Monitor’s Communicators

Hugh Downs

Frank Gallop

Ben Grauer

Morgan Beatty

Walter Kiernan

When “Monitor” began in June 1955, it ran 40 consecutive hours each weekend, from 8 a.m. Saturday morning to midnight Sunday Eastern Time on NBC Radio. That meant lots of hosts — or “communicators,” as they were first called — were needed. (Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver, NBC’s President and the man who created “Monitor,” had called his “Today Show” hosts “communicators,” and he used the same term for his “Monitor” hosts).

What follows is as complete a listing of those many hosts over “Monitor’s” 20-year run as we have been able to make. In addition to the hosts listed, it should be noted that Al “Jazzbo” Collins and Leon Pearson hosted Monitor’s “overnight” hours (midnight Saturday until the early morning hours on Sunday) until that segment was eliminated (see next paragraph).

“Monitor’s” broadcast schedule changed gradually over the years. In early 1956, the program’s midnight to 8 a.m. Eastern Time segment was dropped because it was too expensive to program for such a small overnight audience.

In April 1957, “Monitor” expanded to Friday nights from 8-10 p.m. ET. Then in 1959, “Monitor” expanded to a Monday-through-Friday 8-10 p.m. ET time slot, in addition to its weekend hours.

In March 1961, “Monitor” was reduced to 16 live hours each weekend — Saturdays 9 a.m.-noon, 3-6 p.m. and 7:30-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time. On Sundays the program aired from 2-6 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. ET The weeknight segments had disappeared. This is the pattern the show would maintain for many years.

In May 1970, the Saturday night “Monitor” segment was “upped” to 7-10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Then in January 1974, NBC, in a last effort to keep the show alive, changed “Monitor’s” live broadcast hours to Saturdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m. ET with 6 hours of repeats airing from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. EST and Sundays, live, from noon to 6 p.m. ET and 3-hours of repeats from 6-9 p.m.

So — what follows is what we can confirm as a schedule for “Monitor” hosts during its 20-year run. Note that from 1955 to early 1961, Monitor had “co-communicators” — two hosts — for each segment.

To see pictures of other Monitor “communicators” over the years, check out the NBC Radio Centralpage and the Promotional Material page.

1955

Saturday

 Sunday

 8 a.m.-Noon

Noon-3 p.m. 3-6 p.m.

6 -10:30 p.m.

 2-6 p.m.

 8-10 p.m.

Frank Blair

Don Russell

Hugh Downs

Gene Hamilton

David Brinkley

Don Russell

Morgan Beatty

Walter Kiernan

Clifton Fadiman

Ben Grauer

Dave Garroway

Don Russell

1956

Saturday

 Sunday

 8 a.m.-Noon

Noon-4 p.m. 4-8 p.m.

8-midnight

2-6 p.m.

 7-10 p.m.

Frank Blair

Don Russell

Hugh Downs

Peter Roberts

David Brinkley

Walter Kiernan

Monty Hall

Morgan Beatty

Frank Gallop

Gordon Fraser

Dave Garroway

Don Russell

1957

Frank Blair

Don Russell

Hugh Downs

Peter Roberts

Walter Kiernan

Johnny Andrews

Monty Hall

Morgan Beatty

Ben Grauer

Frank Gallop

 Dave Garroway

Don Russell

1958

Frank Blair

Don Russell

Hugh DownsPeter Roberts Walter KiernanJohnny Andrews

Monty Hall

Morgan Beatty

Ben Grauer

Frank Gallop

 Dave Garroway

Don Russell

1959

Frank Blair

Don Russell

Hugh DownsPeter Roberts Walter KiernanJohnny Andrews

Monty Hall

Morgan Beatty

Ben Grauer

Frank Gallop

Dave Garroway

Don Russell

1960

  Gordon Fraser

Peter Roberts

(?) Walter KiernanJohnny Andrews

Monty Hall

Morgan Beatty

Ben Grauer

Frank Gallop

Dave Garroway

Peter Roberts

(In 1961, Monitor’s broadcast schedule was reduced to 16 live hours a weekend. The “co-communicators” idea for each segment was dropped, and only one host handled each segment. Some of the hosts below are listed in more than one time slot because their schedules changed during the course of the specific year.)

 Saturday

 Sunday

  9a.m.-noon

  3-6 p.m.

 7:30-10:30 p.m.

2-6 p.m.

 7-10 p.m.

1961

Gene Rayburn

Mel Allen

Bert Parks

Gene Rayburn

 Wayne Howell

Hal March

 Dave Garroway

Gene Rayburn

Frank McGee

1962

Mel Allen

Gene Rayburn

Jim Lowe

Bill Hayes

Frank McGee

1963

Mel Allen

David Wayne

Gene Rayburn

Barry Nelson

Jim Lowe

James Daly

Frank McGee

1964

David Wayne

Barry Nelson

Gene Rayburn

James Daly

Frank McGee

Frank Blair

1965

David Wayne

Ed McMahon

Gene Rayburn

Barry Nelson

Frank Blair

1966

Gene Rayburn

Ed McMahon

Henry Morgan

Barry Nelson

Frank Blair

1967

Gene Rayburn

Ed McMahon

Ted Steele

Henry Morgan

Brad Crandall

1968

Gene Rayburn

Ed McMahon

Ted Steele

Henry Morgan

Brad Crandall

1969

Gene Rayburn

Joe Garagiola

Murray the K

Henry Morgan

Jim Lowe

(In May 1970, Saturday night Monitor began airing from 7-10 p.m. EST.)

1970

 Saturday

 Sunday

  9a.m.-noon

  3-6 p.m.

 7-10 p.m.

2-6 p.m.

 7-10 p.m.

Gene Rayburn

Joe Garagiola

Murray the K

Ted Brown

Jim Lowe

1971

Gene Rayburn

Bill Cullen

Murray the K

Cindy Adams

Ted Brown

Jim Lowe

1972

Gene Rayburn

Bill Cullen

Cindy Adams

Ted Brown

Art Fleming

Jim Lowe

1973

Gene Rayburn

Bill Cullen

Don Imus

Wolfman Jack

Robert W. Morgan

Dan Daniel

Jim Lowe

(In 1974, “Monitor’s” schedule changed one last time. The program aired live on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST with same-day repeats airing from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays, live, from noon to 6 p.m. with same-day repeats airing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.)

 Saturday

 Sunday

 9 a.m.-noon

Noon-3 p.m.

Noon-3 p.m.

 3-6 p.m.

1974

 Big Wilson

 Tony Taylor

John Bartholomew Tucker

 Bruce Bradley

Big Wilson

 John Bartholomew Tucker

1975

John Bartholomew Tucker

 Big Wilson

 Big Wilson

 John Bartholomew Tucker

The final “Monitor” broadcasts aired on January 25-26, 1975. The program ended its live run at 5:58:50 p.m. EST on Sunday, Jan. 26, with John Bartholomew Tucker as the final host. The final sounds ever heard on “Monitor” were the NBC chimes.