One of the most famous broadcasts in the history of radio journalism is Herb Morrison’s 1937 eyewitness report of the explosion and crash of the German passenger airship, Hindenburg. On May 6, 1937, while preparing to land at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, the Hindenburg burst into flames and crashed to the ground, killing thirty-five of the ninety-seven people on board and one member of the ground crew.
Chicago radio station WLS had sent reporter Herb Morrison and sound engineer Charles Nehlsen to record the landing which was being celebrated as the first anniversary of the inauguration of transatlantic passenger service and the opening of the 1937 season. Morrison’s professional demeanor as he described the landing gave way to an emotional outburst of exclamations after the Hindenburg caught fire. Shaken and horrified, Morrison continued to record, struggling to compose himself as a hellish scene of fiery death unfolded before his eyes.