August 18, 2016

1946. CBS' Schedule for the Nuclear Tests at Bikini Atoll

Operation Crossroads on CBS
June 24, 1946
Three Pool Broadcasts, One CBS Exclusive, Set for "Operation Crossroads" on Sunday, June 30

Bill Downs Sole Representative of Major [Networks] On Observation Plane; Number of Preview Programs Scheduled Over The Week
Final plans for CBS' coverage of the actual Atomic Bomb tests off Bikini Atoll on Sunday, June 30 (July 1 Bikini time), and for special programs leading up to the actual hour of "Operation Crossroads," were announced today by Wells Church, Acting CBS Director of News Broadcasts.

A five-minute broadcast to be carried by the major networks is set for 3:00 PM, EDT, on June 30. This broadcast will have Bill Downs of CBS and W. W. Chaplin of NBC describing the take-off of the bombing plane and of the observation plane as they get away for Bikini from Kwajalein. Downs will be aboard the observation plane as the sole representative of the major networks.

Three hours later, 6:00 PM, EDT, at which time the bombing plane is expected to start its fourth run over the target, the networks take to the air again. The atom bomb may be dropped on the fourth or fifth run. If the missile is not dropped on the fifth run, it will not be dropped at all that day. If the weather is bad, the tests will be postponed until weather clears.

The third pool broadcast takes place at approximately 8:00 PM, EDT, when Bill Downs returns to conduct interviews with the pilot and bombardier of the bombing aircraft. Downs will return to the air at 11:15-11:30 PM, EDT - if the bomb is dropped - for an exclusive account.

A live "mike" on the target battleship, the USS Pennsylvania, is expected to relay the detonation to radio listeners. Another microphone will be placed on the USS Rhind, which is on the outer fringe of the 77-ship target formation.

On Wednesday, June 26, 2:30-3:00 PM, EDT, CBS correspondents will tell the full official Navy story of the test, revealing the astonishing amount of detailed work the Navy has done in preparation for the historic experiment. Key individuals on the Navy's atom staff, from radar operators to weather experts, will give listeners a picture of the test problems.

On Thursday, June 27, 10:00-10:30 PM, EDT, CBS will review the story of the atom bomb from August 5, 1945, when the first missile was dropped on Japan, through the long, painstaking planning for the Bikini test.

From the nation's capital, Bill Henry will recall Washington's reaction on the day Japan was A-bombed. Webley Edwards, off Bikini, will recount how he interviewed the bombing crew after it returned from Hiroshima. Bill Downs, who last year described devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, will do so again on this broadcast.

On the same program, Bill Costello, Chief of CBS' Far Eastern News Bureau in Tokyo, will interview a Japanese citizen who will explain how the atom bombing affected the average Nipponese mind. From Tokyo the program switches to New York City where Charles Collingwood, CBS' United Nations correspondent, will re-state the United States' proposal for control of atomic energy as presented by Bernard Baruch. Finally, the broadcast will switch to a ship in the Pacific for interviews with Federal legislators and officials.

Another program now being planned, but for which no definite time has as yet been set, is an address by Father John Lynch, Fordham University seismologist.

As previously announced, CBS' "Feature Story" will present "Atom Bomb Previews" Monday through Friday, June 24-28, 5:00-5:15 PM, EDT.

CBS Television Station WCBW-N.Y., will present a June 30 program incorporating Bill Downs' reports with a showing of maps, films and photographs.

CBS men assigned to the atom bomb tests include George Moorad, Webley Edwards, Don Mozley and Philip W. Swain, engineer, and editor of Power, a McGraw-Hill publication. CBS-San Francisco will coordinate the broadcasts with a specially augmented staff under the direction of Phil Woodyat.