Music and the Spoken Word

Music and the Spoken Word

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's first network radio program, "Music and the Spoken Word" was first transmitted on July 15, 1929. The organ, choir, and announcer shared a single microphone which was attached to the ceiling of the tabernacle. The announcer stood on a ladder in order to speak into it. A telegraph was used to alert the sound engineer at KSL to start the broadcast. Anthony C. Lund was the director of the choir for the first program, and Earl J. Glade the general manager of KSL was the director and producer of the first program. Glade had been the moving force behind getting the program started.

Since its first broadcast in 1929, the program has run continually and has been broadcast over 4,000 times. The unbroken length of broadcasts makes Music and the Spoken Word the oldest continuous nationwide network broadcast in the world.

In 2004, the program was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Radio Hall of Fame, in conjunction with its 75th anniversary on the air. It is one of only two radio programs to be so inducted, the other being the Grand Ole Opry.

In addition, the program was also inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2010.

Each broadcast revolves around a specific theme which is usually based on a religious and uplifting topic which have included family, hope, faith, Christmas, patriotism, joy, peace, kindness, etc., and are usually universal in application.

The choir performs both sacred and secular pieces that correspond with the chosen message. In addition to hymns and sacred anthems, the choir has performed Broadway songs, such as "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from The Sound of Music, patriotic songs, such as "America the Beautiful", as well as a wide range of other selections. The broadcast also regularly features an organ solo played by one of the tabernacle organists.

On some occasions, special guests will also perform with the choir during the broadcast. These guests have included Renée Fleming, Frederica von Stade, Sissel, The King's Singers, Maureen McGovern and other well-known groups, musicians, and actors.