(CBS 11) – In September 1961, a significant event was about to take place that would be the first of its kind to be covered by television… and Dan Rather made it happen.
Hurricane Carla was headed for Galveston Island (and eventually Houston). Dan Rather, who was at that time was News Director for CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Channel 11 in Houston, knew instinctively that the storm would be a big and a big event. At 29 years of age at that time, Rather took a crew to the National Weather Service who gave him permission to broadcast live from their office. The NWS also had a state of the art radar system at that time, the WSR-57. As it happened, the image from the radar was broadcast for the first time on television. Imagine seeing this for the time on TV in black and white!
In addition, Rather made his mark as a gutsy, fearless reporter, especially in times of danger or harm to himself, and he did exactly that with Carla. But his reporting on the storm helped saved lives of thousands of people as well, due to his journalistic instincts, a weather forecaster’s experience, and a drawing over the computer screen at the NWS that communicated to his audience the magnitude of this storm.
In 1962, Rather joined CBS News in the Dallas bureau and covered the Kennedy Assassination in 1963. He also served as White House Correspondent, an “news on the hour” anchor and “Dan Rather News & Commentary” on the CBS Radio Network, and succeeded Walter Cronkite as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News. To this day, he holds the record for the longest time to hold this position for TV, some 24 years (1981-2005). He also was a regular on 60 Minutes and launched 48 Hours.
Another great example of how media covered the big events affecting us!