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TV CONFIDENTIAL Archives: Show No. 208: How Network Television Covered the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Original Air-date: Week of Nov. 13-19, 2013

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Phil Gries presents a special two-hour edition of The Sounds of Lost Television that looks back at how TV network news covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — a seminal moment in U.S. history, not to mention the history of television. Audio highlights include the first four minutes of NBC News’ coverage of the JFK assassination, plus the national news bulletin reporting the shooting of Kennedy, which was read that day by NBC announcer Don Pardo. Due to the technical limitations of TV broadcasting at the time, NBC had no tape of either the Pardo bulletin or the opening minutes of its news coverage. For more than thirty years, those moments were considered lost, until it was discovered that only Phil had had the presence of mind to make an audio recording on his own. This week’s program also includes excerpts from Phil’s May 1998 interview with Don Pardo, in which the iconic announcer recalls the chaos that permeated the NBC newsroom on Nov. 22, 1963. Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen co-host.