When the show first went on the air it was hosted by veteran radio personality Robert Trout. The first show gave the world the voices of Edward R. Murrow and William L. Shirer. In fact, it was the first time Murrow had ever delivered a news report. During the early years of the war, Murrow's reports from London and Shirer's reports from Berlin were essential listening to anyone trying to keep informed on events unfolding in Europe. War correspondents, including members of the Murrow Boys, broadcast from around European throughout the war.
The program was a 35-minute special report from multiple locations around the world as the pre-war crisis mounts. It was the first time that on-the-scene European field correspondents were linked with a central anchor in New York for a national broadcast. A recording of the first episode, as well as some others, is available at the Internet Archive.
Most broadcast references credit either CBS President William S. Paley or News Director Paul White as coming up with the idea for the show, as a way to trump Max Jordan's NBC coverage of the Anschluss. The previous day, Shirer had flown from Vienna to London at the request of Murrow (the CBS European chief) to give the first uncensored eyewitness account of Germany's takeover of Austria.
It was White who relayed the order to Murrow and Shirer for the first Roundup. The two, Murrow in Vienna and Shirer in London, then had the responsibility of linking up reporters and circuits that same day...a Sunday, when many of the key people would be mostly unreachable.
The format was so successful that it was repeated the following evening, and then revived later that year during the Sudetenland crisis. Eventually, it evolved into a daily show.
As World War II raged in Europe, the Roundup format spawned a weekend edition, The World Today. It was just before one 2:30 p.m. Eastern broadcast, on December 7, 1941, that White and World Today anchor John Charles Daly received word in New York that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Daly's report at the top of the show, among the first on any radio station or network, is the one most often used in audio retrospectives. (For more on that, see John Charles Daly.)
The CBS World News Roundup remains an active part of the CBS Radio Network lineup, making it America's longest running network newscast on radio or TV. The 10-minute newscast airs every morning on CBS Radio affiliates nationwide at 8 a.m. Eastern and 7 a.m. Pacific. A late edition airs at 7 p.m. Eastern time and runs for 9 minutes. Skyview Networks handles the distribution.
Despite the name of the broadcast, it no longer emphasizes world news and often is devoted to the same national, political and lifestyle stories as the shorter top of the hour news broadcasts.
The morning edition of the World News Roundup is anchored by Steve Kathan, and produced by Paul Farry. The full show runs for 10 minutes, although many stations take only the first eight minutes. There is also a local cut-away at four minutes past the hour for the early edition (like the network's other top of the hour newscasts) and five minutes past the hour for the late edition.
The longest tenure of one anchor with the Roundup was that of Dallas Townsend, who hosted the morning broadcast for 25 years. Townsend was followed by Reid Collins and then Bill Lynch who anchored from March 25, 1985 until his contract was not renewed in 1999.
Christopher Glenn's long career at CBS was punctuated with a stint on the Roundup from 1999 until 2006.
Nick Young had a short tenure on the Roundup from 2006 until his 2010 retirement.
Originally titled "The World Tonight", the evening show was anchored by Douglas Edwards from 1966 until 1988. After Edwards retired, Glenn settled in as nighttime anchor until 1999, when he moved to the World News Roundup.
Around the same time as Glenn's departure to the flagship morning broadcast, The World Tonight became the World News Roundup Late Edition. The late edition was hosted by Bill Whitney and produced by Greg Armstrong. Whitney anchored the program until his departure from CBS in December 2016, a run of 17 years.
Since then, anchor turnover has increased. Dave Barrett succeeded Whitney until his sudden death on September 19, 2018. Jim Chenevey, the longtime overnight anchor for CBS, moved to daytime and the Late Edition, but was let go in June 2020.
Subsequently, Pam Coulter anchored the broadcast until her departure from CBS in September 2020. Peter King replaced her until April 2021 when Jennifer Keiper became the latest anchor of the World News Roundup Late Edition.
In 2000, CBS Radio developed a weekly show based on the original Roundup format. The CBS News Weekend Roundup, designed for an hour-long time slot (40 minutes plus slots for commercials and affiliate cut-ins), is produced each Friday and airs on a number of CBS Radio affiliates on Saturdays and Sundays. It includes interviews with CBS News correspondents and other newsmakers. The network's then-news director, Mike Freedman, was the creator and first executive producer of the show.
Bill Lynch, former anchor of the morning Roundup, was the first host of the weekend show. It is now anchored by CBS News Corrsepondent Allison Keyes. The longest tenured anchor of the program was Former CBS News National Correspondent Dan Raviv in Washington. Correspondent Howard Arenstein, the Washington radio bureau chief, was also the executive producer. Raviv's last show as host was broadcast on January 20, 2017. After Raviv's departure, the broadcast was anchored by Steve Dorsey until Keyes assumed the role in late 2019.