Archive for the ‘"Meet the Press"’ Category

Former “Meet the Press” Moderator Bill Monroe Has Died

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Bill Monroe was the executive producer and moderator of Meet the Press from 1975-1984; he formerly worked as NBC’s Washington D.C. bureau chief.

Interview description:

Bill Monroe was interviewed for three-and-a-half hours in Bethesda, MD.  Monroe talked about growing up in New Orleans where he became a print and radio journalist.  He spoke about his first job in television at WDSU-TV, where, as news director, he instituted the use of television cameras in the state legislature and pioneered the broadcast of on-camera editorials.  He detailed his move to Washington, D.C. where he became NBC’s bureau chief.  He presented his perspective on several noteworthy events of the era including the Civil Rights Movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Kennedy Assassination.  He chronicled his work as executive producer and moderator of Meet the Press (from 1975-84) and that of special contributor (from 1984-86).  He also spoke of his lifelong commitment as a proponent of First Amendment Rights.  Monroe was interviewed on June 13, 2005 by Karen Herman.

Tim Russert Dies At Age 58– Archive Interview Online

Friday, June 13th, 2008

The Archive is saddened by the sudden death of newsman Tim Russert. Russert was interviewed on the set of Meet the Press by the Archive in 2003.

Click here to access his Archive interview.

Interview description:
Russert spoke about his early years growing up in Buffalo, NY and his decision to go to law school. He then spoke about his transition to television news, joining NBC News in 1984 as vice president — working very closely with his mentor, NBC president Lawrence Grossman. In 1988, he became the Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief of NBC News and in 1991 he joined Meet the Press as its moderator. He spoke about his meeting with Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak and outlined his philosophy for moderating a news interview show. He also spoke about what he considered the biggest news story of his career to-date, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on October 12, 2003.

"Meet the Press" Celebrates 60 Years on Television

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Network television’s oldest show, Meet the Press, debuted on NBC on November 6, 1947. The guest on this first show was James A. Farley, former postmaster general under Franklin D. Roosevelt and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee; the show was created by Laurence E. Spivak and Martha Roundtree (who served as moderator). Meet the Press made its radio debut in 1945. The series moved around the week in its first few years but since 1950 has been a Sunday staple, as Tim Russert’s tagline suggests: “If it’s Sunday, it’s Meet the Press.”

The Archive of American Television has interviewed several members of the team responsible for the show over the years and we’re happy to highlight two of these interviews:


Tim Russert was interviewed for a half-hour on the set of Meet the Press in Washington, D.C. Russert spoke about his early years growing up in Buffalo, NY and his decision to go to law school. He then spoke about his transition to television news, joining NBC News in 1984 as vice president — working very closely with his mentor, NBC president Lawrence Grossman. In 1988, he became the Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief of NBC News and in 1991 he joined Meet the Press as its moderator. He spoke about his meeting with Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak and outlined his philosophy for moderating a news interview show. He also spoke about what he considered the biggest news story of his career to-date, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America.


Betty Cole Dukert was interviewed for four-and-a-half hours. Dukert spoke of her early interest in journalism and her brief production experience in local radio and television. She spoke in great detail about her tenure at Meet the Press, which spanned five decades, for which she ultimately served as executive producer. Dukert offered a history of the show from its earliest years as well as discussing her personal experiences behind-the-scenes. She chronicled her overseas trips, guests who appeared on the show, and the relationship between the series and the world’s political leaders. Additionally, she described the working methods of the moderators who served on the show during her years including: Ned Brooks, Lawrence Spivak, Bill Monroe, Marvin Kalb, Roger Mudd, Chris Wallace, Garrick Utley, and Tim Russert.

October 22, 1962: JFK Addresses the Nation about the Cuban Missile Crisis

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Forty five years ago, the U.S. and the Soviet Union nearly went to war over the placement of missiles in nearby Cuba. Kennedy told the television audience that he would “…regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.” The crisis was abated when an unconditional Soviet withdrawal was negotiated.

Soundbites from the Archive of American Television:

Max Schindler (Director, News)

“We all knew that something was happening because people were being called away from parties here in town. Very high placed government officials were being called away. We knew it was serious when they started showing pictures of missile silos opening, we thought Washington would be, probably a prime target because it was very serious. Here was this young President Kennedy facing off with Nikita Khrushchev. And I guess he wanted to push to see how hard he could get this young president to back off. Kennedy said the missiles had to be taken out of Cuba, Khrushchev said nyet, no way. And there were Russian ships steaming toward Cuba, or as Kennedy used to say ‘Cuber.’ It was kind of a scary time, and I don’t know how it was around the rest of the country, but in Washington it was very scary. My daughter had just been born a couple of months earlier, and because of a death in the family, she hadn’t been baptized and I came home one night and my wife said to me I baptized Maggie in her crib, she was that scared that we were going to have a nuclear war at that time. So it was a very scary time here in Washington… The coverage was all kind of secretive. We followed a lot of government officials around and tried to get information from them, but it was very hard. It was a very trying time, but they didn’t want to give any information out so, even though we had camera crews at the White House, and State Department, and the Pentagon and all over, we didn’t really get much out of them. They played it pretty close to the vest during that time and I can’t say as I blame them.”

Click here to watch Max Schindler’s entire 6-part Archive of American Television Interview.

Interview Description:
Schindler talked briefly about his early years as a cameraman/production manager in local television in the 1950s. He described his entrance into network television in the 1960s on David Brinkley’s Journal, as an associate director. He spoke of his transition to director and talked about coverage done for several of the important news events of the day, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. He described directing news coverage following the Kennedy assassination and capturing the images of the President’s coffin being placed onto Air Force One and the newly sworn-in Lyndon B. Johnson coming out to speak his first words as President. Schindler described covering other ‘60s events including Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. He described in great detail, his two-decade long association with Meet The Press, which he began in 1965. Schindler described preparing for the show and talked about several of the guests who appeared as well as describing the moderators on the series. Schindler described his work from the 1970s to today covering such events as the Watergate scandal, the returning of the hostages from Iran, and Papal visits to the U.S. Finally, Schindler described the work he has done as a Washington director for the Today show, which he has done from 1975 to the present day.

Bill Monroe (News Correspondent)

“We didn’t quite know what was going on… Gradually it came into view. We took what we could find out from the White House and Kennedy used the media to get across the points he needed to make as the thing developed.”

“One time I was at the White House as a producer of a speech that Kennedy gave that was on all three networks. And he told us to give him at the end of the speech a one-minute cue… He was going to improvise the last minute. He felt that reading something, although he was good at it, is not as effective as if he talk[ed] to [the viewer] directly. And he wanted to finish one minute improvised. Most Presidents don’t have the nerve to do that… He was supremely confident about his articulateness and his ability to handle television.”