top of page

Massive Radio and TV Audience for Glenn Spaceflight

Feb. 20, 1962 - The radio-TV audience for Colonel Glenn’s orbital flight today was enormous. Frank McGee of NBC reported that more than 60 million persons had watched the TV coverage. Two agencies that evaluated New York City television viewing said that about half of the receivers in the city had been tuned to the event at take-off and set-down. The New York Telephone Company said that metropolitan-area telephoning had dropped off at moments of peak tension during the flight, as the public apparently stayed before TV screens and radio receivers. On the street, people held portable radios to their ears as they walked, some of them continuing to listen intently as they sat in restaurants during business lunches. The story blared from car radios, and stores drew clusters of non-buying visitors in front of sets that were tuned to the flight. The most spectacular display of interest in New York occurred in Grand Central Terminal, where throngs of up to 9,000 persons massed before a 12-by-16-foot TV screen atop the New York Central ticket windows. The police described it as the largest static crowd in the station’s history. As Glenn’s booster rocket rose this morning, there was a spatter of handclapping, then silence. When it was announced that the capsule had gone into orbit, the crowd opened their throats and roared. “Go, go, go!” they cried. “Make it, John!” Some wiped tears from their eyes. Others made the sign of the cross. When it was learned that Glenn was safe and sound aboard the destroyer Noa, Grand Central rang with cheers. New York Mayor Robert Wagner has sent a telegram to the astronaut, inviting him to a formal tickertape parade up Broadway to City Hall.


bottom of page