Sounds of NBC Monitor

So what did NBC Radio’s weekend-long Monitor sound like? Like nothing ever heard before, or since, on network radio. Each weekend the program featured a kaleidoscope of news, music, comedy, sports, variety, remotes, live interviews and taped snippets.

During its nearly 20-year run, Monitor was on the air for 20,000 hours.

Below is a sampling of what you might have heard on a typical weekend on the Monitor Beacon.

New for Spring 2018 

Frank McGee hosts Monitor “Date Special” — March 11, 1962

Time:  About 25 minutes

Frank McGee hosted Sunday night Monitor from 1961-64.  During those years, he and producer Bud Drake collaborated on numerous “date specials” — long-form pieces about people, places and events associated with that particular Sunday night date.  This one aired on March 11, 1962 — and it is, simply, great listening.


 Monitor audio files (great listening, below) 

Time:  about 40 minutes

On Friday, April 1, 1955, Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver — NBC’s president — went on his radio network’s closed-circuit line to announce to affiliates that a radically new program concept would soon debut on NBC Radio. That, of course, was “Monitor” — and this is rare audio of the announcement about the program that would become network radio’s greatest endeavor. (Courtesy of Gene Garnes Sr.)


Time:  about 58 minutes

Fasten your seatbelts — this is an amazing hour  (2-3 p.m. ET) from Wednesday, May 2, 1955.  It was a closed-circuit (meant to be heard by NBC Radio affiliate-station employes, not by an over-the-air audience) Monitor “practice” hour.  It’s Monitor one month before the program premiered on NBC Radio. You’ll hear John Cameron Swayze, Frank Gallop, Bob & Ray, Tedi Thurman (later, “Miss Monitor”), John Chancellor and numerous special reports, music and sounds.  It’s Monitor like you’ve never heard it before.

Monitor Beacon (in Real Audio format)

Time: 31 seconds

The “Beacon” was Monitor’s audio symbol for the program’s entire 20-year run. It was used to cue stations to join the network or cut away forlocal commercials.


Monitor Beacon (in MP3 format)

Time: 50 seconds

Here’s the Beacon in MP3 format (courtesy of Steve Rood, formerly of KNBR in San Francisco)

Here you go, Monitor fans — virtually every theme the program used, over its many years on the air!

Time: about 20 minutes

Here it is — the first moments, ever, of what would turn out to be network radio’s greatest program, on Sunday, June 12th, 1955, at 4 p.m. ET.  The first hour of the program was simulcast on NBC-TV.  This first broadcast lasted 8 hours — until midnight.  Starting the next Saturday, Monitor would air 40 consecutive hours each weekend, from 8 a.m. Saturday to midnight Sunday.  (The first voice ever heard on Monitor — Morgan Beatty’s.)  (Courtesy of Louis Castaing; copyright National Broadcasting Company; used with permission.)

Monitor ’55 — the first day, part 1

Time — a half-hour

This is the first part of Monitor’s last hour on its premiere day — Sunday, June 12, 1955, from 11-11:30 p.m. ET.  It is incredible, exciting and frenetic.  Yes, there are mistakes.  But it’s an amazing undertaking — with Morgan Beatty and Walter Kiernan doing News on the Hour, including several live reports; a live big-band remote from Birdland in New York City; Monitor host Ben Grauer introducing Henry Morgan, who does a hilarious review of that evening’s TV fare; a live update from Detroit, where General Motors contract talks were approaching a deadline; and a live big-band remote from the Blue Note in Chicago.  All in this one half-hour near the end of Monitor’s eight-hour debut on that memorable Sunday.  (Courtesy of Louis Castaing; copyright National Broadcasting Company; used with permission.

Monitor ’55 — the first day, part 2

Time — a half-hour

This is the last half-hour of Monitor’s first day on the air — Sunday, June 12, 1955, from 11:30 p.m. to midnight ET. .  It is an absolutely amazingly fast-paced and jam-packed 30 minutes, featuring live musical remotes from the Embers in New York City and from the Hollywood Palladium.  It also features live reports from San Quentin Prison in California, from an airliner speeding across the Atlantic to Europe and from the National Weather Service.  “Miss Monitor” gives her sexy, unforgettable temperature reports, and Roger Price has a humorous commentary. (Courtesy of Louis Castaing; copyright National Broadcasting Company; used with permission)

Time:  about 14 minutes

Dave Garroway — the first host of the “Today” Show on NBC-TV — also hosted Sunday night Monitor from 1955 until ’61.  Here is a short piece from Sunday night, June 17, 1956 — a first-anniversary salute hosted by Dave.

Time:  about 53 minutes

This delightful Monitor hour aired on Saturday, May 17, 1958, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.  Hosted by Walter Kiernan and Peter Roberts, it features a commentary by Alex Dreier from Chicago, a comedy skit by George Gobel and another by Fibber McGee and Molly (one of the only recordings of their time on Monitor, where they did five-minute skits for years), a sports report about how the Indy 500 auto race is run and a sports report from San Francisco, and two skits by “Miss Monitor” — one of which is NOT her famed weather report.

Time:  about one hour

This aired on Saturday, May 17, 1958, from 11 p.m. to midnight.  Long-time Saturday night Monitor hosts Morgan Beatty and Monty Hall presided over this fast-paced hour, which begins with News on the Hour and continues with a sports report from Jim Simpson in Washington; a live interview with actress Vicki Cummings in Ann Arbor, Michigan; a live jazz performance by Billy Maxted’s group from Nick’s in Greenwich Village, New York; an interview with singer Jane Morgan; and a live performance by Xavier Cugat and his band from the Statler-Hilton in New York.

Time: one hour

Yes, Monitor fans, this is the Monty Hall of “Let’s Make a Deal” fame.  But that would come later.  Here are Bob Wilson & Hall, sitting in for Frank Blair and Don Russell, on Saturday morning, June 6th, 1959, from 11 a.m. to noon ET.  Features sports reports,Ernie Kovacs, Miss Monitor,Bob & Ray and more. (Courtesy of Gary Dibble)

Time: one hour

Hugh Downs & Peter Roberts hosted Saturday afternoon Monitor from the start — from 1955 to ’59.  Here they are, on Saturday, June 6, 1959, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.  Features a Paul Mason report, Ernie Kovacs, Doug Storer andmore. (Courtesy of Gary Dibble)

Time:  a half-hour

Morgan Beatty’s was the first voice ever heard on Monitor on Sunday, June 12, 1955. He was still hosting the program in 1959, and on this Saturday night, June 6, from 11 to 11:30 p.m. ET, his co-host was Ted Bond. Features the Modernaires & the Jonah Jones Quartet performing live. (Courtesy of Gary Dibble)

Time:  about 8 minutes

This was one of the first “Date Specials” that premiered on Monitor after Frank McGee became Sunday night Monitor’s host in 1961. Produced by the legendary Bud Drake, this aired on December 3, 1961 — and looked back on that date in 1945.  This one includes a rare recording of Mahatma Gandhi’s voice.

Time:  About 8 minutes

Frank and Bud team up again for this wonderful retrospective that aired on Sunday night Monitor on December 10, 1961 — looking back at the same day in 1940, when World War II was coming.

Time:  18 minutes

Oh, what a beautiful piece this is!  It’s Sunday night, Christmas Eve 1961, and Frank McGee — in his first year as Sunday night’s host — presided over these last few minutes of the evening’s broadcast — from 9:35 to 9:53 p.m. ET.  Go ahead — listen more than once.  I certainly have.(Courtesy of the family of Bud Drake)

Frank McGee hosts New Year’s Eve Monitor ’61 — Part 1

Time:  one hour
Frank McGee hosted Sunday night Monitor from 1961 to 1964, succeeding Dave Garroway. This is from New Year’s Eve 1961 — 7 to 8 p.m. ET, recorded off WRC Radio in Washington, DC (the NBC O-and-O in DC).  Features Ben Grauer, a news summary, Ray Scherer, Leon Pearson & a New Year’s report from London. (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)

Time:  a half-hour

Here’s Frank, again, on Sunday night, Dec. 31, 1961, from 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET, hosting a marvelous retrospective from New Year’s Eve 1945, plus Mel Allen sports and NBC correspondent George Clay reviewing the Congo war. (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)

Mel Allen hosts Monitor ’62 

Time:  a half-hour

Mel Allen — yes, the “Voice of the Yankees” — hosted Saturday morning Monitor from 1961 to 1963.  Here’s a half-hour from March 3, 1962, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. ET.  Features a “Ring Around the World” and a report by Gene Garnes Sr. on pipe organs.  (Courtesy of Gene Garnes Sr.)

Time:  About 11 minutes
This may come as a surprise — but Bill Hayes –singer, Broadway actor and  one of the longest-running stars of NBC-TV’s “Days of Our Lives” — hosted Sunday afternoon Monitor for a time in 1962.  We have only a short snippet of him here — which aired on WGY Radio in Schenectady on  Sunday, Oct. 7, 1962 — immediately following the end of World Series Game 3. It opens with Monitor News on the Hour — then goes into a short Hayes segment that features a comedy skit by Monitor regulars Mike Nichols and Elaine May.  (Courtesy of Eric Paddon)

Time:  About 11 minutes

This is an absolutely magnificent and heartbreaking look back at the life and tragic death of the great American songwriter Stephen Foster.

Time:  About 8 minutes

A Christmas treat — a wonderful, wonderful look at Clement Clarke Moore — the man who wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas” — yes, the immortal poem we’ve all known since childhood, the one that begins with “‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house…”

Time:  a half-hour

Another simply beautiful segment hosted by Frank McGee — this one aired on Sunday night, December 30, 1962.  It’s a look back at the year that was — the names, the voices, the events — all woven together, magnificently, by McGee’s narration.  They simply don’t make programs like Monitor anymore, and that’s our tremendous loss. (Courtesy of the family of Bud Drake)

Time:  about 29 minutes

In the early ’60s, Monitor did occasional salutes to big-name stars who were celebrating birthdays.  Here’s one of them — a salute to Jimmy Durante — from Saturday night, Feb. 9, 1963, hosted by Jim Lowe.  This is the first half-hour of the salute — just click on the link directly below for the second half-hour

Time:  about 25 minutes

Here’s the “rest” of Jim Lowe’s Monitor salute to Jimmy Durante.

Time:  about an hour

Here’s another Monitor salute — this one to Groucho Marx — from Saturday night, Oct. 5, 1963, hosted by Jim Lowe.  Note, at the end, the announcement about the next day’s World Series game between the Yankees and the Dodgers.

Time:  about 24 minutes

Here’s a birthday salute to Frank Sinatra, hosted by Barry Nelson on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 14, 1963.  Take special note of Barry’s introduction to the salute, which aired just days after Sinatra’s son, Frank Jr., had been kidnapped, then released about 54 hours later. Nine years after this, Frank Jr. would host Saturday night Monitor for several weeks, while he was performing in New York City. This is the first half-hour of the salute — just click on the link directly below for the second half-hour.

Time: about 23 minutes

Here’s the “rest” of Barry Nelson’s Monitor salute to Frank Sinatra.

Time:  about an hour

Here’s another birthday salute — this one to George Burns, hosted by Gene Rayburn on Saturday night, Jan. 18, 1964.   The first part of the audio is dicey, but hang in there — it will clear up.  (By 1964, Gene had taken over the Saturday night slot from Jim Lowe — and would keep it until hemoved to Saturday morning Monitor in 1966.)

Time:  a half-hour

This is a jewel.  NBC newsman Frank McGee — who hosted Sunday night Monitor from 1961 to 1964 — presented this tribute to the great World War II newsman Raymond Gram Swing on March 22, 1964.

Barry Nelson hosts Monitor ’64

Time: one hour

Actor Barry Nelson — a star on TV and the Broadway stage for decades starting in the 1940s — hosted Monitor for several years in the 1960s, first the Saturday afternoon segment and later on Sunday afternoons. While he was on Monitor, Barry also starred on Broadway with Lauren Bacall in “Cactus Flower.” Here is an hour from a Saturday Barry hosted on September 26, 1964, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.  Features a John Cannon report, reports from the vice-presidential campaign trail, “Monitor Tips,” Al Capp, a sports report, Nichols & May, and Robert Vaughn.  This is really an oustanding hour — an example of Monitor’s scope and variety in the prime of the program’s life. (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)

Time:  a half-hour

This is a half-hour of Monitor from Sunday night, Sept. 27, 1964 — the evening the Warren Commission’s report on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 was released.  And this is Monitor at its finest.  Host Frank Blair introduces NBC reporters Richard Harkness, Robert McCormick, Russ Ward, Peter Hackes and Morgan Beatty, all analyzing the Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the JFK’s sole assassin.  Yes, we wish we had more of Monitor’s three-hour Sunday night broadcast — but we’re grateful to have this, which has not been heard anywhere else for the past half-century. (Recorded from WSB Radio in Atlanta)

Frank Blair hosts Monitor ’64 JFK Tribute

Time:  45 minutes
Frank Blair hosted this tribute to President John F. Kennedy that aired on Sunday night Monitor on November 22, 1964 –one year after JFK’s assassination.  It is heartbreaking and uplifting and will bring back vivid memories of that Friday in Dallas that changed this country forever.

Time:  about 14 minutes

So why have we put up this snippet of Frank Blair hosting Sunday night Monitor on Valentine’s Day in 1965?  Well, because we like Frank a lot — because it’s a delightful snippet (that starts in the middle of an interview with Martha Scott) — and because, at the end, an NBC announcer gives the call letters of one of the network’s affiliate stations (as the announcers did, on the half-hour, on Monitor, for years).  And that affiliate is KMJ Radio in Fresno, California — the station where I listened to Monitor for years, as I was growing up and older — and the station where I wound up working as a reporter for years.

Frank Blair hosts Monitor ’65 

Time:  21 minutes
Frank Blair had taken over as Sunday night Monitor host in 1964, replacing fellow NBC newsman Frank McGee.  In this segment from July 18, 1965, Monitor and Blair pay tribute to the late Adlai Stevenson, the former Democratic presidential candidate and ambassador to the United Nations, who had died just days before.

Henry Morgan hosts Monitor ’66

Time:  a half-hour

Henry Morgan appeared as a commentator on Monitor’s first broadcast in 1955, then appeared frequently over the years. He was the Sunday afternoon Monitor host from the mid-’60s to the early-’70s. Here is Henry hosting a half-hour of Saturday afternoon Monitor ’66 on March 19th, from 5:30 to 6 p.m. ET.  Features “Monitor on Stage” and a Joe Garagiola sports report on the Drysdale-Koufax LA Dodgers holdout.  (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)


Time:  about 35 minutes

Frank Blair hosted Monitor from the beginning — as the Saturday morning communicator with Don Russell from 1955 until about ’59 — then as Sunday night host from ’64 to ’67. This wonderful half-hour is from May 22, 1966, from 7:20 to 8 p.m. ET (forget about the time-cue the New Orleans announcer gives — that station tape-delayed this hour for later broadcast).  Features Curt Gowdy with “Monitor Outdoors,” a Mel Allen live sports report, Len Probst “On Broadway,” and a “Ring Around the World.”  (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)

Time:  a half-hour

Okay, we admit we’re big fans of Henry Morgan.  So here’s a half-hour of Henry hosting Saturday night Monitor on June 4, 1966, from 10 to 10:30 p.m. ET.  Henry came back to Monitor after being away for several years — and this was one of his first “regular” hosting appearances since his return (he would remain Saturday night host for the rest of 1966 and then become Sunday afternoon’s host for the rest of the decade).  On this delightful half hour, Henry’s in-studio guest is legendary WNBC Radio talk-show host Long John Nebel. (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)

Time:  about 14 minutes

Oh, we wish we had much more than just this small clip of Barry Nelson hosting Monitor on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 20,  1966 — the weekend before Thanksgiving.  First, Barry — an excellent movie, TV and stage actor — was an outstanding Monitor host for three years, and this was one of his last Monitor broadcasts.  Second, the content here is very good — including greetings from American soldiers in Vietnam, a live report on an important election in the then West-German state of Bavaria, and an absolutely heartwarming commentary from Li’l Abner cartoonist Al Capp, Monitor’s “expert on nothing with opinions on everything.”  (Recorded off  WJBO Radio in Baton Rouge by Louis Castaing.)

Time:  16 minutes

I wish we had more than this scoped segment — but here’s Henry — this time on Nov. 20, 1966 (the Sunday night before Thanksgiving), from 9:35 to 10 p.m. ET — with some truly moving messages from GI’s in Vietnam.  (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)

Time:  a half-hour

Here’s WNBC Radio’s Brad Crandall on one of his first Sunday night Monitor segments after he took over forFrank Blair in January 1967.  On this half-hour from January 29, Brad interviews an explorer, and Monitor theater critic Leonard Probst interviews Norman Mailer.

Time:  one hour

Here’s the first of three great Monitor hours hosted by the incomparable Henry Morgan on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 1967. This is the 3 to 4 p.m. ET hour, featuring Robert Vaughn (the “Man from Uncle”), Arlene Francis, Al Capp and a report from the Westminster Kennel Show.  This was recorded off WGY Radio in Schnectady, and the first few moments have some dicey audio.  But — never fear — it quickly clears up, and the listening is wonderful!

Time:  one hour

Here’s Mr. Morgan, again on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 1967, this time from 4 to 5 p.m. ET.  This hour features an interview with the editor of “The Unafraid Dictionary,” plus Joe Garagiola, Merle Oberon, an Allen & Rossi comedy skit and an interview with a singer who went to Vietnam.

Time:  one hour

Here’s our man Morgan — again! — on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 1967.  This is actually a “composite” hour — starting with part of the 2-3 p.m. ET hour, then going to the 5-6 p.m. hour.  It’s audio pieced together from what was left of someone’s recording that day. You’ll hear a report on the “name game” in Washington, D.C., plus an interview with Robert Shaw, a report from Vietnam, and comedy from Bob Newhart. Also, Henry gets the date wrong, at one point, during this Sunday hour.  Must have been a tough Saturday night for him.

Time:  one hour

Here’s Brad Crandall hosting Monitor on Sunday night, Feb. 26, 1967, from 7 to 8 p.m. ET.   This clip features an interview with Will Rogers Jr., an Arlene Francis feature, Mel Allen’s sportscast, Leonard Probst with a Broadway play review and a report on a missing Vietnam platoon.  The audio for the first few minutes is not great — this was recorded off the air from WGY Radio in Schnectady — but it clears up and soon becomes very good, so hang in there and enjoy!

Time:  a half hour

Here’s Brad Crandall, again, hosting Sunday night Monitor on Feb. 26, 1967, from 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET.  This features an interview with John Scopes (yes, the John Scopes of “Monkey Trial” fame) — and Joe Garagiola’s sports.


Steve Lawrence sings Monitor’s 12th Birthday Song — 1967

Time:  about 4 minutes

All weekend on June 10-11, 1967, legendary songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen were at Radio Central, creating a song for Monitor’s 12th birthday. Periodically, Monitor’s hosts had them on the air that weekend, as they made progress.  Finally, around 9:45 p.m. that Sunday night, host Brad Crandall introduced singer Steve Lawrence, who sang the song, live, for Monitor’s nationwide audience.  Monitor’s hosts are named in the lyrics — Gene Rayburn, Ed McMahon, Ted Steele, Henry Morgan and Crandall.  (Thanks to W.T. Koltek for recording this!)

Autumn Monitor ’67 with Bert Parks, Gene Rayburn & Ed McMahon

Time:  about 80 minutes.

This is great stuff!  Relax, and enjoy the sounds of autumn Monitor from Sept. 23 & 24, 1967, with Bert Parks, Gene Rayburn and Ed McMahon, along with features by Hugh Downs and Joe Garagiola and Monitor music, jingles and some great network commercials. (Courtesy of W.T. Koltek)

Time: a half-hour

Former big-band leader Ted Steele took over Saturday night Monitor from Henry Morgan in 1967.  Here he is, on a Saturday night in November of that year. Features “Abe Weatherwise,” a feature on Wilt Chamberlain & more.

Time:  a half-hour

Here’s Henry Morgan, hosting Sunday afternoon Monitor on Dec. 17, 1967. This is scoped, and the audio quality is dicey — but we like it because it has Henry, lots of Monitor Christmas jingles and music — and that immortal line used so often on Monitor at Christmastime — “Every woman alive wants Chanel No. 5.”  Merry Christmas! (Courtesy of W.T. Koltek)

Time: one hour

WNBC Radio talk-show host Brad Crandall took over Sunday night Monitor from Frank Blair in 1967.  Here he is, hosting an hour (7:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET) on June 16, 1968, on Monitor’s 13th-birthday weekend. Features a Mel Allen live sports report, “Meet a Millionaire,” “Sport of Speed” with Chris Economaki & more. (Courtesy of Joe Pugliesi)

Time:  about 20 minutes

Here’s Gene, hosting an all-so-brief snippet of Saturday morning Monitor on March 16, 1968, from about 11:20 to about 11:40 a.m. ET (as recorded from WCOP Radio in Boston).  It begins with a local-station commercial, after which the station joins Monitor in progress.  You’ll hear a “Monitor on Stage” segment featuring the Ramsey Lewis Trio, followed by a five-minute local Boston newscast — then a re-join to Monitor, where Gene will introduce Peter Hackes, who is live in Washington with a piece about Robert F. Kennedy’s just-announced candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.  This is poignant, of course, because RFK’s quest would end tragically in Los Angeles just three months later.


Time: About 28 minutes
Oh, yes, Henry Morgan was one of our favorite all-time Monitor hosts — holding down the fort on Sunday afternoons from 1967 through 1970.  But in this segment  — which aired on WGY-Schenectady — Henry is hosting Saturday afternoon Monitor on April 13, 1968.  And what nice half-hour it is — featuring “Monitor on Stage,” Henry reading a national weather forecast, and Monitor’s theatre and movie critic Leonard Probst.   (Courtesy of Eric Paddon)

Time: a half-hour

Gene Rayburn was Monitor’s longest-running (from the early ’60’s until the early ’70s) and most beloved host.  Most of us remember him as the Saturday morning host, though he hosted every other Monitor segment over the years.  (And, yes, Gene was “The Match Game” host on TV.)  This is delightful listening.   It aired 9-9:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 22, 1969 — George Washington’s birthday.  (We have another more of Gene from that same Saturday morning, below).  This segment includes an interview with Mary Higgins Clark, talking about her just-released book about Washington, and  a piece by NBC correspondent Peter Hackes, discussing the future of the U.S. space program (and just listen to how right he was!)  Gene’s breezy style was absolutely perfect for Saturday mornings, when millions of Americans were in their cars, doing weekend chores or heading to a weekend outing. (Courtesy of Ken Smith)

Gene Rayburn hosts Monitor ’69 — Part 2

Time:  a half-hour

Here’s Gene again, hosting Monitor from 9:30-10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 22, 1969.  This half-hour features NBC sportscaster Guy LeBow interviewing Washington Senators owner Bob Short, who had announced, hours earlier, his hiring of Ted Williams as Senators’ manager.  It also features NBC correspondent Paul Duke, who has a Capitol Hill profile.

Time:  one hour
Here’s Gene again, hosting another great hour of Monitor on Saturday morning, Feb. 22, 1969, from 11 a.m.-noon ET.  Features an interview with Mary Higgins Clark, Joe Garagiola sports, “Ring Around the World,” “Monitor Tips” & more.

Time:  About 65 minutes

Okay, Monitor fans — here’s what went on, closed-circuit, during the “non-Monitor” hours from 1 to 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 22, 1969.  It begins with the great Don Pardo introducing a real “Monitor News on the Hour” at 1 p.m. ET — followed by closed-circuit (not for airing) music and a “REVRAC” — reverse radio audio channel — test, which includes a fake newscast from KNBR, NBC’s O-and-O in San Francisco.  Then you’ll hear Pardo introduce the real 2 p.m. hourly newscast, and that’s followed by Joe Garagiola introducing the 3 p.m. Monitor News on the Hour and most of Joe’s 3-4 p.m. Monitor hour that Saturday. (Courtesy of Ken Smith)

Time: one hour

Joe, the great NBC-TV sportscaster, hosted Saturday afternoon Monitor for several years in the late-’60s (succeeding Ed McMahon) — and also did regular sports features for Monitor for many years.  Here is is, hosting on Saturday, February 22, 1969, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.  Features a live report from Mount Vernon (this was, after all, Washington’s Birthday), a report on President Nixon’s overseas trip, Bing Crosby & more.  (Courtesy of Ken Smith)

Time:  About one hour

Here’s Joe again, hosting Monitor on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 22, 1969, from 4 to 5 p.m. ET.  Included in this hour is a report on the Apollo space program; a cut from an album of comedy skits from NBC-TV’s “Laugh In”; an interview with Bing Crosby; a Henry Morgan commentary; a report on President Nixon’s upcoming trip to Rome; and man-on-the-street interviews about the president’s travels. (Courtesy of Ken Smith)

Time:  one hour
Here’s Henry, hosting on Sunday afternoon, February 23, 1969, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, as Monitor keeps us up-to-the-minute on President Nixon’s arrival in Brussels, Belgium, for his first overseaas trip.  Features man-on-the-street interviews about the Nixon trip; a Richard Valeriani report about the trip; Ray Scherer reporting on Nixon’s arrival in Europe; and Dr. Joyce Brothers. (Courtesy of Ken Smith)

Time: one hour

It’s no secret that Henry is one of our favorite all-time Monitor hosts (you can probably tell by the number of Henry Morgan audio clips we have.) So here’s another hour of  Mr. Morgan — this one from 3 to 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 23, 1969. You’ll hear Monitor really “going places and doing things.”  This hour includes a Bob Considine “On the Line” report; Ray Scherer reporting on President Nixon’s arrival in Brussels, Belgium; man-on-the-street interviews about the president’s trip; Joe Garagiola interviewing boxing great Jack Dempsey; and, of course, Henry. (Courtesy of Ken Smith)


Time: about 80 minutes

This magnificent piece demonstrates why Gene Rayburn was such a great, and beloved, Monitor host — and why Monitor was, simply, incomparable when it came to “going places and doing things,” and covering everything important or interesting in the weekend world.  This aired on Saturday morning, March 29, 1969, from 9 to 10:20 a.m. ET — the day after Dwight D. Eisenhower, our 34th president, died.  It features a moving tribute by Bob “On the Line” Considine; Peter Hackes, reporting live on Ike’s memorial; Kyle Rote, reporting on Ike’s athletic achievements; “early” Monitor News on the Hour, followed by a special live report on Ike’s memorial; plus a couple of Monitor “tips” and Dr. Joyce Brothers.  Gene segues between all of this beautifully, and his tone and presentation perfectly fit the mood of each of the program’s segments.

Time: about 20 minutes

You had to hurry to hear Durward host Monitor — he was on only a short time in ’69 (and so was his pal, Garry Moore, who hosted another segment).  Here he is on Sept. 21 from 9 to about 9:20 p.m. ET — a segment we like because it features our long-time friend, former Monitor engineer Gene Garnes Sr., as a reporter! (Courtesy of  Gene Garnes Sr.)

Time: about one hour

This is oh-so-good — delightful Thanksgiving-time Monitor ’69 segments, hosted by some of our very favorite people!  (Courtesy of Ken  Smith)

Time: about 70 minutes

This is delightful holiday listening – Monitor segments from December ’69, with plenty of Monitor Christmas jingles and some great hosts! (Courtesy of Ken Smith)


Murray the K hosts Monitor ’70

Time:  about 22 minutes

Yes,  legendary NYC jock Murray the K hosted Saturday night Monitor from 1968-72.  In this segment, which aired in early January 1970 from 9:30-10 p.m. ET, Murray features archived audio from earlier NBC Radio shows featuring Jack Benny, Fred Allen and Bob Hope.


Time: a half-hour

Here he is again — the “Fifth Beatle,” Murray the K —  on April 25, 1970, from 10 to 10:30 p.m. ET — the last half-hour ever of Monitor in this time slot, since (as Murray will announce), the program’s start time would change the following weekend, and Saturday night Monitor would henceforth air from 7 to 10 p.m. ET. (Courtesy of  Don Spuhler)

Time:  about 15 minutes

Here’s just a brief slice of one of our favorites, Mr. Morgan, hosting Saturday afternoon Monitor on the Fourth of July in 1970, from 4:07 to about 4:22 p.m. ET.  It will send a chill down your spine to hear Henry’s live interview with an Air Force captain in Greenland (where it was nearly freezing) — especially when Henry asks how much warning the U.S. would have if that base spotted an incoming enemy missile coming over the pole.  This also features part of a Len Dillon interview with Kentucky basketball coach Henry Iba.  The piece ends abruptly, with an NBC announcer closing out the segment (obviously, someone deleted material from the end of the Iba interview, to the end of the half-hour segment).  But it’s still very, very good listening!

Time:  a half-hour

WNBC and WNEW disc jockey Ted Brown succeeded Henry Morgan as Sunday afternoon Monitor host in 1970.  Here he is, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 1971, from 5:30 to 6 p.m. ET, demonstrating his own brand of energy and humor.  Features Gene Shalit with a movie review, Ted hosting sports, and plenty of ad-libs. (Courtesy of  Jim Willard)

Time: a half-hour

Bill Cullen — the “king of TV game shows” — was the regular Saturday afternoon Monitor host for several years.  Here he is, on a Sunday afternoon, May 16, 1971, from 5:30 to 6 p.m. ET.  Features Dr. Joyce Brothers, Cullen doing sports & more.  (Courtesy of Jim Willard)

For more information about Bill, check out The Bill Cullen Homepage

Jim Lowe hosts Monitor ’71

Time  about 51 minutes

This is an “unusual” Monitor hour in that it focuses on one topic.  Jim Lowe hosted this hour from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night, Oct. 30, 1971.  It was part of an extended evening-long Monitor look at youth, music and religion.  This particular hour focused on the hit stage musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Godspell.”  You’ll hear Jim interviewing the very young Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, along with Monitor’s stage critic Leonard Probst.  Of course, you’ll hear music from both plays.  This was recorded off WTIC Radio in Hartford, Connecticut.  Pay attention to the station break, where you’ll hear a WTIC public service announcement about something that will bring back memories to all of us who grew up during the height of the Cold War. (Courtesy of Jim Willard & Louis Castaing)

Jim Lowe hosts Monitor ’72

Time: one hour

Legendary NYC disc jockey Jim Lowe was Monitor’s 2nd-longest tenured host — after Gene Rayburn.  First he hosted Saturday night Monitor — then (after leaving and returning to WNBC), he hosted Sunday night Monitor from ’69 to ’73.  Here’s Jim on Sunday night, January 30th, 1972, from 9 to 10 p.m. ET.  Features Dean Mell interviewing Gay Talese, Len Dillon with Monitor sports, Graham Kerr (the “Galloping Gourmet”) & more.  (Courtesy of Don Spuhler)

Time: about 40 minutes

Here’s Ted, again, ad-libbing his way through this memorable Sunday segment from April 30, 1972. (Courtesy of W.T. Koltek)

Bill Mazer hosts Monitor ’72

Time:  one hour

Bill Mazer was a great sports talk host on WNBC Radio in NYC.  He also occasionally filled in as a Monitor host, as he did here, on Saturday mornng, Sept. 23, 1972 (sitting in for regular host Gene Rayburn).  In this wonderful hour (9-10 a.m. ET), you will hear reports by Ed McMahon, Joe Garagiola, Gene Rayburn and Curt Gowdy.  That’s right — ALL of them, in just one hour!  Plus, great music — a Monitor tip — and more!  Yes, even in 1972, 17 years after its premiere, Monitor still sounded like the best program, ever, on network radio.  And it was! (Courtesy of Gene Garnes Jr.)


Time — about 14 minutes
Here’s another surprise — Art Fleming — the great first emcee of TV’s legendary “Jeopardy” — hosted Sunday afternoon Monitor in 1972.  Here — in this oh-so-brief snippet — which aired on WNBC-FM in NYC on Oct. 22, 1972, after Game 7 of the World Series — we hear Monitor News on the Hour — followed by Fleming introducing the Monitor segment which followed.  That segment includes Joe Garagiola, describing Game 7, which the Oakland A’s won, 3-2, over Cincinnati.   (Courtesy of Eric Paddon and Louis Castaing)

Time: one hour

Yes, Monitor fans, Frank Jr. hosted Saturday night Monitor for three consecutive weekends in 1972, starting with this hour on Dec. 2  from 7 to 8 p.m. ET.  He was performing at the Rainbow Room on top of the RCA Building at the time, so NBC decided to book him as a Monitor host.  Features Ed McMahon, Gene Shalit doing a live movie review, Guy LeBow with a live sports report & more.  (Courtesy of Jack Burns)


Time:  about 25 minutes

Frank Jr. hosted this half-hour from 8-8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night, Dec. 2, 1972.  After an edited Monitor News on the Hour, you’ll hear Frank Jr. interviewing Frankie Avalon.


Time:  about a half-hour

In this half-hour, which aired from 8:30 to 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 2, Frank Jr. plays some of his favorite music — and it’s an exceptional list, including offerings by Chicago, Ella Fitzgerald, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby.

Time:  about 25 minutes
After an edited Monitor News on the Hour, you’ll hear Frank Jr. being interviewed by Cindy Adams, a newspaper columnist who was a frequent Monitor host in the early ’70’s. This aired from 9-9:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 2, 1972

Time:  about a half-hour

Great listening.  This half-hour, which aired from 9:30-10 p.m. ET on Saturday night, Dec. 2, 1972, features Frank Jr. performing live at the Rainbow Grill on top of the RCA Building in New York.  The first five minutes consist of Monitor’s “fill” music for those affiliates not doing local news — then Frank Jr. takes it from there.

Time:  about 25 minutes

Here’s Frank Jr., hosting Saturday night Monitor from 7-7:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 9, 1972.  In this half-hour, he interviews actor, comedian and impressionist George Kirby.

Time:  about a half-hour

A delightful segment that aired from 7:30-8 p.m. ET on Saturday night, Dec. 9, 1972.  Here, Frank Jr. is joined by NBC’s movie and book reviewer Gene Shalit and by NBC sportscaster Guy LeBow.

Time:  a half-hour

There is no doubt that Gene Rayburn was Monitor’s most-loved host — and why not?  He hosted Monitor longer than anyone else — he had a great personality — and he loved doing the broadcast.  Here he is, on Saturday morning, December 30, 1972, from 9 to 9:30 a.m. ET, interviewing the legendary Jean Shepherd.  It begins with Monitor News on the Hour, anchored by our late friend Dean Mell.  (Courtesy of the family of Bud Drake)


Time:  a half-hour

Here’s Gene, on Saturday morning, December 30, 1972, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. ET.  He’s joined by Joe Garagiola and Bob Considine, both reminiscing about the year that’s about to end.  (Courtesy of the family of Bud Drake)

Time: one hour

Art Ford, a great NYC radio voice, hosted this “big-band tribute” on Sunday night, April 15, 1973, on Monitor, from 7 to 8 p.m. ET.  (Courtesy of Jack Burns)

Time:  a half-hour

Let’s turn back the clock about 40 years, when we were all much younger.    It’s Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET on June 9, 1973 — and Don “Imus in the Morning” — a controversial “shock jock” on WNBC Radio in New York — makes his debut as a Monitor host.  And he doesn’t sound terriblypleased to be inside Radio Central, does he?(Courtesy of Gene Garnes Jr.)

Time:  a half-hour

This is the second-half of Imus’ first-ever hour on Monitor, airing Saturday night, June 9, 1973, from 7:30-8 p.m. ET. This features an Imus interview with Ron Landry of the Los Angeles DJ team of Hudson and Landry and a Guy LeBow live sports update.  Imus also plays some good-sounding 1973 music, and he has a quick one-liner for LeBow right after Guy finishes his sports update. (Courtesy of Gene Garnes Jr.)

Time:  one hour

Here’s Don, hosting Saturday night Monitor on June 9, 1973, from 8-9 p.m. ET.    In this hour, Imus (known as “Imus in the Morning” on WNBC Radio) talks live with sportscaster Dick Schapp, interviews Dr. Joyce Brothers and revivalist Marjoe Gortner, and plays one of his “Rev. Hargis” skits.  Even if you’re not an Imus fan, you’ll have to admit — this is interesting stuff.

Time:  a half-hour

Having survived his first three-hour Monitor hosting duties the weekend before, Imus returns on this Saturday night, June 16, for another go-around.  This half-hour (which aired from 9-9:30 p.m. ET) features Imus parodies about law enforcement and  about Wolfman Jack, and Don’s interview with former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton.


Time: a half-hour

On this Imus segment on Monitor — which aired from 9:30-10 p.m. ET on Saturday night, June 16 — Don does a “Crazy Bob” piece and then interviews former NBC News anchor Chet Huntley.  The half-hour begins with a local newscast from the Santa Barbara, California, radio station from which this Monitor audio was recorded.

Time:  a half-hour

Legendary New York City DJ Dan Daniel (WMCA, WHN, then WCBS-FM) hosted various Monitor segments in 1973.  Here he is, on Saturday night Monitor on July 14, 1973, from 9 to 9:30 p.m. ET, along with reports by Joe Garagiola and Dr. Joyce Brothers. (Audio recorded off the NBC affiliate in Santa Barbara, California)

Time:  about 34 minutes

Here’s a segment of Saturday morning Monitor hosted by the great Bill Cullen, on Saturday, July 21, from 11 to about 11:40 a.m. ET. By this time, long-time Saturday morning host Gene Rayburn was busy with his “Match Game” revival on CBS-TV — so he had to bow out of the Saturday morning slot.  Bill stepped in for a time — and this snippet showcases his wonderfully breezy style — he sounds just like the “guy next door,” and that’s undoubtedly why he was so successful on both radio and TV during his great career.  This piece features Bill at his best, interviewing Sterling Holloway — and listen to Bill as he jokes that he “limped” into a question with Sterling.  If you know details about Bill’s life, you’ll understand what he’s referring to.

Time:  one hour

Yes, we present another hour hosted by the great Bill Cullen, this time on Saturday morning, Aug. 11, 1973 — 9 to 10 a.m. ET.  Apart from Bill’s casual and wonderful style, you’ll enjoy (we promise!) reports by Joe Garagiola, travel expert Fran Koltun, and reports about the overseas movie industry and a unique history author.  Plus, Monitor tips — and more!  (Courtesy of Gene Garnes Jr.)

Time:  one hour

Legendary Los Angeles disc jockey Robert W. Morgan hosted Saturday night Monitor during the summer and fall of 1973, alternating weeks with Don Imus and Wolfman Jack.  This was NBC Radio’s experiment to try to induce some of its stations that were no longer airing Monitor to do so.  In this segment — Saturday night, Nov. 3, from 8 to 9 p.m. ET, Robert W. has the comedy team of Hudson and Landry as guests.

Time:  About 55 minutes

Airing on Sunday night, Nov. 4, 1973, this clip symbolizes the beginning of the end of Monitor.  The program would endure until early 1975, but this Sunday night was the first under Monitor’s new format, which included “updates” at :15 and :45 after the hour, a much faster pace, shorter features and more music.  Here, WNBC disc jockey Tony Taylor hosts the 7-8 p.m. ET hour on Monitor.  Included are those news and sports updates, a brief clip of Bill Cosby, some kind of other comedy “drop-in” material, clips of W.C. Fields and an interview with Fields’ grandson.

(Courtesy of Louis Castaing, who recorded this off a New Orleans radio station in the Central Time Zone — thus the local announcer’s time designations that are an hour behind the Eastern Time airing of Monitor.)

Yes, legendary “shock jock” Don Imus — who was then on WNBC Radio in New York City — hosted Saturday night Monitor once a month during the summer and fall of 1973.  Was he an appropriate host for Monitor, which featured, during its 20-year run, such legendary hosts as Dave Garroway, Gene Rayburn, Henry Morgan, Ed McMahon, Joe Garagiola, Frank Blair, David Wayne, Jim Lowe and many, many more?  You decide. This part includes “Imus in Washington,”  “the Rev. Billy Sol Hargis,” “Judge Hanging,” a “note from Nixon,” a “Nixon phone call,” and an interview with Norm N. Nite (all from Saturday night, Nov. 10).

Includes more of the Norm N. Nite interview, and interviews with Little Richard, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry (from Saturday night, Nov. 10).

Includes “Crazy Bob,” an interview with Paul Anka, and “the Rev. Hargis” (from Saturday night, Nov. 10).
Note: below are the full six hours of NBC Monitor’s last Saturday on the air — January 25, 1975

Features Dave Garroway interviewing Marilyn Monroe on Monitor’s first broadcast (Sunday, June 12, 1955), John Chancellor, the sound of snapping turtles,  Bob and Ray, and Joe Garagiola interviewing Bob Hope

Features Marlene Dietrich, “Miss Monitor,” Lee Kline interviewing a walnut grower, Selma Diamond, and a feature on “the twist”

Features Sammy Cahn’s musical tribute to Monitor, Nichols & May, Frank Blair, Ben Grauer, David Wayne, Al Kelly

Features Helen Hall’s roller-coaster ride, James Daly, Joe Garagiola interviewing Bob Hope, “Miss Monitor,” Bob & Ray, Jim Lowe

Features Groucho Marx, strange sounds heard on Monitor over the years, Ted Brown, Johnny Andrews, Jimmy Durante, and a Monitor fan interviewed live

Features Roy Silver and a reporter who could not say, “Now back to Monitor at Radio Central,”  Doug Storer’s bloopers, Peter Roberts, Jonathan Winters, Art Buchwald, Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara


Note: below are the full six hours of NBC Monitor’s last Sunday on the air — January 26, 1975

Big Wilson hosts Monitor ’75 — Sunday, January 26, Noon-1 p.m. ET

Features Nichols & May, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Bernard Baruch, Marx Loeb, Jonathan Winters

Features Ed McMahon, Ernie Kovacs and Joe Garagiola
Features Edwin Newman, Gene Shalit, Johnny Andrews, Bob Considine
Features Phyllis Diller, Barry Nelson, Frank Blair, Jim Lowe

Features Bob & Ray, Ben Grauer, Frank McGee, Pat Weaver, Dave Garroway & Eddie Cantor

The last hour ever.  Features Dave Garroway & Marilyn Monroe, John Chancellor, Hugh Downs, and Sammy Cahn’s musical tribute to Monitor.
Note: below are some exceptional audio clips from NBC Monitor throughout the years

Monitor:  20 Great Years

Time:  About one hour

This is a retrospective montage of “Monitor” from the program’s start to finish — 1955 to 1975.  You’ll hear the program’s first few minutes, its last few, and a whole lot of voices in between, including Morgan Beatty, Dave Garroway, Gene Rayburn, Henry Morgan, Bill Cullen, Frank Blair, Gene Shalit, Mel Allen, Bob & Ray, Nichols & May, “Miss Monitor,” Dr. Joyce Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Considine, John Bartholomew Tucker, Sammy Cahn and lots more

Time: 1 minute, 2 seconds

On Monitor’s last Sunday, program creator Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver Jr. told host John Bartholomew Tucker how he coined the term “kaleidoscopic phantasmagoria” to describe Monitor.

Time: 42 seconds

One of Monitor communicator Dave Garroway’s most famous interviews was one of his first — this one with actress Marilyn Monroe in Radio Central on Sunday, June 12, 1955.

Time: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Monitor host Frank McGee’s most famous interview was this one — with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

Time: 1 minute

Who WAS that lady who did the sexy weather forecasts on Monitor? Her name was Tedi Thurman. Here she recreates one of her forecasts, with Monitor host Big Wilson. To see what she looked like, check out the “Miss Monitor” page.

Time: 1 minute, 4 seconds

For years, comedians Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding stayed in Radio Central virtually every weekend, ready to ad-lib comedy routines if a Monitor remote failed or time needed to be filled. Here’s their take-off on “Miss Monitor.”

Time: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Hugh Downs was one of Monitor’s earliest communicators. Listen as he reminisces about working with Bob and Ray

Time: 2 minutes, 56 seconds

For several memorable years in the early ’60s, the great comedy team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May kept Monitor listeners in stitches with outrageous and innovative comedy skits. Here’s one of them, from a September ’64 Monitor segment hosted by Barry Nelson.


Time: 1 minute, 13 seconds

Comedian Ernie Kovacs entertained Monitor listeners with creative monologues like this one for years.

Time: 1 minute, 1 second

What happens to a bigtime network radio program when the lights go out in the studio? Dave Garroway tells John Bartholomew Tucker all about it, in this interview that aired on Monitor’s final day in 1975.

Time: 2 minutes. 34 seconds

Legendary NYC radio personality Ted Brown hosted Sunday afternoon Monitor for several years in the early-’70s. Here is one of the “stripper” routines he often performed on Monitor — routines that all Monitor fans of that time will remember. (Courtesy of Ken Smith)


Time:  about 9 minutes

In this delightful clip montage, you’ll hear Ted Brown do his ad-libbed “stripper” routine twice and hear Monitor’s movie critic Gene Shalit take no prisoners as he rips into an Elliott Gould movie of the moment.


This is a collection of 23 audio clips of Monitor promos that aired on NBC Radio over the years. Number 1 aired on “World News Roundup” on June 2, 1955; #2 aired on “Just Plain Bill” on Aug. 11, 1955; #3 & 4 aired during “X Minus One” in 1956.  Number 5 aired during “The Affairs of Dr. Gentry” in 1957.  Numbers 6 through 18 aired during “X Minus One” in 1957; #19 aired on “X-Minus One” in 1958; #20 aired during the “NBC Radio Theatre” in 1959; #21 through 24 aired during the Orange Bowl football game Jan. 1, 1965. (Courtesy of Jim Taylor)

Time: 3 minutes, 55 seconds
In Monitor’s final years, NBC Radio fed Monitor promos a few days before the upcoming weekend’s programs so that local stations could insert them where they wanted (there being very little “other” NBC Radio programming, besides Monitor, for the network to air them in). This was the last promo feed — three promos introduced by Don Pardo and voiced by Monitor’s last hosts, Big Wilson and John Bartholomew Tucker.

Time: 55 seconds

What kinds of announcements? Oh, you’ll remember, once you start listening.


Time: 1 minute, 1 second

Remember how Monitor’s hosts used to identify NBC affiliates just before those affiliates got their cutaway cues for local commercials? Well, listen here for another trip down Monitor’s Memory Lane. (In order, you’ll hear hosts Jim Lowe, Frank McGee, Barry Nelson and Gene Rayburn.)

Time: 1 minute, 30 seconds
For a time near the end of Monitor’s run, live news “Updates” were aired in the body of the program — first at :15 and :45 after the hour, then at :30 after. This is the very last live news Update (airing at 5:30 p.m. ET) on Monitor’s final Sunday, January 26, 1975, anchored by Bob Gibson, who was a radio newsman in NYC for many years.

Time: 52 seconds

What happens when Monitor News on the Hour ends and host Ted Brown isn’t ready to read his closing billboard? Just listen.

Time: 18 seconds

The scene: Radio Central’s studio 5B, where Monitor host Gene Rayburn has to read the closing billboard for  News on the Hour just after a staffer (who shall remain nameless) utters a word that really shouldn’t go out on the air.

Time:1 minute, 2 seconds

Here’s Monitor host Gene Rayburn, ad-libbing during a commercial for a comb. What’s so funny about that? Listen.

Time: 1 minute, 46 seconds
How hard is it to say, “Now back to Monitor in Radio Central,” when you’re finishing a phone report? Very, if you don’t have a clue.


Note:  Below are four great Monitor “promotional records” hosted by Gene Rayburn for specific advertisers

Time:  about 13 minutes

Created for the Bankers Life Company of Iowa, this promo features WHO Radio (Des Moines) news director Jack Shelley interviewing Bankers Life president Earl Bucknell, along with Nichols & May, Jonathan Winters and Cliff Arquette as “Charley Weaver.”

Time: About 15 minutes

Created for Coca Cola, this promo features clips from Jonathan Winters and Nichols & May


Time:  about 15 minutes

Created for DuPont (which had bought every advertising position on the weekend of Monitor’s 12th anniversary in  June 1967), this promo features Gene and his fellow Monitor hosts Ed McMahon and Henry Morgan, along with Nichols & May, Joe Garagiola, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali and Jack Benny.  (Yes, this is one whale of a promo.)

Time: about 13 minutes
Created for Valvoline, this promo features Bill Cosby and Joe Garagiola.


NBC Radio’s 40th Anniversary Program

NBC Radio’s 40th Anniversary Part 1 (on Monitor ’66)

Time:  About 59 minutes

This is NBC Radio’s 40th anniversary show, sponsored by Chase and Sanborn coffee, which aired on Sunday night Monitor on Nov. 13, 1966, from 7:05 to 8:30 p.m. ET.  It is hosted by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy, and features the voices of, among others, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Al Jolson, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Red Skelton, Burns and Allen, Nichols and May and others.  (Courtesy of Louis Castaing)

NBC Radio’s 40th anniversary show Part 2 (on Monitor ’66)

Time:  About 19 minutes

This is the final few minutes of NBC Radio’s 40th anniversary show that aired on Sunday night Monitor on Nov. 13, 1966.



NBC Radio’s “First Fabulous Fifty”

Five specials airing in late 1976 to commemorate NBC Radio’s 50 anniversary
Produced by Bud Drake and Charles Garment

Time:  about 40 minutes
Hosted by legendary NBC announcer Ben Grauer, this program — which aired Oct. 10, 1976 — details NBC Radio’s first decade — 1926 to 1936.


Time:  about 40 minutes
Hosted by Bob Hope, this part — airing Oct. 17, 1976 — details NBC Radio’s programming from 1936-46 — the war years.  Listen in particular to Bob’s reminiscing about the day the war broke out, when he was on a ship.  Charlie Garment told me that was not in the script — Bob began ad-libbing it during the  recording session, and it was so good — it was left in the program!


Time:  about 40 minutes
Hosted by Bing Crosby, this program — airing Oct. 24, 1976 — deals with NBC’s post-World War II programming (1946-1955)

Time:  About 40 minutes

Hosted by Arlene Francis, this program — which aired Oct. 31, 1976 — focuses largely on “Monitor” — NBC Radio’s last major programming push —  and includes coverage of the assassinaton of President John F. Kennedy.  The program covers events from 1955-1966.

Time:  About 40 minutes

Hosted by John Chancellor, this program — which aired Nov. 7, 1976 — deals with the turbulent years from 1966-1976, including NBC Radio’s coverage of Watergate and other national events.  It also includes a delightful “Monitor” interview with Saturday afternoon host Ed McMahon and his “Tonight Show” boss, Johnny Carson.


NBC Radio’s Kraft Family Reunion Specials

(Produced after Monitor left the air)

NBC Radio’s Kraft Family Reunion Special 1978

Time:  about 52 minutes
This special aired on NBC Radio on Sunday night, February 12, 1978, in honor of Kraft’s 75th anniversary.  Singer Eddy Arnold and long-time NBC — and Kraft — announcer Ed Herlihy co-hosted this marvelous retrospective of the long-running “Kraft Music Hall” on NBC, which had been hosted, over the years, by Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman and Al Jolson, among others.  The program was produced by former Monitor producer Bud Drake and former Monitor writer Charles Garment.

Time:  about 52 minutes

This special aired on NBC Radio on Sunday night, June 24, 1979.  Again co-hosted by singer Eddy Arnold and NBC’s Ed Herlihy, this was a follow-up to the successful 1978 Kraft special, and featured more highlights of the “Kraft Music Hall.”  It was produced by Bud Drake and Charles Garment.



NBC Radio’s JFK Assassination Coverage

Time:  about 51 minutes

Produced by Monitor’s Bud Drake and Charles Garment and anchored by Russ Ward, this is the first part of a truly magnificent effort by NBC Radio on Sunday night, Nov. 24, 1963, to sum up the events of the unbelievable weekend that began on Friday when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.  In this part, you’ll hear readings from American actor Alexander Scourby, interviews with Harvard professor Oscar Handlin and with many who knew JFK, and the beginning of an audio biography of the President.



Time:  about 46 minutes

This segment features a look back at JFK’s election in 1960, Inauguration Day in ’61, and some of his early accomplishments, including the establishment of the Peace Corps and America’s entry into space.



Time:  about 51 minutes

This segment features a look back at Kennedy’s battle with the steel industry, the Cuban missile crisis and the civil rights movement, as well as interviews about JFK’s legacy.



Time:  about 51 minutes

Featured are more interviews about JFK’s legacy, and NBC newsman Robert MacNeil’s recounting of the president’s assassination just two days earlier.  In addition, NBC sportscaster (and voice of the Yankees) Mel Allen reflects on Kennedy’s life, NBC newsman Bryson Rash reports on Jackie Kennedy’s absolutely heart-breaking visit to the Capitol on that Sunday night, and NBC reporters Robert Abernathy and Nancy Dickerson report on Kennedy’s legacy and the challenges facing new President Lyndon Johnson.



Time:  about 51 minutes

Featured are NBC’s correspondents around the world — including John Chancellor in Berlin — reporting on the foreign reaction to JFK’s death. This documentary ended at 11:21 p.m. ET, but you’ll hear about 20 more minutes of NBC Radio’s continuing coverage of the assassination immediately after that.


More from NBC Radio



Time:  about 23 minutes

Every Christmas Eve for years, NBC Radio aired music peformed by the legendary Dick Leibert, the long-time chief organist at Radio City Music Hall.  This 1959 show was recorded the week before Christmas at Radio City between midnight and 3 a.m.  The recording engineer was NBC’s Gene Garnes, who kindly made this available to us.  The NBC announcer is Jerry Damon.

NBC Radio’s Christmas Eve from Radio City 1961

Time: about 23 minutes

Every Christmas Eve for years, NBC Radio aired music performed by Dick Leibert, the legendary chief organist at Radio City Music Hall.  This 1961 recording was made the week before Christmas at Radio City between midnight and 3 a.m.  The recording engineer was Gene Garnes, whose voice you’ll hear, cueing Leibert.  Later, this recording was edited to include an NBC announcer, introducing the broadcast.

NBC Radio’s Christmas Eve from Radio City 1966

Time:  About 26 minutes

Every Christmas Eve for years, NBC Radio aired music performed by the legendary Dick Leibert, the long-time chief organist at Radio City Music Hall.  This 1966 show was recorded at Radio City between midnight and 3 a.m. by NBC’s Gene Garnes, who kindly made his recording available to us.

NBC Radio’s All-Star Parade of Bands 1968 — Part 1

Time: about 50 minutes

This aired on New Year’s Eve 1968 from 11:05 p.m. to about 11:55 p.m. ET.  It features the “Your Father’s Moustache” band in a live remote from Manhattan with NBC’s Fred Facey announcing, followed by Cal Roberts’ Swingers band live from the Drake Hotel (Jerry Damon announces).  Then you’ll hear the great NBC announcer Ben Grauer along with newsman Jim Harriott at Times Square with a preview of the “ball dropping” at midnight.  After that, it’s Glenn Miller’s Orchestra directed by Buddy DeFranco, live from Worcester, Massachusetts, with Dick Smith announcing.

NBC Radio’s All-Star Parade of Bands 1968 — Part 2

Time: about one hour

This is hour No. 2 of NBC Radio’s five-hour All-Star Parade of Bands show on New Year’s Eve 1968.  It aired from 11:55 p.m. to 12:55 a.m. ET.  It begins with Jim Harriott at Times Square, who eventually introduces Ben Grauer.  Grauer broadcast live for NBC from Times Square for decades on New Year’s Eve.  On this night, he was simulcasting on NBC Radio and on Johnny Carson’s “TonightShow” on NBC-TV.  After the ball drops at Times Square, you’ll hear the New Christy Minstrels live from the Rainbow Grill in Manhattan (announced by Roger Bowman), followed by an NBC Radio newscast anchored by Bill Fitzgerald.  Then you’ll hear the Herbie Mann Octet with BB King, performing live at the Village Gate in NYC.  Fred Facey is the announcer.

NBC Radio’s All-Star Parade of Bands 1969 — Part 1

Time:  About 50 minutes

This aired on New Year’s Eve 1969 from 11 p.m. to about 11:55 p.m. ET.  It starts with News on the Hour — then goes to the Rainbow Grill in the RCA Building in NYC for a live remote from the Jonah Jones Quartet. Then it’s on to Shepheard’s at the Drake Hotel for a performance by “What Four.”  After that, you’ll hear legendary NBC announcer Ben Grauer along with NBC newsman Jim Harriott at Times Square with a preview of the “ball drop” at midnight.  Then it’s on to the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, for a live remote featuring the great Count Basie Band.

NBC Radio’s All-Star Parade of Bands 1969 — Part 2

Time:  About one hour

This is hour No. 2 of NBC Radio’s five-hour All-Star Parade of Bands show on New Year’s Eve 1969.  It aired from 11:55 p.m. to about 1 a.m. ET.  It begins with Jim Harriott at Times Square, who eventually introduces Ben Grauer.  Grauer broadcast live for NBC from Times Square for decades on New Year’s Eve.  On this evening, he was simulcasting on NBC Radio and on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” on NBC-TV.  Following the Times Square remote, it’s on to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a live remote featuring the great Glenn Miller Orchestra led by Buddy DeFranco. After that, you’ll hear an NBC Radio newscast (this one done near the half-hour, not “on the hour”),  followed by a live remote from “The World’s Greatest Jazz Band at  the Roosevelt Grill  in NYC.

 NBC Parade of Bands 1970 Part 1

Time:  About 55 minutes

This is Hour 1 of NBC Radio’s five-hour live New Year’s Eve All-Star Parade of Bands on Dec. 31, 1970, from 11 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. ET. Features News on the Hour, followed by Your Father’s Moustache, The Victorians, Ben Grauer and Fran Koltun with a Times Square preview, and Bob Rosengarden’s Orchestra.

NBC Parade of Bands 1970 Part 2

Time:  About one hour

This is Hour 2 of NBC Radio’s five-hour live New Year’s Eve All-Star Parade of Bands — from just before midnight on Dec. 31, 1970, to about 1 a.m. on  Jan. 1, 1971.  Features Koltun and Grauer live at Times Square, followed by Cy Oliver’s Orchestra and Sammy Kaye’s Orchestra


Time: about 46 minutes

Since 1929, NBC Radio presented live big-band performances from around the nation on New Year’s Eve.  These remotes featured the biggest-name  bandleaders, starting on the East Coast and following the New Year to the West.  The programs lasted at least four or five hours, but in 1971, NBC reduced the program to just two live hours, airing from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET.  This is the first part of  the 1971 program, featuring Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra from Worcester, Massachusetts, followed by a brief  live “preview” from Times Square from Ben Grauer and Cindy Adams.  Following that, Sy Oliver’s orchestra plays at the Riverboat in New York City.


Here is the concluding part of NBC’s 1971 All-Star Parade of Bands show on New Year’s Eve 1971.  It begins with Cindy Adams live at Times Square as midnight approaches.  She’s obviously vamping for time until she can toss to Ben Grauer, the great NBC announcer who, among other things, reported live from Times Square for NBC’s radio and TV networks for decades.  The reason Cindy has to “fill” is because Ben is live, at this moment, on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show.”  Getting to Ben sounds awkward, but there he is, simulcasting on both radio and TV.  The radio network leaves him while he’s still talking on the TV side.  Following the Times Square festivities, you’ll hear Duke Ellington’s orchestra play from the Rainbow Grill in NYC, and then Ramsey Lewis performs live from the London House in Chicago.

Time — about 8 minutes

On Monitor’s 50th anniversary — Sunday, June 12, 2005 — National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition” aired this salute.  Host Liane Hansen interviewed Dennis Hart, this website’s creator, about the impact “Monitor” had on radio then and now.  NPR producer Doug Nadvornick put this splendid tribute together.

Beatty’s Final “News of the World”

Time:  About 15 minutes

Legendary newsman Morgan Beatty hosted NBC Radio’s weeknight  “News of the World” from 1946-1967.  The broadcast aired from 7:30-7:45 p.m. ET.   This is his final broadcast — Wednesday night, Sept. 27, 1967.  His closing reminiscence is stunning,  as he summarizes his brilliant career.  You’ll also hear stories about Vietnam — and a “Monitor” promo about the upcoming weekend from Saturday afternoon “Monitor” host Ed McMahon.


The Last “Three Star Extra”

Time:  About 15 minutes

The Sun Oil Company — Sunoco — sponsored “Three Star Extra” on NBC Radio starting in 1932.  For the first 15 years, the program — which aired from 6:45-7 p.m. ET —  was hosted by Lowell Thomas.  In 1947, Thomas moved to CBS Radio, and “Three Star Extra” continued on NBC with Ray Henle as “editor in chief.”  But all things must come to an end, unfortunately, and “Three Star Extra’s final broadcast came on May Friday night, May 28, 1965.


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