In the mid 1950’s, when the radio networks were cutting back on major network-produced programming, NBC attempted to bring back the feel and sound of radio’s former glory days by offering this weekend radio series that featured news, sports, comedy, talk and music. From 1955 to 1961 Monitor ran Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. In 1961, the Friday night portion was dropped and the show was heard in four-hour blocks beginning at 8 AM Saturday and running until midnight Sunday.
It was a true magazine of the air and took advantage of the medium’s ability to provide mobility and immediacy. Monitor offered long time radio stars like Bob Hope, Fibber McGee and Molly, Ed Gardner of Duffy’s Tavern, Bob and Ray, and George Gobel in new comedy skits. There were vignettes and interviews with celebrities from Broadway, and even live horse races from Florida, California and New York.
Segment hosts included Dave Garroway, Skitch Henderson, Arlene Francis, Hugh Downs, Gene Rayburn, Chet Huntley, Jim Lowe, Ben Grauer, Joe Garagiola, Bill Cullen, Henry Morgan, and Barbara Walters. The program's major news commentators during the early years were John Cameron Swayze and Morgan Beatty.
Production on the program closed down on January 26, 1974. For WLAK, the program ended in 1971 when the station was sold and the new owner, Hugh Holder, changed the calls to WQPD and dropped the station’s NBC affiliation.
1955 - 1971 WLAK (Featured Program)