Mine was the second voice ever heard on MSNBC. 25 years later, our future is limitless.
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Mine was the second voice ever heard on MSNBC. 25 years later, our future is limitless.

From those early days I am left with grainy video of our first broadcasts, and a coveted blue polo shirt with "Launch Team" embroidered over the logo.
Illustration of MSNBC host Brian Williams.
Our launch may have been modest. But a quarter century of hard work has guaranteed the next 25 years will be anything but.MSNBC; Getty Images

Help us celebrate MSNBC’s first 25 years by joining us every day for 25 days as our anchors, hosts, and correspondents share their thoughts on where we've been — and where we’re going.

1996 was the year of "Jerry Maguire,” the “Macarena” — and the birth of MSNBC.

I was serving as Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News when I got the call from the boss: he wanted to see me in New York. Something about a new assignment. Something big was afoot. Upon arrival the assignment was revealed to me: a plan for a new cable network, designed for a new age.

I was serving as Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News when I got the call from the boss: he wanted to see me in New York.

With some ceremony, Andy Lack revealed the new logo. He pulled back a piece of tissue paper covering a piece of black poster board. The peacock and "NBC" lettering were of course instantly recognizable, but this logo had a strange new prefix — the letters "MS." The future was upon us, I was told. Microsoft had reached a partnership agreement with NBC, and together they were forming something new. Almost a decade before the invention of the iPhone or Twitter, and years before a young Harvard student came up with Facebook, we were launching a network to combine television news with the still-new and overwhelming World Wide Web.

From those early days I am left with grainy video of our first broadcasts, and a coveted blue polo shirt with "Launch Team" embroidered over the logo. I was the second voice on the network. The honor of taking us on the air went to a wonderfully talented broadcaster named Jodi Applegate. I hope she has watched our terrific growth with pride. I know I have.

Our launch may have been modest. But a quarter century of hard work has guaranteed the next 25 years will be anything but. Our future is limitless.