The honor will be accepted by Mack Wilberg, conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
"This is especially significant for us," explains Wilberg, "... because the selection was determined by a vote of the American listening public."
The long-running broadcast on Salt Lake City radio station KSL began in 1929 with a telegraph message from the National Broadcasting Company in New York City. Within seconds, the message was relayed to the basement of the Tabernacle on Temple Square. A hand signal forwarded the message upstairs to the program director, and then on to 19-year-old Ted Kimball. Kimball, son of the choir organist, Edward P. Kimball, stood atop a 15-foot ladder to reach a microphone, and the show began. After a three-year stint at NBC, the program moved, in 1932, to a Sunday morning broadcast hour on CBS.
Several KSL radio announcers rotated through the choir assignment until, in 1930, Richard L. Evans received the permanent responsibility, a job he held until 1971. Evans began by simply announcing the hymns or musical selections, but soon added commentary to accompany the musical themes. The commentary expanded to incorporate the timely messages of hope and encouragement that became the "spoken word."
"The broadcast is a representation of America's own image," explains J. Spencer Kinard, who assumed the narration responsibility following Evans' passing in 1971. "It is a reflection of national moods, needs and aspirations. To many listeners, the weekly Music and the Spoken Word is like coming home."
Lloyd Newell, the current announcer, who began his service in 1991, suggests the program "serves to inspire and motivate and yet not make you feel discouraged. The message comes from the heart."
The above was excerpted from Music and the Spoken Word to be Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame, lds.org newsroom