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Introduction to "Diary of a Disaster"

courtesy of Kansas City Public Library
The aftermath of the Ruskin Heights Tornado

By Walt Bodine



Kansas City, MO – Radio veteran and KCUR talk show host Walt Bodine worked for WDAF in Kansas City, Missouri from 1947 - 1965. Bodine covered a number of stories, including the Ruskin Heights Tornado. Here's an excerpt from the introduction to "Diary of a Disaster," a radio documentary on the Ruskin Heights Tornado of 1957. (courtesy of Walt Bodine and the Marr Sound Archives)

NARRATION (by Walt Bodine): (Music) May 20, 1957. At 7:47 pm, that date was written indelibly into the history of Kansas City. From that day forward, you could no longer tell the story of this city or its people unless you paused to record the events of that day.

"Diary of a Disaster" is an account in radio journalism of that day of tragedy and valor. In Part 1, we will hear - through the actual voices of those who took part - the story of the birth of a tornado, (the story) of the weatherman who had the awful responsibility of tracking it, the radiomen who reported it. And how broadcast warnings - in the words of the citizens themselves - affected them in their hour of danger.

"Diary of a Disaster" is produced by WDAF News, not only as a living account of those dramatic hours, but also as a guide for all who want to study man and his reactions to danger, and to fears that culminate in disaster.

For more on the life and career of Walt Bodine, check here.

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