Tabernacle Choir broadcast marking 80 years

Sunday's 30-minute broadcast will begin as it has the past 80 years -- the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's opening of "Gently Raise the Sacred Strain" leading into a voice-over of "From the crossroads of the West, we welcome you to a program of inspirational music and spoken word."

So starts the ninth decade of "Music and the Spoken Word," the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's weekly live broadcast and the world's longest running nationwide network program.

The first network radio broadcast on July 15, 1929, featured a single microphone hanging from the Salt Lake Tabernacle's ceiling, an engineer receiving his starting "on air" signal by telegraph, and the announcer perching himself on a tall ladder for a half-hour to speak into the hanging mike.

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