It was the largest, most ambitious, and most successful military operation ever attempted -- and radio was there to cover it.
D-Day, the invasion of Normandy. It was the turning point of the war in Europe, the beginning of the end for the Axis as the Allies started their drive towards Germany. It was a momentous event that would change not only the course of World War II, but the history of the world. Radio Archives is pleased and proud to offer the complete and continuous NBC network coverage of the events of June 6 and 7, 1944.
Noted inspirational author Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, King Haakon VII of Norway, Premier Gerbandy of the Netherlands, Premier Pierlot of Belgium, and US Senators Clark, Barkley, White, Hill and Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce speak, as does the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. General Eisenhower speaks from SHAEF headquarters.
Regular NBC shows were included in the broadcast, “The Bob Hope Show”, “Fibber McGee & Molly”, “The Guiding Light”, “Vic & Sade”, “The Red Skelton Show”, “The Road of Life”, “Today’s Children”, “Ma Perkins”, “Pepper Young’s Family”, “Mary Noble, Backstage Wife”, “Stella Dallas”, “Lorenzo Jones”, “Young Widder Brown”, “When A Girl Marries” and “Front Page Farrell” among them.
Hear the events of the day as reported by Ben Grauer, Cesar Saerchinger, Charles F. McCarthy, David Anderson, Don Goddard, Don Hollenbeck, Ed Hocker, Edward R. Murrow, Elmer Peterson, George Wheeler, H. V. Kaltenborn, Herbert M. Clark, James Willard, John W. Vandercook, Louis P. Lockner, Lowell Thomas, Merrill Mueller, Morgan Beatty, Ralph Howard, Richard Harkness, Robert McCormick, Robert St. John, Tommy Traynor, W. W. Chaplin and Wright Bryan. Alex Dreier, in Chicago, recalled his experiences as the last western correspondent in Nazi Germany while Stanley Richardson offered an eyewitness account of the invasion from the Channel boats, and George Hicks reported from the beach-head itself!
These are recordings that many historians believe to be among the most valuable audio documents ever preserved. The NBC broadcasts — containing over 38 hours of continuous programming of news, music, drama, comedy, and entertainment — are history as it happened, in a special collection that is sure to occupy a special place in your radio collection.
On June 6, 2004, in remembrance of the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, the ABC Radio program Perspective featured a fascinating story detailing radio's coverage of D-Day as it happened in 1944. Written, edited, and narrated by ABC reporter Chuck Sivertsen, the feature utilized clips from the D-Day collection described above. We think this in-depth and well-presented piece provides an excellent overview of the historic content of this collection.
NBC D-Day Coverage
June 6, 1944 – WEAF, New York
First bulletin, subsequent bulletins, piano fill, bulletins and news, awaiting Allied confirmation, more bulletins from Washington (Richard Harkness), new bulletins from New York, more bulletins from New York, Richard Harkness from Washington, Morgan Beatty analysis, Robert St. John news summary from New York, news, music fill, "V" for Victory code sound, Robert St. John, BBC feed Communiqué #1 is read at 3:32 AM, first Allied news that the Invasion had begun, Edward R. Murrow in London reads Eisenhower's Order of the Day, H. V. Kaltenborn, Herbert M. Clark's report is read from London describing the invasion fleet, Robert St. John
General Eisenhower from SHAEF HQ, King Haakon VII (Norway) speaks in Norwegian (translation follows), Premier Gerbandy of the Netherlands (translation follows), Premier Pierlot of Belgium (translation follows), Wright Bryan reports from London (eyewitness account of the first parachute drop), National Anthem, John W. Vandercook from London, report from the Pentagon (General Pershing's statement is read), Richard Harkness
Report from London by James Willard, Robert St. John from New York, Richard Harkness from Washington, Morgan Beatty, Richard Harkness interviews an official of the French Government in exile describing what life is like in France under the Nazis, David Anderson reports from London describing the air invasion, summary by H. V. Kaltenborn, recording of Communiqué #1 is played, Stars and Stripes Forever, station ID, Robert St. John in New York, Richard Harkness from Washington
Richard Harkness from Washington (concluded), Don Goddard in New York, attempted report from Europe (cancelled due to poor reception), Louis P. Lockner from Hollywood with an analysis, Morgan Beatty in Washington reads a radio essay titled "The First One Thousand Yards," news from New York, Robert St. John reads a news summary
6:52 – 7:45 AM
Robert St. John news summary (concluded), Alex Dreier in Chicago recalls his experiences as the last western correspondent in Nazi Germany, H. V. Kaltenborn reads late bulletins, the ringing of the Liberty Bell is heard, Robert St. John reads the late news, station ID, NBC chimes, Gruen Watches advertisement, time check, Norman Vincent Peale speaks, Don Goddard news
Prayer by Rabbi David deSola Poole, Morgan Beatty reads a news bulletin from Washington, Larry Smith in San Francisco, prayer by Father Shea, Stanley Richardson from London with an eyewitness account of the invasion from the Channel boats (after several failed attempts to reach him), Elmer Peterson in New York, Edward R. Murrow introduces Stanley Richardson from London (transmission failure), Elmer Peterson continued, Charles F. McCarthy from New York, Stanley Richardson from London with an eyewitness account of the invasion fleet, Merrill Mueller from SHAEF headquarters on Eisenhower's last hours before the invasion (interrupted by a reading of Roosevelt's invasion prayer)
David Anderson from London, Ed Hocker, John W. Vandercook, Ralph Howard from Rome, H. V. Kaltenborn in New York, Richard Harkness in Washington, NBC Orchestra plays martial music, H. V. Kaltenborn bulletin, NBC Orchestra continues
NBC Orchestra continues, Elmer Peterson reads news bulletins, Nancy Osgood interviews wives of Generals Stark, Spaatz, Kirk, and Doolittle, news bulletins from Washington, Don Goddard in New York, station ID, analysis by H. V. Kaltenborn, “Tommy Taylor Sings” (interrupted by H. V. Kaltenborn with a bulletin), “Tommy Taylor Sings” continues
11:30 AM-12: 30 PM
“Tommy Taylor Sings” (concluded), Elmer Peterson reads news bulletins, rebroadcast of General Eisenhower from London, NBC Orchestra, NBC chimes, prayer by Mr. Dewitt Davidson, Don Goddard news from New York, W. W. Chaplin reports from London, station ID, “News Behind the News” with Cesar Saerchinger
Morgan Beatty from the floor of the U.S. Senate interviews Senators Clark, Luce, Barkley, White, and Hill, Don Goddard in New York reads news bulletins, station ID, remotes from Cleveland, Chicago (Alex Dreier reporting), Denver, Hollywood, San Francisco, Don Goddard in New York with a summary of stateside reaction, H. V. Kaltenborn reads news bulletins, military analysis by Lt. Col. James Stevenson, re-broadcast of Merrill Mueller's report, re-broadcast of Communiqué #1, Tommy Taylor sings with Irving Miller and his Orchestra
Station ID, Don Hollenbeck compares the Italian landings with today's invasion, BBC report, Morgan Beatty in Washington, report from the Pentagon, interviews with two Colonels, time check, station ID, Elmer Peterson with a historical perspective, piano fill, re-broadcast of Stanley Richardson report, Don Goddard with news bulletins
Time check, station ID, prayer by Archbishop Spellman, organ fill, news bulletins, H. V. Kaltenborn, Don Goddard news, musical interlude, prayer by Bishop Manning, news bulletins, BBC reporter John McGinn describes landing in France in a glider, Howard Marshall with an eyewitness account of the beach-head
Prayer by Dr. Barnes, program about the NBC International Division (short-wave service to Europe), a reading of General Eisenhower's message in eight different languages, news bulletins, Commander Anthony Kimmons reports from London, talk by the Netherlands ambassador to the United States, Cesar Saerchinger analysis, time check, Don Hollenbeck news bulletins, Morgan Beatty reports from the White House on the just- concluded press conference by President Roosevelt, Don Hollenbeck, Don Goddard news bulletins, the President's prayer read at dictation speed, news bulletins
Station ID and time check, prayer by Dr. Horton, NBC Orchestra music fill, Morgan Beatty recap of Roosevelt's press conference, Louis Lochner from Hollywood, news bulletins, station ID, news bulletins, re-broadcast of General Eisenhower's first speech, Elmer Peterson news bulletins, NBC Orchestra
News Bulletins, Don Hollenbeck reads communiqué #2, "Serenade to America" with Winifred Hite, Nora Sterling, and Milton Katims and his Orchestra, Lowell Thomas with a summary of the day's events, U.S. Army Chaplain Arnold offers a prayer
“News of the World” with Robert St. John, John W. Vandercook from London, Robert McCormick from Honolulu, Morgan Beatty and Richard Harkness from Washington D.C., station ID, “Poem and Prayer for an Invading Army” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, read by Ronald Colman, organ fill, H. V. Kaltenborn with the news
Station ID, prayer by Dr. Goldstein, special program, Ginny Simms sings, a wounded G. I. with a message to his wife, a U. S. Navy Commander describes how the wounded are treated, a chaplain from the Navy speaks, Roy Shield and his Orchestra from Chicago
NBC chimes, station ID, cross country reaction to the invasion with announcer Ben Grauer including remotes from WTIC (Hartford, Conn.), WSYR (Syracuse, New York), WTAR (Norfolk, Va.), WSPD (Toledo, Ohio), late news bulletins, WLW (Cincinnati, Ohio), WMC (Memphis, Tenn.), KSTP (St. Paul, Minn.), WKY (Oklahoma City, Ok.), “Fibber McGee & Molly” special all-music program with Billy Mills and his Orchestra, The King's Men, and announcer Harlow Wilcox (includes news bulletins)
Station ID, the prayer of President Roosevelt and his address to the nation, a recital by Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, station ID and NBC chimes, “The Bob Hope Show” from the Van Nuys Aerodrome with Frances Langford, Stan Kenton and his Orchestra, and announcer Wendell Niles, “The Red Skelton Show” (Skelton’s last show as a civilian)
10:50 PM-12:00 AM
Robert St. John news and reports from overseas, W. W. Chaplin from London, report from Australia, Robert McCormick reports from Honolulu, summary from Washington,
Roy Shield and his Orchestra from Chicago, George Hicks from London (actuality from the beach-head) Roy Shield and his Orchestra continues
June 7, 1944
Lyle Van news, Roy Shield and his Orchestra from Chicago with Jean McKenna, NBC chimes, station ID, Robert St. John news
“Moment for Meditation,” Don Hollenbeck news, “Strings for Meditation,” News bulletins
Joe Reichman and his Orchestra from the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles and Pancho and his Orchestra from the Mural Room of the Hotel St. Francis (with news bulletins)
NBC Orchestra plays semi-classical music, Don Godard re-reads Communiqué #1 at 3:32 AM, exactly 24 hours after it was first issued
“Organ Interlude” by George Schacley, rebroadcast of President Roosevelt's prayer, NBC Orchestra plays semi-classical music, Don Goddard news, re-broadcast of King George VI's address to Commonwealth, organ music by George Schacley
Don Goddard news, Frank McCall from London, NBC Concert Orchestra, Stanley Richardson reads Communiqué #3 from London, organ music by George Schacley, Stanley Richardson from London, NBC Concert Orchestra, organ music by George Schacley
News bulletins, NBC Concert Orchestra and George Schacter at the organ, news bulletins, station ID, "Modern Farming Program," station ID
News bulletins, “Morning in Manhattan” (local morning show), Don Goddard news, “Reveille Round-up” (live country music show)
“Morning News Round-Up,” “C.F. McCarthy and the News,” “Modern Romances”
“Mirth & Madness” (“Aladdin” skit), Adelaide Hawley program, “The Alice Cornell Show,” Elmer Peterson news bulletins
“Laura Lofton,” “News and the People in the News” with Robert St. John, “Helpmate,” “The Story of Linda Harper,” Tommy Taylor sings popular tunes, news bulletins
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
“The Road of Life, “Vic & Sade, “Brave Tomorrow,” “David Harum," cancelled after less than 1 minute for a special broadcast from London: Tom Traynor with an eyewitness report from the beach-head, piano fill
“News at Noon,” including a report from London by W.W. Chaplain, recorded music, Elmer Peterson news, BBC actuality recordings, George Wheeler aboard the cruiser ‘Augusta’ 3 hours before “H” hour, Tommy Traynor from SHAEF headquarters, Don Hollenbeck news summary
Mary Margaret McBride with guest Ben Ames Williams, Morgan Beatty News and Analysis
“The General Mills Hour,” including “The Guiding Light, “Today’s Children,” “The Woman in White,” and “Hymns of All Churches”
“A Woman of America,” “Ma Perkins,” “Pepper Young’s Family,” H.V. Kaltenborn news
“Mary Noble, Backstage Wife,” “Stella Dallas,” “Lorenzo Jones,” “Young Widder Brown”
“When A Girl Marries,” “We Love and Learn,” W.W. Chaplain from London, Robert Duff (BBC), Communiqué #4 is read, Robert St. John news, “Front Page Farrell”