For NASA, Moon Landing Wasn’t a Broadcast Event, Until It Was, Engineer Reveals in New Podcast, “We’re Breaking This Broadcast” Launched Today


“We are interrupting this broadcast: before it was history, it was news” debuts July 20, 2021

NASA didn’t really understand the meaning of television … It was probably only after the launch that people started to think about what this television could mean.

A global audience of around 600 million people, one-fifth of the world’s population at the time, watched in wonder as Neil Armstrong descended from the lunar module and said the now famous words: “This is a small step for man.” … ”But, it was never meant to be a broadcast event, according to Richard Nafzger, the teacher-turned-engineer whose mission was to get a television signal 240,000 miles from the lunar surface on televisions in living rooms around the world. whole.

In an exclusive interview for the “Man on the Moon” episode of the “We Interrupt This Broadcast” podcast, which launched on July 20, Nafzger revealed that the moonwalk broadcast was more an afterthought than a goal for NASA, until the time of broadcast. on them.

“NASA didn’t really understand the meaning of television,” he recalls. “They never thought the public wanted to see it. It was probably only after the launch that people started to think about what this TV could mean. They argued about it all the time.

Then, as the astronauts were about to leave the capsule, he was told, “Better to work.” And all of a sudden, the whole mission revolved around television.

It worked. So much so, in fact, that Robert Wussler, the producer of Walter Cronkite, called it “the greatest single show in the world” in television history.

In addition to Nafzger, the episode “Man on the Moon” features archival and recorded contributions from nearly a dozen people intimately involved in the coverage of the moon landing, including: Walter Cronkite; Don Hewitt, former CBS News producer, Joel Banow, CBS News director of the Apollo 11 TV show, Stan Lebar (Westinghouse program manager responsible for creating the ApolloTV moon camera), and more.

The podcast, based on Joe Garner’s bestselling New York Times book of the same name, celebrates the crucial role broadcast journalism has played throughout our country’s history. Hosted by legendary broadcaster Bill Kurtis and narrated by NBC’s Brian Williams, each episode unfolds with the rhythm and lively tone of a thriller while presenting an in-depth examination of the reporting and reaction to events that have since become references in history. Contributors are a “who’s who” in broadcast journalism.

The docuseries, produced by i4 Media Ventures, LLC, will run over six seasons of 12 episodes for a total of 72 episodes. Each season is made up of 12 episodes, all released simultaneously: 10 episodes of each season are based on events that occurred around the time of airing and two are based on landmark moments that occurred at the start of the broadcast. American history (like the passing of the 19th Amendment) and dramatized as if it were reported by broadcast journalists. Each episode ends with a candid and critical analysis from journalists on how they and their colleagues covered the event.

The first season features the following landmark moments in American and world history:

  • “Oh humanity!” – the Hindenburg disaster (May 6, 1937)
  • “… About to embark on a great crusade” – D-Day invasion (June 6, 1944)
  • “In Dallas Texas, three shots were fired …” – JFK assassination (November 22, 1963)
  • “One small step …” – The moon landing of Apollo 11 (July 20, 1969)
  • “The president was [not?] hit ”, – President Reagan shot down (March 30, 1981)
  • “Can we all get along? – LA Riots following Rodney King’s verdict (April 29, 1992)
  • “Princess Diana is deceased …” – The death of Princess Di (August 31, 1997)
  • “Shots at Columbine High School” – The Columbine Tragedy (April 20, 1999)
  • “… No one really knows who won Florida” – The 2000 Presidential Election (November 8, 2000)
  • “This must be deliberated” – 9-11: America Under Attack (September 11, 2001)
  • “Band of rebels on a slaughter” (dramatization) – The Nat Turner slave uprising of 1831 (August 21, 1831)
  • “Tennessee House gives women the right to vote” – Passage of the 19th Amendment (June 4, 1919)

“We’re Breaking This Broadcast” is now available for download on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, and wherever listeners get their podcasts.

“We Interrupt This Broadcast” is represented for advertising and sponsorship sales by Crossover Media Group Sales, based in New York and Los Angeles (

About Joe Garner

Dubbed “the Ken Burns of the written and recorded word” by speech legend Larry King, Joe Garner is a radio industry veteran, narrator, host and producer, as well as a bestselling New York writer. York Times. Its flagship multimedia book, We Interrupt This Broadcast, which innovatively combines audio, photographs and text, has sold over a million copies and served for two decades as an essential chronicle in the history of broadcasting for the broadcasters. United States. The “We Interrupt This Broadcast” docuseries podcast is the first project of i4 Media Ventures, LLC, co-founded in December 2020 by Garner, Ron Hartenbaum and Scott Calka.

Editor’s Note:

A link to an online press kit, with a downloadable version of the Moon Landing episode, the original media kit provided by NASA, and other audiovisual resources, is available on request.

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