In Memory of Alistair Cooke
I'd like to join his many other fans in thanking him for so many years of informing and entertaining.
Alistair Cooke presented his weekly letter from America for 58 years. For his 50th Anniversary (played on Australia's radio national on the 24th March 1996 he replayed a section of his first letter). According to Media Central, he is heard by 34 million listeners worldwide. (see Media Central's article on his 50th anniversary letter)
The BBC has an official page for the program, with transcripts of recent letters, currently featuring some of Mr Cooke's favourite letters over the years.
Alistair Cooke presents a review of American events with the extensive background knowledge that makes them intelligible for us who live outside the USA. It's fascinating to hear a view of American events that has such a long personal history. Mr Cooke will often link todays stories to events in the past. For example, in November 1997, in a story on Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to the USA, he likened the jovial tone of the banquets to the tone of the final night at Yalta. In his story on the stock market crash of October 1997, he gave a first hand account of what actually happened in 1929. It wasn't just one catastrophic crash which ruined economies, but rather a continuing slide.
When other journalists are sensationalising something as the crime, trial, scandal, most outspoken first lady of the century, Alistair Cooke will tell you about what realy was the superlative member of that category this century. In most cases, he'll give you a personal annecdote about the event.
Here are other people's comments and reminisences. Email me to add your comments to this list.
In western Europe, you can also listen on BBC 4 (198 khz. = Long Wave) - this gives reasonable reception at least as far as Belguim (Thanks to Douwe)
This link is to an Alta Vista search for alistair, cooke and letter near each other, which will show hits in online radio schedules for the program.