Monday, 5 November 2012

Countdown to the White House 1980



As Americans head to the polls this week for the Presidential election I take a look back at some of the radio coverage of the 1980 election when Reagan first came to power.

That election took place at a time of low economic growth and the foreign policy entanglements of the US hostages held in Iran. Shortly before the election diplomatic moves were underway to secure the release of the hostages. Here’s the news headlines from Radio Luxembourg on 3 November 1980 read by Rob Jones.
Radio Luxembourg

The BBC’s Washington Correspondent at the time was Clive Small, here reporting on the hostage situation and its impact on the election outcome on 4 November 1980.
Clive Small on hostage situation

Election Day itself was 4 November and the BBC’s coverage started just after midnight on the 5th with Brian Redhead introducing Countdown to the White House.  
Countdown to the White House

Over on Radio 2 broadcasting through the night from 1 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. was the American Election Special co-hosted by Sarah Kennedy, taking care of the music, and the ever-versatile John Dunn, looking after the politics. In this clip John is joined by Clark Todd.
Election Special

Dipping into the international coverage this is William McCrory on Voice of America.
Voice of America

In the early hours of the morning (UK time) Carter conceded defeat to Reagan. This is the IRN news bulletin at 3 a.m. with Carol Allen.
IRN Bulletin

At 6 a.m. Radio 4 carried an extended edition of Today with John Timpson in New York and Libby Purves in London. In this recording you’ll also hear from BBC correspondents Paul Reynolds, Clive Small and Peter Ruff.  
Today

Reflecting on the result later that day is Clive Small.
Clive Small on Reagan victory

Meanwhile that evening Radio Moscow’s World Service seemed to emphasise the low turnout of 53% as against the Soviet Union’s 100%.
Radio Moscow

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