Newsman recalls the steady stream of news about JFK
On Nov. 22, 1963, I was working in a radio station out of Cresco, Iowa. I had been discharged from the Air Force in June, and this was my first job in the broadcasting industry. I was in the process of delivering the news on that fateful day, which mainly consisted of birth announcements and the social news of the day.
Suddenly, the teletype in the main studio started clanging. The infamous five bells were the highest alarm possible. Those words were carved in my mind as it pounded out those words: "President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas."
My life changed in that instant. I found myself doing a "play by play" of all the developments as the information was fed out of Dallas. As I look back, I realized we were opening the journalistic door by informing our listeners what was going on. I will never forget how journalism changed that day.
The radio station continued to put the information regarding the shooting of the president on the air. Radio had the advantage because television news was not geared up yet to do live broadcasts. We kept up the pace as the announcement was made on the teletype that the president had died.
All weekend, we reported and barely had time to fully understand what we were saying. And then, on Sunday, Lee Harvey Oswald was shot. Suddenly, I found myself covering another death associated with the killing of the president. I was watching live television when Oswald was shot, right in the middle of the honors being bestowed upon our commander in chief.
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a turning point in my journalism career, and I spent the next years of my life covering the news from Olmsted County.
There were many stories that I still look back on and realize that many of them could have been covered differently. Standing out in my mind was when a large group of anti-Vietnam war protesters were threatening to take over the KROC studios and start broadcasting their message to the world. Foolishly, I walked to Soldiers Field where I spoke to a couple hundred people. I heard their concerns and then left to go back to the TV station to do the evening news.
I still have the microphone that started its career with me.