‘Today’ show: Great idea, rocky start

Mar 25, 2002  •  Post A Comment

During the early planning of the “Today” show, I wrote in a memo to the staff: “Seventy-five percent of all homes use radio between 7 [a.m.] and 9 [a.m.]. A great deal of that usage is music and news as one gets dressed, or entertainment that requires a low attention factor. We want to bring that audience over to `Today.’ Hence we must have music and news.”
In another memo, I wrote that the show should follow the basic morning radio format-giving the time, weather reports, highway tips for commuters, news bulletins and music, plus entertainment, especially light comedy. …
By Jan. 14, 1952, the “Today” show was ready to be unveiled. … The studio we had fashioned for it was right on the 49th Street level, with a huge window, enabling people to see a live telecast as they walked by. … [It caused] a sensational reaction among the crowds of pedestrians who stopped to watch and listen. I wish our opening had created that much of a sensation among viewers at home. Alas, there were so few of them, they created only a sensation of emptiness in the pit of my stomach.
-Pat Weaver, in his 1994 autobiography, “The Best Seat in the House: The Golden Years in Radio and Television”