Traumafessions:: Jamie L. on the CBS Radio News Sounder

I grew up in a very informed household; my parents regularly watched local and national news several times a day and the radio was always on during the day while my mom watched me. In the 70’s we primarily listened to a local AM station that was a CBS affiliate. Every hour I was warned of impending doom by the news sounder that came on before the reporter started reading (the exact news sounder is at 1:14 in the Youtube link).

When I heard that sound, I knew bad things were getting ready to be told: serial killers, cattle mutilations, hijackings, mass shootings, bombings, and the worst of all – gorillas (guerillas) killing people somewhere in a tropical hell. To a 5 or 6 year old, that news sounder, and the dread that always followed, warned me to never go to big cities, airports, or foreign countries. Other than the ominous storm warnings from the National Weather Service, which have been covered already on the site, nothing else came close to producing this kind of trauma in me.

Again, the specific sounder is at 1:14. Thank you for an outstanding and very needed website.

Jamie L.

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Dylan Donnie-Duke
Dylan Donnie-Duke
10 years ago

My wife and I were talking about this very thing this past weekend! How bizarre! The exact sound that you mention, the one at 1:14 in the video, was the specific one we discussed. I can’t wait to play it for her.
Oddly enough, I mentioned that the Emergency Broadcast Signal actually brings on a sense of nostalgia for me, (Sorry Unk.) because it reminds me of sitting on my Grandparents front porch and watching a storm roll in across the countryside.
Easily a contender for my top five favorite traumafessions.

10 years ago

I too was part of the young crowd that had the “gorilla/guerilla” confusion. Fighting gorillas? Fighting like gorillas?

Radio stagers and sounders didn’t bother me as a child. As a lifetime Northern New Jersey resident I was “exposed” to various WCBS sounds without fright as well as WOR’s top of the hour “BOOOP!!” sound. In fact, back in the early 70’s many households would have WOR tuned in during snowy morning to hear if John A. Gambling would announce if their school was closed.

There is one set of famous notes that do make me at ease at times:

Why? The TV station had a practice of running sudden news flashes on the bottom of the screen which were proceeded by those three tones. Many times it was to announce approaching severe weather. I was scared of thunderstorms in my pre-teen years so when ever those tones came on with the scrolling “The National Weather Service Has Issued a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING for Passaic County” it was off to a closet to hied in.

Go ahead, laugh 🙁