LINK:  University of Chicago Magazine
About the Magazine | Advertising | Archives | Contact
 LINK:  IssueLINK:  featuresLINK:  chicago journalLINK:  investigationsLINK:  peer reviewLINK:  in every issue

:: By Meredith Meyer Grelli, AB’06

:: Photo courtesy Special Collections Research Center

link:  e-mail this to a friend

Peer Review ::

Photographic Memory


photo: round-robinBefore there was Hardball, there was the University of Chicago Roundtable, born of a discussion between three Chicago professors broadcast from Mitchell Tower in 1931. Their conversation, regarding a government report on Prohibition, then in effect, was one of the first radio broadcasts of an informal round-table discussion concerning a public issue. To air it, Chicago station WMAQ had to waive its rule against ad-lib.

By the mid-1930s, NBC picked up and syndicated the show, and by 1951 the program aired on 98 network and 20 educational stations. In this November 26, 1944, photo University president Robert Maynard Hutchins (left) and John T. McCloy (right), U.S. assistant secretary of war, debate the merits of universal military training during peacetime while Floyd W. Reeves, MAT’21, PhD’25, (center) moderates. Other luminaries on the program included John F. Kennedy, Jawaharlal Nehru, Adlai Stevenson, Enrico Fermi, Saul Bellow, X’39, Edward Levi, PhB’32, JD’35, and Milton Friedman, AM’33. Discontinued in 1955, Roundtable found a new life in local and regional television from 1967 to 1974.