History Interview

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Can you imagine a time in which you receive your news only through newspaper and radio? Can you think about a time in which you receive your TV news only once a day and not be every minute up to date like nowadays? I bet not…

With regard to these questions it was so interesting for me to interview my host grandparents Bob and Marty about how they experienced the time with only a few news media. Bob was born in 1941 and Marty in 1943 and they have been married since 1961. Therefore, they share the most experiences with news media, so I decided to interview them together.

They can remember that as kids they got their news from three different kinds of newspapers: the Globe Democrat (in the morning), the Post Dispatch (in the afternoon) and the Star Times (in the evening). Marty remembered that young boys under the age of 16 delivered the papers, because one of these boys was her sisters’ boyfriend. After their marriage they read two different kinds of news magazines: “American” and “Life”. Whereas “Life” included more news, the “American” included more advertisements and short stories.

But that was not their only news media, because when I asked Marty about her first radio, she answered proudly that she got it in 1945 as a Christmas present – and she still have it. With the radio she was able to listen to her favorite weekly soap opera “Hill Top House”. During this time the two main radio stations were “KMOX” and “KSD”. The great thing about the radio was that now news was available around the clock. But not only that, because when Marty got her first inside radio in 1959 she was ask to receive FM too and not only AM. In addition the radio was a record player too.

Another form of news that Bob and Marty mentioned was the desk or table phone. It is a totally different kind of news, but for me it is a really funny and interesting thing. They told me that their phone was always connected with three other parties, who had the same number like you. So if your phone would ring, it would ring in four separate homes too. And if the call was for you the other people were supposed to hang up. “But if you wanted to hear some news from the other people than just stay tuned”, Marty told me.

Furthermore one news media which is still very important is the television. Marty and Bob had their first black and white television when they were kids, in 1949. In the forties there were only news on the TV and in 1950 were the first program introduced, a comedy called “I love Lucy”. With reference to the news during the fifties John Cameron Swayze was a popular news commentator. Than after Swayze’s retirement the Huntley – Brinkley Report took over, which was the NBC television evening news program. Only news on the TV – that made me think: What was on the TV before and after the news? They told me that there was just an Indian Head test pattern, to adjust the picture.

In 1967 they had their first colored TV, which was still without a remote control – unbelievable nowadays. Major events that they watched on television and which they always keep in mind were the news replay of Kennedy being shot, in 1963 as well as the lunar landing on the moon, in 1969.

Taking everything into consideration I come to the conclusion that two generations earlier hearing and watching the news was like a family event. They all had to be at a certain time in front of the radio or TV. Nowadays, the consumption of news is more a personal matter. Nearly everyone has his / her own IPhone to get news every minute. On the whole I have to say that I hope that in the future we still will have newspapers and radio news and no substitution of all these Medias.

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About Anja Goller

I´m from Stuttgart, Germany. I´m attending Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Missouri for one semester, majoring in Mass Communication. I already studied four semester at the University of Hohenheim.

3 responses »

  1. I was so interested in what my grandpa had to say. He had to go to his grandpa’s to watch TV in black and white. Was it a big deal in your host grandparents’ family when they received their first TV?

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