the album Nichols and May Examine Doctors, “Nichols and May at Work,” which shows how these bits were created. The album consists of bits they did for Monitor, and on that cut we hear the unedited recording session with long-time Monitor producer Bud Drake assisting. It must have been great fun working for Monitor in the ‘60s

There has never been another comedy duo like Nichols and May.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

November 20, 2014

Editor’s note: We have plenty of examples of  the comedy skits Nichols and May did on Monitor on the “Sounds of Monitor” page.

Comments: Dear Dennis,

Thank you for the website. I remember Monitor playing on the radio in the car on our way to and from church, on Sundays, when I was a kid.  At 62, I do long for the days of professional radio!

Radio was always my entertainment. Monitor, WOR’s Jean Shepard, CBS Radio theaters — as I got through my teen years, they were my world.

Monitor had so much more to offer. I do hope someone can make it return.

John Cassenti

Jacksonville, Florida

November 19, 2014

You probally are aware of this. When I was at the American Forces Network Europe in 1972, they had a very large library. Among the recordings were transcriptions of MONITOR. The commercials had been taken out, of course. I understand that library was packed up in boxes and shipped back to the States

I would listen to some of those shows in spare time. Just thought I’d pass this along. I’ve really enjoyed your webside and book. I worked at WDEF Chattanooga in 1968 and we carried MONITOR. Really didn’t realize just how good the program was until those Army years at AFNE. A touch of home.
Earl Freudenberg

Chattanooga, Tennessee

October 9, 2014

Comments: Hi, Dennis,


I was listening to a station that carries the top of the hour feeds from NBC News Radio, now run by Westwood One.


I went to the site and they talked about how they have reporters from television doing the newscasts.


While I’m glad there is an NBC News Radio and some stations are carrying it, it’s not the same as the original National Broadcasting Company, which we took for granted until 1988 when it went away.


I continue to enjoy the Monitor tribute site for network radio’s greatest program.  Monitor was then — when it originally aired — and it still is.


Larry Stoler

August 24, 2014

Comments: Dennis,

I was saddened to hear about the death of Don Pardo at the age of 96. Don was never a Monitor host, but he was an integral part of Monitor as a staff announcer. He would often do the intros and closes for Monitor News on the Hour during the 1 PM and 2 PM hours on Saturday afternoons between Monitor segments and, of course, the promos at the end of Monitor segments. It was impossible to miss his distinctive voice. A sample of his work on newscasts is on the Sounds page of this site (audio for Feb. 22, 1969).

Of course, he did all sorts of staff announcing on NBC Radio and Television during the week as well. He’s best known as the announcer on “Saturday Night Live” for 38 seasons, starting at its beginning in 1976 (expect for season 7) until the end of this season. He also was the announcer on several game shows, including “Jeopardy!” and the original “The Price is Right” with Bill Cullen.

He was also the person who first announced to the nation on NBC that John Kennedy had been assassinated, breaking into a “Bachelor Father” episode to do it.

According to the New York Times, Don had a lifetime contract with NBC. He retired in 2004 but continued to do “Saturday Night Live.” Many NBC staff announcers were anonymous voices whose names were unknown to the general public, but Don Pardo wasn’t one of them.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

August 19, 2014

Comments: Hello Dennis,

By now I’m certain that you have heard of Dan Pardo’s passing during the night, and I’m sure that other commemorative messages are coming in today.

The news was announced on the KFOG morning show here in SF. Along with being one of the most recognized announcers on NBC TV and Radio (recalling his mid-day Saturday Monitor NOTH intro between the Rayburn and Garagiola segments) Don was also a promo announcer for local San Francisco Radio on KFOG;104.5 fm (a rare non NBC gig for Don) as Dave Morey’s color announcer for a daily oldies feature, “Ten at Ten” (Ten songs from a specific year at 10am).

A notable moment in Don Pardo’s career; he was on shift as the on-air announcer at Channel 4 in New York at the time of JFK’s assassination, and thus was the first to announce the Presidents death on NBC TV.

Sound the Chimes and the 104.5 foghorn in memory of Don Pardo

Greg Brown
San Francisco
August 19, 2014

Comments: Just posted a 1967 AFRTS (Monitor) show which you may not have.

Great website!!!

Thom Whetston

AFKN, Korea 1976-77

SCN, Panama 1980-83

August 1, 2014

Editor’s note: NBC gave the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service access to “Monitor” segments, which were edited to remove commercials and much of the hosts’ continuity. An hour of the AFRTS version of “Monitor” would be culled from several hours of “Monitor” as it had originally aired over NBC. So what you’ll hear in the hour mentioned above is a compilation of Barry Nelson as he hosted a four-hour Sunday afternoon “Monitor” segment in 1966 — his last year on Monitor. AFRTS aired the edited segments in ’67. And, yes, the “strange” intro to this hour is something AFRTS put in — not something NBC aired.

Hi, Dennis,

I always felt Barry Nelson was a good Monitor host, but listening to the aircheck of him in November, 1966, confirms this even more.


That was a wonderful thing Monitor did when they broadcast the messages from some of the troops that were in Vietnam.  I’m sure that meant a lot to the families of those people.


Thanks again for another great Monitor aircheck.


Larry Stoler

June 26, 2014

Comments:  Hi, Dennis,

I’m writing this on June 11, 2014. One day before the anniversary of Monitor’s debut on NBC.

It was 59 years ago that network radio’s greatest program would begin a run of a little under 20 years. That was incredible.

When you look back and listen to some of the Monitor hours posted on your site, it’s amazing when you think that the people who worked at 30 Rockefeller Plaza were able to get all this material on every weekend from all over the world.

The technology wasn’t where it is today but unfortunately if a program similar to Monitor was proposed, it probably wouldn’t get on the air and if it did, it would only be for a short time as the big media groups want an immediate return on their investment along with ratings, etc.

The show would also be voice tracked and originate from somewhere else other than New York but the hosts would be told to make it sound like they’re in the city.

Getting back to the anniversary, we took Monitor for granted but at least we had the opportunity to enjoy it and thanks to your tribute site, we can remember one of the many things that made radio stand out and as a result, many who read and post here went into the business.

Happy anniversary, Monitor fans everywhere.

Larry Stoler
Stamford, Connecticut

June 11, 2014

Comments: Dennis,

So Brad Theissen (letter below) wants to know when Ted Brown’s daughter was born. I can tell you that. Easy. April 20, 1972.

How do I know that? Because it’s on the website. Thanks to teen recordist extraodinaire WT Koltek, we have a recording of Ted screwing up the close for Monitor News on the Hour from April 30, 1972. He comes back to intro the two-minute fill at :05:30 and reads the closing tag he muffed and then explains that “those 3 o’clock feedings will kill you.” After the opening jingle at :07:40, he says that he’s “the father of Samantha, so watch it. Ten days old today. Isn’t that marvelous?”


At about 17:40, Ted says that he is “a brand-new daddy.” He then asks a question about whether you give cigars for a baby girl.


Now this segment does not include “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” because I think that probably happened the week before, which was the first Sunday after Samantha was born. If we actually had that one, that would be too creepy.


Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

May 24, 2014

Comments: Thank you for this incredible history.


I had the honor to be on air at a very small market NBC affiliate in rural southern Minnesota, in the 1970s. An enjoyable summer shift for me one year, was running board Sunday afternoons noon-6pm CDT. I never kept an accurate diary of my radio career, but your list of  “Communicators” is helping me on this point.

My Monitor summer shift was either 1971 or 1972.  Ted Brown was the usual host.  Perhaps someone here can help me determine ’71 vs ’72, in that I recall Ted Brown had a daughter born, and he played “Mrs Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” during that show!


On a related matter, my on air presence at that station was writing and reading local newscasts.  In mid-March of ’72, ’73 and ’74, I spent Spring Break from College in NYC, for a week each time.  In one of those years, some of us went to 30 Rock one morning, to watch the taping of a game show (“Say When”?).

On one afternoon, in one of those three years, I went to 30 Rock on my own, and (somehow) knowing that Radio was on the 6th floor, I hopped on the elevator, and the next thing I knew, I was standing in front of a empty reception room, with a number of small offices around it.  I asked if anyone was there, and a fellow emerged from one of the small offices. I told him I was on air at an affiliate, and was hoping to meet one or more of the top-of-the-hour newscasters.  By chance, the fellow turned out to be one of those!

We spent some time in his office, talking about radio news. It wasn’t a full hour, as at about :50, he said he needed to go to work.  He invited me to come along. I believe we went “downstairs” a flight, in the elevator, but not sure. We entered a busy room, with writers, and a Producer, who I recall as being a late mid-age to older Jewish man named “Herb”. I was about age 21, and the five or more men in the room all were two- to three-times my age, but everyone was incredibly hospitable and welcoming. “Herb” even suggested that I fill out an application!

The fellow went into a small booth, I recall it looking like a phone booth of the era, and read the news. Five and a half minutes later, he was finished, and so was my amazing visit to NBC Radio News.
Thank You again…
Brad Theissen

May 18, 2014


Comments: Hi, Dennis,

A quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed the NBC Radio REVRAC Test and other closed circuit content. It’s always great to hear the sounds and voices that made Monitor so special. For a radio geek like myself, it’s a treat to catch some of the stuff that was never meant to be heard over the air. In my early teens, I was fortunate to visit the NBC O&O radio station in DC, WRC. This was in the late 1960s and those visits, for a behind the scenes look at how it was all done, really added to my enjoyment of radio back then.

On another, Monitor-related note, I wanted to send along a link that will let fans of the show know about a project that’s underway to honor good ol’ Bill Cullen. I sent some thoughts about it last summer, but this link succinctly explains it all and provides full information how all Bill’s fans can be part of the special project. The handy link can also be shared via email or social media, so they can help spread the word.

2020 seems a long way off, but the process involved can take several years, so it doesn’t hurt get started early.

All the best,

Scott Marinoff
San Diego, CA
April 7, 2014

Comments: I’m amazed!  I can’t say enough good things about your website.


With all the OTR websites and collections featuring the “golden age,” I’ve seen few if any mentions of Monitor until I found your site.  Clearly a labor of love.  Thank you for preserving what was a most unique institution in latter-day radio.

I can remember running board in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when we carried Monitor on our local AM station in State College, PA (home of Penn State).  Sadly, NBC saw fit to pay for only a 3 kHz class C audio line to our town, so the network audio quality was muddy at best (even for news) and the musical content of Monitor was completely butchered thanks to NBC’s tight-fisted approach.  I’m sure it had a detrimental effect on the local listenership.

Be that as it may, I remember the format well, as well as many of the personalities, especially Joe Garagiola, Gene Rayburn, and Bill Cullen (from my hometown of Pittsburgh).  Monitor was always interesting, keeping the audience on their toes, with the ever-changing palette of features and music.  A great format, because you could be hooked for hours, without being stuck in front of “the tube.”  You’d get a little music, then hear a short feature (which might or might not be especially interesting to you personally, but was never long enough to become a tune-out) and then some more music, all mixed together by the host “communicator.”

I certainly haven’t listened to everything on your site at one sitting, but I’ll surely come back often to relive what radio was like in “the day.”  Thanks again for the outstanding collection and huge amount of work that you’ve contributed.

Best regards,
Greg Miller

April 3, 2014

Comments: As a radio geek, I appreciate the closed-circuit feeds (audio on Sounds of Monitor page).

Years later during the infancy of NBC Talknet, they would feed WNBC radio for 5 minutes at the top of the hour. So if the board operator (before automation took care of the switching) at the local station forgot to put the top-of-hour network news on (from a different channel) listeners got a rare treat of NY radio!

Late at night also ABC radio would feed their O & O WPLJ and sometimes WABC (before they went all talk)  in between newscasts on the old landline.  Nowadays all  you get is tones or dead silence.  But on the plus side you can listen to just about every major station on-line now.

Bill Walter

Logan, Utah

March 23, 2014


Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I agree with your observations about the way Monitor sounded in 1973.

While listening to the aircheck of Tony Taylor, the first thing I thought of was how this was an obvious indication that the end was near for network radio’s greatest program.

I am not putting down Tony Taylor. As you said, he was a great DJ on WNBC, WNEW-AM and WOR-FM among other stations he worked for.

Everything that made so many of us make listening to Monitor a part of our weekend had disappeared and was replaced by a watered down version of the program.

I’m sure NBC saved money doing this but the end result was sad to listen to.

Another thing that had changed was the music. If anyone had told me that songs like Ramblin Man by the Allman Brothers would be heard on Monitor, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Larry Stoler
Stamford, Connecticut.
March 15, 2014

Comments:  Dennis,

The dialogue between Louis Castaing and Larry Stoler (below) is interesting.

As much as I’d enjoy a return of the original Monitor concept, I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it any time soon.

Louis is right.  Features and more features are indeed the definition of  Monitor.  And he’s right about running those features multiple times during  a weekend.

But where would they come from today?

The radio infrastructure that was in place during Monitor’s heyday no longer exists. Radio networks no longer have robust news operations.  The depth on the bench at local stations is nothing like it used to be.

Monitor could generate original material at a reasonable cost because it had the entire NBC News operation available to it.  Features like Ring Around the World would be impossible today.  There is no stable of commentators on  hand for weekday features like Emphasis from whom additional material could be created – or even repurposed – for the weekend.

And how much suitable material is a typical local station likely to have that could be repurposed?   Most of them run cheaply produced talk shows or take a satellite feed.

There is very little creative thinking in today’s radio industry.  The likes of Pat Weaver and Jim Fleming are nowhere to be found.

Perhaps someone will be inspired to act on the challenge Louis presents and prove me wrong.  I’d be among the first to shout “Hooray!” if it were to happen.  But I doubt it.

Alas, I’m afraid we’re left with NPR’s Weekend Edition as perhaps the closest thing to Monitor we’re likely to see in this day and age.

Dan Everett

Arlington, Massachusetts

January 15, 2014

Comments: Dennis,
Larry Stoler’s idea for the so-called return of Monitor (see letter just below) has disaster written all over it. It seems like such a half-hearted attempt. Even Larry admits it’s doomed.

His idea combines all of the horrible programming decisions that killed Monitor in the ‘70s. What he describes is really Custom Monitor, which signaled Monitor’s death knell.

If you want to bring Monitor back, you need to think big, not small.

There are many stations that have no real programming on the weekend. Many stations nowadays take what amounts to network feeds most of the day (albeit mostly venomous talk garbage).

One or two stations in each market would gladly turn over their schedules to programming that might give them a larger audience on the weekend. These are probably not the highest rated stations but stations that need a ratings boost. Even in major markets, low-rated stations are dying for professional-sounding programming. But local affiliates aren’t as important as the once were. In fact, Monitor could end up as a satellite channel. Or as an Internet station. Or a combination.

Monitor doesn’t necessarily have to be programmed exactly as it was. To hold down costs, the same features could run a couple of times a weekend rather than just once. No one (except you and I) would listen the entire weekend.

Monitor needs more features not fewer. Features are the very definition of Monitor. Those features should also be longer and more in-depth. Monitor would have very little music. Perhaps, music should only accompany features on musicians and composers and their music.

This might seem expensive; but, on the other hand, networks are looking for ways to repurpose their material as a way to amortize costs. There are a lot of stories that deserve more airtime.

I want to go back to Pat Weaver’s and Jim Fleming’s Monitor. Weaver swam against the current of conventional thinking. He went all-out. And, if you want to bring Monitor back, that’s what needs to happen.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 12, 2014

Comments: Dennis, I was thinking about how Monitor would be done if it were brought back today.

First, I think it would be voice-tracked from a different city as opposed to the people who did the program every weekend from NBC Radio Central.

I also think the program would not have as many features as it had during its 20-year run. Even though what was produced and aired then could be put together in a shorter amount of time thanks to technology, I feel it would be similar to the typical morning show. In other words, there would be a lot hinging on gossip or what the so called experts think would appeal to the 25-54 demographic.

I also wonder if the show would be carried for an entire weekend or even be offered as a weekend package with stations that signed on having the option to allow time for brokered shows which as you know are heard throughout the country every weekend mostly on AM stations.

Finally in today’s radio environment, I think the big media groups and clusters would want an immediate return on their investment. In other words, I wonder how long they would give Monitor a chance to succeed before changing or dropping the idea.

I am not a pessimistic person however I’m basing my observations on following the industry for 57 years and seeing what has happened especially since the 1996 Telecommunications Act became reality and the buyouts began.

I would like to see Monitor as it was originally designed return but I doubt it will happen.

At least, we have your site to enjoy the show as we remember it and make new visitors aware of what Network Radio’s Greatest Program was all about and what it sounded like for 20 years.

Larry Stoler
Stamford, Connecticut

January 7, 2014

Comments: Dennis,

It will be interesting to see what other visitors to this site think of the Tony Taylor audio clip. Your explanation of its sad significance is very good for those who may be visiting the site for the first timed. This was not Monitor. It was NBC Radio’s kamikaze mission.

If there was ever a way to make network radio irrelevant, this was it. Why would a station turn over 16 hours a weekend for a DJ show the station could do itself and and generate lots of addition local ad revenue? (Sure, you’d have to carry the Monitor spots. But by this time, there were very few and all the sustaining parts of Monitor were times you couldn’t sell your own spots.) Why have this Monitor interrupt your format and probably turn listeners away? If Monitor gave you something you couldn’t get elsewhere and audiences were interested in it; then there was a reason to carry a network program. But there was nothing compelling about this.

Of course, nowadays, the situation is different. In many instances, programming is coming from a few central sources and stations have turned over their frequencies to a variety of syndicated programs. But most of those programs are cheaply done. You’ll rarely, if ever, find the quality, expensive, variegated programming that Monitor presented in its early years.

The kaleidoscopic phantasmagoria in radio is dead.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

December 17, 2013

Comments: Dennis,

Sorry to hear about the death of Bill Mazer. I think that he was the best of the Monitor guest hosts. He could have easily become a permanent host and done so nicely. He had the voice and the delivery, a sense of humor, and, most importantly, the smarts. He could have easily handled any topic, even outside of sports. I’m glad that we have at least one example of his hosting on Monitor on the website.

A real broadcasting pro. He will be missed.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

November 9, 2013

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Another figure in Monitor history has passed at 92 — Bill Mazer. In addition to the hour you have posted from 1972 when he filled in for Gene Rayburn, his voice also appears in the L&M commercial in the 1964 Barry Nelson hour. Since he worked for WNBC for many years, no doubt he performed many “utility” roles for Monitor. So few left…

On the more pleasant side, now that I have a CD player in my car, I have all the Monitor audio clips from your site on data CD’s in the arm rest of my car. While on vacation a week and a half ago, driving down the East Coast to North Carolina, I played Monitor from 10 AM Saturday until 8 or 9 PM, from Gene Rayburn to Bill Mazer to Barry Nelson to Joe Garagiola to Frank Sinatra Jr.– just like the old days!

If I were driving on Sunday, I have Henry Morgan, Brad Crandall, Frank Blair, and enough to fill more than one Sunday. Running the last weekend from 1975 start to finish is quite an experience too. “Go north or south, go east or west, you get in your car and you head for the best– wherever you are you’ll find Monitor, on NBC!”

Andrew Saucci

November 6, 2013

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Just a personal word of thanks for the NBC Radio documentary on the assassination of President Kennedy.

The inclusion of this material on the Monitor site is timely for me.   Earlier this week, my daughter, a high school sophomore, said she needed to interview me for her history class. The assignment:  Interview a person who lived through a major world event  that happened before 9/11.

I described for her the events of November 22-24, 1963.  At the time, I was working for a small radio station on the coast of Maine — a Mutual affiliate.   We talked about my personal reaction to the news, how the programming of the station changed instantly, and what it was like to be working in such disturbing circumstances.  We also talked about the world-wide significance of the event and how people reacted (as Mutual used to say) “around the world and across the nation.”

While the events of that November weekend are still vivid to me, I am grateful to hear the NBC Radio coverage and many of the newsmen who would become so familiar when I moved on to an NBC station the following year.

I have video recordings of the NBC television coverage with Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Frank McGee, Bill Ryan, and others.  By comparison, the radio coverage was much more polished in its execution — primarily, I suppose, because of the limitations of television technology of that period.

In any event, thanks for the opportunity to hear these broadcasts.  It’s a real treat for an old radio guy like me to hear the voices of Russ Ward, Morgan Beatty, Bryson Rash, and the others.

Dan Everett

Arlington, Massachusetts

September 22, 2013

Comments:  Hi, Dennis,

I think you’ll agree that Bill Cullen would be a marvelous candidate for a stamp honoring him, his life and his outstanding work. I know that many fans of his work on Monitor and on TV visit your site, so this seemed like a great place to share my idea. I’m sure that more than a few of his fans would support this effort and would love to have a role in making it happen. I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of it.

I’m going to see if I can find a way to set up a website about this idea, or at least a Facebook page. If need be, I’ll set up a Kickstart blurb to generate additional interest and some funds for a decent website to publicize the project.

Here are some other links I found with additional information about what’s involved …

Until I get a dedicated Facebook page or a website going, I’m contacting such fans of Bill Cullen as I can think of, to generate interest, buzz and action.

Here is the postal mailing address that anyone who’s interested can use to let the committee know that they’d like to see a U.S. Postage Stamp issued to honor Bill Cullen on February 18, 2020, the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Suite 3300
Washington, DC 20260-0004

It only takes a few moments to write and express how you feel, slip the note iinto an envelope, seal it, slap on a stamp and send it off. There’s no need to write an epic poem (unless, of course, you’re good at that). Just drop ’em a note to let ’em know you love Bill and you’d like to see him honored in this special way.

I really hope that Bill’s fans who visit your website will take up this cause and spread the word, online and off. Please write and ask the committee to act on this, then ask all Bill’s other fans that you know, to be a part of what I’m calling: The Bill Cullen Commemorative Postage Stamp Project.

We’ve got the entire Internet at our disposal, to spread the word about a fitting tribute to our friend, Bill Cullen, so getting this worthy project accomplished should be a piece of cake. Well, maybe not quite that easy, but I think it is certainly a project worth trying – and getting done.

Let’s do this!!!

Scott Marinoff
San Diego

August 20, 2013

Comments: I worked at WTAG in Worcester, Mass., as the morning man until 1968 when I came to NYC. For three years previous to leaving the station, I was a “reporter” for Monitor and contributed numerous stories ranging from Jimmy Durante’s 75th birthday celebration to an up-close personal interview with Louie Armstrong.

I knew Bob Maurer, Monitor’s executive producer, and continued doing a few stories here and there in New York before I went to work for WPIX. I was a big fan of the show and was sorry to see its demise

Ron Pobuda

August 10, 2013

Comments: I love radio.  I did when I was a kid (and I ain’t no kid any more) and I try to love it now, though it’s tough to do sometimes.  But I loved Monitor, and would like to thank you for establishing this website for those who remember.

My early memories of Monitor are vague ones, though who could forget the beepin’ beacon, and that ominous NBC news-on-the-hour sounder (back then I thought it sounded like the world’s biggest bowling ball rolling down the alley).


But as a teenager I rediscovered Monitor almost by accident, and it was an “aha” moment that made me realize what radio could do. Monitor went places and did things that local radio couldn’t; it had style and class even a knucklehead like me could recognize.  And I liked the music mix; it split the difference between the lighter end of the top-40 station and the more upbeat side of the local MOR station; and did it better than either of them.  The local NBC affiliate was a country station, not caring much for their stuff I rarely listened to them except for Monitor, and I suspect they dropped the show before the network ended it.


Now most of local radio here consists of woof-woof-woofing sports talk meatheads, right-wing bloviators, conspiracy theory wackjobs, zoo-crew shock jock morning shows, program-length infomercials for mail-order virility pills, and so help me, polka parties.  There’s also one odd duck of a station that serves up a mix of showtunes and Streisand with NASCAR coverage.  (What’s their “target audience” — gay rednecks?)  Being on a border between two states, we’re very well covered by public radio, which in theory should result in greater variety but in practice results in Garrison Keillor on five stations at once.


What’s missing is real personality and showmanship, which Monitor had by the bucketful.  That’s when radio was show business.  Now it’s just business.

Jeff Missinne

Superior, Wisconsin

July 12, 2013

Comments:  Hi, Dennis,


As I type this, it is Wednesday, June 12, 2013.  It was 58 years ago today that Monitor began its 20-year run on NBC.


Thanks to you, many of us who listened on weekends have a terrific site to enjoy and remember what truly was network radio’s greatest program.


Happy anniversary to you and Monitor fans everywhere.


Larry Stoler

Stamford, Connecticut

June 12, 2013

Comments:  I just want you to know how much I have enjoyed the Monitor Tribute Pages and your book. I listen frequently, and wish that there were more “sounds” on the list.

I made a lot of tapes back in the 60’s and 70’s, but I have had no luck finding Monitors. I think we all took it so much for granted that we counted on it being back again the following week.
Driving with my father in the car on Saturdays was part of my childhood routine in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and Monitor was always with us. He particularly loved “The Bickersons.” Hope you can find one of them to put on the web.

Keith Runyon

Harrods Creek, Kentucky

June 2, 2013

Editor’s note: If anyone has “Monitor” tapes, we’d love to hear from you. There’s always room for “new” Monitor audio on these pages.

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Thanks for your effort to keep the Sounds Of Monitor page updated every quarter. I appreciate it greatly.

So, about Imus(!!!!) — he’s part of Monitor history, and definitely an act of desperation in that legacy. I’m not an Imus fan — at least not as a mature adult — but as a 17-year-old, I really “dug” his outspoken scathing wit (well, I was a rebellious teenager).

But unlike my peers, I was a KNBR (in San Francisco) fan. As you stated in the book, they were the first station to immediately embrace “Custom Monitor,” apparently with only a day or so notice. (“Happy Friday, air-staff, cancel your weekend plans, yer workin’ tomorrow! Short notice you say?! Hey, this is radio.”)
Imus had been mentioned on the air by Carter B Smith a few weeks prior to the premiere of the “super-jock” series. Well, of course, they were setting up to promote the return of Monitor ala Imus.

I used to try to pick up KMJ in Fresno on weekends to hear Monitor. In SF we got a static-ridden but decipherable signal. Imus came on at 4 pm one Saturday on KMJ (a surprise) but after the first half hour they went into the Giants pre-game show.

Thinking it a lost opportunity, I switched back to KNBR, (this was before the Giants were on KNBR) just a few minutes in time to hear Carter B Smith’s “program note” announcement about a “Don Imus special from New York” airing that evening at 7 pm.

KNBR cleared the entire “superjock” series (Imus, Wolfman and Robert W), yet never once acknowledged that this “special” was Monitor. Despite the obvious logo, jingles, format, beeping beacon, and overt on air Monitor ID’s that were riddled throughout this “special from New York,” they never mentioned the word Monitor on the air locally — even in the HEAVY promotion the series got in local programming.

That’s media biz for you — axe a show, then bring it back without admitting that you’re bringing it back. But it’s hard to disguise Monitor. Perhaps KNBR was worried that listeners would demand that the other 13 hours of Monitor be reinstated.

Interesting though, as I remember, the promotion, heavy as it was, was in a tone of disapproval. Over those few months Carter B Smith would refer to Imus as “some freak from New York”; a reverse psychology teaser, or too much free reign from Heber Smith (who had a public persona as a very progressive-minded GM)????

Anyway, I compliment your site, and look forward to more audio files going up. Your effort and commitment to the site are very much appreciated.
Faithfully on the Monitor Beacon (and to the freaks from New York),

Greg Brown
San Francisco

June 1, 2013

Comments: Such a pleasure to have found this treasure of NBC Monitor goodies!

I grew up in suburban New Jersey in the 1960’s and 70’s. I had my Monitor favorites…Arlene Francis, her voice and presentation style were amazing. It’s so rare to find any radio segments anywhere with Miss Francis and so I am thrilled to be able to listen to her here. Henry Morgan, the low key humor was great, he was a classic in his own time! Gene Rayburn, my favorite Monitor host. He was friendly, funny and always made me want to get into broadcasting because he sounded as though he really loved what he was doing.

Monitor was a superb radio experience for anyone fortunate enough to have listened to it. If my memory is correct, I suppose I was a regular listener from 1967 to the end in 1975 with JBT. Nothing on new radio today even comes close to the variety and entertainment of Monitor.

Thank you a million for maintaining this site.

John Korolowassoc

May 9, 2013

Comments:  I grew up listening to Monitor. The town where I lived as a child was in northwest Illinois where we could hear Monitor on WMAQ 670, Chicago, and WOC, 1420, Davenport, Iowa.

The Monitor Beacon always fascinated me, making me wonder how that sound was made.

Glenn Lego

April 6, 2013

Comments: Thanks so much for maintaining this site.
Many and many a weekend did we listen to Monitor on WLW, 700 AM, “The Nation’s Station” in Cincinnati, while in the family car in the late 1950s to early 1970’s. We were either headed up U.S. 52 and the Ohio River to be with relations in the Huntington, West Virginia, area on Saturday morning, or else headed back down to Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon.
All these recordings bring back lots of happy memories for me. I’m back in the family Oldsmobile station wagon, along with Dad, Mother, my sister, and brothers on a warm summer morning with the wind whipping through the windows. We’re listening to Bob & Ray, or Nichols & May, or Gene Rayburn, or Mel Allen, or Joe Garagiola, or Henry Morgan, or others whom I can’t remember, but their “product” was always so good.

I hear the music, say, from “Ring Around the World” and we’re passing tobacco fields with the river over beyond them on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, towboats and barges majestically sweeping up and down the Ohio. Even the commercials bring back memories, such as Anco Wiper Blades, or Wynn Oil Treatment from Azusa, Azusa Cal-ih-FOR-nee-yuh!
Hoping you’re around for a whole lot longer.

Phil Pockras
Minister, Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA)
Belle Center, Ohio

March 27, 2013

Comments:  Dennis,

Thanks so much for uploading more of Joe Garagiola from Washington’s Birthday 1969.  I was just listening to the 3 pm hour and it made me check the website so it was wonderful, finding the following hour was now up for my listening pleasure.

Chad Quick

Louisville, Kentucky

March 22, 2013

Comments: It was pure serendipity, flowing from research on Henry Morgan, that I happened upon your site!

I was the junior member of the promotion department at WJAR-TV in Providence in the late ’60s. I’d regularly visit our AM sister station down the hall on weekends where, during quiet moments, the duty engineer would help me study for my amateur radio license. But Monitor was coming down the line and it was so darned riveting that I couldn’t pay attention to my studies. The problem was only solved by moving the sessions to the TV transmitter!

Gosh, Monitor was good radio—no, make that great radio!

And your website does the Monitor service justice!

(as per NBC-TV TWX closings of the era) Regards,

Jim Gershman, K1JJJ

March 11, 2013

Comments:  Since discovering your website, I’ve been intrigued and fascinated by Monitor and how it reported the nation and the world, as well as went places and did things.

I’d like to see Monitor revived in some way by Dial Global. I think it would be a great way for radio listeners across America to get to know the weekend world. I hope Dial Global will revive the program.

Richard Clifford
Milton, Mass.

February 10, 2013

Comments:  Dennis,

I love the site, and just found out about the new and improved Monitor book (Monitor: Take 2).  I’ll have to order that soon.

Looking forward to more from your great site in the coming year.  I’ve had to work the past couple of Saturdays, and played some of the Monitor tapes at work.  It was as if it was 1969 or 1972 again.


Have a great New Year!


Jim Amato

December 28, 2012

Comments: Hi, Dennis,


Thank you for another great year of airchecks from the best radio program — Monitor.


I look forward to enjoying more from this terrific tribute site in 2013.


Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and Monitor fans everywhere.

Larry Stoler

Stamford, Connecticut

December 22, 2012

Editor’s note: And a Merry Monitor Christmas to Monitor fans everywhere!

Comments: Dennis,

I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful surprise it was to hear the Frank Sinatra Jr. segments from December of 1972 again. He was just great…and he was not the only guest host to sit at the Monitor mike that holiday season. Cindy Adams and Art Fleming each also did a fine job. That was some of the best Christmas radio listening that year.

You couldn’t beat Monitor for great radio enjoyment during the Holiday Season…or for that matter, ANY season.

Keep the great sounds coming.

Hugh Christopher Henry

December 2, 2012

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I just purchased “Monitor Take 2” for my Kindle and I am enjoying it so very much. So many wonderful memories of the best radio program in the history of radio.

I was an NBC Page after my discharge from the Air Force and then In 1956-1957 I was a staff announcer at KGU in Honolulu and did three or four reports for Monitor.

1. The 15th. Anniversary of the Battle for Midway. I traveled to Midway Island aboard a military plane in order to produce & narrate a segment using a windup tape recorder.

  1. Bob Cummings & Art Linkletter at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel prior to their departure for Australia.
  2. Chick Daniels, the Number One Beach Boy at Waikiki.I went on to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a photojournalist, eventually winding up as an ‘EMMY’ awarded photojournalist at CBS Network News during the Walter Cronkite era. A most wonderful and fulfilling career.My book was published in 2010 titled:  Breakfast in Paris, Lunch in Rome, Dinner in London. Reflections in the eye of a CBS, ABC, NBC Photojournalist.Thank you for your great web page where we can now read and listen to some of the wonderful sounds and events as broadcast by the Monitor communicators.All the best,Phil G. Giriodi

October 22, 2012

Comments: Hi, Dennis.


I just finished listening to Jim Lowe discussing religion, music and youth on the Sounds of Monitor page.  Very interesting.


I always liked Jim Lowe as a broadcaster.  He was great on Monitor and during all the years he was heard on WNEW-AM in New York.


When you listen to some of the airchecks on the site, you realize that Monitor had a way of keeping up with what was going on in the world at the time the programs exhibited were originally heard.


It’s also worth noting that in 2012, some of the same issues are being debated as was the case during the 20 year run of “network radio’s greatest program.”


Thank you for posting this very interesting hour of Monitor.

Larry Stoler

Stamford, Connecticut

October 19, 2012

Comments: Hi, Dennis.


I continue to enjoy the Monitor tribute site.  The entries on the Sounds of Monitor page alone get better all the time.


I just finished listening to Bill Cullen.  I always enjoyed his work.


I didn’t realize how much Bill contributed to radio alone.  I knew of his time on Monitor and the morning show he hosted on WRCA which later became WNBC.  A truly great talent and a broadcaster who belonged on Monitor.


Finally I was sad to learn of the death of Miss Monitor.  As others have said, she contributed so much to the longevity of the program and will always be one of the most remembered voices.


Keep the site going.  There are so many who appreciate what you’re providing online. A place for a tribute that Monitor deserves.

Larry Stoler

Stamford, Connecticut

October 18, 2012

Comments: Great memories here — LOVE the Sounds of Monitor page.  It really takes me back.  Weekend mornings in the 1960’s at my grandparents’ house, the kitchen radio was always tuned to WDEF-AM in Chattanooga.  Are there any more of these incredible unscoped airchecks?

Anyway — here’s the trailer to the Dean Martin movie starring Miss Monitor.  Enjoy! 

Carson in Florida

October 14, 2012

Editor’s note: “Miss Monitor,” the lovely Tedi Thurman, performed in the trailer to the movie — not the movie. And, yes, we have more audio of complete Monitor hours that we will be putting on this website in upcoming months.

Comments: There was a recent death of someone connected with Monitor that, thus far, no one has mentioned here.So I thought I’d do so.

Auto racing reporter Chris Economaki, Mr. “Sport of Speed” himself, died Sept. 28, 2012 at the age of 91. He had a long career covering racing, and the entry on him in Wikipedia doesn’t even mention Monitor, perhaps because he worked for so many other organizations over the years, from ABC to CBS to ESPN.

I don’t even know how long his tenure at Monitor was, but I thought his passing should be noted.

Will Burpee

Springfield, Illinois

October 5, 2012

Editor’s note: Chris Economaki’s “Sport of Speed” segments were heard on Monitor for several years.  You can hear one of them on the “Sounds of Monitor” page, during the “Brad Crandall Hosts Monitor ’68” hour. 

Comments: Hi, Dennis:

What a wonderful book (Monitor: Take 2).   I’m so glad you took the time to document the whole Monitor experience.  Your love of the show came through on every page.

I’m 59 years old, so while I was certainly around during Monitor’s heyday, I unfortunately don’t remember the show too distinctly.  I remember hearing bits and pieces, particularly through the latter part of the show’s run.

Luckily, I made my way to your great web site and reacquainted myself with Monitor.  Thanks to your mp3 vault on the site, I have been able to listen to hundreds of hours of the show.  What a concept Monitor was.  Very exciting stuff going on there.  Gotta say, Gene Rayburn is probably my favorite communicator, but they all brought something to the table!  My only regret is that, since I was actually alive at the time, I didn’t take the opportunity to listen to more of Monitor.  I missed out in that regard!

Again, Dennis, thanks for writing the book.  It was a great inside account to the making (and unfortunately, demise) of one of the most innovative broadcasting “experiments” ever!

George Blum

October 2, 2012

Comments:  I was just a kid when I listened to Monitor in the car with the family when we would go on weekend outings. My father was always tuned in to the news, which my older siblings thought was boring. They wanted music. This was the late 50’s, early 60’s.

I enjoyed Monitor, and today, listened to the Monitor Beacon on your website, and it brought back some great memories, as only audio can.

Fast forward: my first career was in radio, and I worked in a follow up to Monitor, the NBC News and Information Service or NBC NIS. It was a nationwide, all news network that lasted a few years in the mid-1970’s. I worked at an affiliate in Wichita KS, where we had 24 minutes of national news backed up with 6 minutes of local news every half hour.

In later years I ended up in television for 3 decades, and now, I’m an attorney, but still remember Monitor.

Mike Owens

September 21, 2012

Editor’s note: The five letters immediately below were written in response to word that Tedi Thurman, “Miss Monitor,” passed away.

Comments: I’m sad  to  hear about the passing  of Tedi Thurman.  When I  got my first transistor radio I listened from time to time.  I  first  really started to hear Monitor on weekends when I was 13 yrs ago. Loved it. Listened on WNBC 660. Great radio.

I  remember David  Wayne, Nichols  and May,  the Beacon  sound and the exciting opening music.  If  it ever came back I would  listen. Tedi’s voice was  so wonderful.

Stephen Didovich

September 21, 2012

Comments: I’m writing to add my condolences on the passing of Tedi Thurman.

She was before my time — I didn’t discover “Monitor” until long after she’d left. In fact, I first learned about her through your website. It’s obvious I missed a lot by not finding the show sooner. Okay, I was only eight or so when I first heard “Monitor”, so I guess I can be forgiven for that.

But as another poster said, it seems like so many of the show’s stalwarts have passed on. So it’s all the more fortunate that your website, and book, came out in time to tap into the collective history and memories so many “Monitor” people have had. They may be gone, but we’ll always have their stories, and I thank you for collecting them, and for assembling these people.

On another note, I saw a post from last month by one Ken Artis of Black River Falls, Wis. The name jumped out at me, because while living in St. Paul, Minn. (where, of course, I listened to “Monitor” on KSTP), I’d sometimes pick up at night WTSO out of Madison, Wis., and a late-night talk show, “Nightline”, years before ABC took the name.

Someone by that name was the host! In fact, I have around somewhere a tape I made of the show’s opening and Ken’s opening words. I only recorded about a minute or so of it. Could that be the same person? “Ken Artis” is a distinctive enough name that my guess is it must be. Can you or Ken, assuming he sees this, confirm?

Will Burpee

Springfield, Illinois

September 19, 2012

Comments: Dennis, I am so sorry to hear about Miss Thurman. She was terrific.
Please convey my condolences to her family.

Hugh Christopher Henry

September 18, 2012

Comments: I was just thinking about how almost all of the Monitor crew is gone now.

Luckily, you got a chance to meet many of them and were able to write the books, set up the website, and hold the reunion and they got to see that. I imagine that they didn’t realize how important their efforts were to the post-WWII generation until you let them know.

And, with all the clips on the website, it is almost “only yesterday.”

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

September 18, 2012

Comments: Hi, Dennis!


Sorry to learn about Tedi Thuman, as she was unique in so many ways.

You and I and a lot of other folks attended that first and only Monitor reunion that you organized at the new Hurley’s on July 14, 2004.  Like
yourself, I won’t soon forget her appearance at that wonderful gathering of talented broadcasters, writers and producers.
I’m sorry to hear the sad news but nonetheless, thank you for passing it along.

Bob Gibson

September 18, 2012

Editor’s Note: Bob Gibson was an outstanding New York City radio newscaster who worked on Monitor and who anchored the last Monitor news update on the program’s final broadcast in 1975.

Comments: Hi, Dennis:

I was so happy to find your book (Monitor: Take 2) in digital format.  I bought it immediately and am so glad I did.

I’m about a third of the way through, and it’s a great book.  Thanks for the web site and clips, too!

George Blum

September 13, 2012

Comments: I was very happy to find the Monitor website.


I worked as a director for NBC Radio during 1967 and 1968.   Also was working for Al Capp as a ghost writer.


It was an honor to work on that show.
Ken Artis
Black River Falls, WI

August 9, 2012

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

It was 57 years ago yesterday (June 12, 1955) that “Monitor” made its debut.

It’s often been called “the show that saved network radio” (or at least the NBC Radio Network), and was quite successful for almost two full decades.

With NBC expanding in radio (having expanded their on-the-hour NBC News hourly newscasts distributed by Dial Global/Westwood One from one-minute each to a full five-minute ‘cast) and the network joining forces with Dial Global to launch a sports radio service, the question needs to be asked: Could “Monitor” work today??

On the one hand, it could. Given that many talk radio stations run “best ofs” on weekends, reviving “Monitor” could gain it quite a few affiliates—even if a handful of records are included. Quite a few hours of fresh programming every weekend could boost the weekend (and overall) listening to stations that carry a revived “Monitor”.

But on the other hand, some stations might not want to air such a multifaceted format that was (and would again be) “Monitor”.

Hopefully, the next NBC-Dial Global/Westwood One joint venture will in fact be a revival of “Monitor.” Properly put together, properly marketed to potential affiliates (I’d think stations now  carrying the NBC News/MSNBC hourly newscasts like WTKK-FM here in Boston would have first option of picking it up), and properly promoted to listeners by stations running it, a new version of “Monitor” can be as successful as the original.

Happy anniversary, “Monitor,” and here’s hoping you’ll be back someday soon.


Joseph Gallant
Norwood, MA

June 13, 2012

Comments: Hi, Dennis:
When I was growing up in the ’60s in semi-rural Michigan, I’d pick up Monitor at first at night. The Beacon, the personalities, the news readers — they were my connections to the outside world.
For several years in the late ’60s, the local AM rocker turned into a MOR radio station whenever Monitor was playing. It didn’t matter, it didn’t deter my listening. Rather, it enhanced it, as I could now listen to Monitor Saturday afternoons.
I’d ride with my dad, then drove myself, at night, listening to the AM radio with the Civil Defense markings on the slide rule dial.   It was our companion. Still miss it, and our nation needs a national program sans the pointed (or better yet, pointless) rhetoric which passes for dialogue these days.

Thomas M. Bodenberg

Brooklyn, New York

May 17, 2012

Comments: Thanks so much for posting all of the segments of Monitor.  How refreshing it is to hear intelligent radio — unlike today’s spiel.

Its almost mind blowing that some of the biggest names of the day hosted this series and it was all live.  Many of these people were also hosting television programs live several days a week in New York as well.  Today you would never see a “big star” hosting a radio program, let alone working six days a week.

I’m only 40 but I really enjoy classic game shows and found out about NBC’s Monitor by researching Gene Rayburn.  I really enjoyed hearing him as well as Bill Cullen, Monty Hall, Brad Crandall, Joe Garagiola, and my favorite, Henry Morgan.  It’s nice to see a site that appreciates Mr. Morgan.  Thanks again for sharing all of the segments with us.

Chad Quick

Louisville, Kentucky

May 3, 2012

Comments: OMG!!! It is so cool to have found this!

I worked at WBIA Radio (NBC), Augusta, GA, 1960-67 and again as program director 1972-75. “You’re On The Monitor Beacon” of course was the cue to run local breaks. Oh, what memories. Man, you’d hear that sound and throw down your Playboy magazine to not miss the break!
Charles Andrews

April 30, 2012

Comments: As exhaustive and labored as my analysis was (immediately below), I forgot to address Kenneth’s main question: “Did any of the Monitor communicators strive to play jazzier, hipper stuff?”

Without being quite as long-winded, the simple answer was “No.” Communicators weren’t disc jockeys. Most of them were never disc jockeys. Even those that were disc jockeys in a past life (Ted Brown, Gene Rayburn, Jim Lowe, Al Collins) didn’t operate like disc jockeys on Monitor. Many Monitor hosts were actors (Barry Nelson, David Wayne, James Daly) or newsmen (Frank McGee, Frank Blair, Morgan Beatty) or sports commentators (Mel Allen, Curt Gowdy, Jim Simpson, Lindsey Nelson) or talk show hosts (Brad Crandall, Walter Kiernan). About the only former disc jockey who put his stamp on any music on Monitor was Dave Garroway who was a jazz aficionado and crusader. He’d occasionally play a jazz record and comment on it.

For the most part, the structure of Monitor made it difficult for a communicator to have much, if any, input into music selection. For the first six years, there were two communicators on each segment. So, unless the communicator was an exceptionally strong personality, like Garroway (who almost worked like a solo host), the co-communicators worked in service of the concept and not vice versa.

Monitor was always tightly scripted. Hosts could ad-lib but only to a point. On the “Sounds of Monitor” page (on this website) there is a June 4, 1966, interview that Henry Morgan did with Long John Nebel. During the interview, Nebel tells Henry that he should ad-lib more, maybe even do 8 or 10 minutes. What Henry says about the necessity for maintaining the format gives you some idea of the problems involved in ad-libbing to any great extent. Doing a network show was much more complex than doing a local disc jockey show.

For example, besides the communicators, each segment had a producer, a director, a writer, and assistant director, an engineer, and a turntable engineer. And, all the music had to be cleared by NBC beforehand. This is not a formula for making personal musical decisions at the drop of a hat.

And, as most stations had, Monitor had a playlist of approved music for the writers to insert between segments and to use as fill during times that were optional for stations to fill, such as for two minutes after News on the Hour, a minute at approximately :15 and :45 and five minutes at :30. The music on these playlists was probably selected from Billboard MOR charts and featured recognizable artists who supposedly had wide appeal. They were considered to be safe to broadcast on any affiliate.

Finally, except for recording an interview or two, I don’t think that the communicators were involved in the preparation of the show during the week. So their input would be limited to the time they were on the air. For the most part, Monitor was a group effort rather than just the one guy behind the mike.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

April 29, 2012

Comments: Dennis,

You mentioned Monitor’s “music problem” when you commented on the post from Kenneth Schwartz in the Guestbook (below). I wouldn’t agree with his classification of Monitor music as lousy. That’s a matter of taste, of course; but back in the ’50s and ’60s, many MOR stations (which were often network affiliates) played those artists. ABC stations might be top 40 with news at 55; but, to my memory, NBC and CBS stations catered to adults by highlighting news at the top of the hour and playing middle-of-the-road music that an older audience that grew up in the ’30s and ’40s would find more familiar. For many years, Bob Wogan was responsible for music on Monitor, be it band remotes or recorded music.

Of course, I don’t think that Pat Weaver and newsman Jim Fleming thought that there would be as much music on Monitor as there later turned out to be, even in the ’60s. But, the affiliates were worried about there being too much talk on Monitor and that it was “too east of the Hudson” for mid-America. Personally, I always thought that Monitor should have very little music and more talk. But that was just the opposite of the “less talk, more music” mantra that was gaining traction in radio management circles in the television age. This is especially true for network radio, where long-form programs were replaced by hourly newscasts and increasingly short features, like Emphasis and Dimension.

So, giving into affiliate requests, Monitor played more popular music in between features, almost as fill. In the beginning, the music on Monitor was special: live band remotes rather than popular recordings. Later, Monitor fell into an alternating music-feature-music-feature format. That format was somewhat easier to program and cheaper to produce with fewer features.

In the early days of Monitor, as Pat Weaver proudly pointed out, the content dictated how long a feature was, “where the items are as long as they need to be or as short.” By the late ’60s, the features were all much shorter. (To get an idea of what could be done with longer segments, you need only listen to the extended interview Henry Morgan did with Long John Nebel from June 4, 1966 on the “Sounds of Monitor” page on this website. No music, all interview. Of course, it was tucked away in the last half hour on a Saturday night.) This is not to say that the longer feature was entirely abandoned; but it was usually reserved for the nighttime segments, for example, the Frank McGee “date specials” on Sunday nights.

One problem with playing more music was that, as time went on, many NBC stations dropped the MOR format, which was becoming less popular. So, you had a situation where stations that programmed country or top 40 during the week were running 16 hours of Monitor with entirely different music on the weekends. And stations don’t like to break format.

Another problem with bowing to the affiliates’ demand for more music was that Monitor became less special. Stations didn’t need a network to play music for them on the weekends. And take up large portions of their commercial inventories. So, by the early ’70s, we ended up with Custom Monitor. In major markets, even NBC O&Os abandoned the live feed of Monitor with the Monitor hosts and music for just running the network spots and feature segments (recorded earlier in the week) in local programming. I wonder how many NBC stations actually played the features, when it came down to it.

As radio became less and less network-oriented for programming in ‘ 60s and ’70s, Monitor and network-affiliation eventually became a liability. Stations wanted to program their entire schedules with local programming. Nowadays, the situation has reversed with stations looking to networks to program large blocks of time. And, constant talk has come back into fashion.

I’m of the opinion that the “music problem” greatly contributed to and hastened Monitor’s demise.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

April 28, 2012

Comments: I’ve been listening to an MP3 of Monitor highlights from OTRCAT in the car. It made me want to climb into the back seat and let my dad drive because it took me back to being a kid in the ’60s when he listened exclusively to Monitor in the fall and winter, and Monitor and Orioles games in the spring and summer.

I vividly remember hearing Gene Rayburn, Ted Brown, Henry Morgan, and John Bartholomew Tucker, and of course the unforgettable Beacon. It was also Monitor that turned me into an old radio fan with the X Minus One rebroadcasts.

One thing that really stands out listening to these old shows for the first time after so many years is how lousy the music was – all that Roger Williams-Jack Jones- Ray Conniff stuff. It sounds like the Monitor producers went out of their way to play music that is sure not to offend anyone. Did any of the Monitor communicators strive to play jazzier, hipper stuff?

Great website and long live Monitor.

Kenneth Schwartz
Gaithersburg, Maryland

April 22, 2012

Editor’s note: Yes, the “music problem” bedeviled Monitor’s producers for years. There was no way to please all of NBC Radio’s affiliates — who had a variety of music formats of their own — so Monitor always tried to go “middle of the road” in its selections.

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I’ve visited this site many, many times … pretty much from the days when about all you had was the Beacon sound effect, and I’ve collected and enjoyed everything you’ve posted.  But I had to write to thank you specifically for the Spring 2012 shows from 1958 which I discovered this morning and listened to this afternoon. They are as precious gold to me, perfectly capturing the feel of radio in that period!

It was at about that time I fell in love with radio while listening to a “Holiday” monitor on Washington’s Birthday. I believe it would have been in 1957 or 58. I’m not interested in selling my soul, but might think twice about it if it involved the possibility of hear that broadcast again. Absolute magic! They were doing live remote reports from Mount Vernon, and, as they toured us through the house, I completely fell head over heels with radio.

I have been in love with audio ever since, and after a long career as a draftsman, I finally broke into radio in 1996 at a 100,000 watt talk station in Bangor, Maine. I started as a weekend board-op and within two years was Operations Manager, doing absolutely everything except sales and billing.  I left in 2001 shortly after the 9-11-2001 attacks because I did not appreciate the callous attitude of Clear Channel in the aftermath of the tragedy. (They had bought the station 16 months earlier, and their vast resources did nothing to improve radio here.)

From there I went to work at K-Mart until there was an opening in Master Control on the television side at Maine Public Broadcasting (5 TV and 7 radio transmitters) where I worked until my retirement last June.  So the past 16 years of fulfilling media work had their roots in a program called Monitor.  It was heard by a fascinated 7 or 8 year old boy, who remains fascinated thanks, in large part, to your stalwart efforts. Thank you, sir!

Louie Johnson
Bangor, ME

March 4, 2012

Comments:  Dennis,

The thing that amazes me about Monitor was the fact that you could hear the broadcast across the entire country, and it was the same hosts, features, and music that you’d hear on your local station!


Sort of like an early version of Satellite XM Radio.  I remember riding with my Mom Dad and siblings in Dad’s ’64 Ford Fairlane during the mid- and late-Sixties, listening to those familiar voices and features when travelling so many miles from home.  It was most comforting and enjoyable.


Thank you for bringing back so many wonderful memories.

Bill Hershkowitz

March 4, 2012

Comments: I’m so glad you continue to amass the great clips and segments from Monitor. I honestly don’t know how you it.
I was born in October 1950, just at the tail end of radio’s Golden Age. I was born 2 1/2 months premature and weighed barely 2 lbs. at birth. The pediatrician reccomended to my parents that they put a radio in my room, which they thankfully did. So I’m a child of radio.
My first memories of my bakelite Sentinal radio were listening to The Breakfast Club, Jack Benny in the mornings, and NBC’s Monitor. I felt like everyone at Monitor was talking to me. I told my Grandfather about it and soon he was listening to it on his radio, and in his upstairs workshop on his Philco console. And even my dad listened to it on his car radio.

I’m grateful for all the hours I spent listening to Monitor — it opened my mind to a great many things and helped me in school. We don’t have anything close to that today. Please keep up the fine work, and I hope you can unearth some Fibber McGee & Molly segments and some clips with David Wayne.
Rob Crawford
Sacramento, California

March 1, 2012

Editor’s note: Check out our latest Monitor audio offerings (Spring 2012) on the Sounds of Monitor page.  Fibber and Molly are there.

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I just wanted to wish you a Merry Monitor Christmas!!!! I hope everything is going well for you.

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

December 25, 2011

Editor’s note: And a Merry Christmas to you, Don, and to other Monitor fans everywhere!

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

This is your Monitor friend Rose from North Platte. I especially enjoyed the date special for December 10, 1961, before World War II. Frank McGee was so wonderful and did so very well as an announcer–none better!

I again thank you for this wonderful site and for the fantastic Monitor audios I have been able to download!

Rose Mary Binder

North Platte, Nebraska

December 18, 2011

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Thanks for posting the Frank McGee “Date Specials” on the “Sounds of Monitor” page.  They are prime examples of the fine writing and production values that distinguished Monitor during that period.

The Stephen Foster vignette in particular stands out. It is a timeless example of the enduring quality of a piece that obviously was prepared with  great care and affection for its subject.  It is indeed a magnificent piece of work.

Dan Everett

Arlington, Massachusetts

December 10, 2011

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I’m just checking in as I do periodically, and I notice that you are up to 240,103 hits. Wow!!!! I remember when you started at hit #1.

Dennis, please keep up the great work keeping Monitor alive. I for one as a Monitor lover really appreciate your continued efforts and your efforts over the years.

Thank you, Dennis!!!!!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

November 4, 2011

Editor’s note: Don wrote the very first letter to this website after its premiere in October 2000.  

Comments: Brings back memories of riding in the car with my Dad in the very early 60’s (when there were Civil Defense symbols on the AM radio dial)  I was about 7 years old at the time. I always asked my Dad how they made that (Monitor Beacon) sound. He worked for General Electric at the time in Syracuse, NY.

I really, really miss those days…..

Joe Calandra
Sarasota, FL

August 30, 2011

Comments:  Monitor kept me company on many a lonely Saturday night in 1971.

I was in my first apartment — a sitting room/study area and bedroom. I had an old tube radio which was tuned to WNBC 66, which had a great signal into Waterford, CT. As I often didn’t have a date and didn’t feel like driving around or going to the mall, I would listen to Monitor. It helped me keep my mind off how bad I felt and even gave me a few laughs.

We could use another Monitor these days.

Bob Paine
Richland, WA

August 24, 2011

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

Well, it’s Sunday, June 12, 2011. Today is Monitor’s birthday, I do believe. So Monitor would be celebrating its 56th birthday today.

Happy Birthday, NBC Monitor!!!!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

June 12, 2011

Editor’s note: Yes, indeed, Monitor was born 56 years ago today — at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, 1955. That first progam was an eight-hour broadcast from Radio Central in the RCA Building in New York.  What Pat Weaver created that day became network radio’s greatest program — one that 30 million Americans listened to each weekend for decades.  Happy birthday, Monitor!

Comments: Dennis,

I have to agree with some of what Russell Freund had to say (see the letter just below). There was too much music and too few features toward the end of the ’60s. But the real decline came in the ’70s. Henry, I think, was getting older and mellower. He even mentioned that a couple of times on the air. On the June 4, 1966, segment you have on the site in which he interviewed Long John Nebel, Henry mentions his mellowing jokingly; but the broadcast wars seemed to have taken their toll on him.

(During that interview, Nebel suggests much the same thing that Russell spotted. Nebel even suggests that Henry do a 15-minute segment of just Henry talking. And, in fact, Henry did a series of short curmudgeonly essays, a la Andy Rooney, that were sprinkled throughout the weekend. An example of one shows up in the March 19 Morgan segment, also on the site.)

But, every once in a while, the old dry Morgan wit showed through. I remember, one Saturday night, he was reading an interminable list of college football scores. Why he was doing sports and not a sportscaster, I don’t know. But, eventually, the monotony got to him. He just stopped in the middle of the recitation and said: “I’m boring myself.” And that was the end of the sportscast.

But, the real irony with all the music being played is that the music was quite often incompatible with what a station formatted the rest of the week. No Monitor music list could please all affiliates. Besides, every station had access to music, but not every station could afford Henry or the other talent and interviews available through the resources of NBC. But, sadly, by the ’70s, there was no reason for a station to take the program. It wasn’t “going places and doing things.” It was nothing special. It became a DJ/music show.

But it was cheaper.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

February 15, 2011

PS. Not that I didn’t love Ted Brown. (He was great and funny.) But he was doing the Ted Brown show. And Russell is right about the last weekend’s music. It was the music of the era; but much of it from the ’50s was not what was played on Monitor.

Comments: It’s great to have 3 more hours of Morgan on Monitor from ’67.

But — and note that I’ve only heard the first 45 minutes or so — this confirms my impression that Monitor was starting to lose its game a little around this time.  Too much dreary M-O-R music and not enough Morgan.  It was almost criminal to hire a guy with his abilities and give him so little of substance to do.  I did laugh at the “beautify your local dump” line, and the Robert Vaughn (what a suave guy) and Mrs. America interviews are fascinating.

But that music policy … ironic that when the service went off the air in ’75, and they spent that last weekend looking back, in order to evoke the various periods of Monitor’s history they had to play music that, for the most part, Monitor wouldn’t have played at the time.
Anyway, thanks for making this material available.  Very interesting stuff.

Russell Freund

Chicago, IL

February 14, 2011

Comments: Dennis,  here’s a goodie for you.

I know you’ve heard of Willard Scott, but you might not know that long before he became the weatherman on Today, he was on the NBC radio station in Washington DC, WRC, along with his partner, Ed Walker.

They are best known for their long-running “Joy Boys” show, but in the ’50s they did an afternoon radio show called “Two At One.”

This clip is from that program. It’s a take-off on Monitor, which they called “Janitor.”


Scott Marinoff
San Diego

November 18, 2010

Comments: I am listening to the new Christmas Monitor audio.  The Christmas Eve 1961 is all that I have managed to hear yet, but I will get more listening in the days to come.  I am amazed at the high quality of this tape!

Being a native Alabama kid, we well remember Frank McGee during his days on Montgomery television (WSFA).  Alabama people who watched Channel 12 were so proud that a guy who they knew was now on the network for the entire country to enjoy.  For years people spoke highly of Frank’s talents.

Thank you for your wonderful website!


Chris D. Pope

Atlanta, GA

November 6, 2010

Comnments: Monitor is tied for first place on my all-time favorite radio program chart with Art Bell – Coast To Coast AM.


As a kid growing up in the 60’s I was raised on television and didn’t pay much attention to radio untill I was in Jr. High (’68 to ’70). Having been raised on TV — NBC, CBS and ABC were part of my cultural milieu, but on TV.


My Mom listened to KNBR San Francisco (NBC O & O) in her car. I was suprised to hear a featurre on the radio, “Chet Huntley Reports” (this wasn’t a Monitor spot — but a weekday feature feed from the network). I remember saying to her, ” NBC is on the radio too?!”


Now radio had my attention; well of course I was becoming a teenager — but unlike my peers I became a big fan of KNBR (everyone else in my age group listented to KFRC top 40, they thought I was pretty “square” in the lingo of that day.)

Because KNBR also carried the Oakland A’s, after the games I discovered the weekend format coming from the network, and was fascinated with its similarity in format structure to the Today Show. NBC on the radio was cool.

These days I notice the similarity of ” All Things Considered ” (NPR) format with Monitor’s structure also.

Monitor and KNBR (whose DJ’s made explicit identification with NBC even in local programing) inspired my interest in braodcasting — and led to my commnications degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Anegles. I’m a psychotherapist now (NBC radio may have inspired that too as Dr. Joyce Brothers was one of my favorite spots.)


Of course as radio fanatic teenager, seeing Radio Central on the NBC tour in New York was a moderate thrill too.


BTW — KNBR is the only former nbc radio o & o that kept  its call letters (which in fact stood for NBC Radio), after being sold – likely because it had no TV sister station with the same call letters.


Greg Brown

San Francisco

November 1, 2010

Comments: Thank you for all the mp3’s. I’ve been working in radio since 1983, but I actually like to relax on the weekends and listen to these entire hours of Monitor. I’ve listened to all you’ve offered, many times. Any chance of posting more? The earlier the year, the better.

Thank you for your effort.


October 11, 2010

Editor’s note:  Stay tuned, Dave. More “Monitor” audio is on the way to this website, starting next month. 

Comments: Congratulations on the anniversary of the “Monitor Tribute Pages” and thanks for the wonderful memories!

I’m enjoying the MP3 versions of “The First Fabulous 50” broadcasts — I heard them in 2005 when you had them in the low-fidelity RealAudio format, and actually recorded them on my computer, but it’s nice to hear them in better quality audio.

Peter Kappesser

September 2, 2010

Comments: Hi, Dennis!
I’m so glad I found your site couple of days ago.  Didn’t sleep much since then; been busy reliving my experiences in the early days!  I’m talking about serious happy memory time.    We all had more fun than you can possibly imagine!  ‘Getting paid to play!’
Some of the early participants on Monitor also included:  Mike Wallace, Margaret Truman, Bob Haymes, Meredith Willson and Jack Costello ‘n’ Freddie Collins, announcers.
We also had production people I don’t see listed elsewhere, Cal Darnell (brother of actress, Linda) and Al Landsburg.
Gene Garnes Sr was the very best friend a young man could have.    He is the technical genius who kept things going through the years.  At the time, I was the youngest Engineer at NBC .  I was so lucky!  The last time I saw young son, Gene, he was about 4 in Farmingdale.

He’s also lucky!  – had the best dad in the world!
With love to all!
Ray Gray

August 29, 2010


Comments: Thank you for a wonderful website filled with memories of my early years in radio.

I worked at WHO AM 1040, 50,000 watt station in Des Moines, Iowa in the mid – late 60’s as a studio board operator .  I “monitored” Monitor on Saturdays and Sundays.  Reading local commercial, local weather, news and sports.  I learned to keep one eye on the revolving second hand on the clock and my other eye on the “live copy book.”

When I went on to create my own radio show, I used the manners, gestures, vocal gate and humor I learned from the announcer and writers from NBC Monitor.

Best Regards,

Steve Gibbons

August 29, 2010

Comments:  Dennis,
Thank you so much for including the two Kraft family specials that aired on NBC Radio in 1978 and 1979.
I was fifteen years old when the first special aired on our local Chicago station WMAQ 670 AM, which sadly was killed in 2000 because of radio take-overs.
I have the show from 1978 but I only had a  single mic mono tape recorder which I placed in front of the speaker of my radio so the sound quality wasn’t very good.
Thank you again for including these two memories.
Richard Bilek
Chicago, IL

August 26, 2010

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

Enjoyed the clip of “Monitor 1968” with Gene Rayburn , especially because it was an aircheck from the old WCOP AM/FM (now respectively WWDJ-AM and WZLX-FM, no longer jointly-owned or operated) in my hometown of Boston .

Within a year or so of this clip, WCOP-AM had flipped to country-music, and while WCOP-AM remained an NBC affiliate, “Monitor” had been banished exclusively to FM.

It’s also no surprise that there as a St. Joseph’s Aspirin commercial during the local WCOP newscast; at the time, Plough, Inc. (manufacturers of St. Joseph’s Aspirin) owned WCOP. During the 1960’s, were one to listen to WCOP for a while, one would inevitably hear lots of Plough commercials (St. Joseph’s, Di-Gel, and during the Summer, Coppertone and Solarcaine).

I’ve enjoyed all of the “Monitor” clips, but I enjoyed this one the most because it featured a local cutaway from what was my hometown NBC radio affiliate. Thankfully, WCOP’s local newscasts had the same sounder as the NBC “News On The Hour” did at the time!

Best Wishes,
Joseph Gallant

June 21, 2010

Comments: I was sorry to read about the death of Charles Garment.  I had heard of him but I didn’t know he lasted so long as a writer on Monitor.
Everyone who posted on the NY Broadcast History Board had nice things to say about him.  Obviously he had quite an effect on everyone who knew him.


I’m glad to see that the Monitor tribute site is alive and well.  I haven’t been there in a while only due to the fact that there is so much to read and look at online.  Before you know it, you’ve killed a bunch of hours and there’s still more to check out on the net.


I left radio other than doing a show on a non-commercial listener supported station in CT a couple of times a month if I’m not preempted by fundraising or other reasons.


Unfortunately as the bad moves continue regarding what makes good radio, it’s not worth being in the commercial end of the industry these days.  I never thought I would feel this way but I didn’t leave radio.  Radio left me.


All the best and keep the website for network radio’s greatest program going.  So many of us appreciate the time and hard work you put into it.
Larry Stoler

May 9, 2010

Editor’s note:  Our friend Charlie Garment passed away on March 26, 2010, at the age of 92.  We did not learn of it until this past weekend. He was a linchpin of Monitor for nearly its entire run.  He was also a nice, funny, warm man, whom we were so privileged to visit twice in New York —  including the Monitor reunion in 2004.  After that, we talked often by phone. We miss him dearly. 

Comments: What a great site.

I wrote in six years ago about Monitor. Again, I have to say that this Website brought back many memories of listening to Monitor while growing up in Royal Oak, Michigan. I heard Monitor on WWJ in Detroit for many years. Monitor was one of the reasons why I wanted to get into radio.

Unfortunately, by the time I grew up and got into radio, program directors thought ” Monitor -like” programs would be tuneouts. I really enjoyed Ted Brown, Gene Rayburn, Henry Morgan and other Monitor hosts.  Funny, I never knew Big Wilson had been a Monitor host. I was a guest on Big’s show many times from Cape Canaveral when Big did mid-days on WIOD in Miami.

Everybody looked like they had fun doing ” Monitor.” It is too bad radio went the wrong way in their programming and unfortunately Monitor will not be with us again. But as many broadcast managers would say, “well, that’s radio.” It is because of such attitudes and lack of ” Monitor ” like programs are why I left the broadcasting business. Thanks again for a great site!!

All The Best.

Jim Burns

Fairfax, Virginia

April 15, 2010

Comments: I hadn’t been born yet when Monitor started, and during the younger salad days in Southern California, I was never aware of Monitor (shame on me three times). I’d heard KNX, KFI, XTRA ( Los Angele ‘ first all-news station, pre-dating KNX’s switch to that format by several years) and KOWN in Escondido. Once we moved to Georgia , I finally discovered Monitor on Atlanta’s WSB. A weekend treat for the ears.


Monitor gave everybody something to laugh at, something to think about, something to relax and enjoy. It was classy, never vulgar, never obnoxious. Reliving the sound clips on this site blows me away. Superb job of archiving this terrific stuff.


Christopher Cook

Cumming, Georgia

April 7, 2010

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Just thought I would check in as you now have as of this writing 210,299 hits. I think I was your first email entry. As always, keep up the good work.

Don Sphuler

Fontana, California

April 3, 2010

Comments: Yes, it was 3 1/2 decades ago at 5:58pm (eastern) that NBC Radio’s Monitor broadcast that famous ‘beacon’ sounder for the last time, ending a nearly 20-year run.

Many of you joined me in attending the first Monitor Reunion at the “new” Hurleys in July of 2004, an event put together by one Dennis Hart who may well be the biggest, (publicly known), Monitor fan, and a program that he points to as prompting him to get into the broadcasting business.

When I wrote to Dennis earlier in the month to mention the date January 26th, one which I sensed he knew all too well because of the extinction of his favorite radio program, he sent this response which I thought I’d share with you.

Hello, Bob,

It seems, really, like only yesterday — or at most, last month — that Monitor had its last day. I remember everything about that day, including what the weather was like here in my part of California — and I remember having tears in my eyes when JBT signed off the last live hour of Monitor.

And radio, honestly, has never been the same, or as good, again.

Many thanks for writing, my friend!

The “JBT” reference in Dennis’ note was to the affable John Bartholomew Tucker who was at the Monitor microphone for that last hour.

For now, I offer regards and best wishes to all of you from south Florida…

Bob Gibson

January 26, 2010

Editor’s note: Yes, this date is the 35th anniversary of Monitor’s last broadcast on NBC. And, yes, I wrote that note in response to Bob’s letter, and I meant every word of it. And, yes, Bob anchored the last “NBC Update” on Monitor at 5:30 p.m. ET on that last Sunday.

Comments: At age 66, I remember Monitor well.

I grew up in metropolitan New York , hearing Monitor on WNBC/WRCA, AM-660.  I joined the Navy in 1962 and in 1963 found myself of shore duty in the Philippines, where the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) had a station.  I joined the staff of volunteers and had a blast playing records and reading news off the teletype.

It was a great day when we got a letter saying we would be getting Monitor as part of our weekly transcription packages.  The packages were called “Radio Units,” and they were numbered by the week of origination in Los Angeles … RU 63-12, etc. Monitor only amounted to one hour of the RU, but it was a familiar hour and we were happy to have it.

As I write this, I’m listening to an hour of Monitor featuring Ted Steele.  As you say, Ted Steele was a bandleader.  He had an additional “history” for us New Yorkers.  He had an afternoon variety show on WPIX-TV (Ch. 11).   WPIX was affiliated with the New York Daily News , which billed itself at the time as “New York’s Picture Newspaper,” hence their call letters,  P-I-X.  Searching on his name also yields a Dumont network TV show (1948?) but my family didn’t get our first TV until December 1951, so I don’t relate to that part of his career.
I enjoy hearing your Monitor recordings.  Thanks.


John Markham

Chula Vista CA (near San Diego)

January 18, 2010

Comments: I have recently rediscovered this great website. I am too young to remember the show really, but I sure have great proud memories of my grandfather, Walter Kiernan . He was an amazing man and we as kids really had no idea of the impact he had in broadcasting. We just knew he was a great grandpop!

I think of him often around January 8th since that is the day he passed away.

Thanks so much for the great site and for continually adding materials to it so more people can truly enjoy the Monitor broadcasts. Have a great 2010!

Clare Kiernan Lafferty

January 7, 2010

Editor’s note: Walter Kiernan had a brilliant career as a journalist, author, and radio-TV host. Among many other thngs, he hosted “Monitor” for several years after its debut in 1955. He died on Jan. 8, 1978.

Comments: I was probably the first kid on my block to have his own radio. Not certain when I got the radio, but I recall listening to it when I was about 4, which would be about 1955.

I remember listening to programs like The Breakfast Club, and morning radio on CBS, with clips of the Jack Benny Show. I vividly recall listening to Monitor. I remember my grandfather and my dad listening to it in the car on the way to somewhere.

Monitor was one of my favorite programs. Just listening for the Beacon while trying to tune in was a wonderful thing to hear. Once I heard the beacon, I knew I had the right station.

Thank you for the website, and I hope you continue to unearth many more of these programs. I enjoy your effort; have a wonderful Christmas.

Rob Crawford

December 24, 2009

Comments:  Thanks for a wonderful tribute to one of the best-ever network radio programs .  My Monitor memories are fond and numerous.

My buddy Ken Deutch sends his best wishes as well.

Hugh Christopher Henry

Brooklyn, New York

December 24, 2009

Comments: Hi,

I just read the comment about the Birthday song written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen (see letter just below).  I could never figure out why I couldn’t get the year right.  I remember where I was while listening to that weekend, but I thought it was a ten or fifteen year birthday, not the twelfth.

I am also a big Monitor fan. I have both of the Monitor books, Dennis.  Plus, I bought a CD with the various versions of the Monitor Beacon and jingles.  I find it interesting, though, that the one jingle that isn’t in the collection is the one that Buddy Rich recorded back in (what was it) 1966 or 67?  I still remember the lyrics to it, too.

I was lucky enough to have spent some time at two stations back in 1968-69 that carried Monitor.  Nothing else special to remember, but I was another one of those board ops that waited for those to cues for local inserts.
(By the way, how many other people are able to listen to the Beacon for more than two minutes without shutting it off?  I loved it.  I found the Beacon very musical.)

Thanks for this site.  I love it!!!

Mike Femyer

December 11, 2009

Editor’s note: The Buddy Rich recording is called “Monitor Theme,” and it’s on Buddy’s “Big Swing Face” album. You can hear that cut near the end of our “Monitor Themes” audio on our “Sounds of Monitor” page. 

Comments:   I have a particular memory of Monitor. It was the 12th birthday of Monitor. This was particularly memorable since it was the weekend where two composers improvised a song for Monitor.

Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote a birthday song throughout the entire weekend of Monitor segments. They ended close to 10 p.m. (Eastern time) and unveiled the song. Do you know, I can’t remember the song!

John O’Rourke
November 15, 2009

Editor’s note: Steve Lawrence sang that song live at Radio Central that Sunday night in 1967, backed up by NBC musicians. It began with, “Best wishes, we’re sending our best wishes, extending our best wishes, on your natal day. Here’s to Monitor and all the stations along the way….”

Editor’s note: The two letters below were sent to us as answers to the letter just below them. Thank you, Monitor fans!

Comments: Dennis,

Tell Scott Marinoff that the song at the end of the Frank Blair segment is “Skyliner” played by Les & Larry Elgart’s band. He can download it at: 

Charlie Barnet did it originally. He also wrote it in 1944.

The Manhattan Transfer did a vocal version which is available at: 

Louis Castaing
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

November 10, 2009

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

The instrumental music at the end of the 1965 Monitor segment with Frank Blair is Charlie Barnet’s theme song “Skyliner” played by the Les Elgart Orchestra.

Dan  Everett

Arlington, Massachusetts

November 10, 2009

Comments: The 1965 Monitor segment with Frank Blair has some familiar music near the end, but I can’t come up with the name of the tune.

The frustrating thing is that I know I know it — but the title just escapes me.

A friend told me it was “Two O’ Clock Jump” (but he also thinks he  once saw Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa climb aboard a UFO, so I’m not believing him!).

Monitor was a remarkable radio adventure and even niftier are the fans of the show, who I’m sure will know the song title (and probably even the artist, too).

Scott Marinoff
San Diego, CA

November 5, 2009

Editor’s note: Scott is talking about the “Frank Blair Hosts Monitor ’65” audio on the “Sounds of Monitor” page on this website. Can any Monitor fan identify the instrumental at the end of the clip?  

Comments: Hi, Dennis,
Just wanted to say thanks for posting the new stuff in the last couple of years on the site as mp3 files. It makes it much easier to hear the downloaded items via iTunes and getting them exported to CD and to my mp3 player.

Still would love to see you re-post items from a few years back around Christmas time of 2005 of New Year’s Eve of Big Band remotes that aired here in LA on KFI.

Deloy Sterns

September 20, 2009

Comments: Hey, Dennis,

I just want to chime in with my congratulations for 200,000+ hits.

I was your first guestbook email 200,128 emails ago!  Seriously, you have provided and continue to provide a great service for all of us who are NBC Monitor fans, and for that I am grateful and thank you for all of your hard work!

Thanks again, Dennis.

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

September 3, 2009

Editor’s note:   No, Don — thank you. You were, indeed, the very first person who wrote to us when this site premiered on Oct. 22, 2000 — and you have been a loyal correspondent over these many years. I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your writings.

Comments: Dennis,

Congratulations on 200,000 hits (recorded September 1, 2009, at 5:46 p.m. EDT). Today is just about a month shy of your site’s ninth anniversary. What I think is most impressive is that you are still posting new sound and information about Monitor even though it has been off the air for more than 30 years. And each month or so, new Monitor fans find the site even now.

I hope you keep discovering new audio clips. You never know where they may be hiding. If anyone has old reel-to-reel tapes that they can’t play any longer, we have open-reel machines that can. Send them in.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

September 1, 2009

Editor’s note: You Monitor fans are, indeed, amazing. You have given us many, many heartwarming stories about your listening experiences with Monitor over the years — you have sent us audio clips that you recorded and saved — and you continue to visit, support and tell others about this site. We are grateful — and we’ll keep this site going as long as there are people who still remember, or want to learn about, “the last great radio show” — NBC Radio’s incomparable, unforgettable “Monitor.”  Thank you all.

Comments:  I’m on the Monitor Beacon!

I was eight years old in 1955, living in Rockville Centre, NY, when Monitor came on the air.  I was already an avid radio listener as my parents didn’t want a TV in the house, and WNBC (WEAF when I was born and WFAN, now), at 660 Kilocycles, was one already of my favorite stations.

We had a huge 1946 Magnavox console radio in the living room (the first product to be labeled “high fidelity”) and I spent many weekend hours on my back with my eyes closed, my back of my head resting on the radio just in front of the pair of 15″ EM speakers, immersed in Monitor.  The Monitor Beacon became firmly embedded in my head and, until I found a recording of it on your site, today, I hadn’t heard it in over three decades , but each boop was instantly familiar and really brought me back in time.

Now, I think I’ll go listen to some Bob and Ray!  Thanks for creating this web site tribute to one of the greatest broadcast shows of all time.

Jeff Broido
Morristown, NJ

August 23, 2009

Comments: It only seems fitting that I should register an entry here on the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock since NBC News and Monitor were my primary connection to the event as it happened.

I was on a camping trip that weekend and I was fortunate enough to be near a station that carried Monitor. I listened to the coverage all weekend long.

Cris Allen

August 16, 2009

Comments: Hi,
I was an avid fan of NBC’s Monitor when I was growing up. I spent weekends at my Grandparents’ house during the summer from when I was 6 to 16. Grandma always had the AM radio on Raleigh N.C.’s affiliate WPTF 680 AM. I even listened to Monitor on my transistor radio at night back then.

Many thanks for having Monitor available on the Net for me, a loyal fan!
Robert Massengill

June 29, 2009

Comments:  It truly saddens me about Ed McMahon passing away.  Curiously in all of the newspaper, TV, and radio accounts, at least that I am aware of, not a mention was made of him being the Saturday afternoon host of Monitor in the mid/late 1960’s.

It is a shame that this particular part of his career has been overlooked.

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

June 25, 2009

Comments: Dennis:


I’m sure by now you have received an e-mail or more about the passing of Ed McMahon just earlier this morning.


While Big Ed was best known as Johnny Carson’s sidekick, he has also been known for his versatility as a broadcaster, part of which was his run from 1965-68 as a communicator on NBC’s Monitor.


I notice you have a few clips of Big Ed hosting Monitor scattered about, but due to his passing, I’m sure you can include some more next time you update the “Sounds of Monitor ” page.


Steve Byrd

St Petersburg, FL

June 23, 2009

Comments: Dennis,

You might pass on to Jim Poore (see letter immediately below) that the song he’s looking for is “The Drifter” by Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends. It’s available from Amazon at

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

June 23, 2009

Comments: Dennis,

I’m wondering if I could get some help from the Monitor musicologists out there?  On the latest Henry Morgan offering of 2/23/69, I can’t identify a song that airs at 44:09.  Henry back announces it as, ” The Drifters, Small Circle of Friends.”  I don’t know if that is correct.  I can’t find it anywhere.  Could someone please help me find it?

Thank You,

Jim Poore
Riverview, MI

June 20, 2009

Comments: Dennis,

Has it really been four years since the fiftieth anniversary of Monitor? This is like realizing we’re now almost 33 years from this nation’s bicentennial celebrations. I remember the parade of tall ships in New York harbor. Am I really that old? Sadly, Monitor wasn’t around to celebrate that bicentennial.

I re-listened to the first few minutes of that June 12, 1955, inaugural broadcast of Monitor. Ironically, one of the stories in the news was an impending strike at GM by the UAW. Did the eventual settlement contribute to GM’s current bankruptcy?

Quite a contrast: jumping from carnage at Le Mans to jazz at Hermosa Beach and then to San Quentin in the space of 20 minutes. Prison over-crowding was a problem even in 1955.

Dave Garroway, Morgan Beatty, Jim Fleming, Bob and Ray; later Henry Morgan, Walter Kiernan, Ben Grauer, Frank Gallop, Clifton Fadiman . The following weekend, Hugh Downs, David Brinkley, Frank Blair were added as hosts — pardon me, communicators. And contributors like Art Buchwald. And, of course, that weekend, the creator of Monitor and NBC’s most brilliant president: Pat Weaver. Both he and Fleming really understood the unique capabilities of broadcasting. Not just to replicate what had been done in vaudeville and the movies.

As Fleming described it: “NBC Radio Central is an information service which just happens to be using a communications facility which has heretofore carried radio ‘programs .’ It is important in building the new service that we do away with as many as possible of the old concepts, methods of presentation and time divisions. We should discard the word ‘radios.’ The fact that the receiving box is already in the subscriber’s home is an accident. Let’s assume that a new installation is necessary to tap this new service; the service, therefore, must be important and useful enough to attract such an installation.

“What does a man need to know to live a full life? His requirements are endless and we will not presume to fulfill them. What this service will do will be to bring him more essential information than he can obtain from any other single source.”

“We are more recent than television and we have an identity separate from what has been called ‘radio.’ We want people to say ‘I heard it on Monitor’ and in so saying to have a mental image of a place with vast communications potential presided over by the most able communicators available.”

That’s an idea worth celebrating even 54 years later.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

June 13, 2009

Comments: Dennis,


Today is June 12, 2009.  It was 54 years ago that Monitor debuted on NBC.


I’m sure that the late Sylvester Pat Weaver never could have imagined that his creation would have a 20-year run on the air, but today it remains the longest running network radio program.


Happy anniversary to you and all Monitor fans everywhere.


Larry Stoler
Stamford, CT

Comments: Dennis,


It has been a long time since I visited the Monitor site.  It is better than ever.


I just finished listening to Henry Morgan  hosting Monitor in 1969.  The more I’ve heard, the more I like him.


As always, the newscast is interesting.  Not only because it reminds you what was going on at the time in America but it reminds all of us how much the delivery of news and what is considered good journalism has changed.


The NBC Radio Network and Monitor are missed in today’s radio environment. Unfortunately we’ll never see a program like this again on regular over the air radio.


Thanks again for a wonderful tribute site to a show that deserves it.

Larry Stoler

Stamford, CT

May 26, 2009

Comments: Dear Dennis,

A while back you asked for feedback regarding the appearance of Don Imus on Monitor. Well, how could I pass this up?

I don’t have personal memories of Imus on Monitor. I was a bit young. But listening to the audio clips up against other hosts of Monitor I must say respectfully, that Imus was not a good fit. I don’t mean to offend loyal fans of Imus, but his presentation on Monitor is simply dreadful. He mumbles, he sounds grumpy, has a grating voice not suited for broadcasting, makes fun of “Monitor tips,” and sings along with music in a most annoying way.

In my opinion, his career has not been distinguished since the ’70s by that which benefits the well-being of the public. Rather, he has helped move radio broadcasting into a sad, bitter realm which divides rather than unites. It’s not surprising that his time on Monitor was rather short.

I can understand NBC experimenting with Imus, Robert W. Morgan, and Wolfman Jack as a way to help Monitor appeal to a new generation. But it looks to me like the network didn’t want to make the kind of financial investment in Monitor which had made it the ambitious program that it had been. By the time Imus showed up, Monitor sounded like a DJ show, something any local station could do. And it no longer was the show that utilized all the available technology, talent, and broad thinking that had made the program a kind of global real time ‘internet’ service of it’s time.

Thank you for this forum and the website.

Bill Lang

Portland, Oregon

March 28, 2009

P.S. Just finished the book. Great read.

Comments: Some of my favorite Monitior memories were those five minute “station breaks” at the bottom of every hour in which local stations were given a choice of five minutes of Monitor music or local news.


Some of my favorite songs that played during this feature were the ones that were so long that they took up the entire period:  Simon & Garfunkel’s ” Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Elton John’s ” Levon ” and “Honky Cat,” Barbra Streisand’s “Sweet Inspiration / Where You Lead,” Paul McCartney’s ” Uncle Albert / Admirak Halsey,” etc.

James Jagiello

March 5, 2009

Comments: Hi, Dennis:

As I was reading thru the messages, I noticed an April 14, 2007, message from Scott Marinoff, Imperial Beach, CA .  He asked about the instrumental played on the Big Wilson Last Show, First Hour following the NBC News on the Hour (on the “Sounds of Monitor” page on this website).   He said he played it back in 1973, but couldn’t remember the artist that did the “Song from M*A*S*H ”.

Tell him the artist is Al De Lory.  I’m not sure if it is available on vinyl, but I found it on a CD from Eric Records called “Hard To Find Orchestral Instrumentals .”  It is part of Eric’s Hard to Find series.  Hope this resolves his question.

Bill Leonoff, announcer (retired)

WIKB AM 1230

Iron River, MI (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula)

February 14, 2009

Comments: Hi, Dennis,
I am the niece of Joan Bender (former Monitor production staff member), and I wanted to inform you of her death this past December. Thank you for mentioning her in your posts.

I just heard about “Monitor Take 2” and will have to look it up. These were some of the years in Joan’s life that I would love to read about.

Many thanks for keeping this part of history alive and well!

Lisa Drew
Minneapolis, MN

January 13, 2009

Comments:  Hi!


I just celebrated my 50th birthday last week.  Yes, I remember Monitor as a kid growing up in Baltimore.  WBAL, 1090-AM, carried it on the weekend like most NBC affiliates at that time (the ’60s).  I also remembered when traveling, my father had it on the car radio.  Since it was on so many stations, you could always find it when one station got out of range.

Thank you for the posts.  I enjoyed hearing these little snippets of radio history.  I was particularly taken with Frank McGee’s New Year’s Eve 1961 broadcast.  To me, it illustrates how much things have changed, yet how they have also stayed the same.


Tom Welshko

Baltimore, Maryland

December 26, 2008

Editor’s note: Several of the letters below were sent in response to our posting of audio of Don “Imus in the Morning” hosting Monitor ’73. We asked for feedback, and Monitor fans gave it to us.

Comments: Dennis,

While it’s true — then and now — that not everybody likes Imus, it was fun to hear him on “Monitor”!

Say what you will about the guy, he’s got staying power. I can’t think of too many people who are still getting it done on the radio, 35 years later. Even with whatever faults he may have, I respect him for that — and for all the good work he does for kids with cancer, at the Imus Ranch .

PS — His food items and “green” cleaning products are really good, too. 

Scott Marinoff
Imperial Beach, CA

November 9, 2008

Comments: Hi, Dennis,
The Monitor “Imus” stuff was entertaining.  I agree with the people who say that was really not Monitor at all, except for the Beacon and other Monitor sounds. It was exactly like his show was at WNBC here in NY.
I find myself thinking, “Damn, why did GE sell off NBC Radio?” Monitor would have made a grand return.

Artie Carbo


November 6, 2008

Comments: Dennis,

I’ve been trying to be objective about Imus on Monitor. It’s been a struggle. I haven’t heard Imus since last year when he was banished from MSNBC . (He isn’t carried by a radio station in my market.) I found many portions of his recent programs interesting (the interviews), if somewhat cringe-producing. Still, I must admit that many of the comedic bits that he has done recently or back in ’73 were genuinely puerile and not necessarily in an endearing way.

So after a few very lame Nixon jokes (and I’m no fan of Nixon), I was ready to write this ’73 opus off as a sad demonstration of the decline of Monitor in its latter days. But, then came the interview with Norm N. Nite. Suddenly, I was learning something. This was much like Imus’ interviews with newspersons and authors on his recent WFAN/MSNBC radio programs. Imus is not a newsman doing a straight nonpartisan interview. Sometimes that gets the interviewee to let his guard down and express his (informed) opinion.

I would expect that Jim Fleming, the original executive producer and guiding light of Monitor, would approve of that. He wanted communicators (not necessarily newsmen, more commentators) like Dave Garroway , Henry Morgan, or Fred Allen (who unfortunately never was a host, but on Fleming’s original list).

As Fleming put it in a February 1955 planning memo during the development of Monitor:

“What does a man need to know to live a full life? His requirements are endless and we will not presume to fulfill them. What this service will do will be to bring him more essential information than he can obtain from any other single source. What kinds of information? A popular neighborhood philosopher has written that America has plenty of “know-how” and not enough “know-what.” He might have added “know-when” and “know-where.” Our service deals with those. By presenting authoritative spokesmen, skilled reporters, thoughtful philosophers and poets, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, actors, statesmen, politicians, teachers, clergymen, rebels, conformists and many thoughtful and responsible observers of man’s activity — by presenting them on a larger scale than ever before, by bringing them to the client/subscriber in context, we present a service which is an aid to a fuller life. We are necessary. Such a service needs a name to suggest its identity. As a working name I suggest: MONITOR 

MONITOR is an inquiring service which reports and weighs its reports, which communicates all manner of opinions and then weighs and asks its subscribers to weigh those opinions. MONITOR and its personnel are asked to think of the service as a process of thought not as the end of the thought.

MONITOR is finally a breaking of bonds in communications, a service that changes old habits of information transmission by breaking down the over-simplified presentations of the past, by suggesting and reporting in a manner to convey the idea that a man’s horizons are as broad as his imagination. We stimulate imagination.” 

The problem that I’ve always seen with Monitor was whether the format or the communicator was the more important. Looking at Fleming’s own words (and a philosophy probably shared by Pat Weaver ), I think Fleming thought that the format was purposely amorphous (the non-format format) so that it would be driven by the communicators’ interests and thirst for information. This was clear in the selection of the very curious Dave Garroway. The one example that you have on the site, the first anniversary program with Garroway as host shows how Garroway could be himself with understated humor but also explore a wide range of interests.

I think Fleming liked strong personalities. He wanted free exchange of views, not a program devoid of viewpoints.

Ted Brown was a memorable host;  but in the 70s, Monitor was running on the cheap. By then it was a DJ show. If NBC had kept the faith with Monitor and backed it with the same resources as it had during the 50s and the 60s (during  Steve Labunbski’s tenure as NBC president), Ted might have been a great host. But you can’t do Monitor by yourself, with even less resources than you had for a local radio program. Given the proper resources, today’s Don Imus might have even made the grade.

But in 1973, Don Imus had few resources and no guidance about what Monitor should be. Today, he is much more responsible and mature. It is 35 years later. But look at NBC’s chaotic management on the 70s: why rotate three hosts on Saturday night? How do you build an audience that way?

Ultimately, Monitor depended on hosts and resources (writers, newspersons, producers); but without leadership at the top, it was bound to fall off the tracks. Too bad that both Fleming and Weaver were gone before the end of the 50s. And the NBC suits were already looking for ways to rid itself of what they viewed as the radio network albatross on its profits.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Lousiana

November 2, 2008

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Good to hear about Imus/Monitor.  Just a note.  Imus was the only Monitor host who acknowledged, on the air, the producers, writers, technicians, directors, production assistants who were on his shift. A nice touch from the smart ass persona on his local WNBC program. Although I was a regular news anchor on Monitor I never worked with Imus on the Monitor show, just on the local station.  Lucky me.

By the way, do you have on tape the famous “Bullshit” moment between Gene Rayburn and Charlie Garment (brother of Leonard Garment during the Nixon Administration)? (Editor’s note: Yes, we do. It’s on the “Sounds of Monitor” page on this website.)

I’m still hosting a jazz show on WRHU in New York and I’m still hoping to get the last weekend of Monitor replayed on the station.  Maybe you could help me sweet talk the station into doing it.

Tune me in sometime online ( ) Thursdays 1p-4p New York time , and Sundays 2p-4p.   Keep up the great work with the Monitor sound.  We need you.

Take care,

John Bohannon

New York City

November 1, 2008

Comments: Don Imus is NOT my “cup of tea”. And from what I heard on that  segment added to the website some months ago, neither would be Robert W. Morgan.

Give me Gene Rayburn , Bert Parks , Ed McMahon , Jim Lowe , Joe Garagiola , Henry Morgan, Frank Blair, Bill Cullen , etc. ANYTIME!  Along with the music of Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Patti Page, etc. although I DO like SOME of the “top 40/rock” stuff Monitor began playing in the late 1960s/early 70s.

Mark J. Cuccia

November 1, 2008

Comments: Although I probably first heard of Don Imus as a contemporary of Wolfman Jack in connection with Monitor in the 1970’s, the first time I was really made aware of him was sometime in the mid-1970’s when he hilariously hosted a Fashion Show at the Greenwich (CT) Country Club on behalf of either the Greenwich Newcomer’s Club or the Greenwich Woman’s club.

I did became a regular listener to him on WNBC (later WFAN) in the 1980’s through much of the 1990’s, but abandoned his ship as the program became less and less entertaining when he began to shill all of the merchanidise that his both his brother Fred and his wife Deirdre had their names connected to.

In spite of that, and in spite of his diminished status today, I think he definitely belongs in the Monitor Hall of Fame along with my friend Don Russell of Stamford, CT.

Bob Wilson

November 1, 2008

Comments: Thanks so much for this web site.

I was almost 13 years old when Monitor went off the air. I grew up in the remote mountains of Southern Oregon 45 miles from the nearest radio station. Radio was extremely important to us in that time and place as we were fairly isolated. For several years we had no TV.

I found your site after having a strange memory of the Monitor Beacon coming over my mother’s transistor radio which was in the kitchen and was on whenever she was there. We heard Monitor via KMED 1440 am in Medford, Oregon. My mother listened every weekend and so I heard much of it too. Listening to the final hour with John Bartholomew Tucker from you audio clips brought back a vivid memory which I hadn’t thought of in years.

I recall my mother mentioning to some friends and to me on that cold January day in ’75 that “this is the last day of Monitor.” She was disappointed that the show was going off the air. And so we listened all afternoon. I went outside from time to time throughout the day to play and would come in to listen here and there. I heard Hugh Downs laughing during the interview with JBT and remember the music that was played in that final hour; and of course, JBT saying good bye and playing the Beacon for the last time.

It was almost eerie hearing this after all these years. Some of the better times for our family had Monitor as a soundtrack. Thanks so much.

Bill Lang

Portland, Oregon

October 27, 2008

Comments: This post isn’t exactly about “Monitor”, but it is NBC Radio Network-related and is something I think visitors to this website will be interested in.

Last year, through “inter-library loan” (where a patron of one public library could borrow a book from the collection of a neighboring library), I was able to borrow a book titled The Fourth Chime, published by NBC News in 1944.

The book’s layout and typefaces are very similar to the wartime Life magazine (although there is no evidence to suggest that anyone other than NBC News had a hand in publishing the book), especially since it has lots of photos, including a couple of rare shots of the NBC newsroom with newsmen “at work”.

The book looks at some of the major news events from 1931 through D-Day in June, 1944. Since that was the last event covered in the book, I suspect that it was published that summer, prior to the liberation of Paris that August.

The highlights of the book have to be a map showing the NBC Radio Network affiliates as of 1944 (this was shortly after NBC divested itself of the “Blue” network) and profiles of NBC News anchors and correspondents of the era.
Several of these correspondents would later contribute to “Monitor” in its early years.

I strongly recommend this book. If you can find a copy at a yard sale, an antiquarian bookstore or on E-Bay, go for it!

Joseph Gallant
Norwood, MA

August 22, 2008

Comments: Dennis,

My mother, Bee Baxter (radio name) was a Midwest broadcaster who made  her first appearance on radio on WOW Omaha at the age of 17 (in 1930).  After less than two tumultuous years, she took a breather, returned to her Minneapolis roots, and in 1935 joined the talent staff of KSTP-AM (1500), one of the most innovative (and first) commercial broadcasters in the NBC chain.  Bee Baxter had her own show on KSTP  — The Household Forum — and later became host of a late WWII program — The Saturday Smorgasbord.  At the end of WWII she left KSTP for Sioux Falls South Dakota where she couldn’t resist staying off the air, and wangled an hour’s mid-morning air time daily on KSOO (1440) —  then a Mutual Broadcasting System affiliate — to broadcast from our family kitchen on a dedicated line to the downtown studio.  Her RCA 44B microphone stood on our kitchen counter right next to the telephone transmitted and the Mixmaster.

In 1952, she returned to the Twin Cities and to KSTP-TV.  By the mid-1950’s, she was back on AM radio, and became one of the earliest local features contributors to NBC Monitor.  At the age of 13, I became her location recording engineer, and over the next three or four years, she submitted series of three-minute local color features to NBC Monitor.  When they were played (and many were) she was paid the princessly sum of $33.00 per feature, and I got pocket change for each feature that made it on the national airwaves.  At that time, there was just the beginning of high quality, affordable tape recording equipment , and we had one of the first Tandberg 3B’s in the Midwest, and with a trusty Shure S55 microphone, and a small battery and inverter setup. On some occasions, KSTP was kind enough to loan us one of their Ampex 600’s for our location recordings. Since we didn’t have a second recorder at home, I edited all the original takes, spliced them together, and sent the masters to NBC in New York.  (At the time of their broadcast locally, I didn’t have the presence of mind to record them off the air.)  It was enough to hear them, once again.  We recorded under the power generation tunnel of the Ford Plant locks and dam on the Mississippi River , from hayfields with the accompaniment of steam powered belt-driven farm equipment,  from the Minnesota State Fair (with the requisite barnyard animal, carnival, and motor racing sounds in the background), and from an echoey building’s enormous scale model of the US Army Corps of Engineers engineering projects on the Mississippi river from their start in Northern Minnesota down to St. Louis .

Baxter remained active in one way or another in community radio and television as a programmer, fund raiser, or talent until shortly before her death in 1983.

In addition to the fabulous national talent, the early days of NBC Monitor would not have gotten their local affiliates to buy in
without the opportunity for local and stringer talent to submit small featurettes, and I was proud to be a part of that network of local submissions.  I haven’t had the opportunity, yet, to read the second edition of your book, but I do hope that somewhere in the dusty records may be lists of local talent who also contributed to one of the greatest national broadcast ideas ever concocted during the “better days” of AM network broadcasting.

Thank you for the great archives and your work as curator of a wonderful collection.

Roger N. Meyer
Serendipity Sound (and much more)
Portland, OR

August 10, 2008

Comments:  Dear Dennis,

“Monitor” brings up wonderful word pictures in my mind. What a time that was! It’s great that you provided a plethora of pictures. And it looks like all the air talent used good old RCA BX 77 mics, aka “The Johnny Carson Mic.”

I was a radio guy in the upper Midwest for around 15 years, with some TV thrown in. So “Monitor” represents radio at its finest. The closest we have today is National Public Radio. But the “Monitor” spirit is one-of-a-kind. And gosh, the hosts looked so young in the photos.

Can’t it all come back? We can only hope!

Thank You!

Best Regards,

Jim Stokes

June 17, 2008

Comments:  I was an NBC Page, then a desk assistant. I remember the 5th floor Radio Central studios very well.

One of my duties as a desk assistant was to work with the Saturday or Sunday Monitor talent. When the late Ted Brown anchored, we had to bring him Giants football scores. Finally the engineers hooked up a TV feed for him, so he could watch the games on Sunday afternoons. When Monitor left the air, I remember the Hourlies using the empty large radio area, until NIS took over, and filled it with production people.


Alan Statsky

NBC 1968-1997 (and proud of it)

June 16, 2008

Comments: Hi,

I was thrilled to find your web site about Monitor. I remember it well, and was tickled that there is a site out there that memorializes it.

I have a question about one of the 1950’s programs.  I understand that on Nov. 15, 1958, Monitor aired a taped conversation with Tyrone Power and Ted Richmond – which was Power’s last interview before his death. I’ve always wanted to hear that interview…Is there any way it might be added to the site’s clips any time soon?

Thanks for your time, and again, for keeping the memory of Monitor alive and well!!

Charles Culbertson

Bridgewater, Virginia

May 16, 2008

Editor’s note: I would love to add the interview Charles refers to, above, but I do not have it. I’m always looking for new Monitor clips, so if anyone out there has any, or you know of someone who does, please have them contact me. Believe me, we can work out a trade.

Comments:  Dennis,

It was interesting to read Jake Rees’ e-mail post to the Guestbook (just below). It echoes what I was just thinking about recently: that 1963-1969 was the prime of Monitor.

The Monitor I remember is best typified by the 1964 Barry Nelson segment I sent you (you can hear it on the “Sounds of Monitor” page). I guess that’s why I kept it without taping over it all these years. It had everything. But that was typical of Monitor in the mid-60s. Sorry I didn’t keep more of those.

Every hour was packed with features of one type or the other. The sound was consistent throughout the weekend, although each segment had a different color. Maybe that was because of the different hosts, maybe it was me. There was that anticipation on Saturday morning and the melancholy of Sunday night and the end of another weekend. But it was always fascinating to me when a host turned up outside of the usual shift. And, of course, Saturday morning and afternoon had to make certain allowances for commercial load.

Of course, those years coincide with the presidency of Steve Labunski who protected the network from the TV guys as long as he could.

The problem is that guys like us didn’t keep the usual stuff. A lot of the segments that still exist are specials and tributes (which, while good, aren’t really representative of what the program was like weekend after weekend. Like the Joni Mitchell song says: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Well maybe we knew what we had, but we figured it would always be there, so we kept recording over it with the next week’s version. Beware the allure of novelty.

I guess we just should be happy we have something.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

April 22, 2008

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I listened to NBC Monitor mainly during the years 1964-69 from a small town in Florida . I was age 15-20 (now 59) and listened via WJAX Jacksonville, FL which broadcast with only 5 Kw of power and was about 50 miles away so the signal was not the best.

I think it was 1964 (maybe 1963) when I began to discover the world of radio beyond the local powerful 50 Kw pop/rock station and a few other locals. I had a transistor portable radio with an AM and shortwave band. It was quite a fascination to me, that so many far away places could be heard at night on the AM band (northern US cities mainly) and on shortwave, places scattered throughout the world although Europe was most notable. I became an AM and shortwave DX’er collecting QSL cards, etc. and purchased a better radio receiver.

During that period, I sometimes listened to NBC Monitor weekend afternoons. I definitely remember two of the hosts being actors Barry Nelson and James Daly. Monitor was an alternative; different from other AM programming. It had a sense of immediacy with live NBC news, music, topical interviews, commentary and all, with famous hosts and of course, came out of one of the world’s most exciting cities, NYC. Monitor was part of my personal discovery of the extended world of radio.

This interest in radio as a listener (and TV as a viewer) seemed to get me thinking about trying to perhaps make it a career. I always thought, broadcasting seemed more interesting than say, toothpick manufacturing, so why not work towards that end…? So I went in the direction of electronics education always hoping to get into broadcasting as a technician. I never worked in radio but moved to California and in 1973, became a technician at NBC-TV Burbank lasting for 33 years until retirement. Who would have thunk it (as Dizzy Dean used to say).

I certainly would not have, listening to NBC Monitor in the sixties. Your site is fantastic. I’ve listened to and looked at most everything (and saved it all). The Monitor programs are so great; time travel of a sort; music rarely heard anymore. Some of them with the news included give it an extra historical value. Please keep putting more and more of them on the site. I hope some more might be from 1963-1969 but any are appreciated.

Thank you. We’re on the Monitor Beacon……….

Jake (Owen) Rees

April 17, 2008

Comments: As a young 10 and 11 year old (I’m 62) I used to listen to the local NBC affiliate here in Detroit, which was then WWJ on a home made regenerative receiver. Late at night I could be found under the covers listening to WWJ with my receiver next to the bed.   My love for radio turned into my Amateur Radio hobby when I received my license at age 11 and later into job in broadcasting and later into a career in professional audio.

I must attest that many of the great  production values of MONITOR have had a great influence on how I edit and mix today.

Not long ago I told Elaine Hewitt, a writer/producer that I was working with, about the great  NBC Radio MONITOR  series that  I remembered as a youth and how the production we were working on then about the Detroit Woodward Cruise resembled MONITOR elements.

What a great find when I searched for NBC Monitor and found this site.  It has been forwarded to her, and my wife and business partner (Elaine’s friend also)  was forced to listen today.  She commented, “What great radio.  Why does this not happen today?”  She asked to hear more.

All this points out, sadly, what radio has declined to today.  With all the great technology, which I have been a part of, we have no MONITOR and no great radio at all.

Ed Wolfrum (K8HJU) 
Royal Oak, Michigan

March 19, 2008

Comments:  I grew up in Greenwood, Mississippi , where WGRM AM 1240 was the local NBC affiliate.

Growing up in the late fifties and early sixties, my Dad took me to the barber shop–no such thing as hair stylists in those days, at least not for men–where Monitor was being broadcast. Little did I realize then that I was listening to history .


Jump ahead to the late sixties and early seventies. While in college, I worked part-time for WGRM, and got to “play” Monitor over the air. Telephone lines were used then instead of satellite to “hook up” the station with the network


One Saturday afternoon, when the Fifth Dimension’s Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In was #1, Monitor played the first half of the song, but faded out before the second part started!! I guess it was too “rock and roll” for their audience at the time.

I also remember having to record the Monitor tributes to different stations. We had a huge reel to reel tape recorder that we could hook to the network for these tributes. They had to be recorded, or find out the wrath of the boss!!
Another note, not necessarily Monitor, but NBC — every station supposedly had a monitor in the control room which was nothing more than an alert radio that was toned up for breaking news. This allowed you to break away from regular programming and join NBC for the bulletin. It went off one morning during the regular scheduled Monitor programming, and staff explained what they had just heard before bringing the news; if I recall correctly, it was to announce the death of Jack Benny .

Another time, I was working the sign-off shift on New Year’s Eve . During the last fifteen minutes of the broadcast day, the monitor buzzed to life. I don’t know who the female was who set it off, but her “bulletin” was….I’m  (let’s say Jenny) and I’m drunk …followed by the NBC chimes.

Hope that this brings back some memories. Hope that you might be able to use these.

Jimmy Pearce

March 12, 2008

Comments: I love your website.

Monitor was a big part of my teenage listening days…do you have any audio or any information about Fibber McGee and Molly’s involvement with the program in the late 1950’s?  There is a web site that has played little 5 minute routines that they did for Monitor.  I understand that they did those until Molly’s [Marian Jordan’s] health began to fail.

One memorable Monitor week-end that I remember is on a Sunday afternoon we were driving back from my grandparents and it was announced on the news that Judy Garland had died.

Keep up the great work!


Mike Baker

January 14, 2008

Comments:  What a great website!

I have been a radio fan in the TV age since I was about 10. I am 62. I typed in NBC Monitor on my computer one night not long ago. Funny thing, I was not a regular listener to Monitor as I was into rock and roll at a young age, but I also tuned into Monitor from time to time in the ’60s and ’70s.

The “Sounds of Monitor” page is a real time capsule of  all the personalities from ’55 to ’75 who were hosts. Henry Morgan, Gene Rayburn, Frank Blair, Ted Brown, Big Wilson, to name a few, were terrific!

I live in NYC and work in Rockefeller Center, and I am often in the GE Building.  As I walk thru it, I have fond memories of WNBC Radio, the NBC Radio Network, and now the great Monitor broadcasts!  So much radio history, I can’t get enough of it!

Henry Morgan’s interview with Long John Nebel is my favorite, as I used to listen to Long John sometimes all nite on WOR, WNBC and WMCA.

Thanks again.

Arthur Carbonara


January 12, 2008

Comments: I have so much enjoyed reading and listening to the website today!

I have memories of listening to Monitor growing up in Alabama . The local NBC station was 50,000 watt powerhouse WAPI out of Birmingham, and when we made trips to Atlanta to visit the grandparents, WSB’s clear-channel signal would pump out the show on the radio.  All of it brings back great memories of my late Dad, who loved Monitor.  All of it helped lead me to work in the radio business.  I spent 12 years fulltime there and still work parttime in the business.

Thanks for this wonderful memory-maker of a website!

Chris Pope

Atlanta, GA

January 2, 2008

Comments: I am 78 now and still vividly remember two Monitor bits as the most wonderful  ever.  They are “Rivers” and “Bells” in or about the late 1957s.

Rivers includes, “I babble babble as I flow to join the brimming river. For men may come and men may go but I go on forever.”  And “Bells” includes church, cathedral, synagogue and ritual, all types of bells from around the world, and , of course, Poe’s classic, “The bells.”

I wanted to use them at my funeral – many years hence?  At any rate, could never locate recordings.


Harvey Whitten

January 1, 2008

Comments: Happy New Year to you, Dennis! I hope you are enjoying the last of the holidays.

My wife gave me for Christmas Jay Babree’s memoirs of his fifty years of covering the space program for NBC . In April 1959, as the original astronauts were going through the tortuous selection process, NBC decided to put Jay through the same rigors at Wright Pat AFB in Ohio .

On page 32 of his book he states that he survived and ” NBC got its twelve hour ‘How I Became an Astronaut’ reports for our old weekend radio show Monitor…” How about that! Sad to think these reports probably no longer exist (unless Mr. Barbree himslf has his own copy of the tapes??)

Tom Frieling

Athens, Georgia

January 1, 2008

Comments:  Dennis,

It always amazes me how the computer has become so much a part of our lives, especially because I spent more than half my life without one and now I can’t think of how I’d get along without it. (We really have let our inventions take us prisoners. Just look at the recent ice storms in Oklahoma and the Midwest to how dependent we’ve all become on electricity.)

Funny thing is that Monitor never mentioned the personal computer (because, of course, it didn’t exist at the time). But now Monitor is on the computer and the Web doesn’t mean NBC. And, if you think about it, who would have imagined that you could listen to Monitor or anything else (or watch video) on a computer 10 or 15 years ago? Now radio and the computer have merged. We even have radio-on-demand.

More remarkably, people all over the country who have never met each other but have the same common interests, such as Monitor, are meeting on the Web to discuss their experiences and memories, generally by the lost art of writing through e-mails and blogs. Without the Web, I would have never met you or the other Monitor listeners (and even staff). I would have probably thought my experience and interest was unique. Of course, without your site as a meeting place and the Internet search engine, that would still be the case. (And I imagine the Monitor staff would have no realization that Monitor touched so many lives and that their efforts were so appreciated.)

What started me on this line of thought was seeing the post to the Guestbook from John Bachelder. It got me wondering how he found the site. Did he do what I did one day seven years ago and type “Monitor” into a search engine? Or perhaps he typed “Bud Drake.” Was John an avid Monitor listener or just a friend of the Drake family? Does he know he is the envy of former little boys (such as me) who listened every weekend?

Anyway, here we are seven years from the beginning of your Web site and new people are still coming aboard. And, it occurred to me that your computer whiz who helped you launch the site has probably spent almost a third of his life keeping the site going. How old was Bradley in October 2000? I figure he must have been a teenager. I wonder if I would have been able to get a Web site going when I was 14.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

December 15, 2007

Editor’s note: My son Bradley was 15 years old in October 2000, when he told me over the dinner table one night that he “thought” he could create a website (this, in response to my question — born out of frustation — that I had some Monitor audio, but no way to share it with anyone).  The result of our conversation is this site — created, maintained, and improved upon many times, by Bradley — and visited, as of this writing, by almost 164,000 people in seven years. Bradley is now attending graduate school overseas — and I miss him terribly — and so does this website, which owes everything to his creative genius. 

As for Louis Castaing — he is this site’s best friend and contributor. Just browse through the “Sounds of Monitor” page — and see how many of those hours he donated. Thank you, Louis — and thanks to all of you Monitor fans who have supported, and continue to support, our efforts to keep alive the memory of the progam that had such a big impact on the lives of millions of Americans.  

Comments: Dennis:

I’m not sure if you remember me, but a few years ago, I’d requested you post any Monitor shows on your website featuring Arlene Francis or Henry Morgan because GSN had removed ” What’s My Line ?” from its daily schedule.  Now the good news:  thanks to the support of fans who enjoy a style of broadcasting that’s practically gone, and a change in GSN management, not only will WML return to the nightly schedule on 12/31/07, but so too will Henry’s show, ” I’ve Got a Secret .”

We only know that the move is described as being “at least temporary,” who knows how long it may last.

But thanks again for all you do to keep the memory of Monitor alive. I’m listening to Henry circa Christmas 1967 (when I was two months old), while writing this.

Thanks again, and I hope this is good news for you!

David Ballarotto

December 15, 2007

Comments: Dennis — Great site !

I grew up next to Bud Drake and was good friends with his sons. I was lucky enough to take a number of trips into Radio Central with him, and get the whole tour. I remember meeting Hugh Downs, Frank Blair,and Gene Garnes, among others.

In fact, to this day one of my most mortifying memories is getting an autograph from Joe Garagiola , and then leaving it in  Radio Central when Jeff Drake and I went off to entertain ourselves in an empty studio.When Mr. Drake showed up later with the autograph, I was so ashamed for forgetting it, I didn’t know what to say! To this day it still haunts me.

Mr. Drake was a great guy. A good father and a true gentleman. I’m glad your site can keep his memory alive.



John Bachelder

Woodbridge, Ct .

December 12, 2007

Comments: Hi, Dennis:

Congratulations on the Monitor Beacon web site.  It is fantastic, especially for people like me.

I was one of those weekend staff announcers who worked at the local NBC affiliate (WIKB-Iron River, Michigan ), so I listened for the sound of the Beacon cue because I knew I had to do “something” to fill the gap.  The aspects I particularly enjoyed were the “sounds”-the Monitor and NBC jingles that I found on your “Sounds of Monitor” site.  So now, when I’m working on my computer, I plug in the “Sounds” and enjoy the 75 “little concerts”.

After checking out your web site, I just had to have your book, which I ordered from Amazon .  I read it in a few days, and enjoyed every page.  It is very insightful.  I was a little disappointed that there was only one page (194) that mentioned the jingles/themes, but it was still great reading.

Again, congratulations from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Bill Leonoff

Staff Announcer (retired)


Iron River, MI

November 21, 2007

Comments: Great Web Site.

Bruce Ornsten, my friend who lives in California, sent me the book, Monitor (Take Two) by Dennis Hart. I have begun to read it and find it most interesting and entertaining.

I have read 30-40 pages in Monitor, and wonder when I will finish the book. It’s fascinating and pretty well written. The names – my gawd. As a radio-phile at an early age, I remember those names as tho’ it was yesterday. I was at NBC during the summer of 1956 as a member of a class in radio and television that was sponsored by Barnard college and by NBC. There were 50 of us from all over the country. I had finished my junior year at the University of Denver, and believed that the experience would help me in the decision-making about a career in broadcasting.

Monitor was about a year old. We had no classes on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, so I would spend a lot of time on the weekend up on the fifth floor. I remember a huge glass-walled studio, but I really remember a room off to the left that contained a bank of 20-30 audio tape machines – Ampex-style equipment – that lined the walls. Above each machine was a clock, and underneath the clock was the name of a foreign NBC bureau – London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, etc. And, I remember how impressed I was that the network had the resources to have a piece of equipment like that on standby for a correspondent who would feed the net a story from that part of the world. It was really an eye-opener. I hope my memory is close to being correct after all of the years.

Reading about Dave Garroway and his experience as an NBC Page, I was reminded that I had the name of the head page and was urged to sign up to be a page. But, then I learned the kind of money they were offering and I also remember why I didn’t sign up. But, I was told, I could count on tips from all of the biggies. Also there were a two year limit on the amount of time you could spend as a page. But, thanks to some advice from personalities I met – Red Barber, Bill Cullen, John Cameron Swayze, Elizabeth Montgomery, Clifton Fadiman, Fred Waring, et al – I decided that I would rather spend those years back in Denver finishing school and working full-time at decidedly more money – not much, but indeed more.

Radio Ron it is…or was…
Cape Elizabeth, Maine

October 16, 2007

Comments: THANK YOU for your efforts with this site — you’ve given me the opportunity to remember great weekends during my childhood!

Mark Rozwell

October 8, 2007

Comments: Recently, I was having dinner with a bunch of baby boomer contemporaries of mine (we are all in our early 50’s.)  Though we all grew up in diverse parts of the country, we all agreed that one of the common memories of our respective 1960s childhoods was riding with our parents and hearing that distinctive Monitor beacon on the car radio.  The vehicle was inevitably a Detroit-made land yacht. The season seems always to be summer or fall.  The destination was usually some parentally-supervised weekend activity or chore — boy scouts, little league, the car wash, etc — or maybe a family vacation.

Last week, sleepless in the middle of the night, I recalled that dinner and conversation.  I opened my laptop and googled my way to your website.  It was a real trip through a time warp to lie there in the darkness at 3 a.m. and listen to those old episodes on your “Sounds Of Monitor” page.  Funny how everyone had recalled the show, the theme, etc, fairly accurately, even after all those years.

Thanks for the great job you’ve done with this website.  Any chance you will be adding any more mp3s of shows from the 1960’s?

Steve Thomas
Los Angeles, California

September 30, 2007


Editor’s note:  Steve’s listening experience with Monitor really sums it up for millons of us during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, doesn’t it?   We may have first heard Monitor on our parents’ car radio — and we continued listening until NBC Radio made the mistake of taking it off the air in 1975. As for your question about new Monitor audio, Steve — I’m always looking for Monitor material, and when I get it, it will appear on this site.

Comments: I very much enjoyed listening to the Jim Lowe hour from a Sunday night broadcast about the Mafia.

It’s too bad there’s nothing on the radio like that now. Radio is so fragmented. Either a station plays a lot of music (with maybe an obnoxious and offensive morning zoo program) or it’s all TALK with opinionated hosts sounding the same old themes day after day after day. That’s the deal you get with the syndicated hosts anyway. No feature stories.

I’ll reveal myself as a total “Radio Geek” with this question. But did Monitor continue to play their music (songs) directly from vinyl on a turntable to the end? Many stations started putting songs on Cartridge tape (carts) in the 1970’s. Just wondering.

Bill Walter, KVNU

Logan, Utah

September 14, 2007

Editor’s note: We put that question to former Monitor engineer Gene Garnes Sr.  Here is his response:  “As far as I recall we always played the songs from Vinyl records as that was part of my job when assigned to “TT” duty (Turntable duty, usually three!) I also inserted the commercials (most were vinyl) which were usually in a “Super Market Style Cart” as dispensed to me by the “AD”! (Assistant Director) One of which was on duty for each segment and prepared the Cart in advance. “Backtiming” was a big part of the AD job also. This was to ensure the Music would end on time! The AD would utter me a cue at the appropriate time, (usually a girl!) (Each TT had it’s own fader {and earphone for cueing purposes} that was kept closed till needed). The “boardperson” was, ultimately, responsible for all audio levels as he, or she, had a TT “Master”. 

Comments: I toured 30 Rock last week, and asked the NBC pages about radio facilities, knowing the answer.  I told them about the website and they seemed interested.

However, I forgot to ask about what’s now located on the 5th floor, former home of Radio Central.  Does anybody else know?



Jim Poore

Riverview, MI

September 1, 2007

Editor’s note:  My son Bradley and I were privileged to have former Monitor engineer Gene Garnes Sr. give us a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of 30 Rock back in July 2003. At that time, what used to be the great Radio Central, on the fifth floor, had been broken up into offices. The glass had been replaced by a wall with giant posters of NBC shows on it. Yes, I was heartbroken.

Comments: Greetings,


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to these clips you have and look forward to any new clips that come forward.


The one time that I truly remember listening to Monitor was back in the early 70’s. It was a Saturday morning and my family and I had driven down from Denver to Pueblo, CO . My father was driving and I remember hearing Gene Rayburn introducing songs like ‘Whiskey on a Sunday’ by the Irish Rovers. When we returned to Denver, I tried to find Gene’s show again but never did. I didn’t even know the name of the show.

My true introduction to ‘Monitor’ was listening to NPR and hearing a piece about the 50th Anniversary of ‘Monitor’ leaving the air. When I found this website later and saw Gene Rayburn I thought, ‘That’s what I was listening to that morning.’

What I’d really like to hear is Monitor’s coverage of that weekend in November 1963 when JFK was assassinated,  and that weekend in July 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.

How I wish we had a show like ‘Monitor’ now. I’d listen every weekend.

Keep up the good work.


Bill Faust

August 6, 2007

Comments: Dennis,

Thanks so much for making the long Monitor shows available in .mp3 format for July and August.

I’ve been quite busy on web projects, but wanted to assure you that I have been enjoying listening in my car to about 10 of the shows! My favorite? { Remember, I liked the music…} It’s Monitor ’69 with Kirby because: the song “Odds & Ends” performed by Billy Vaughn–it’s absolutely hi-fi!!!

This song alone was worth the wait–I had a very poor quality version of it on my tape snippets.

Best wishes, and I’ll stay in touch.

Andy Mickel

Minneapolis, Minnesota

July 29, 2007

Comments: This is a wonderful site.

I have been a radio buff since I was a kid in the 1950’s – and listened to Monitor every week. You have captured the magic that was Monitor. I was a quality operation with quality announcers, news people and production staff. – probably the best in the business.

I used to stand outside Radio Central when I was a teenager and press my nose to the window like other kids did with toy store windows.

Ron Rogers

Staten Island , NY

July 6, 2007

Comments: Dennis,

I love the new audio pages! Thanks for the great update.

I have a question. I noticed on the earlier airchecks, the announcer says “Take 1” or “Take 2” over the beacon. Do you know what this means? Was it intended to air or was it a signal to affiliates? Just curious.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Mark Jones

July 4, 2007

Editor’s note: In the early years of Monitor, program hosts used to signal local-station cutaways by saying either “This is Monitor, going places and doing things, Take 1,” or “You’re on the Monitor Beacon, Take 1.” It took a few years before the immortal “You’re on the Monitor Beacon” became the standard cue for local stations to insert their commercials. 

Comments:  Hey, Dennis,

What a surprise!  I was getting ready for bed last night, Sat. June 9, 2007, and I was listening to my new Internet WiFi radio when I heard you on “Yesterday USA” (talking about Monitor, in honor of the June 12th anniversary of its premiere in 1955). You were just great.  It was nice to hear you. Wish I had known or I would have made sure I listened to the whole program.

And of course congratulations on 150,000 plus hits on this site.  Who would have thought 7 years ago it would be this popular?

Keep up the great Monitor work!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

June 10, 2007

Comments:  Dear Dennis,

This radio program was the reason a stuttering boy wanted to get into radio.

There are no people today that could come close to the (Monitor) personnel of yesterday. Some would be close but no one would fill the void. The people were legendary of that time.

I really loved the Holiday Monitor memories. A time when we could wish people a Merry Christmas and think nothing of it.

Keep up the good work.

Milton Broome

Snellville, Georgia

June 5, 2007

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

The new (audio) updates are great.  I listened briefly to Ted (Brown) and believe it or not, I actually remember that segment because it was the 2nd week he was back after Samantha was born!

Hope you are all well and enjoying the summer.

Suzanne Bothamley

June 4, 2007

Editor’s note: Suzanne is a former Monitor production assistant. You can see pictures of her and other P.A.’s on the Monitor Photo Album page.

Comments:  Your work is greatly appreciated, Dennis!

Bill Bro

June 1, 2007

Comments:  Dennis,


What great adds to the website!  Thanks for all the great stuff to listen to and remember!


John Remy


May 31, 2007

Editor’s note: What John and the five letter-writers below are referring to is our new and vastly expanded “Sounds of Monitor” page, which as of June 2007, has more than 20 hours of Monitor audio on it, with audio from almost all of the program’s 20 years on the air, and with more than two-dozen of its great hosts. Check it out!

Comments: Thanks so much, Dennis.

This is great!


Frank Stoy

Toledo, Ohio

May 30, 2007

Comments: Hello, Dennis:

Fine job on the Monitor website. I truly miss GOOD radio. I agree with your view that Monitor is the best of the network radio programs.

Hell come to think of it…NBC radio doesn’t even EXIST anymore. I wonder if Westwood One bought all their audio archive stuff or if somebody elese got it?

Paul Sullivan

Fresno, California

May 30, 2007

Comments: Dennis,

As always, no way to ever thank you enough! As long as I can (while still teaching), as an assignment, I will be asking my students to tour the Monitor site and give me a critique regarding what they have learned.

That famous broadcast is part of our American media history and young people should know and appreciate it (even though they probably won’t care!). We can only try to keep the Monitor memories alive!

Best wishes,

Doug Spero

(Associate Prof., Meredith College, Raleigh)

May 30, 2007

Comments:  This is awesome!  I can’t wait to start “monitoring” all the new audio, especially the complete final broadcast.

Thanks again for all you do, Dennis.

Randy Krakower

1450 WILM Newsradio

May 30, 2007

Comments: Dennis:

Thanks for the info on the newly expanded audio section of the “Monitor” Tribute Pages.

Lots of audio to try to listen to (or download onto CD’s and MP3’s) this Summer.

A great early birthday present for “Monitor” fans since June 12th is the 52nd anniversary of “Monitor”‘s debut.

I only wish that I could be able to tune-in “Monitor 2007” somewhere on the radio this weekend, and hear such modern-day “Monitor” communicators such as Matt Lauer , Lester Holt,  Campbell Brown , Meredith Vieira , Bob Costas , and others providing us with a rewarding experience all weekend, every weekend.

In a parallel universe, that’s happening. Too bad it’s not in this one.

Joseph Gallant

May 30, 2007

Editor’s note: How about it, Monitor fans?  If Monitor returned to the air this weekend, who would you like to have as its five hosts (in order — for Saturday morning, afternoon and evening, and Sunday afternoon and evening?) How would this sound, for a starting roster –Pat Sajak, Bob Costas, Lester Holt, Alex Trebek and Matt Lauer?

Comments:  Dear Dennis,

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy the Monitor site, and to pass along the link to a blog post of mine about Monitor . . . which links to your website.

And I think I’ve officially run out of airchecks to listen to since first discovering the Monitor Tribute Pages. Sigh.

Here’s the link:

James Freeman
Omaha, NE

April 26, 2007

Editor’s note:   Not to worry, James. Over the next few months, we are planning to upload nearly two-dozen full-hours of Monitor to the website. So keep comng back, and thanks.

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I was always a fan of Ted Brown.  I remember when he hosted Monitor.  He was very creative. He continued to do radio with excellent humor for many years.


I’m sure Ted Brown kept the producers and writers wondering what he would do next but that could not compare to what they must have experienced when they added Don Imus and Robert W. Morgan to the program.


I miss Ted Brown and I thank you for adding this example of his work to the Monitor website.

Larry Stoler

Stamford Connecticut

April 14, 2007

Comments:  Hi, Dennis,

I am saddened by the death of Barry Nelson, who contributed so much to making Monitor a great radio program. While I’ve enjoyed his performances in various media, I’ll always remember listening to him on Monitor. He was indeed a wonderful host.

Thanks for the Monitor Web site!


Mike Holston

April 14, 2007

Comments:  Dennis,

I was sorry to learn this morning of the death of Barry Nelson.

And also sorry to see, at least in the New York Times obiturary, that his work for Monitor was not mentioned–all the more reason for you to keep doing a great job with this site in preserving the great program’s memory for all of us who so fondly remember Monitor, but even more so for the youngsters too young to remember great newtwork radio programming so sadly lacking today.

Tom Frieling

Athens, Georgia

April 14, 2007

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Two nice little surprises in just the first half-hour of Big Wilson’s show on Monitor’s last day (on the “Sounds of Monitor page).

The first was the instrumental “Theme from M*A*S*H”, right out of the NBC News On the Hour. I haven’t heard it since 1973, when I used to play it at my first radio job. Unfortunately, Big didn’t back-announce the artist, so if you or any of the site visitors happpen to know, feel free to share. I doubt that it’s on CD, but you never know. In any event, knowing the artist might help me find it on vinyl.

Suprise number two was Don Imus and Dr. Joyce Brothers – in more innocent times! Speaking of Biggie and the I-Man, didn’t Imus take Big’s place when he first landed at WNBC? I know Big did mornings there at one point and I seem to recall that it was around then.

Thanks for the memories and all the hard work on the Monitor Tribute website!

Scott Marinoff

Imperial Beach, CA

April 14, 2007

Editor’s note: Imus did mornings on WNBC Radio when Biggie did mid-days. WNBC got rid of Biggie in ’74, and the very next ratings book showed Biggie was No. 1 in his time slot. Radio was just as messed up then as it is now, huh? 

Comments: Dennis,

I have had tears of joy for about an hour, just having discovered the Monitor Beacon website and reading the content and listening to some of the sound clips. My spirits are really lifted today!

I fondly remember Monitor; I grew up in a household without TV and my family and I listened to Monitor when I was ages 8 – 21: in New Orleans [WDSU 1280] (1957-1960), Baton Rouge [WJBO 1150] (1960-1962) and Austin, TX [WOAI 1200, San Antonio ] (1962-1970). My most vivid memories are of Gene Rayburn , Frank McGee , Nichols & May, the jingles (“Monitor Themes”) and the music.

I particularly liked the “cosmopolitan” sophistication of Monitor fueling my imagination about “sublime New York culture” from my Austin, Texas vantage point. Thanks again for such a fine and simple radio history website.

Andy Mickel

Minneapolis, Minnesota

April 11, 2007

Comments:  I just listened to Nelson Riddle and the Route 66 theme and immediately thought about how Monitor would use it for buffer music or as we use to call it “out-tro” music for the local stations.  How many times did we hear that theme with the talent announcing, “you can hear the Monitor Beacon on great radio stations just like this one throughout the country, such as …..(various stations were then listed).

I have many great memories.  Monitor was a major part of the weekend for a kid from Maine trying to get as much national news as possible.  My dreams of working in radio came true at college and then for a five-year period from 1975 to 1980.

As Monitor disappeared, I welcomed Public Radio, but it would never be the same.  I already missed listening to Frank McGee , Jimmy Wallington, Frank Blair, Chris Economaki, Ring around the World, and of course, the Monitor Beacon.   The final few years with Monitor were not as enjoyable for me.  I appreciated what they were trying to do, but I knew the world had changed forever.

Thanks for your efforts with (and the wonderful additions from all the other fans) this website.


Christopher Johnson

Bucksport, Maine

March 19, 2007

Comments: Mr Hart,

Hats off to a wonderful tribute to Monitor. I remember listening to the show while I was in college and afterwards and being impressed with the variety and quality of the programming. I have a question for you. Who has or where are the recordings of the Monitor radio shows?

Jim Kay

March 2, 2007

Editor’s note: Unfortunately, out of the 20,000 hours that Monitor aired on NBC Radio, precious few are in existence. The Library of Congress has “snippets” of Monitor — but not the full-hours that would show “everything” Monitor offered. If anyone has Monitor hours you’ve kept over the years — please contact me, and we’ll set up a “trade.”

Comments: Hi,

Just happened upon this site and was enveloped by a flood of memories. I was a newscaster on Monitor during its final years.  I was hired by Bob Kimmel, having worked with him at WINS radio.

I believe I was on the schedule on Saturday of the final weekend as the News and Information Service folks prepared to take over the studios. I was also Editorial Director at WNBC-TV, preceeding Joe Michaels.
Henry Marcotte aka Mark Henry

February 3, 2007

Comments: Dennis,


Thank you for this excellent exhibit with Frank McGee hosting Sunday night Monitor (December 2006 audio offering).  It was very enjoyable to listen to.


I never thought of Frank McGee as a Monitor host.  I remember him when he went to the Today show and of course all the reports he did for NBC television.  He sounded great hosting Monitor.


I enjoyed the overview of Times Square from Ben Grauer.  it brought back many memories hearing that voice and I learned a lot from his recollections of covering New Years celebrations in the past particularly in 1944.


Happy holidays to you, Dennis and Monitor fans everywhere.


Larry Stoler

Stamford Connecticut

December 22, 2006

Comments: Greetings from St. Louis!

I should let you know first that I’m 42 (just turned 42 on 25 November), used to work in radio, and in the corner of my memory remember NBC Monitor. It was a show that my parents listened to, but I suspect was on in the background in the car. The show probably aired on KSD, which was our NBC radio affiliate in the 1970’s. KSD and KXOK were usually on the car radio on the weekend here, and I would go downtown to stores like Famous-Barr and Stix-Baer & Fuller to shop (before the malls took over) with the program on those Saturday afternoons.

I have to admit as a kid I didn’t really listen to the show in depth–the features and music that were played weren’t of interest to me (cut me some slack, I was under 10). As an adult though, I think this show is great. Strangely enough, I became a fan of full-service radio not long after this show ended its run in 1975, finding it in smaller markets, on clear channel AM’s at night, and on short wave services like the BBC World Service, and Radio Australia (one of the best practicioners of this kind of radio in my opinion). This kind of radio connects with people better than any other kind, and I can’t believe the business moves away from it.

Last night I learned that Bruce Bradley worked as a Monitor host. I worked with Bruce for two years at WIBV. He never mentioned that he hosted this. In fact, he often distanced himself from his past work to the point of not wanting to talk about it (with the exception of his work on KMOX in the 1980’s). I don’t know where he is now but I enjoyed working with him.

It has been mentioned about “bringing back” NBC Monitor. Obviously these things can’t be brought back, much like bringing back WLS, KHJ, CKLW, or any other radio station or programs in their heyday. However, sites like yours (and show examples of radio used to its greatest potential and advantage. Shows like this can inspire other people to use these elements and create something greater in the future. Shows like “Saturday Night Live” were inspired by comedy writers and live programming that dated back 20 years earlier to create a whole new idea. I’m sure NPR took a few pages out of the NBC Monitor playbook to create the programming they have today. Who knows, webcasting may create an interactive style of programming we have yet to see. I’d like to be a part of that.

Paul Harner

December 8, 2006

Comments:  Dennis,

Back in the 40s, when I was just a kid growing up in Newburgh, NY . Just before WWII, my dad purchased a fancy new floor-model radio-phonograph (78 rpm speed only) living room console to replace an older radio that consisted of the “works” in a suitcase-sized rectangular metal box with a twist-it tuner, attached to a heavy round “speaker” that sat on the floor. The new console (I forget who manufactured it) had six or seven push buttons that could be programmed to a specific AM frequency. A small window above each button contained space for a call-letters label.

If I recall correctly, the station frequencies my dad selected and put the labels in for were, from left to right, WMCA, WEAF, WOR, WJZ, WABC, WNEW, and our local Newburgh station, WGNY. In our household at that time, the station we listened to most for news and entertainment was WEAF (the “Red Network” of NBC), followed by WABC (the call letters of the CBS outlet in New York), WOR (Mutual) and WJZ (the “Blue Network” of NBC) in that order.

As I seem to remember, and in my kid’s mind, I identified each of these with specific New York daily newspapers of the day, even though there was no connection. WEAF I identified with the lively but conservative NY HERALD-TRIBUNE, which my father bought every day. WABC I identified with the NY TIMES, which was never in our home.

My father made frequent day trips to NY City back then, and on those days,  brought home the NY WORLD-TELEGRAM, which I mentally connected to WCBS. And as for WJZ, “the Blue Network”,  and WOR, I connected them to either or both the NY DAILY NEWS or the NY MIRROR.

Most of the great evening entertainment programs of those days were carried on WEAF, but the late afternoon boy’s 15-minute serials I mostly listened to were on WJZ, although I switched over to WOR occasionally. Again, as I recall, shortly after WWII, most of the WEAF (by then, WNBC) programming had gone over to WABC (by then, WCBS), and the Blue Network’s WJZ was sold off by National Broadcasting and it became the flagship of an independent  ABC, as WABC.

In the latter half of the 1950’s, I had taken a job in North Jersey, but drove the Jersey Turnpike back to Wilmington almost every weekend for two years.  My companion radio station and programming in the car during those two hour drives between Plainfield and Wilmington was WNBC and WPTZ (in Philadelphia , after the NY signal faded away), and Monitor, of course.  On Friday evenings heading south, and on Sunday evenings heading north, I was there for the Monitor gang.

Of course, Bob and Ray were sometimes running on Monitor when they weren’t on WOR or WCBS, so this sealed my loyalty to the Big M.

One of the great thrills of my later life has been meeting and becoming friends with Don Russell in Stamford, CT , who was a fixture as a Monitor host in the later times of its programming history. Don is still active in public affairs in CT, and writes a great column in the STAMFORD ADVOCATE newspaper. He was also Jackie Gleason’s original announcer for the first Gleason TV program, on the fledgling Du Mont TV ‘network’.

Bob Wilson

Beaufort, SC

December 3, 2006


Comments:  Dennis,

This month’s Frank McGee audio (December 2006) was a great selection.

I always looked forward to listening to Frank McGee on Sunday night. He was a great interviewer. He probably wouldn’t have worked well on Saturday morning with all its interruptions but he was perfect for Sunday night.

I think Sunday night Monitor with McGee was very close to what Jim Fleming thought Monitor should be like. A lot more newsy, a lot more talky. More philosophical.

Louis Castaing

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

December 3, 2006

Comments: Dennis:

As you know, many well-known names who have never done radio before and think they can don’t really manage to successfully pull it off when they go on the air.  We have seen this happen over the years.


I think Frank Sinatra Jr. did a very good job hosting Monitor in 1972.  He sounded comfortable and able to do the format.  He was very conversational when he talked live with guests or commented on up coming segments.


Thanks for another very enjoyable hour of Monitor.


Larry Stoler

November 5, 2006

Comments: I have certainly enjoyed reliving some of the great programming moments of broadcasting with these NBC Monitor recordings.


In 1969 and 1970, I worked at WROD in Daytona Beach and did our local Monitor inserts of local news, sports, weather and features.  It was good radio and I agree with comments from others that the next best thing to Monitor’s informative and entertaining programming is NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered , or tuning into CBC radio on the Internet.


Chuck Johnson

Atlanta, GA

October 25, 2006

Comments: I only briefly was aware of Monitor in 1973, but have discovered your website, and heard your interview on WGN with Tom Petersen.
Thanks for the great web site tribute.
John Herrbach

October 23, 2006

Editor’s note: John is referring to our live interview about Monitor on the “Tom Petersen Show” on WGN Radio in Chicago on Sunday night, October 22. Many thanks to Tom for his interest in Monitor.

Comments: Dennis:

Thanks for the birthday tribute to Groucho Marx. As a fan of both Monitor and the Marx Brothers, it was a double treat for me. It was interesting to hear the voices of Zeppo and Allan Jones, so many years after they appeared in the movies.

It was especially interesting to hear Margaret Dumont, Groucho’s foil in so many Marx Bros. films, since this program was aired only a year or two before she died. I had never heard Margaret Dumont speaking out of character before, although I have to admit she sounded pretty much the same way as she did when she was speaking IN character.

Jim Dexter


October 19, 2006

Comments:  I am a middle-aged, totally blind woman and have only had my computer for less than a year.  I first want to thank you for making your fantastic site accessible to people like me who use screen readers and must use arrow keys to enter your links!

I was born in 1949 and as a child I often listened to Monnitor on KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska.  In fact, Monitorwas my weekend companion for a LONG time.  I thought the program declined significantly in the ’70’s but was just outstanding before that time!!  I greatly missed it and never thought I would hear any of Monitor again until I found your site and am SO grateful for it!!

I didn’t have a tape recorder back when Monitor was such a significant part of my life nor did I know the value of preserving such things on tape as I do now.  I hope you will be able to find more of Monitor from the ’50’s and ’60’s and I look forward each month to seeing what you have on the site for that month.


I just wanted to thank you very much for making excerpts from Monitor available to those of us who treasured that program so much!!



Rose from North Platte, Nebraska

October 2, 2006

Comments: Dennis:

As a fan of your great site and wonderful book which I’ve read and re-read many times, I wanted to thank you for helping to remind us what a great program “Monitor” was.
I’m also a member of a Yahoo group focused on “What’s My Line?” where we’re facing the fact that as of this weekend, “What’s My Line?” will  be leaving GSN’s daily line-up and will return as only a weekly program  come October.
So as a fan of “Monitor” and “What’s My Line?” I was wondering (as were others) if it might be possible that the sample of “Monitor” you’ll  post in September could include Arlene Francis, or maybe Henry Morgan, or anyone else with ties to “What’s My Line?” as we deal with withdrawal symptoms 🙂

Even if you can’t, I just want you to know how much I look forward to visiting your site every month to hear the “Monitor” sample. You’re  doing a great service and you’ve written a great book!

David Ballarotto

August 19, 2006

Comments: Nice Sounds of Monitor this month from Feb. 26, 1967.

It is of particular interest as KFI, Los Angeles, was menitoned at the break.  It would be just a little over a year later that KFI would be the first major market station to drop Monitor.

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

August 18, 2006

Editor’s note: Don was the first person to write to this website when it premiered in October 2000. He was, and is, a big fan of Monitor — and has kindly kept in touch with us over the years.

Comments: Hi. I just came across your website accidentally while Googling Charlie Garment’s name.

I was a production assistant with Monitor during the last year.  I had worked in Spot Sales at NBC on the third floor when I read the in-house employment listings and applied for the job to Steve White, up on the eighth floor.  By some great stroke of luck I got the job. I worked for Pauline Barfield. I just saw her photos at your sight.  She and I were good friends at the time, but as she learned the show was moving on, she did too and we subsequently lost track of each other.
I still have my NBC stopwatch, which I put to good use over the years. I went on to become an associate director at ABC Radio Networks. Then worked as a press secretary for NY State Assemblyman/Borough President. I was hired in 1977 as the first female staff announcer in New York at WOR-TV and followed that with news reporter/anchor at WNBC-AM. I’ve been a news anchor in Dallas and in Chicago at WLS.  I currently do voiceover work from my in-house studio in Scottsdale, AZ and my husband is one of the main jingle producers for station IDs in the US.

I worked on the Saturday shows, coordinating the music intros, outros the movie critic spots with Shalit, the interviews and the news. It was a blast.  I was in my early twenties back then and I learned so much.  Even the perfume I use to this day, was influenced by Cappy who gave me her secret address to a small perfumerie in Paris on Rue de la Paix. (Which I’ve since visited several times.) Christian Dior Diorella became my favorite scent….  she was my role model for women in broadcasting.

Thanks for more memories,

Jesse Elin Browne
(formerly Jesse Elin Itkin)
August 16, 2006

Comments: I have only recently learned of the Monitor website through my membership in Sperdvac and, have just paid my first visit which included Bill Cullen’s interview of Sterling Holloway.

I particularly enjoyed the 1936-46 decade of NBC’s first 50 years as hosted by Bob Hope and have passed on the site to friends who I think will also enjoy it.


I have marked it under my favorite sites and will continue to listen in the future, especially on those cold, snowy days we can look forward to in the Chicago area this coming winter.


Nice job!


Chuck Rohde

Lombard, IL

July 31, 2006

Comments: What a delightful site!

MONITOR was every bit as fascinating to me as early radio serials during WWII. The interesting thing was that it was the first piece of “mass media” which was tailored to rapidly evolving short-attention-span of the American radio listener. The “magazine concept” teased the listener with short, varied pieces of program material. And it was presented in an immediate way, from the fast pace of the material, to the signature electronic beeps … speeding the program on to the listener.

It really was the Great Radio Program in so many ways. It cemented my love of broadcasting and was responsible for a lifetime in and around media. Thanks for the great look back.

Dan Beach
Orlando, FL

July 31, 2006

Comments:  I’ve enjoyed the Monitor web site for several months now. It’s especially interesting to hear the monthly program excerpts, which really show how the presentation evolved and became more informal over the years.

My early exposure to Monitor was rather limited, mainly hearing the beacon and short bits on the car radio on WMAQ, when I was growing up in Chicago. I got more interested in the program in the early 1970’s, when NBC had already bumped Monitor from WMAQ-AM to WMAQ-FM. I recall one afternoon when the host – it may have been Ted Brown – stopped a group going through Rockefeller Center , and had them sing (hum?) the NBC chimes.

I hold an annual trivia contest for friends – usually, about 20-25 people show up, generally ranging in age from the 30’s to the 50’s. For the purposes of the contest, we divide them into teams of four to five persons each. This year, one of the questions I asked was about Monitor.

I played the Monitor beacon (recorded from your web site, natch!) and told them it identified a nationwide, weekend-long radio program that ran from 1955 to 1975, and I asked them to name the show. I was curious to see how many folks would know the answer. As it turned out, three of the five teams identified the program as Monitor. I found at that on at least one of the teams, it was a group effort. One of the people on that team associated the beacon with NBC, but didn’t remember the program name. Another member of the team didn’t remember the beacon, but did remember that NBC’s weekend program was named Monitor, so they put it together! Nice.

Anyway, keep up the great work. It’s sad that there’s no program like Monitor around anymore. It’s uplifting, inclusive tone was a far cry from today’s AM radio, which seems designed to promote anger and divisiveness.

Jim Dexter


July 26, 2006

Comments: Hi,

Wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed the Monitor web site.

I remember a car trip with my dad in the mid 60s from Milwaukee up to Oshkosh Wisc. & back. I remember Ed McMahon & Monitor & not being bored even at that young age. Think they were on WTMJ. the 50,000 watt Milwaukee flame thrower, as the signal was strong & clear the whole way.

We listened to Monitor quite a bit on weekends as I recall. I always wondered why such a wonderful program went away & now I know, thanks to you.

I’m looking forward to listening to the Bill Cullen half hour & any future clips you post. Thanks again for the wonderful web site.

Steve Atkinson

Eagle, Wisconsin

July 15, 2006

Comments: Dennis,


I just finished listening to Monitor ’73 with Bill Cullen.  What a pleasure it was to hear him.


Many people remember Bill Cullen from his days doing TV game shows, but this half hour reminds so many of us about Bill’s contributions to Monitor and the history of radio.


It is always a pleasure to visit your site and go back to a time when radio truly was a great medium.  This, of course, is due to shows such as Monitor.


Thanks again for this enjoyable half hour.


Larry Stoler

Stamford, Connecticut

July 9, 2006

Comments: Dennis:


Thanks for this month’s “Sounds of Monitor” Bill Cullen segment.


The date of that long-ago broadcast happened to be my twentieth birthday!


And, I’m sorry to report that I was not listening to that particular Monitor broadcast.


How can I be sure I wasn’t listening, you ask? Because I was heading to Atlanta Stadium to watch the Braves play the Phillies in an afternoon game. And I remember the game to this day, thirty three years later, because Hank Aaron hit his 700th home run in that game.


We were sitting in the bleachers and the ball almost hit me–the guy sitting behind me caught it.


That was quite a birthday. I only wish I had listened to Monitor that day as well. I’m guessing I had fallen out of the habit of listening by then, assuming that it would be around forever and I’d tune in again at some later point.


How wrong that twenty year old was!


Hope you’re having a great summer!


Thomas J. Frieling
Athens, GA  30602

July 5, 2006

Comments: Dennis:

To hear new audio of Bill Cullen on Monitor, I will endure sitting in a house with an air conditioner on the fritz on a hundred-degree day.  Even with the dicey audio quality, it’s worth it.  And to get revealing personal gems, such as Bill’s bouts with worry and self-confidence (something he once admitted on “To Tell the Truth”), it’s priceless.  Besides, to my knowledge, that barely more than doubles the total of Cullen-Monitor audio that exists, right??


Oh, for more great finds!!  Thanks again.


Kenneth Johannessen


That’s all from East Wenatchee at this time.



July 2, 2006

Comments: A good friend tipped me off to Monitor and I have enjoyed the links you provide to check out.

I often wondered why Monitor’s competition didn’t respond with a similar program called “Merrimac.” Now that would have been a battle!

Having spent over 40 years in Wilmington, DE radio, you know I appreciate this web site.

Dick Holmes

(A deejay from the 50’s and 60’s – who spent every day on “spins and needles.”)

June 21, 2006

Comments: Hey, Dennis,

I definitely enjoy your website. Monitor, for sure, had an all-star lineup over the years. The audio clips were a blast!

If I only knew then, what I know now. I’m 48 years old but even so, I did not listen to Monitor that much. In listening to the clips, I like how the producers ran the programming like a Rolex (the real one). Of course, there was the occasional goof, but heck that’s live radio. I like the goof-ups. That makes it fun.

Monitor worked because it brought a slice of American life into our radios. Thanks for this contribution you’ve made to us on how radio should sound.


Mike Fitzgerald

WAVA-FM Washington, DC

WEBR Fairfax (my show)

June 15, 2006

Comments: Dennis,

I really enjoyed this month’s audio clip on the website, especially the live remote featuring the Jonah Jones Quartet from the Embers nightclub. What I wouldn’t give to spend an evening at this venerable jazz club, that is no more. I’m sure a live remote like this provided a vicarious thrill for the millions of Monitor listeners who themselves could not pop into The Embers, then located at 161 E. 54th St in Midtown Manhattan.

In doing a little Google research, this 1959 broadcast must have been near the end of the Embers tenure on West 54th St. Apparently in the early ’60s, this part of Manhattan declined and became home to more strip clubs than jazz clubs and at some point, the Embers closed.

Thanks once again to Monitor for preserving a moment of this club’s history!

Tom Frieling

Athens, Georgia

June 12, 2006

Comments: Hello,
What a treat to find your web site. My co-anchor and I are alums of WPOP/Hartford from its days as an all-news station and NIS affiliate. We are now at the NBC O&O in Hartford, WVIT-TV.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane with Monitor. I remember it well since my dad wouldn’t let us listen to rock and roll in the car.

Best Wishes,
Joanne Nesti
West Hartford, Connecticut

May 23, 2006

Comments: Dennis:

Once again, a fascinating hour on the website – downloaded it yesterday, and just finished listening to it.


I think it underscores two things: 1) what a great host Gene Rayburn was; and 2) how “Monitor” reflected the national mood.


One can tell (and maybe only people in our business can truly appreciate) – Rayburn’s dilemma that morning, i.e. to keep the show – while interrupted, fragmented and obviously flying by the seat of their pants – still moving and recognizable as “Monitor“; and also, while appreciative of the sadness much of his audience feels, to play the role of the bright “Monitor” host – er, communicator .  You could tell he was gauging very carefully when to let go, even slightly – he seemed to kind of “tiptoe” through that hour-plus.  How apologetic he was when he had to do the Oak Flooring commercial.


One has to know when to play it straight, and that hour is a textbook example.


Of course, they chose the music very carefully, as well – it seemed (wisely, of course) much more subdued than normal, with a couple of exceptions – which were, conspicuously placed well apart from anything related to the news of the day.


It also seemed as though there were fewer commercials than normal for that hour – I wonder if some advertisers pulled their spots at the last minute?


A couple of other interesting things caught my attention, too:


1) Through more than an hour of prime Saturday morning time, WNBC was only able to sell ONE local commercial; the rest were PSA’s and promos?


2) The amount of national and international news in WNBC’s local news break.


All in all, great listening once again.  I can’t wait to find out what you’ll have for us next month!




That’s all from East Wenatchee at this time.



April 17, 2006

Comments: Dennis,


You really outdid yourself with this month’s audio clip of Gene Rayburn hosting Monitor the weekend that President Eisenhower died.


While I can not say with certainty that I remember that particular broadcast, I well remember when Ike died. And that was definitely the time period when I was a most faithful Monitor listener. That spring 1969 weekend was almost certainly spent cruising around with my high school friends, hanging out at the Eastwood Mall, bowling a few games at the Mall’s bowling alley, and, of course, listening to Monitor.


Gene does indeed do a masterful job of hitting the right tone and the whole segment strikes a perfect balance between covering this solemn national event and, at the same time, carrying on with the show.


In short, Monitor at its best.

Thomas J. Frieling

Athens, Georgia

April 3, 2006

Comments: Thank-you for this great website dedicated to one of the best radio shows in my lifetime.

Growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1960’s, I used to listen to Monitor with my Dad on the Saturday trip to see my Grandad. I remember autumn rains, a 1963 Buick and wonderful times with my Dad as we listened to Bill Cullen, Gene Rayburn, Mike Nichols and Elaine May,and the whole cast, particularly Bob and Ray.

Monitor was a unique, informative, educational and entertaining program for years. Now in my 50’s, I have never bought a television, I am a radio person and would love to have a Saturday or Sunday afternoon of Monitor to play back.

Thanks again, wonderful job.

Frank Smith

Cheyenne, Wyoming

March 20, 2006

Comments: Thanks for all of your work on the Monitor Tribute site. I grew up listening to Monitor in the 60’s, a lot of while riding in the car with my folks, and really enjoy all the information and audio that’s on the site!

Best wishes and thanks again.

John Aughey

March 19, 2006

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Just want to again take time to congratulate you on your great website.  You, as of this writing have over 110,000 hits.  It shows that there are others that are still interested in NBC Radio and more specifically Monitor.  Keep up the great work!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, CA

March 1, 2006

Editor’s note: Don Spuhler was the very first person to write to this website when it debuted in October 2000.  He grew up listening to Monitor on KFI Radio in Los Angeles — and other Southern California stations.

Comments: Hi, Dennis,


Thanks for the two hours of Gene Rayburn included in the sound clips this month.  Gene was one of the best communicators on Monitor.   He was a terrific entertainer on radio and, of course, on television.  He was a fine actor, too.  Years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing him on the stage when he starred in a touring production of the Neil Simon hit, “Come Blow Your Horn,” in Washington, DC.


I’m sure you’ve heard about the death of legendary sportscaster Curt Gowdy.  Quite a versatile broadcaster, covering many great sports events.  Among his assignments for NBC was Monitor.  I remember hearing him host the program in the 1960s.  I don’t know how long he did the show, but he performed his duties very well.  The man could certainly “do it all.”  He’ll be missed terribly.


Love the Monitor Web site!




Mike Holston

February 21, 2006

Editor’s note:  We have been saddened to hear of Curt Gowdy’s passing.  Many of us grew up and older, watching and listening to him announce the great sports events of the ’60s and ’70s. Next month (March 2006), this website will feature audio from Curt, both hosting Monitor and doing his “Monitor Outdoors” feature. 

Comments: Dear Dennis:

Yesterday, Saturday morning, I listened to the two hours of Gene Rayburn hosting Monitor that you have on the Sounds of Monitor section of the site. It was all too easy to think myself back thirty seven years and imagine I was back in high school listening to Monitor once again on that little RCA transistor radio I had back then.

If only I could have turned on the radio afterwards and tuned in to Monitor 2006. Let’s keep hoping!

Tom Frieling

Athens, Georgia

February 12, 2006

Comments: Dennis:

You do a terrific job. I wish I had known this site existed before. It was a pleasure hearing the beacon again. I think I caught Monitor from the second show on and listened Saturday mornings and studied to it on Sunday evenings. That could account for my problems with algebra.

I’m retired now, and my interest is in the 1930s and 1940s. My project is to recreate events from those days as if Monitor had been there. I’ve been researching for 7 years now, and decided I will arbitrarily to cut off the research and start producing something by next January so I can listen to real radio again.

Keith Jones

February 10, 2006

Comments: I am a new convert to Monitor. I was too young to hear the original show.

I heard a tribute Jim Lowe did on his show that airs on the station I work at KTXR-FM in Springfield MO. Jim is featured in Wayne Glenn’s The Ozark’s Greatest Hits book. You can order this book through the website, . I also am a big fan of Bob and Ray, Don Imus, the Wolfman, Al Capp, Gene Rayburn and the original James Bond, Barry Nelson.
Jeff Boggs


January 25, 2006

Comments: In 1956-66 while stationed at Fort Gordon, CA doing my two years in the Army, Weekend Monitorbroadcasts were my best link to civilization.

I particularly remember Al Capp, the “talking cartoonist.” The identifying sound of the Monitor “beacon,” still haunts me. I use the term that announcers used, “You’re on the Monitor Beacon,” to this day. As a teacher, when my students were close or had the answer to questions, I would say, “You’re on the Monitor Beacon.” They instinctively seemed to know what I meant, although none of them could have possibly ever heard it, being too young.

Wyatt Newman

Bend, Oregon

January 21, 2006

Comments: Hi, Dennis.

I can’t believe that on the 26th of this month, it will be 31 years since Monitor left the air.  It does not seem that long ago.


So many of us who visit this site remember where we were during that weekend.  It means even more now hearing the final three hours in 2,006.


I’m sure everyone that was involved in putting Monitor together on the air and behind the scenes did not realize the impact Monitor would have on so many but it did and remains that way today.


Thank you for this website and giving us a place on the internet to remember a great radio program.


Larry Stoler

January 21, 2006

Comments: Hi!

You’ve made me a hero to one of my friends – Bill Bales, who’s contacted you. His dad worked for Monitor for many years, and when Bill and his wife were here for dinner one night and he mentioned Monitor, I said, “Boy, have I got a book for you,” and went and got my copy of “Monitor Take 2,” which Bill took with him that very night.

Don Brockway

January 19, 2006

Comments: Thank you for this page.


January 19, 2006

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

On this date (Jan. 14th) in 1957, NBC inaugurated hourly TOH newscasts, the first national network to do so. The casts also used live on the spot reporting. Maybe NBC will return to that news programming in 2008 to replace the current part time joint venture with WW1. All the best!

Terry Morgan (GEC)

January 14, 2006

Editor’s note: Monitor was doing news on the hour from the program’s debut in June 1955 — though it was introduced as “Five minutes of Monitor news, brought to you by….” So what NBC did in ’57 was add news on the hour to its weekday schedule.  By the ’60s, Monitor’s top-of-the-hour newscasts would be introduced as “NBC Monitor News on the Hour.”

Comments: Hello,

I learned of your site from the Michigan Radio and TV Buzzboard forum.

I have only a vague recollection of Monitor, being born in 1958 and living in a one-radio household (besides my transistor radio, of course). I recall hearing Monitor on the weekends, after (for whatever reason) my mother changed the untouchable radio dial setting from WCAR 1130 to WWJ 950, which was the NBC affiliate here in Detroit. That would have been around 1971-2, as I remember Gene Rayburn and Bill Cullen hosting.

Anwyay, the point of this note is regarding the final hosts. When I was attending the University of Miami (1981-4), Big Wilson was the host of the “Big, Big Movie”, a late night movie on an independent station (Channel 6?). (It may have also been called “Nite Owl Movie” at some point, or perhaps that was his competition.) I had never heard of Big Wilson before — or since. I recall he also appeared on commercials for a local pizza chain.

As for John Bartholomew Tucker, I still recognize his voice on some TV commercials, and remember his TV game show from 1968. It was called Treasure Island or Treasure Hunt or something similar. The contestants had to paddle between small islands in a large pool or lagoon and dig for prizes …..

Your site is a wonderful tribute. My favorite thing about the internet is how devotees of all different subjects can share their knowledge and preserve history.

Warren in Michigan

January 14, 2006

Comments: Wow, thanks loads for this great website!

Those famous Monitor beeps brought back memories of Saturday mornings as a kid. That famous  bumper music (I can’t name it, you know that dah did a dah, dah dah dah. fast tempo one) Is imprinted in my brain to this day.  Bill Cullen, Henry Morgan, really literate stuff.

It’s a shame the state of radio today being what it is, couldn’t accept a great show like Monitor.

Jeri Pinsker

January 14, 2006

Comments: Dennis:

Greetings to you and best wishes for 2006.


I’m listening to the Parade of Bands broadcast I recorded off the website today.  Real nice to hear it, as well as that wonderful network line noise in the background.  One minor thing: I wanted to hear the news, which I’m guessing was fed at 12:30 a.m. EST., but oh, well.


(It takes me back to when I was a teen, and alone on New Year’s Eve listening to the radio – I think it was ’76, but I seem to remember hearing Mutual doing a similar type of broadcast, at least that one year.)


Also nice to hear Bill Hanrahan’s voice – I always considered him “the voice” of NBC, since I always heard him do the TV network IDs when I was a kid.  You know, someone should make up a tribute page to those great NBC staff announcers – Pardo, Wendell, Hanrahan, Howell and Tuttle; it seems they were better known to the public than the announcers at the other networks, their names got out more.


I don’t think I gave you the proper kudos for the website redesign a while back, but it looks really nice, and much easier to navigate.  I’m guessing by the credits that the kudos should actually go to your son, but nicely done – whoever did it.


Looking forward to more great stuff on the site in the next twelve months!




That’s all from East Wenatchee at this time.


January 2, 2006

Comments:  Hi, Dennis!

I wish you and all Monitorphiles a happy, healthy and peaceful 2006! BTW, with Microsoft exiting MSNBC cable, maybe NBC will re-name its cable news service “NBC Monitor.” “NBC News Channel” is already being used by NBC for a newsfeed service to affiliates.

All the best!

Terry Morgan

(GEC) NBC News… monitoring the world on cable 24/7

December 31, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I just finished listening to Monitor from Christmas, 1969.  It was great to hear all those voices. I remember when Charlie Brown did afternoons on WNBC in 1968.

I know Murray the K is more associated with the Beatles and stations like 1010 WINS when they were a music station in the early 60s but I enjoy hearing him on Monitor too thanks to your site.


I’m going to listen to the rest of the offerings for December.


Happy holidays to you and everyone that enjoys the Monitor tribute site.


Larry Stoler

December 23, 2005

Comments: Add me to the list of people influenced by “Monitor.”

I’ve been in radio over 25 years — and during those Grade School and High School years in Chicago, I would even tape the show on WMAQ….who in the world would tape a radio show in 1969?

When WMAQ started running less of the show — I wrote and complained — the PD said they wanted to be more “local.” I had to turn to WTMJ/Milwaukee, who didn’t drop the Saturday night feed. They changed their pattern at night, so I had to deal with a static-filled signal.


This site is wonderful.


Mark Zegan/Smooth Jazz 98.1

KIFM/San Diego

December 17, 2005

Comments: My father was a watchmaker. I would spend hours with him while he worked on watches in his shop at home on the week ends, listening to Monitor.

Your web site brought back many memories like the Monitor girl and the Monitor signal. I worked for the phone company and I never made the connection (pardon the pun) between it and what you used to hear when a long-distance call was routing.


Monitor came from the center of the world — New York. I first heard about this guy Elvis. My dad loved Bob and Ray and Nichols and May. “My son the nurse” was a favorite.


We had maps of the world and would check out where a country was when we heard a news report. Thanks for the web site.


Carl Fischer

November 28, 2005

Comments: Congrats, Dennis, for hitting the 100K mark!

Terry Morgan (GEC)

November 28, 2005

Comments: Dear Dennis:

It has been a year since I first discovered your wonderful web site. This morning is probably the first time in six months since I have taken a look, and I love the additions!


The darn Monitor Beacon has a way of hanging on, doesn’t it? It was about a week or so before I found your web site that I could hear the “Beacon” broadcasting in my head. It was as clear as it was in 1955 when I heard it for the first time.


Ah, the magic of radio really does live in our heads.


Thanks so much for developing and maintaining this glorious web site!


Happy Holidays.


Big Fan, I am,
Michael B. Wright

Seattle, WA

November 25, 2005

Comments: Hey, Dennis,

I just wanted to recognize you and your website for reaching 100,000 hits.   Actually, as I write this it is 100,033.  This is really great.  It truly shows there is still an interest in NBC Monitor.

Please pat yourself on the back and keep up the great work!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

November 19, 2005

Editor’s note: Don Spuhler was the very first person to write to this website when it premiered in October 2000.  We are so very grateful to everyone who has written or simply visited us since then.  You are keeping alive the memory of network radio’s greatest program — thank you so very much!  

Comments: Dennis, how about that!

Can you believe 100,000 hits in just over five years? Congratulations. The magic moment occurred at 2:59 PM EST, November 19, 2005.

Louis Castaing

November 19, 2005

Comments: Hi, I just wanted to write and thank you for the site.

My dad, Marx Loeb, was an executive producer of the show between (I think) 1957-1961. He was always very proud of the work he did there. I remember him being called by telephone for an interview–again, I think–in 1975, during the Monitor retrospective.

In any case, thanks for a great site.

Marx Loeb

November 2, 2005

Comments: From those early days as a child when I got a brown bakelite Admiral clock radio for Christmas in 1955, I loved Monitor.

Would this 4-part series you are running be available to hear for those of us who missed the earlier segments?


Evan J. Chase

Toledo, Ohio

October 27, 2005

Editor’s note:  To Evan and Bill (just below) and anyone else interested in obtaining copies of all five parts of NBC Radio’s “First Fabulous Fifty” anniversary celebration — we will provide a link to all five parts during the month of December 2005.  Be sure to check this website for that link.

Comments: Thanks for putting together the Monitor Beacon page. It is a tribute to the last great radio program ever, and it brings back such wonderful memories.
I visited the site today and downloaded NBC Radio’s First Fabulous 50 — Part 4. I had caught Part 1, but I regret that I missed parts 2 and 3. Any chance I could get those missing parts?

Best regards,


Bill Fike

October 26, 2005

Comments:  I was a young boy in the 70’s but I remember my folks listening to our local NBC station in Chicago — WMAQ — on Saturdays in the summer and Monitor would be on. I never paid much attention because it was all talk radio and I liked rock and roll, but your website and the audio clips have made me realize that Monitor was more then just talk, it was entertainment.
Thank you for your website.
Richard Roberts

October 25, 2005

Comments: I learned about this site on Saturday, October 1, on Chuck Schaden’s show “Those Were The Days” (WDCB-FM, Chicago).

Monitor was and really still is my favorite radio show. For some reason my strongest memories are of Barry Nelson telling us he was our host and Gene Rayburn giving the college football scores, especially Slippery Rock, on Saturday nights. I’m really happy to have learned about your site.

Mike Walters

October 3, 2005

Comments: Hi. I heard this site mentioned today on the Chuck Schaden radio show.  I’m interested in finding out how I can hear the previous three episodes of the
“Sounds of Monitor“.  What a nice job.  Really interesting.  Thanks for putting this together.

Ann Jones

October 1, 2005

Editor’s note:  Ann refers to the four-hour “Salute to Monitor” that aired on WDCB-FM in Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 1, on Chuck Schaden’s “Those Were the Days” program.  In December on this website, we will post a link allowing everyone to access all five parts of  NBC Radio’s “First Fabulous Fifty” anniversary celebration.

Comments: I enjoyed the “Monitor This Week” listings on an hour-by-hour basis of what would be on “Monitor” the weekend of October 1st-2nd, 1955.

I noted that several NBC Radio programs broadcast on weekends prior to “Monitor“‘s launch continued. Maybe they were preceded by the Beacon and a Communicator saying “Now let’s listen to (name of program)”.

One interesting tidbit was a feature during the 7 to 8 P.M. (EDT) hour on Saturday: the construction of “the Nyack-Tarrytown bridge across the Hudson River”. Today, it’s known as the Tappan Zee Bridge, and I’ve gone across it several times while driving from Boston to points south when I needed to bypass New York City. The view from the Tappan Zee is one of the most scenic of any highway bridge in the entire country!

And all those late-night big-band remotes! For fans of that kind of music in 1955, it was fantastic to be able to hear several hours of top bands. Who knew then that within a year, the big-band era would abruptly end and be replaced by the rock ‘n roll age.

Best Wishes,
Joseph Gallant

September 26, 2005

Comments: Dennis, This is my first visit to the Beacon since its “makeover”, and I like it.

Naturally, this is also the first I’ve heard about Doug’s planned documentary on “Monitor“. I’ve dropped him a line expressing an interest in being interviewed. Don’t know what I can bring to the table, but of course I always like talking about “Monitor“. Kudos, also, for the NPR piece in June. I was on my way to church that morning and heard it with another radio geek who also remembers “Monitor” fondly.
Will Burpee

August 17, 2005

Comments: Loved the show ever since I was a kid. Even wrote a fan letter to Ted Brown and got a signed photo with his “green piercing eyes”. I’ve notified the “WSB Oldtimers”, an e-mail list of hundreds of former employees to the site and the download…

Richard Warner

President, What’s Up Interactive President, Daybook, Inc.

August 7, 2005

Comments: Dennis,

What a great site! One of my great childhood memories was finding Monitor on our car radio when we took our Sunday drives in rural Indiana in the late 50’s. It always made the trip for me, and I was all of 8 years old at the time.

Ted Vodde

July 31, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Just wanted to congratulate you on 90,000 hits. Who would have thought when you began this site a few short years ago that you would almost reach the 100,000 mark? Congratulations, Dennis. You are providing a great service to all of us Monitor fans!
Don Spuhler

Fontana, CA

July 24, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Just wanted to compliment you on the new look of the website! Both my wife and I check it out from time to time and enjoy the added features and the guestbook! It’s still one of the coolest radio sites ever!


Peter King

CBS Radio News

July 18, 2005

Comments:  Dennis,

Thanks for the great site. My relative, Burroughs “Buck” Prince, was associated with Monitor for a few years. What, if anything, can you tell me about him?

Eldred E. “Wink” Prince Jr., PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of History

Coastal Carolina University

Conway, South Carolina

July 15, 2005

Comments: Dennis.

I recently bought a VTECH landline phone for my home. It has a downloadable ringer… you guessed it…I downloaded the Beacon from your website as my phone’s ringer!

Now, every time my home phone “rings,” I’m on the Monitor Beacon!!!!

Mark S. Dorn
Director of Alumni
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

July 15, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in. I was watching an old “Match Game” episode on Game Show Network and seeing host Gene Rayburn and guest panel member Bill Cullen reminded me that I was way past due for a visit to the Monitor Website. So, here I am.

The website looks great and I wanted to also say how much I enjoyed NBC Radio’s First Fabulous 50 – Part 1! Great memories, stirred by so many wonderful voices! I’m looking forward to hearing the other segments in the months to come.

Scott Marinoff

Imperial Beach, CA

July 6, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I just played the first part of NBC Radio’s 50th Anniversary retrospective. It’s a terrific program, extremely well-produced. A real pleasure to hear the great Ben Grauer, hosting the history of the network for the years 1926 to 1936. I’m looking forward to the other four parts of the series in the months to come. Thanks so much for including this NBC Radio special in the Sounds of Monitor section.

I love the new look of this Web site. It’s more colorful and easier on the eyes. All sections are designed very well. This Monitor fan is a frequent visitor here.

Dennis, I enjoyed listening to your interview on Weekend Edition. I wish it would have lasted longer. Perhaps National Public Radio will do us all a great service and invite you back for an extended interview with more Monitor sound clips.

Best regards,

Mike Holston
Los Angeles, CA

July 3, 2005

Comments: We just had a chance to explore your Monitor webpage.  Congratulations to you and Bradley on such a tremendous compilation of news and information about a legendary radio program.  Please keep up the great work and all good wishes for a wonderful July 4 holiday weekend.

Phil Tavlian

Fresno, CA

July 2, 2005

Comments:  I really like the look of your revamped site! I also heard your interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. Very good.
It’s funny.  I am a former radio broadcaster and on weekends I find myself hungering for a type of Monitor. Maybe someone somehow could bring it back.

Best wishes,

Bob Stolz

Xenia , OH

June 24, 2005

Dear Dennis:

Comments: I just listened to “Weekend Edition” this morning with Liane Hanson. Sadly I missed your interview with her last Sunday, but thanks to Windows Media Player I was able to enjoy every minute of your discussion on my computer.

I loved it. It has been months since I checked in at your web site to listen to former shows. That darn MonitorBeacon has a way of transporting my 64-year-old bod back to the 1950s as nothing else can.

I did not realize you had a book on the show. I must get it. Have you thought about including a CD of typical shows? I have often wished I could play Monitor in my car.

I know, with so much going on in 2005 some people may say I am pathetic to want to play old radio news – 50 years old at that, in my Buick. But I love the idea.

I will start checking in more often.

Congratulations on the NPR coverage and thanks for writing your book.

My best,

Michael B. Wright
Seattle WA

June 19, 2005

Comments: Dennis,

I was thrilled to hear your voice on my favorite public radio station this past Sunday. What a fascinating topic, and what a treat it was to know that your curiosity and enthusiasm are as infectious as ever.

I just wanted to drop a quick line to say hello, to congratulate you on the recent national exposure of your Monitorproject.
Tim Miller

Park City, Utah

June 15, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Taped your “Weekend Edition” piece on NPR on my reel talk radio and versacorder (I need both to do this!). Had heard the plug the day before.

You sounded terrific, very cogent, clear and without hesitation in the interview. (Leeanne is one of my favorites.) And like so many others, I too was thrilled to be taken back to 1955 (I was 11) when I indeed heard the first and many subsequent Monitor programs.

Pat Isom

Fresno, California

June 14, 2005

Comments: Dennis, I loved the NPR piece on Monitor (although it could have been longer.) Also, the new look on the website is terrific!

Congrats on both accounts. And to all who have been associated with NBC Monitor, thank you!

Terry Morgan (GEC)

June 14, 2005

Comments:  I set the alarm so that I could hear the 6:50 AM broadcast today (although I think they started a little earlier than that, but I caught it all).

You did a very nice job, and I’m sure Jack Thayer would appreciate your carefully structured responses to some of the questions.

They also did a nice job of packaging it. I’m sure all who were involved with Monitor over the years (from Morgan Beatty to JB Tucker) would be very happy with it.


Jim Wilson

June 13, 2005

Comments: Just a note to let you know that you did a great job on NPR.

As one Monitor fan to another: Thanks!

Don Spuhler

June 13, 2005

Comments: I remember Monitor well. In the late 1960s I worked for an NBC radio station which carried Monitor, although not the full schedule, and sometimes “tape delayed” to the wee hours.

This morning I heard and enjoyed the piece about Monitor’s 50th which ran on NPR’s Weekend edition (Sunday 6/12).

It was great to hear the Monitor Beacon again.

Yes, the sound was unlike anything else on radio and so was an appropriate symbol for the program…. but it served another purpose as well that you may have missed. Because the Beacon had no apparent beginning or end … no “tune” …a local station could fade into or out of it at any time without appearing to “upcut” the music.

This allowed for several seconds of play when joining or leaving the network for local programming, something that was important at a time when many stations had clocks which were not accurate to the second.

Best wishes keeping the Monitor legacy alive.

Kevin McCullough

June 13, 2005

Comments: Hi, I enjoyed the NPR segment on Monitor this morning.

NPR is certainly the heir-apparent to Monitor–the closest thing we have now. NPR would certainly do well to add some humor a la Bob and Ray and Nichols and May. I think I could keep tuned to the constant insurgent reports if we had some humor in between. Go for it NPR!

We listened to Monitor constantly. In college, people would ask me how I knew so much (which was amazing since I skipped class a lot). The answer, though I seldom gave it, was easy. I listened to Monitor.

In the late 50’s, one afternoon washing the car with my Dad. Gen. Douglas MacArthur was being interviewed on Monitor. He said, “There will not be another world war, the next war will be with an enemy from another world.”

He then asserted that he had said too much and the interview was over quickly. Dad never quite got over that one. Thanks for you great web site.

Rodney J. Ross Jr.

Payson AZ

June 13, 2005

Comments: Yes, I did, indeed, hear most of the first feed of NPR’s Weekend Edition tribute to Monitor, on its golden anniversary.

Who have thunk fifty years later THAT program would be remembered in any way, shape or form?!?!?!? A fella NY broadcaster and former colleague at ABC News dropped me a note saying he heard it and enjoyed it but wished they had used more sound from the nearly 20 years of broadcasts. Don’t know how much they had to play with, but they obviously had a limited amount of air time in their own budget.

I sort of suspected that you’d be in the mix somewhere and it did not take me long to realize, I WAS RIGHT!!! So congratulations to you, who always gives us the kudos, for getting the word out to National Public Radio!!!

Best wishes,


June 13, 2005

Comments: I was exposed to your Monitor Memories via NPR the morning and I thought I would like to share a few memories. I listened to Monitor on WLW “The Nation’s Station” in Cincinnati and I remember hearing that first broadcast as a result of Jim Fleming’s promoting it on the “Today” show.

In those days I listened to WLW a lot since they would simulcast many of their live daily local WLW-T TV shows on radio. The most famous of these was Ruth Lyon’s Fifty-Fifty club which was a 5 day a week pioneer talk TV and entertainment show with live music done in a radio studio with an audience and it fit nicely into their news and variety format which they kept for many years with some MOR or highly “clean” music at other times. Weekend Monitor fit in perfect. One other memory which I captured on tape and which  partly fell into the Monitor Format by happenstance was the Assassination and funeral of JFK. Of course, this included the shooting of Oswald. This tape along with the rest of my collection will be stored at a radio archive library located in the former Voice of America Transmitter Building in Bethany Ohio, run by Media Heritage Inc.

I once took the NBC tour after Monitor was established and I recall seeing Radio Central which was built in front of their main switching board. I saw that in 1953 on a previous tour.

Jim Sicking

Cincinnati, Ohio

June 13, 2005

Comments: Dennis:

I heard and recorded Sunday’s NPR show. You did a tremendous job – congratulations!

Jack Shelley

Ames, Iowa

June 12, 2005

Comments: I was interested to hear an NPR interview today with Dennis Hart on “Monitor.” My father, Everard W. Meade, was a close friend and colleague of Pat Weaver’s and helped him launch the program.

Elizabeth (Meade) Howard

Charlottesville, Virginia

June 12, 2005

Comments: Here it is: Monitor’s 50th anniversary. Trouble is: it’s being celebrated on NPR and not on NBC, and, of course, not on Monitor. Well, we can celebrate it. Of the communicators and personalities on the very first program that Sunday, June 12, 1955, I think only Don Russell survives. And of the communicators on Monitor’sfirst Saturday, June 18, 1955, probably only Hugh Downs is still alive.

I don’t want to forget the people behind the scenes, especially Monitor’s guiding spirits: Pat Weaver and it first executive producer Jim Fleming (the man who gave Monitor its name). They had great ambitions for Monitor. I don’t think anything has ever equaled its ambitions. No program on radio or television has ever had the scope of Monitor. Not just news, but music, comedy, philosophy, from all over the world, all in one program that took over an entire weekend, each and every weekend (at least in the beginning).

See what desperation can breed. I’m not certain Monitor would have ever happened if network radio’s situation wasn’t so dire in 1955. Weaver didn’t just throw away the radio clock, he threw away all the constrains of discrete programs that radio had developed. As Fleming suggested in an early memo, Monitor was not really a radio program, it was more of an information service.

It really wasn’t a bad idea. Maybe its time will come again.

Louis Castaing

Metaire, Louisiana

June 12, 2005

Comments: I left the radio tuned to NPR (which I usually listen to on Saturday nights, anyway) so I could catch the segment (about Monitor’s 50th anniversary on this date). I heard it at 6:50 a.m., and again at 8:50.  It was nicely done, albeit too brief (of course).

Anyway, the 50th anniversary is duly noted with both smiles and tears here, and lots of places; that NPR piece, I’m sure, helped see to that.

Kenneth Johannessen

June 12, 2005

Comments: Truly outstanding (the NPR story about Monitor’s annniversary that aired on this date).

George Mason

Fresno, California

June 12, 2005

Comments: Dennis,

Great job on the NPR story! I heard the plug Saturday morning, and then heard the whole thing this morning before 7.

Pat Dodds

Fresno, California

June 12, 2005

Comments: Hi,

Just a short not to compliment you on the new look for the Monitor Tribute Pages. It’s a much cleaner design, no that the former look was bad.  The new look is just easier to read.

I’m one of the lucky people who called Brad Crandall a friend.  I was writing and producing for CBS TV promotion when I met Brad and he continued to be the primary voice for all of my spots until his death.  We spent a lot of time at Marina del Rey in Southern California watching the sailing boats and recalling the great days of Monitor.

Thanks to you, I get a chance to hear Brad’s work every so often. Thanks for a wonderful site.

Kind regards,

Bob Curtis

Malibu, California

June 12, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I just finished listening to the piece about Monitor on its 50th anniversary on NPR’s Weekend Edition.  I thought it was very well-produced.

This is quite a day for those of us who care about radio including its history.  It is hard to believe that it is 50 years later.  Despite that fact, Monitor means as much to so many of us as it did when we first heard it.

It’s websites like yours that keep the memory of great radio alive — especially at a time when this is needed.

Happy anniversary and keep up a great website for a program that deserves it.

Larry Stoler

June 12, 2005

Comments: Congratulations, Dennis!

I just heard your interview on NPR this morning. You sounded great and they did a great job with the piece. I loved hearing it. Hope all is well and thanks for the memories!

Joe Ram

June 12, 2005

Comments: Dennis:

One word to describe the new look to the “Monitor Tribute Pages”: Fantastic!

The new look is much, much better than the original design and layout.

It was great to see the blending of red and blue, in honor of NBC’s “Red” (WEAF/WRCA/WNBC, 660 on your dial) and “Blue” (WJZ, 770 on your dial) radio networks.

With both the anniversary and the NPR “Weekend Edition” feature on “Monitor“, I suspect there will be a big spike in the number of visitors to your website.

In an ideal world, this afternoon (June 12th), after the 4 P.M. (EDT) NBC/MSNBC radio news headlines, listeners to dozens of radio stations coast-to-coast would have heard an electronic sounder full of blips and beeps, and NBC president Jeff Zucker would have intoned: “Sunday, June 12th, 4 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time”. Katie Couric would then have added “Fifty years ago, June 12th, 1955, at this very hour, radio’s greatest program premiered”. Lester Holt would have then stated “Today, June 12th, 2005, at this hour, radio’s greatest program returns”. Then Brian Williams would have continued “Ladies and Gentlemen, ‘Monitor‘ Is Back! Going places and doing things, this is ‘Monitor 2005′!”.

Sadly, such a broadcast will not occur today.

Best Wishes,

Joseph Gallant

June 12, 2005

Comments: I have just tuned into Monitor-mania, and am very excited.

This show was an integral part of my youth, from the time when I dreamed of going places and doing things until the days when, in fact, I did. I am reading Dennis Hart’s excellent book right now. It came at a perfect time because I am in bed recovering from leg surgery. I listen to the excerpts and read along.


Keith Runyon in Louisville.

Still  going places and doing things.

June 11, 2005

Comments: Hi,

I’m 53 years old and as a kid I spent many, many happy hours on “the Monitor beacon“. I am going to eat this site up. I sat here and almost cried listening to the beacon again. I played it over and over about three times, and I think I’ll play it a few more.

Thanks for putting this site up.

Doug Coyle

June 1, 2005

Comments: Dear Dennis,

It was one of those 4 AM moments: The face (and certainly the voice) of a former beau named Brad Crandall suddenly filled my consciousness.  I haven’t thought of “my old flame” for a great many years.  Out of bed, into the den, fire up the PC and Google Brad Crandall.  Your site appears, and within minutes, I am listening to Brad’s voice from his June 16, 1968 MONITOR broadcast.  The miracle of technology.

Of course, your site is extremely interesting and I have forwarded the URL to several friends who will agree.  I wonder if it’s at all possible to gather additional information about Brad.  When he left NYC, I believe he worked in Los Angeles, possibly at the NBC affiliate there.  I lost track of him, but heard he’d married.  Then a casual mention somewhere that he’d passed away.  Do you have any idea how I may verify any of this?

I am saving my Dave Garroway story for another time.

With kindest regards,

Carol Sloane

May 31, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis.

What a fascinating exhibit for the month of May (the audio of the Monitor “practice” show that was sent closed-circuit to NBC Radio affiliates in May ’55). A very interesting preview of what Monitor might sound like before it hit the air in June of 1955.

I thought Bob and Ray’s takeoff on shortwave radio was very funny and was a sign of things to come for them.

I was wondering if Monitor ever did the contest after the program began on the NBC Radio Network?

Thanks again for a rare audio treat.

Larry Stoler

May 13, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

What a GREAT piece of radio history. Thanks for sharing that closed circuit “practice.”

Terry Morgan (GEC)

May 6, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

Another fantastic piece of vintage audio that had not been available to the public until now!

It’s interesting to note the differences between this practice hour and an actual hour of “Monitor” as we remember it.

The beginning of the hour, with the mix of the “Monitor” beacon and the Naval Observatory time signals, and the somewhat pompous introduction are something I’m glad was changed in the actual program. The top-of-the-hour news was also shorter than it would be once “Monitor” went on the air.

The Bob and Ray bit spoofing overseas shortwave remotes was hilarious (as was everything else they ever did)! I would think that once “Monitor” went on the air, they did this routine for real on the show. Also, NBC got lucky when they featured a young John Chancellor reporting from Chicago in this dry-run, considering his later success as a correspondent and anchorman for the network.

I suspect that Art Van Damme’s quintet was actually in NBC’s old Chicago studios at the Merchandise Mart for the dry run, pretending to be performing at a Chicago nightclub.

Although there would be format changes by the time “Monitor” premiered, even in this ‘dry run”, much of the show’s format that millions would listen to every weekend was already there.

I wonder what audio you’ll be featuring in June??

Best Wishes,

Joseph Gallant

May 3, 2005

Editor’s note: Joseph is referring to the May 2005 audio offering on the Sounds of Monitor page — of an NBC Radio closed-circuit “practice” Monitor show — produced, but not aired, one month before Monitor’s debut in June 1955.

Comments: Good morning, Dennis:

I finally got the chance last night to listen to Pat Weaver’s closed-circuit preview of Monitor fifty years ago this month (April 2005).

Why did it seem to me that we could–should–be listening in on something very similar today?

Everything he said about the Monitor “service” –what it will sound like, what it will do for the network’s revenues–are things you can imagine hearing a current-day network exec pitching to his affiliates. If only someone out there today had Mr. Weaver’s vision, that is.

Thomas J. Frieling

Bainbridge College

April 22, 2005

Editor’s note: You got it, Tom. Mr. Weaver was so far ahead of everyone else in his vision of a network radio service — that, indeed, his ideas would work TODAY — as they did so well, 50 years ago, with Monitor — the program that literally saved the NBC Radio Network for the following 20 years. Compare his vision with the state of radio today, and you’ll understand how far ahead of the curve he was.

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I returned to the website after some time away, and as usual greatly enjoyed all the new “stuff.” It never ceases to amaze me what people remember, and are willing to share.

I listened to the Brad Crandall excerpt again tonight. He was one of my all-time favorites while at WNBC so many years ago. His show was usually on Monday-Friday evenings, 8-11 or 9-12 if memory serves. I loved his voice, the way he conversed with callers, how he reacted when he got angry with a caller, how he related so incredibly well to his audience.

But the best moment of a Brad Crandall show was his sign off- I don’t remember exactly, but the imagery was, to me, nothing less than profound. I think it went something like this: “…until next time, when we sit down by the tracks, open up a can of beans, watch the trains go by, and talk about this crazy world in which we live… this be Brad Crandall saying, ‘good night…my friend.'” I am amazed that, after all these years, I still remember the gist of that, and when I close my eyes, hear his voice saying it.

I don’t recall if he ever used that to close a Monitor show. But if anyone of our fellow Monitor fans can quote the exact sign-off… or better, if anyone might have it on audio… I’d be so appreciative if you would share it with me.

Best Regards,

Randy Allan Krakower

Lumberton, NJ

April 9, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

The April entry on the Sounds of Monitor page is fascinating to say the least.

Obviously Mr. Weaver understood the potential of radio.  He also knew what needed to be done to save the NBC radio network.  In other words he was willing to take a risk.  He did and it worked.

Thank you for bringing us the beginning of what would be a 20-year run of wonderful radio.

Larry Stoler

April 1, 2005

Comments: Dennis:

The closed-circuit “Monitor” audio presentation by Sylvester “Pat” Weaver and Jim Fleming was well worth the wait!

Anyone who doubts that Pat Weaver was the most innovative executive in broadcasting history needs to listen to this recording.

And I can’t wait for May, when you’ll be posting audio of a “sample” hour of “Monitor” recorded a month before the program (or “service”, as Pat Weaver called it) officially premiered. It will be interesting to hear how this “sample” hour was similar to and different from the “Monitor” that millions of Americans listened to every weekend for two decades.

Best Wishes,

Joseph Gallant

April 1, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

The closed circuit announcement that was fed to NBC stations by Pat Weaver is a piece of broadcasting history. Thank you for allowing us to “re-live” something most of us never before heard!

Terry Morgan (GEC)

April 1, 2005

Editor’s note: Terry is referring to the April 2005 featured audio on the “Sounds of Monitor” page (audio from April 1955).

Comments: Dear Dennis:

Thanks for Monitor Memories.

I am a 66 year old lifelong radio fan remembering the Golden Age of Radio, and being interested in all the changes since then. I am still interested in old radio programs and also radio gear. Last year, I acquired an excellent-looking 1924 RCA made by Monitor’s parent company, and I worked in RCA’s radio and TV production facilities in Indianapolis, IN for 9 years until 1975.

Being a small-town lad in South Dakota which had not one TV station as of when I graduated from high school there, radio was a huge window to the world for me, and Monitor was very exciting to me when it began, and still is. I listened to it on KELO, Sioux Falls, days and a number of stations from Texas to Illinois booming across the wide-open prairies at night. Moving to Grand Rapids, MI in 1956 to attend college, I listened to it on WOOD of that city and WMAQ (may those call letters RIP) Chicago, IL.

I could go on but so can all of you reading this. Thanks again for the site, and of course I could listen to Monitor-type programming, whether weekends or weekdays, days or nights.


Andy Ooms

Pine, AZ

March 30, 2005

Comments: Dear Dennis,

He was one of the “originals”! Never forgot Ted Brown in afternoon drive on WNEW-AM, then Edward Brown with the news….what a team! Those were “the days that were”!

Doug Spero

March 21, 2005

Comments: I found your website through a Google search. This morning, my local radio station mentioned the passing of Ted Brown. I wanted to confirm that sad event and so used Google. And here in your Guest Book, several guests are noting Ted’s passing over the weekend.

Speaking as an avid radio listener, I will always remember Ted Brown very fondly. He never failed to make me laugh and feel better. He had a wonderful sense of humor that came through no matter the radio station and its format.

In particular, I vividly recall his signature piece during his heyday – that is, the playing of David Rose’s recording of The Stripper while Ted exhorted the women in his listening audience to get up and dance. He always found a way to make it fresh, especially for his famous “size 8” gal. Far from being sexist, Ted’s Stripper was meant to make us feel free and better. From time to time, he would even try to get his male listeners into the groove. Obviously, no matter how many times I heard this routine, Ted always brought a smile to my lips, whether or not I was up and dancing about.

It’s sad to learn of yet another wonderful radio personality leaving us. We will never see his kind again.

Farewell, Ted. Wherever you go, the good times and the laughs will always follow.

Lucille Mathers

New York City metro area

March 21, 2005

Comments: My name is Bobby Lowich and I rode Captain Teddy in my cab for close to three years. I once came up with a pun that Terrible Teddy liked so much he had me do it on the air via a phone call –it went like this, and it was all mine.

Bobby: Ted, what is the definition of a sun worshiper?

Ted Brown: I give up— what is a sun worshiper?


Ted Brown was a super talent, and I know lots of us will always remember him, Laura the Moose and the Stripper!

Bobby Lowich

March 21, 2005

Comments: Ted Brown was truly one of a kind and head and shoulders above just about everyone else in the business.

Suzanne Lavalle Bothamley

March 21, 2005

Editor’s note: Ms. Bothamley was a key member of the Sunday afternoon Monitor crew during the time Ted Brown hosted that segment.

Comments: I’m saddened to learn of Ted Brown’s passing.

He is an icon of NYC (and national) radio. Like Larry, I fondly remember Ted on one of the WCBS-FM DJ greats specials. I believe Ted disliked rock and roll; but he did a great version of a shouting Top 40 jock while on WCBS-FM that day. I thought it was hilarious! He also did his regular, great communicating that day.

Terry Morgan (GEC)

March 21, 2005

Comments: I am truly sorry to hear this sad news, Dennis (about Ted Brown’s death).

There are not many Monitor hosts still with us, are there?

Tom Frieling

March 21, 2005

Editor’s note: As of this writing, we are still blessed with the presence of former Monitor hosts John Bartholomew Tucker, Jim Lowe, Ed McMahon, Joe Garagiola, Hugh Downs, Monty Hall, Don Russell, Barry Nelson, Cindy Adams, Dan Daniel, Dick Shepard and Don Imus (and perhaps others as well.)

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I was very sorry to learn of the death of Ted Brown.

I first heard Ted on the former WMGM when he did mornings.  The station would change to WHN and the format from rock and roll to middle-of-the-road in 1962.

As you know, he spent many years at the former WNEW-AM.  In addition, there were all the times he appeared on Monitor as you have showcased on your website.

The last time he was on the air was during a couple of the Rock and Roll Radio Greats Reunion weekends on WCBS-FM.  These were held every few years beginning in 1984 while Joe McCoy was program director of the station.

On a specific weekend, the great jocks of New York radio especially from the ’60s would appear on the air and do a few hours where they would play music and talk about some of their favorite memories and stories from that time period. Ted as I said did appear on a couple of them.  Although his history was not necessarily about rock and roll, he sounded great there too.

People like Ted Brown who showed us how to communicate and talk to the audience and not at them are needed more than ever on the radio.

At least he died peacefully and he will not suffer any longer and we can always have memories of a great talent who cared about people and did good things for radio.

Larry Stoler

March 20, 2005

Comments: Ted Brown has a special place in my heart.

He was terrific to me when I was 15 and visited NBC…and really, one of the best ‘personalities” ever. Am very sad to hear this.

Peter King

March 20, 2005

Comments: I was saddened to hear about Ted Brown (who passed away today).

I always enjoyed his Sunday afternoon segments even though by the early 70s it wasn’t really Monitor anymore. But it was radio with a fantastic New York radio personality. That blooper clip on the site with Ted coming out of the news shows how imperturbable and quick he was, and at ease with the audience. And here in New Orleans where those big-time New York radio signals have a tough time being heard, it was something to treasure.

I checked around the Web and found out that, after WNBC, he worked for WNEW again up until 1989 and then for a station in New Jersey, WVNJ,  until 1996 when he suffered a stroke and was incapacitated.

His stint on Monitor was brief but everyone who was listening between 1970 and 1972 remembers it. When they said on WNEW, “Blessed with America’s Best,” they might have been speaking of the music, but I include Ted Brown. One of the truly great radio personalities.

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

March 20, 2005

Comments: My name is Duncan Holmes, and I’m a Monitor fan from way back.

I reside in Fredericksburg, Texas, am a professional musician and just happen to be totally blind, but that doesn’t stop me in my work nor as a family man.

I was a kid in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Hyattsville, Maryland, when I first heard Monitor. At the time, I was only eight, and what did I know anyway?

But in 1962, I was really lamenting the demise of network radio programming; only news, sports, “The Breakfast Club”, Arthur Godfrey, Art Linkletter and Gary Moore were on, besides Monitor. So, I’d listen, mainly on Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays, to the program on Washington’s WRC Radio.

I kept hearing the show till I got into college, and since I attended music conservatory in a small town with lousy stations and bad quality hookups, I didn’t hear the show as much. But I would hear it upon my return home.

Unfortunately, my interest in the show waned a bit more as I graduated and moved away. But I did hear about the last show and again, was saddened that an era had come to an end.

Thanks for this site.


Duncan Holmes

March 12, 2005

Comments: Hi there,

This is a very impressive website.

I’m only in my early 40’s but can remember Gene Rayburn, Bill Cullen and Joe Garagiola Saturday mornings. The sound of the Beacon reminded me of being with my father on the way for a haircut or some other errand. It was heard on 850 WJAC radio in Johnstown, PA.

It’s one of Pat Weaver’s creations that seems to have been overlooked. Until now!

Keep up the good work.

Brian Wolfe


Johnstown, PA

March 12, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

As excited as I am about hearing the full hour of Henry Morgan from a 1969 Sunday-afternoon “Monitor” broadcast, (the March audio offering on the “Sounds of Monitor” page) I can’t wait for April, when you’ll be featuring the actual closed-circuit address made by Sylvester “Pat” Weaver announcing the premiere of “Monitor.”

As far as I know, this will be the first time ever that a recording of that announcement will be available to the general public!

Best Wishes,

Joseph Gallant

February 28, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I wrote to you sometime back about my memories of Monitor during the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I just wanted to compliment you on the Gene Rayburn hour being featured this month.  The quality is fantastic…just like listening to it live.  I dubbed it from my computer to minidisk for future listening enjoyment.

It would be great if Monitor could make a comeback.  In my opinion, it would work best on stations that have a news-talk format.  The programming on these stations, for the most part, tend to differ on weekends and are quite dependent on satellite fed programming.

There are some newstalk stations that have an entirely different format on weekends.  One example is a FM station in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina that recently switched from country to newstalk.  On the weekends, the station airs smooth jazz music all day, both Saturday and Sunday.

What do you think of a revamped Monitor that features smooth jazz along with the interviews, features, and news?  It seems to me it would work on newstalk stations wanting to do something different on weekends and still keep with their main format.

I would be very interested in reading what my fellow Monitor fans thought about this idea.

Thanks and keep up the great work on the website.

Lew Bode

February 24, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

As always, a great example of Monitor is displayed this month with Gene Rayburn.

One of the most interesting parts of this aircheck in my opinion is the newscast by Russ Ward.  It brings back many memories of what was going on in the world at that time and shows how much the NBC Radio Network is missed today.

Keep up the tribute site to a program and a time in radio that deserves it.  So many of us appreciate and enjoy it.

Larry Stoler

February 24, 2005

Comments: Hello,

As a kid growing up in the ’60s, I heard MONITOR every Saturday night for several years on the way to our Grandmother’s house. I ended up in radio myself, although I’m not currently really working in it much. There really isn’t anything like MONITOR today on the radio.

What I always wanted to know ever since I heard the program for the first time was how and where did the actual “beacon sound” cue originate? Was it artificially produced? Was it the actual sound of transmitter equipment? I guess the “beacon cue” on MONITOR is what I remember most about the program.

If you would let me know, you would solve a mystery for me that’s some 40 years old.

Jeff Z of Dayton, Ohio

February 23, 2005

Editor’s note: You can discover the “secret” of the Beacon on this website. Just click on the “Monitor’s History” link and scroll down the page. 

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

It is nice to see that Monitor is still remembered by so many people.  This, of course, is proven by your 80,000+ hits on the website.  Congratulations, and keep up the excellent work.  All of us Monitor fans appreciate your effort!!!!!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

February 16, 2005

Comments: It was late on Tuesday night, actually early Wednesday AM, when a thought crossed my mind…the Monitor beacon sounder.

I remembered hearing it as a kid and for some reason it came to mind at this time. That sounder, along with the programming, was a memorable part of the weekend, as my dad always seemed to have the radio on Monitor, especially on trips that we would take on the weekend.

Well, since almost everything appears on the web nowadays, I figured that there might be some info on Monitor. Little did I think that I would find such an interesting web site as the one you have created.

Having been in television broadcast engineering for over 32 years, your “behind the scenes” portions probably hit closer to home for me more than it might for others. Thank you for your time and effort in putting this site together.

I have already pointed two other coworkers toward it. When I mentioned Monitor to them, they related immediately. I am also going to suggest that a link to your web site be created on the web site of our SBE (Society of Broadcast Engineers) Chapter 9 (Phoenix). I think there may be a few engineers (radio and TV) who remember and maybe some who actually worked the boards on some of those weekends during Monitor’s run.

This brings back good memories.

Thanks again!


February 9, 2005

Comments: Dear Mr. Hart:

I just finished your terrific book on Monitor (Take Two).  My father is listed on page 29 as one of the writers on staff at the kick-off in 1955.  I’m not sure how long he was on Monitor before moving over to television but the den still has the framed Peabody award for news writing given to Sunday Night Monitor in 1963.  Dad retired NBC off of Nightly News in 1983, and died in 1996.

Mom tells me Dad was happiest at Monitor, believing he did his best writing there, and moved to TV reluctantly for the better pay.  You mention in the book that the Sunday evening program evolved into the more serious or “newsy” part of the lineup.  I think that would have been more up Dad’s alley since he was very much a newsman.  I think he may have specialized in historical backround type pieces.  He also used to speak of “date specials.”  He was really a frustrated historian at heart.

We have a closet shelf stacked with reel-to-reel that my brother and I need to dig into, some tapes of which reference Monitor.  I think they are probably pieces Dad wrote because I doubt he would have kept them otherwise.

I also surmise that Dad’s duties included interviewing authors appearing on Monitor to hawk a new book.  Mom’s guest room contains a small bookshelf with at least 50 or so books signed to Dad by the writer.  Some of these inscriptions mention Monitor.  I’m told by a collector that the personal notes lessen their value on the market, but they increase their value to me.  Mom keeps them in the guest room so that in the event a sleepless visitor reaches for a book they are assured to pick up a signed first edition!

To be honest, I recall a lot more criticism of NBC than compliments.  I do know that he had great respect for John Chancelor, Frank MaGee, and Hugh Downs.  He also counted Bud Drake as good friend.

I’d love to hear from any old-timers with recollections of my father.


Bill Bales, Jr.

February 7, 2005

Comments: Dear Dennis,

About Weekend Monitor. 1966-67, a kid in my early 20s, I worked down the hall in the main newsroom, Room 520, and often fed breaking news copy to the Monitor people — as well as the Hourlies Desk — that was immediately to the left looking into Radio Central. I know Monitor had its own staff in offices apart from ours. But, so many of the personalities who hosted Weekend Monitor, I rubbed shoulders with so many of them — good people all — particularly Big Wilson early mornings doing his 660AM WNBC local program.

Among so many others, daily I worked with Morgan Beatty helping him prepare his 7pm national news and commentary. Do you have, or do you know where I can pick up digitized audio clips of his work? I’m in the news talk business here in Florida, have done a lot of talk radio, news reporting, anchoring (some TV, too) — on major Infinity/CBS corporately owned FM stations reaching about a third of the state from Tampa Bay.

Under fair use rules, am going to do a Monitor remembered feature on my stations next weekend. But, I would very much enjoy the opportunity to remember Morgan with an on air tribute.

Hope you can help.

John Sipos

February 6, 2005

Comments: Dennis,

I’m pulling the weekend duty today. Typical slow Saturday. So I’m amusing myself by listening to this month’s audio clip. Totally appropriate that I’m listening to Gene Raburn host a February 1969 Saturday morning segment this February Saturday morning.

It’s entirely possible that I listened to this segment when it was aired in 1969. The NBC News promo for the upcoming launch of Apollo 9 (March 3, 1969) reminded me that I had a small portable transistor radio then that I carried everywhere. I distinctly remember listening to the Apollo 9 launch at school on it. And that was definitely the time frame that I listened to Monitor religiously.

Thanks for the memories!

Thomas J. Frieling

Bainbridge College

February 5, 2005

Comments: Hello, Dennis,

I am enjoying the sounds of Monitor. Thanks for the wonderful website.

Jim Taylor

Hayward, CA

February 3, 2005

Comments: Thank you very much for the entire Monitor website!

I grew up with this radio program and miss it very much.  Needless to say, it was a great thrill to discover your website and also the Friday night broadcast on WALN radio.

Thank you!

Danny Svirk

Ellington, CT

February 1, 2005

Comments: I don’t recall how I stumbled upon your site, but I’m glad I did. It’s a great tribute to a great part of radio history.

Things have come full circle from the network-dominated days to local DJs and news to today’s syndication, satellite services and voice-tracks. Seeing the Monitor pages again made me wonder if, with the right content, there would be an audience for something as literate and wide-ranging and Monitor. Oh well, one can dream…

Thanks for a great piece of work!

Michael Heiss

January 31, 2005

Comments: Wow! I sure loved those Monitor weekend shows I listened to on WNBC 660.

Those extraterrestrial beeps evoke fun memories of sitting in my room on Sunday nights, doing my homework.

Keep it up!


January 30, 2005

Comments: I remember the McMahon-Carson interview (on Monitor).

Does anyone have a recording of the interview?

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

January 25, 2005

Editor’s note: If anyone has a copy of Ed McMahon’s interview with Johnny Carson on Monitor — and would like to send it to us — we’d be pleased to put it up on this site so that all of us Monitor (and Johnny) fans can enjoy, once again (and forever) those minutes of radio magic.

Comments: Hello, Dennis,

Thanks for this great Web site!  I enjoy visiting it regularly, and I’ve enjoyed reading your book, too.  Fascinating information about a great radio program.

Regarding your comments about Ed McMahon’s Monitor interview with Johnny Carson, I seem to recall hearing part of it once on WALN.  Here’s a special request: Would it be possible for you to feature that interview in the Sounds of Monitor section?

I wish Johnny would have brought his considerable talents to Monitor on more occasions.


Mike Holston

January 25, 2005

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Today Johnny Carson passed away.  I know Ed McMahon was a Monitor host.  What if anything did Johnny Carson do on Monitor or NBC Radio?

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

January 23, 2005

Editor’s note: Johnny was one major NBC personality who never hosted Monitor. But — one Saturday afternoon on Monitor (during the time his sidekick Ed McMahon was the regular Saturday afternoon host), Ed interviewed Johnny. It was hilarious. 

R.I.P., Johnny. You were the best — and so was your “Tonight.” We will miss you — forever.

Comments: Hi,

I was 11 or 12 years old in 1955 when Monitor first came on the air……my greatest memory was listening to Al “Jazzbo” Collins going live on Saturday nights to different jazz clubs across the country from midnight to 6am (west coast time).

My most frustrating moment was trying to stay awake so I could switch from KOMO in Seattle (they signed off at midnight) to KNBC in San Francisco where “Jazzbo” would take over. Often I would fall asleep only to wake up early the next morning to hear KOMO signing on at 6 am and then I would realize I had missed going live on Saturday night with “Jazzbo”.

Saturday nights with “Jazzbo” were a terrific musical education……thanks so much for putting the Monitor page together……for years I have been saying to people “Hey, remember Monitor?” They would look at me with doubt and say “No”.

Now I know I wasn’t hallucinating…..thanks again

Liz Ekering

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

January 21, 2005

Comments: What a great tribute to a program that most of us took for granted until it was gone.  Monitor is what made the NBC network sound so huge, so professional.  They had the guts to do great things and it was always done with class.  Now days broadcasters only care about the bottom line.  No one today would dare try something as bold or as innovative.

I have a feeling that NBC’s News & Information Service (NIS) for all-news stations may have led to Monitor’s demise.  In those pre-satellite days there was just one line per network.  NBC did news on the hour and headlines on the half hour for their regular affiliates when the news stations did their local news and most of the rest of the hour was the NIS feed.  NBC’s NIS was great radio as well but not a success.  I seem to remember it only lasted a couple of years.  NBC ran the all-news format on some of their FM owned stations.  WNBC-FM in New York became WNIS.

All the best in 2005!

Mike Miranda

January 17, 2005

Comments: Even though the very beginning of NBC Monitor N-O-T-H at 9pm ET (7pm MT, 6pm PT) was lopped off, and the very end of NBC Monitor News for 9:53:20 (or thereabouts) was lopped off (the last few moments leading up to 9:58:50), and the speed was a bit “slow”, this was just a PERFECT hour of Monitor(editor’s note: the January 2005 audio featured on this website), carried right off the NBC Radio Network line, and 50-Kw Alburquerque NM affiliate KOB didn’t even cutaway at the optional breaks at (approx) :15 and :45 too!

I was about 10 or 11 y.o. at the time, and I remember most of the music that Monitor was playing at the time — and those Monitor jingles/etc. too from back then.

But as for the “Mystery Movie Theme” — IMO, that was just something they could borrow from the TV side! 🙂 And I remember those NBC-TV “Mystery Movies” and related packages (Colombo, McMillan and Wife, Snoop Sisters, McCloud, etc; sometimes they called the package “Four in One”, and I think “Name of the Game” and “Bold Ones” were once part of those packages too) — all of them were produced by MCA/Universal, and NBC is now part of that “media family” too….

I do remember that the Mystery Movie theme was played as “popular music” on many radio stations, but I preferred to hear real “tunes”, and Monitor played at least three or four that hour which I most certainly remember being played locally and they all were perfect/regular Monitor played songs too!

(I also remember Monitor playing a lot of Peggy Lee, and there was at least one Peggy Lee song played on the Bill Cullen Sunday afternoon Monitor from 1971; I do remember “Is that all there is?” being played locally and on Monitor back then!)

This hour of Sunday Evening Monitor with Jim Lowe — it is something I will probably play on my computer for many Sunday evenings to come.

Mark Cuccia

January 10, 2005

Comments: I just finished listening to the hour of Monitor in 1972 with Jim Lowe (editor’s note: the featured audio on the website in January 2005).  It was great.

What can you say about Jim Lowe?  A great broadcaster, a true professional and a man who is missed on the radio.

As you know Jim retired last year.  His last project before going into retirement was a nationally syndicated show called Jim Lowe and Company.  It was taped once a month at a restaurant in New York City and was heard throughout the country on many radio stations.

He sounded as good last year as he did 32 years earlier on this classic hour of Monitor.

I was wondering if by 1972 NBC Radio was trying to make the music sound a little more contemporary without getting rid of the Middle of the Road concentration.  I’m referring to Neil Diamond and Climax as part of the mix.

I am not being critical of NBC.  On the contrary.  I think Monitor maintained its professionalism and purpose through its entire run.

All the best to you, Dennis and everyone who contributes and enjoys this site as much as I do.

Larry Stoler

January 10, 2005

Comments: I have been a life-long lover of electronic music.

The first such music I ever heard was the  Monitor Beacon that I used to hear as my family would take Sunday drives in the Chicago area.  This site brought back those memories of the Beacon and especially Nichols and May as I heard them on WMAQ in Chicago.  Thanks so much!

Charles Hall

January 9, 2005

Comments: In high school, Tulsa, Oklahoma I listened to Monitor on KVOO a 50,000 watt NBC affiliate.

I was mesmerized. Monitor was the world; and certainly it was bigger than Tulsa.

Left town. Went to Yale. Worked at WYBC-FM student station. Joined Columbia Records division of CBS. Still in New York living about 8 blocks from Radio Central.

Monitor could really fill a young head with a big picture. As I listen to BBC world service at night now, I think how great it would be were Monitor still pulling the world together into a wondrous and kaleidoscopic place.

Norman Dolph

New York City

January 8, 2005

Comments: In college during the early 60’s, I’d listen to “Monitor” while studying in my dormitory room.

Washington State University’s campus was very remote, but “Monitor” radio’s friendly hosts and diverse programs made the world seem a less lonely place.

John Shackleford

Seattle, Washington

January 5, 2005

Comments: Hi Dennis,

I really enjoy your monthly Sounds of Monitor.  I especially enjoyed this month’s feature.  Time sure does fly.  I recorded this 33 years ago at the end of this month.

As you know, by 1972, KFI, the Los Angeles NBC affiliate, had  dropped Monitor in the late 60’s, thus in the 70’s, I had to listen to Monitor on KOB, which I believe only ran this one hour (9-10pm) of Monitor on Sundays.  I don’t believe they ran any other Monitor segments on Saturdays or Sundays.

By this time (1972), as I recall, KOA in Denver ran tape delayed Saturday Morning Monitor with Gene Rayburn on Saturday nights.  You will also notice that Monitor news at the end of this featured hour was run at 9:55pm, rather than at the top of the hour at 10:00 pm.  I know you told me once why this was so, but, I have forgotten.

Thanks for running this segment.  It really brings back Monitor memories!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

January 2, 2005

Editor’s note: Don recorded, and kindly made available to us, the Monitor ’72 hour with Jim Lowe we are featuring this month. As for the news running “early” on Sunday nights at 9:53 p.m. ET — NBC actually split the network at that point — doing early Monitor News to clear the net lines for some stations to air a network religious program at 10 p.m. Other stations heard the regular “end” of Monitor (a short segment which, by the way, had been recorded BEFORE Sunday night Monior began its three-hour live run at 7 p.m. ET) air from 9:53 to 9:58:50 p.m. ET — then they heard regular Monitor News on the Hour, live. This was before the age of satellite audio delivery — so the splitting of the net feed was a very big, and complex, deal, indeed.

Comments: I checked the US Trademark data base and “Monitor Radio” is an active trademark owned by the Christian Science Publishing Society, so NBC may have a problem bringing back the Monitor brand.

Happy New Year!

Terry Morgan (GEC)

December 30, 2004

Comments: On the speculative revival of Monitor:

Jefferson-Pilot is having at least some success with syndicating thirteen hours of entertainment oriented talk in a format known as Personality AC. The format promises no more than four music selections an hour and yet, according to the marketing material, the music is even more carefully researched than the program content. The music selections come from the flagship station’s Bright Adult Contemporary playlist.

If this concept flies, then there is evidence that reviving the Monitor format would find a market. The only question is: who owns the Monitor name?

Cris Allen

Christmas Day 2004

Comments: Hi, Dennis!

Got to hear the audio download of NBC’s 1959 Radio City Music Hall Christmas Eve organ recital special.

I don’t know how long Dick Liebert was the organist at Radio City Music Hall, but I suspect he must have been there for many years as you stated on your website that this was a longtime NBC Radio Network tradition on Christmas Eve.

Given that the program’s length was just under 23 minutes, it’s my guess that it was broadcast immediately after an NBC Radio hourly newscast.

One interesting observation is that Lebert played a lot of religious carols; were such a program to be produced today, there would be a lot more “secular” Christmas music.

I do know that for many years, NBC-TV telecast the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, across the street from Rockefeller Center. I’m curious as to whether the St. Patrick’s Christmas Eve Mass was also on NBC Radio, and if so, for how many years.

I recall that NBC-TV dropped the St. Patrick’s Midnight Mass once Pope Paul VI permitted TV coverage of the Midnight Mass in Vatican City which was (and still is each year) shown on a tape-delay over NBC-TV at 11:30 P.M. EST. Nowadays, the St. Patrick’s Midnight Mass is televised by WPIX-TV in New York, and WPIX parent Tribune Broadcasting syndicates the WPIX coverage to TV stations coast-to-coast. Here in Boston, WLVI-TV Channel 56 picks up the live broadcast each year. Last I heard, WOR-AM (710) broadcasts it on radio locally in New York City.

Have a Merry “Monitor” Christmas and a Three-Chimes New Year!

Best Wishes,

Joseph Gallant

December 18, 2004

Comments: Dennis,

Back in 1967, AFTRA struck the networks and, for a couple of weeks, NBC Radio executives replaced the regular hosts who were on strike. I remember four of them: Bob Wogan, Bob Maurer, Steve Labunski, and Steve White.

Do you know who was the other executive who hosted the fifth segment?

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

December 12, 2004

Editor’s note: Louis, this question has vexed me for years. I cannot — nor can Bob Maurer, who was one of the hosts — nor can any other of the dozens of former Monitor staffers I’ve talked with — remember who the “fifth” host was. Can anyone in our Monitor family of fans help out?

Comments: There’s a couple of interesting recent topics in the Guestbook, and naturally I feel compelled to weigh in on them.

Concerning Monitor music, I didn’t know a lot about its early history, though Louis Castaing’s Dec. 3 entry offers some interesting info I didn’t know.

The first inklings I had that not every NBC station carried Monitor came in the late 60s. Back then, I didn’t think much about it, because some of the stations that didn’t carry it had formats that weren’t compatible with Monitor’s. For instance, WCOP Boston was the NBC station there in the late 60s and early-to-mid-70s. They had a country format, so I figured that was why they didn’t carry the program.

I’ve read Dennis’ book backwards and forwards, so I know music was one problem the network never did solve to the affilliates’ satisfaction. And as radio in general got to me more format-intensive, that made it that much more difficult.

Another recent topic has been the possibility of a revived Monitor–could it be done? Is there a place for it today? What form would it take? It’s something I’ve definitely thought about.

I think it could, if handled correctly. Especially since so much of radio, weekend radio especially, is handled by one network or another. Here in Springfield, WMAY (a long-time NBC affilliate itself) has a news/talk format that’s local 12 hours a day, and not much less weekends. For a station in a market this size, that’s a lot. But they still have a generous amount of syndicated and satellite programming on weekends.

Monitor could be the class of that field, offering something no other network show could. It wouldn’t be just a time-filler, but something, if done right, people would seek out. But at least two things would have to be done in my estimation (actually, many more, but this is getting long as it is).

First, Monitor would have to be flexible enough for a station to run one hour, many hours, or any combination in between; which would require pretty much an all-day Saturday and all-day Sunday schedule, closer to the original than the three- and four-hour blocks the show later assumed.

Second, I’m not even sure music would be compatible with an updated Monitor. I figure the most obvious market for a revived Monitor would be news/talk stations, few of which play music. If there was music, it’d have to be some form of adult contemporary, something aimed at an adult audience, as in 30+. But the same problems over formats that dogged Monitor in its later years are more present than ever today. So it might be better to just drop music entirely and make a new Monitor a collection of news, features, interviews, etc.

And by all means, keep the Beacon! Update it if necessary, but it wouldn’t be Monitor without the beeps and boops. A discussion of how to effectively revive Monitor, assuming it can be done, is a topic in itself, of course, but I hope I’ve presented a few general outlines.

Will Burpee

Springfield, Illinois

December 11, 2004

Comments: Dennis,

In his recent e-mail, Thomas J. Frieling brought up the question of Monitor music, “the perennial Monitorbugaboo,” as he called it. It’s interesting that, in Monitor’s early days, Monitor music was frequently live band remotes. When recorded music was used, it was often filler in local breaks or as a bed for weather reports or sports scores or showcased as a feature.

Jim Fleming, Monitor’s first executive producer, wrote a memo that he wanted “medium-tempo orchestral, chorus group performances as the basis” of Monitor’s recorded music. He used Hugo Winterhalter, Percy Faith, and the Norman Luboff choir as examples. The music, he wrote, should “entertain in the manner of a Jackie Gleason album, but never sock us over the head and throw the overall character of the service out of perspective.”

On the other hand, he wanted to devote Saturday evening to music with “melodic jazz” band remotes from Birdland and Storyville and big bands, the likes of Dorsey and Sauter-Finnegan “but nothing less.” Early Sunday morning, after 1 AM, “we will simplify with basic services maintained without a name communicator. Recorded music.”  Incidentally, the nameless communicator on duty was Dick Dudley who did weekday overnights for WRCA. And it was all music without features. In a few months the overnight was gone.

Fleming’s Monitor, however, was primarily a thinking man’s eclectic information service. He posed the question: “What does a man need to know to live a full life?” He continued: “What this service will do will be to bring him more essential information than he can obtain from any other single source.”

That was Fleming’s dream for NBC Radio Central, which he now dubbed Monitor in this memo. Unfortunately. the affiliates weren’t in complete accord with his idealism. By December of 1959, the Affiliate Board, resolved that: a) Monitor does not contain enough music, b) Music selections are too sophisticated and off-beat and music needs more careful screening; c) Music should be a more popular and melodic type; d) There is too much talk; e) The program is “too-east of the Hudson”; and f) Frequently the program segments are too off-beat; some segments are too “egg-head.” Jim Fleming wasn’t with the program by this time. In another year or so, Monitor was reduced to 15 hours a weekend.

If Monitor ever came back, I think that music should the more of a showcased feature rather that a filler between features. Perhaps the affiliates would let well enough alone.

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

December 5, 2004

Comments: Highlights include Wernher von Braun discussing the future of space travel at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; the Baton Rouge Handicap horse race at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, live at 5:30 p.m.; the Grand Ole Opry live at 9:30 p.m.; and much more (all times Eastern). (Editor’s note: The preceding is from the “Monitor This Weekend” listing on this website for December 7 & 8, 1957).

It’s interesting to see Wernher von Braun being interviewed on Monitor a month after Sputnik–he was a very busy man at this time. He promised he’d get an American satellite into orbit within ninety days after the Soviets put up Sputnik and at this point had less than a sixty days to make good on his promise. But he was as good as his word, leading his team in launching Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958.

It’s also interesting to listen to the Christmas montage of Monitor snippets. I think if I were in charge of bringing back Monitor today, I’d re-introduce it during the Christmas season as I’ll bet many Monitor fans have special Monitor Christmas memories of the great show. And playing all the traditional and contemporary Christmas songs would alleviate that perennial Monitor bugaboo–hitting the right mix of music.


Thomas J. Frieling

Bainbridge College

December 3, 2004

Comments: Dear Dennis,

Thanks so much for the December 1969 segments that were just posted. What great listening!

In 1969 I received as a gift my first AM/FM/Shortwave radio and have great memories of listening to Monitoreach weekend. I am amazed how familiar it all sounds.

Thanks for this wonderful addition to the holiday season.

Frank Stoy

Toledo, Ohio

November 28, 2004

Comments: Hello,

I just found your site. Ted Brown is my great uncle, and I sure enjoyed hearing his voice again.

Thanks. Very very much.

Jonathan Taylor

November 19, 2004

Editor’s note: We always enjoy hearing Ted’s voice. He was the Sunday afternoon Monitor host for several years in the early ’70s.

Comments: Dennis,

Congrats on hitting 75,000! The site keeps on getting better and better.

As to whether Monitor could work today: If NBC brought it back, it would probably have to “surrender” most of the ad allocations to the local stations. NBC would also have to be careful how to program music. It would probably have to be bright AC with a little gold mixed in. Get a big-name host and couple him or her with NBC News people. Dirk Van from WW1 (who does “First Light” and NBC News Radio) would be an excellent radio person for a new Monitor.

Terry Morgan (GEC)

November 1, 2004

Comments: Dennis,

Happy Standard Time!

And congratulations on 75,000 hits! Reached at 5:50 PM CDT, October 30, 2004. Just four short years from’s cyber-birthday. That’s a rate of almost 18,750 hits a year or 1562.5 hits a month. 5000 hits since July 12. It can’t be just you, me, and Don Spuhler looking at the site (although I know I account for at least a couple hundred of those hits).

Why can’t “they” bring back Monitor? If SIRIUS satellite radio can pay Howard Stern millions and millions of dollars for four hours a day and expect listeners to pay $12.95 a month for the privilege of listening, why can’t SIRIUS spend a few million on Monitor? I’d pay $12.95 a month for Monitor (but not for Stern).

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

October 31, 2004

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

Just seems like yesterday that you started your website. Now it has had over 75,000 hits. It shows that there is still interest in Monitor.

Keep up the great work!

Don Spuhler

Fontana, CA

October 30, 2004

Editor’s note: Don wrote the very first letter to this website when it premiered on Oct. 22, 2000. My hope was that perhaps a couple of hundred people a year would visit. More than 75,000 “visits” later, it is clear that a whole lot of us across this country remember Monitor. Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

Comments: Hi, Dennis.

I just read that Jim Lowe is retiring. His show will continue till the end of October. I found the information on the Our Kind of Music website. OKOM is the company that distributes Jim Lowe and Company — his syndicated show that was taped monthly at a jazz club in New York City. is the website.

I have always been a fan of Jim Lowe. I first heard him on the former WNEW AM now WBBR in the 60s. I also heard him on Monitor. I always enjoy his work on the air. You can tell he enjoys the music and the audience he talks too when he is on the radio.

The hour of Jim hosting Monitor which you featured this month couldn’t have come at a better time.

Good luck, Jim. Enjoy retirement.

Larry Stoler

October 23, 2004

Editor’s note: We join Larry — and many, many other Jim Lowe fans — in wishing this great radio personality a wonderful retirement. You’ll be missed, Jim — but your memory will live forever!!

Comments: This is great stuff!

I find it hard to believe that, especially in today’s radio, a new Monitor wouldn’t be a big hit. Clear Channel and Viacom are proving the reason for Monitor’s demise, local programming, isn’t a problem any more. Keep up the good work!

Oliver Wischmeyer

October 16, 2004

Comments: I started working in radio in my teens (I’m 47 now) and love the era of radio from the mid-50s to the mid-80s. After that the consultants and investment bankers took over the business so moved into television…now I produce television advertising.

Thanks for the great website. It brings back truly wonderful memories!


Joe Ram

October 8, 2004

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I finally broke down and bought the book. I haven’t had a chance to read it thoroughly, but I caught the drift that Saturday morning Monitor was still successful well into the ’70s, and that Gene Rayburn left in the fall of 1973. That is about the time that Match Game ’73 debuted.

The interesting angle on this is that I recall reading that Match Game was taped on Saturdays, five at a time. Rayburn still lived in New York but flew to California once a week for the taping. That would have made him unavailable for Saturday morning Monitor and probably Sunday Monitor as well. Perhaps if Match Game hadn’t been resurrected, and Rayburn had remained, the history of Monitor might have been at least a little different– maybe Saturday morning Monitor might have survived, if not forever, at least a bit longer.

For that matter, lots of big-name broadcasting personalities packed off to Los Angeles around that time. Think Johnny Carson– Ed McMahon– Bill Cullen. Few television programs were produced in New York, and perhaps as broadcasting was dying in New York, Monitor died with it. The big names that one would want as Monitor hosts and contributors simply weren’t around town.

Just some food for thought.

Andrew Saucci

September 30, 2004

Comments: The discussion of Monitor and the World Series brings to mind a couple of stories.

On October 14, 1973, Monitor carried the World Series Sunday game starting at 4:15 PM ET. The reason I remember that was because it marked Gene Rayburn’s last appearance on Monitor. Gene hadn’t be doing his accustomed Saturday morning shift for at least a few months because he has started hosting the revival of the Match Game on CBS. On that Sunday, however, Gene hosted the afternoon Monitor segment from 2 PM until the start of the game and then came back to host the evening segment (usually 7-10 PM ET). But the Series ran extra innings so Gene didn’t return to the air until about 8:50 PM. Normally, there would have been another hour on Sunday night, but October 14 was the second Sunday of the month and NBC, as usual, pre-empted the last hour of Monitor for its regular “Second Sunday” documentary series. This one was entitled: “Pornography: We’ve never been this far before.” So, Gene’s last Monitor stint was less than 10 minutes.

The other Monitor-World Series story concerns the irrepressible Ted Brown. Ted was the host on Sunday. This particular Sunday the Series was to start before 2 PM ET, so Ted wasn’t supposed to be on the air or at the studio until later in the afternoon. But the game was rained out and, after a report from the ballpark, NBC switched to Radio Central where Ted described how he hadn’t planned on being at the studio so early that day. Ted explained to the audience that, at the time he got the call from the Monitor producer, he was in the middle of “doing magical things to his wife.”

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

September 29, 2004

Comments: Dennis:

Now that’s cool–Monitor was on the air the day the Soviets launched Sputnik! I wonder how they covered it?

And they ran the entire World Series games? Totally cool, especially when the games were played in the daytime, as they should be!

This is a weekend of Monitor I would loved to have heard.

Saturday, October 5, 1957

Highlights include reports on New York’s loan shark racket at 9 and 10 a.m.; a report on midget racing at 9:30 a.m.; Game 3 of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees live at 2:45 p.m.; a report o the Japanese air force at 8:30 p.m.; the Hawthorne Juvenile Handicap horse race live from Hawthorne Race Track in Chicago at 5:30 p.m.; harness racing live at 10 p.m.; the Grand Ole Opry live from Nashville at 10:30 p.m.; and much more (all times Eastern).

Thomas J. Frieling

Bainbridge College

September 27, 2004

Editor’s note: The listing above, in italics, for Saturday, October 5, 1957, was the “Monitor This Weekend” listing for that date. “Monitor This Weekend” can be found by its link elsewhere on this website. And, yes, NBC Radio — and Monitor — broadcast the World Series for decades.

Comments: Dennis,

Just to let you know I played the Barry Nelson segment yesterday at about the time it originally aired 40 years ago.(Editor’s note: Louis refers to the hour-long Monitor segment we featured on the website this month — September 2004). I know it aired on the 26th but I elected to commemorate the event on Saturday. I couldn’t see playing a Saturday tape on Sunday.

I’m still amazed that it was 40 years ago and I can still remember taping it. I was 19 then and the following weekend we were experiencing Hurricane Hilda which I only remember because that (October 4, 1964) was the start of the 2-3 PM ET Sunday segment. Hilda didn’t turn out to be much of a storm in New Orleans because it made landfall around Lafayette. The following year we had Betsy which I remember much better because it practically made landfall over the city with 130 MPH winds.

Interesting fact: Beryl Pfizer was one of the “Today Girls” in 1960-61. As were Florence Henderson, Estelle Parsons, and Maureen O’Sullivan, Tarzan’s wife (mistress?).

Interesting fact 2: Beryl was heard on the air doing interviews on Monitor.

Interesting fact 3: Beryl did not do any newscasts.

Interesting fact 4: I am playing the Barry Nelson segment again that this moment (2 PM CT, September 26, 2004) for you purists.

I’m on the Monitor Beacon!

Louis Castaing

Metaire, Louisiana

September 26, 2004

Comments: I’ve saved all the monthly clips that have been posted here since February. I play them over and over again. I dream of collecting enough of them to play on a Saturday afternoon while driving across the country.

Did anyone ever notice that the instrumental cut played in the first Beacon cutaway in the 1971 Ted Brown clip is exactly the same one played in the 1971 Bill Cullen clip? I know, I need help…


September 6, 2004

Editor’s note: No, you don’t need help, Andrew — you just need a lot of Monitor audio — so keep returning to the website each month for more!

Comments: Love your “Monitor” web site. Wonderful stuff, and unfortunately, I was too young to have ever listened to it (I was born in 1970).

Thanks for the great listening!!

Bob Stolz

Former radio broadcaster

Xenia, OH

September 1, 2004

Comments: Hi Dennis. I was listening to Monitor a few weeks ago on WALN. I noticed Sam Hall was doing the NBC Network news update.

For those that are interested, Sam Hall is still on the air doing news on wqxr the New York Times owned commercial classical music station in New York, City. He can be heard weekdays from 5:30 AM to noon Eastern time.

You can listen to him at the station’s website They provide a live continuous feed of the station’s programs.

When you get to the site, click on listen now and then choose either Realplayer or Windows Media. I have found in the case of that site that the Windows Media player is the more reliable of the two.

Sam Hall has been in the business over 50 years. He has worked at WQXR since 1993. He sounds as good today as he did on the NBC Radio Network and when he did the updates for Monitor.

Larry Stoler

August 27, 2004

Comments: Hi!!!!

Thanks for a great site!! Brought back many memories of listening to Monitor while growing up in Royal Oak, Michigan. I heard Monitor on WWJ in Detroit for many years. Monitor was one of the reasons why I wanted to get into radio.

Unfortunately, by the time I grew up and got into radio, program directors thought “Monitor-like” programs would be tuneouts. I really enjoyed Ted Brown, Gene Rayburn, Henry Morgan and other Monitor hosts..Funny, I never knew Big Wilson had been a Monitor host. I was a guest on Big’s show many times from Cape Canaveral when Big did mid-days on WIOD in Miami.

Everybody looked like they had fun doing “Monitor.” It is too bad radio went the wrong way in their programming and unfortunately Monitor will not be with us again. But as many broadcast managers would say, “well, that’s radio.” It is because of such attitudes and lack of “Monitor” like programs are why I left the broadcasting business..Thanks again for a great site!!

All The Best..Jim Burns of Fairfax, Virginia.

August 19, 2004

Comments: Hello,

I’ve visited the Monitor site many times and really enjoy the up-date.

I am writing about Ted Brown. I used to listen to him on Monitor as well as WNEW. In the early 60s I listened to him every day here in Maine. I went into broadcasting in 1962 and now have been doing it for about 40 years. I think Ted was absolutely the best!

I really appreciate this site. Thanks for the new Ted Brown photo.

Rick Foster

WDEA AM 1370

Ellsworth, Maine

August 18, 2004

Comments: Sure enjoyed your Website.

I’m especially interested in more info regarding Jim Lowe and Big Wilson. Big Wilson was a neighbor of mine when living on City Island, NY in 1959-64. Our families spent time chatting and relaxing on the beach. I also recall Jim Lowe and meeting him in NYC during the time I resided there. I have always had a special place in my heart for Jim and his “Green Door.”

Had never been able to acquire a copy of it until now. I finally got a cassette copy made by requesting someone who could make one; via my weekly news column I have been writing since 1990; in a local 2-county Pennysaver. It is great fun. I also had a lady call me and she sent me a copy of the original sheet music with Jim’s picture. So I now have some treasures. Do hope that Jim is doing all OK!

Would love to hear about him and also an update on Big Wilson. Thank You and God Bless

Lodeska Hunsinger

August 18, 2004

Editor’s note: Jim Lowe is well — he lives outside NYC and hosts a weekly syndicated program. Unfortunately, Biggie died about a decade ago.

Comments: I have to agree with Louis Castaing and his email from last month- radio people have assumed that listenership goes down on weekends- that’s not the case.

Perhaps people are in their cars even MORE running around, running errands, going on trips and going to work. A.M. radio has (by-and-large) gone all news or talk….and except for some local Saturday morning gardening shows and fix-it shows are in need of some original programming. There are some very good national weekend shows (Kim Komando’s Computer Clinic is one). But there aren’t too many. What you hear is ‘Best of Rush’, Best of Sean Hannity. Good shows in their own right (excuse the pun). But something original for the weekend would be nice and maybe radio is ready.

I think a show like Monitor is really needed and could work again. Maybe we’ve come full circle.

Bill Walter, KVNU, Logan UT

August 17, 2004

Comments: Hi Dennis. As always, it’s a pleasure to browse the Monitor website and enjoy all it has to offer.

Last night, I listened to the hour of Monitor on WALN Cable FM in Allentown, Pa. It was part of the last weekend with John Bartholomew Tucker in 1975. It was sad but it showed how much Monitor was successfully able to cover in an hour. Everything from a live appearance by Selma Diamond to an interview with the owner of the Peppermint Lounge in New York City.

Henry Morgan has a priceless sense of humor and Long John Nebel was one of the greatest talk show hosts ever.

Keep up the good work. It’s appreciated by many.

Larry Stoler

August 15, 2004

Comments: I listened to Monitor as a child [yes, as a child] during the 1960’s on WDEF-1370 in Chattanooga, TN before moving to a larger city that had already dropped Monitor [about a year before its actual cancellation].

I was already familiar with Bill Cullen and Gene Rayburn from their daytime game show jobs on NBC television, so I got to enjoy their Monitor antics as well. At the same time, I also became familiar with Ted Brown and Jim Lowe. And yet, I was way too young to get what they were doing.

Now, thanks to your website, I get to know more of what Monitor was about, particularly from the perspectives of not only other listeners, but also from people who were directly involved with Monitor.

Nice that you added photos of not only many of the on-air Monitor people, but also some of its behind-the-scenes staff from way back in the 1960’s and 70’s. [I didn’t know Melanie Turner and Angela Ladas, to name a couple of the production staffers featured, were that hot.]

And it was extra nice that you put up pictures of the recent Monitor reunion. Melanie Turner still looks hot a third of a century later, but beyond that is the fact that her and others, like Edwin Newman, Fred Collins, Charles Garment, the Garneses, Jim Lowe, John Bohannon, and Miss Monitor [whose presence was, in my view, quite stunning in itself] were nice enough to reunite and rekindle some Monitor memories.

The Monitor full-service mix can work in this day and age against political, sports and Howard Stern-type talk, and meet two of the main reasons surveys say people still listen to radio for–information and new [rather than old] music. It’s just a matter of freshening up the product, as well as convincing radio stations to, in this age where music can be available anywhere, anytime, change their approach.

Thanks for offering up one of the best historical radio websites around.

Steve Byrd

St. Petersburg, FL

August 4, 2004

Comments: Dennis, I’ve been on vacation, but I was able to get on a computer and am now listening to the aircheck featuring one of my favorites: Long John Nebel. Great!

Thanks for putting the pictures of the reunion up. It was great seeing one of the great names in news – Bob Gibson – pictured. I spread the news on the “classic radio” board and the NY Radio Message Board.

Terry Morgan (GEC)

August 4, 2004

Comments: Dear Dennis:

Thanks for your latest edition for August. Henry Morgan is great fun.

I really appreciate your maintaining this site and adding programs every month.

Michael B. Wright

Seattle, WA

August 2, 2004

Comments: Hi, Dennis,

I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy the additions to your website. The picture additions are very informative.

Keep up the good work.

Don Spuhler

Fontana, California

August 2, 2004

Comments: Dennis: Just checked out the reunion pictures – and I’m jealous.

Turns out that as you were at Hurley’s, I was in Seattle heading for New York that night. I was there for a “National Publicity Summit” that a PR firm was putting on that week. I was in NYC from Thursday afternoon until the next Tuesday (20), and as a matter of fact, I had lunch at Hurley’s on Monday the 19th!! I even interviewed Mike behind the bar. (I brought my mini-disc recorder with me)

Anyway, great seeing the pictures – what a thrill to have Ed Newman there, I had wondered how he was doing, I’ve heard nothing about him since he left NBC. Too bad there weren’t more hosts there – or anywhere, for that matter. And it seems as though most of the people are holding up pretty well. Hope to hear more of the story of the reunion sometime.

Anyway, still checking up on the site – great work as always!!

Kenneth Johannessen

That’s all from East Wenatchee at this time.


August 1, 2004

Comments: Dear Dennis:

Thanks so much for a super Monitor website! I like to listen to segments at home, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, as they really bring back many pleasant childhood memories. In our home in Milwaukee, WI, our home was constantly tuned in to “the Monitor Beacon” on local NBC Radio affiliate WTMJ, 620 AM.

I also remember traveling across the country on family vacations, with our ’57 Ford Country Squire wagon tuned into the Monitor Beacon as we traveled.

What fun it was to search for the Monitor Beacon as we crossed country!

I listened to Monitor well into my college and graduate school years, and the Monitor announcers became like weekend family to me—JBT, Biggy,

I was saddened when the Beacon dimmed in 1975.

Keep it burning bright!

Mark Dorn

Whitewater, WI

July 28, 2004

Comments: Having worked there….I’m surprised you did not add the “famed” staff network announcer Jimmy Wallington….who was co-host with Frank McGee on Sunday nights during the early to mid 60’s.

Also….the network staff announcers Bill McCord, John (Jack) Patrick Costello and Jerry Daiman. They were ALL a good part of the show during the 60’s.

Mike Hart

July 25, 2004

Comments: Absolutely great site!

I was 17 when Monitor went off the air, but you brought back many audio memories. Monitor was such a natural radio format; easy, mature, and relaxed. Many of its finest attributes are a permanent part of radio’s structure. Monitor was a huge part of the “listening world”, and I can remember those pleasant voices clearly.

Jack Twomey, Editor

July 18, 2004

Comments: Dennis,

The last time I wrote to congratulate you on reaching a milestone in hits was March 6 of this year. The milestone? 40,000 hits.

Well, here we are a little over four months later and at 70,000 hits on July 12, 2004 at 2:21 CDT. Congratulations.

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

July 12, 2004

Editor’s note: Thank you, Louis. Yes, the response to the Monitor website has exceeded anything we could have dreamed of. There ARE lots of people out there who remember — and love — Monitor!

Comments: Dennis,

I’m writing in reference to Bill Figenshu’s e-mail of July 4 in which he speculates on whether Monitor would work today. He mentions that Saturday and Sunday are no longer heavy listening times for radio and that advertisers would not likely pay a premium for those times. I have to disagree with his conclusion that the cost of putting Monitor together would be out of the question. When Pat Weaver developed Monitor, NBC (and the other networks) had little or no advertising on weekends. (The only sponsored programs on NBC were the National Farm and Home Hour ((actually only 30 minutes)) and the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday and Fibber McGee and Molly and the Great Gildersleeve on Sunday; a total of 90 minutes of commercially sponsored programs each weekend.) What might be seen as a disaster, Weaver saw as an opportunity.

The radio landscape has changed so much over the last 40 years, who can say what might or might not work. Up until the 50s, network affiliation was something to be prized. Between the 60s and the 80s, network radio continued to diminish as localism was in the ascendancy. But, today, many major market stations take large chunks of network or syndicated programming, sometimes around the clock, and even in morning drive. A few years ago, who would have thought that a station would turn over its entire morning drive to a network?

NBC developed MSNBC and CNBC as a way to amortize its news costs, develop new markets and new talent and cross-promote programs. Could an ad hoc NBC News radio network be yet another way to write off the cost of a news operation?

Do Saturday and Sunday have low listenership because there isn’t anything worthwhile to listen to? Is it a wasteland or an opportunity?

Louis Castaing

Metairie, Louisiana

July 11, 2004

Comments: Great site.

I was a teenage groupie at NBC affiliate WRCV-KYW in Philadelphia and the first broadcast of Monitor occurred on my 15th birthday. I remember on Saturday mornings sitting in at the studio and all station activity stopped when a Bob and Ray segment came on. All the guys could relate to the comedy pieces. In 1960 I was the local announcer, in Baltimore, taking the cue on ‘the Monitor Beacon‘…thanks for the memories.

  1. Alan Campbell

July 9, 2004

Comments: Dear Dennis,

Thank you for a wonderful site. As a kid growing up in the 60’s I remember little about Monitor (I was listening to top 40) except for the “beacon” sound emanating from my fathers car radio.

As I cruised your site I wonder if a modern day “Monitor” type show/program would stand today? What would be on it? How would it sound? Maybe the closest to it is on NPR. Car Talk, Computer shows, pop culture, entertainment, and lifestyle in addition to a heavy diet of news live from around the world. I suspect one network could not do it, but, English language broadcasters from around the world could contribute segments.

But alas, the cost of putting together a show with the quality of NBC’S Monitor would be out of the question. As you know Friday, Saturday & Sunday are no longer heavy radio use times. Advertisers would not pay a premium for those times. Yet with the growth of News/Talk stations, the war on terror, 24 hour news, and the propensity of news happening on the weekend, it does cause you to think? “what if?”.

Again, thank you.

Bill Figenshu – President West Region

Citadel Broadcasting Western Region World Headquarters

July 4, 2004

Comments: Hi Dennis.

I really enjoyed the July aircheck on the website.

One of the great things about your site is the fact that in addition to listening to Monitor as it was, you get to hear some of the great NBC Radio Network newscasters and correspondents from the time of the network’s existence.

It’s also fun to hear the original commercials uncut from the days of Monitor.

Keep up the good work and remember so many of us appreciate this site and what it’s all about.

Larry Stoler

July 1, 2004

Comments: Dear Dennis:

Thanks for your July addition to the Monitor Beacon web site. I graduated from high school in 1959 and it is more fun listening to the news and commercials from that year.

I appreciate all your work to put this together!

Thanks again!
Michael B. Wright
Seattle WA
July 1, 2004