The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Beginning 93 Years of Continuous Weekly Broadcasts!

Did you know that the Music & the Spoken Word broadcast is beginning its 93rd year of continuous weekly broadcasts with the Sunday, July 18 broadcast? 

Although broadcasting technology has changed dramatically in 93 years, the message and the purpose of the broadcast hasn’t changed. For the first broadcast on July 15, 1929, in the early days of radio broadcasting, a single man climbed a ladder and held a microphone in the air to capture the music of the Choir in the Tabernacle. Now in 2021, the weekly broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word is digitally produced by a team of sound engineers for radio, television, and social media broadcast teams. 

“The technology is different, and the audience is much larger now,” said Lloyd Newell, the broadcast announcer. “But the broadcast is essentially the same…. It’s beautiful music with an inspirational message. And the music and the messages are timeless…. Regardless of the place and time, our mission is to spread goodwill, to lift spirits.”

Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts, prior to the temporary live performance pause this past year, had been routinely captured and archived by the special team of cameramen and technical production experts during each weekly performance. During the pause, the Choir and Orchestra have been very blessed and grateful to be able to rely on this huge archive of digital recordings and to be able to continue broadcasting each week!  The producers using the improved modern technology available have also been able to add new and timely inspirational Spoken Word messages taped (without audiences) to add to the uplifting music performed by the Choir.

The Phased Return to Live Music & the Spoken Word Broadcasts

The Choir and Orchestra are thrilled to have been able to announce their phased return to live Music & the Spoken Word performances on Temple Square. Members of The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square have been waiting with hopeful anticipation for the time when they would again be able to return to live performances together. As musicians, they each strive to express their faith through their performances to help people feel closer to the divine and celebrate God’s love for all His children everywhere. 

The first live broadcasts—without an audience in attendance—will begin on Sunday, September 19, 2021. Beginning Sunday, October 10, 2021, audiences are invited to attend live performances of Music & the Spoken Word on Sunday mornings in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Check here for details.

Celebrate the First 90 years of Music & the Spoken Word

Celebrate the first 90 years of Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts—the longest continuously broadcast weekly program in broadcasting history-- with this 60- minute special:

Music & the Spoken Word: A Brief History

Music & the Spoken Word began broadcasting on Monday afternoon, July 15, 1929, on Salt Lake City radio station KZN (which would become KSL). The broadcast began with a telegraphed message from the National Broadcasting Company in New York City. The message was relayed within seconds to the basement of the Tabernacle on Temple Square. A hand signal forwarded the message upstairs to the program director and then on to Ted Kimball, 19-year-old son of Tabernacle organist Edward P. Kimball. Ted stood atop a 15-foot ladder to reach the one and only microphone, which had been brought to the Tabernacle from KZN radio, and then the show began. Three years later, the program moved to a Sunday morning broadcast on CBS, where it continues to this day.

The first radio broadcast reached just 30 stations. Today, with changes in technology and delivery, the weekly Music & the Spoken Word program now reaches over 2,000 radio, television, and cable stations in the United States. The program is viewed with increasing frequency throughout the world on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and the Choir’s website, where it is livestreamed at 9:30 a.m. (mountain time) each Sunday morning.

Music & the Spoken Word has received two Peabody awards and has been inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame.