Seventy-five years ago, American radio listeners were frequently hearing the phrases, “we take you to London,” “we take you to Paris,” and “we take you to Berlin,” as Americans learned how close they were to Europe’s troubles. As this item from Radio Guide for the week ending September 29, 1939, points out, we were close enough to hear a man breathe in Paris or the rustle of a paper in Berlin.
The diagram shows the example of how NBC would connect to its correspondents in London, Fred Bate or John Gunther. From NBC’s New York studios, the cue would go via telephone to the RCA short wave transmitter at Rocky Point, Long Island. The signal would be picked up by an English receiving station and sent by telephone to Broadcasting House in London. The English broadcast would go by telephone to the English short wave transmitter and picked up by the RCA receiving station at Riverhead, Long Island. From there, the signal would go back to NBC’s Radio City studios for retransmission to the network.
The process concludes when the American listener picks up the broadcase and says to himself “fervently and with conviction,” and alas, in vain, “We must stay out. We must stay OUT.”