WNYC engineer Ralph Ilowite was working the remote equipment for a concert broadcast on a quiet Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941.
"Here we are sitting in the booth above the concert hall at the Frick Museum. And it was chamber music, which I had no appreciation of then. And pretty soon we were both almost sound asleep. Although I had the earphones on. One ear is connected to the amplifier so you can hear the mix, and the other ear is connected to what we called the 'PL,' or private line, which is the only way we could talk to Master Control. I'm sitting there in a stupor, and suddenly I hear, 'Ralph. Ralph. RALPH!!!! WAKE UP, YOU SON OF A BITCH! PEARL HARBOR WAS BOMBED!' I said, ''What happened? Who's Pearl Harbor?' He says, 'Get your ass up here as quick as possible and go right over to City Hall. The Mayor wants to speak. All the networks are going to carry it, so you're going to be a network star.' That didn't help matters. I sailed down 5th Avenue at about 90 miles an hour. There wasn't a soul moving. He [La Guardia] was waiting for us, and I plopped the mic down and set the amplifier on the floor and connected to the studio, and he went on. "
Source: Oral history session with former WNYC remote engineer Ralph Ilowite. Ilowite worked at WNYC from 1939 to 1943.