Extended audio of WGN Radio’s broadcast of the first bulletins of the JFK Assassination

Orion Samuelson-Audio

FILE–This is a 1963 portrait of U.S President John F. Kennedy. (AP Photo/ File)

On a rainy November Friday afternoon in Chicago, Orion Samuelson was hosting a routine broadcast of WGN Radio’s noontime show “Country Fair” when things became anything but routine. Orion, early in what would become a 60-year career with WGN, was handed the first bulletin with the news of the shooting of President John F. Kennedy in Texas

Below is an extended recording from that afternoon. It begins with a few moments of Country Fair leading up to the first bulletin from Dallas. In those days, without the ability to immediately go to a network feed for updates, Orion returned to his planned content as he waited for further news. At one point there is a break in the audio where there is a gap in the tape. Eventually, after noting that all other news of the day pales in comparison with the developments in Dallas, Orion ends the show and and WGN Radio beings playing somber music. The tape concludes with a further news update from WGN’s Jack Taylor.

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