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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Record-breaker Wally, world’s oldest broadcaster

At 93, CIoJ member Walter Bingham, presenter of “Walter’s World” on Israel National Radio, has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest radio talk-show host in the world.

Walter Bingham was born in Germany and witnessed the rise of the Nazis including the book burnings that followed their seizure of power. Just days before the outbreak of WWII, with the help of a Zionist youth movement he was selected for a place on the Kindertransport to England. During the war, Bingham saw front-line action in the Normandy Landings and the campaign to liberate Western Europe, and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. After transferring to Counter Intelligence, he interviewed the captured Nazi war criminal Joachim von Ribbentrop, who had been German ambassador to Britain and subsequently Hitler’s Foreign Minister.

A veteran journalist and broadcaster who has worked for several different broadcast networks, he has presented the weekly magazine programme “Walter’s World” on Israel National Radio since 2004. As well as broadcasting he is an accomplished public speaker and was a member of a visiting panel of lecturers at schools throughout the UK, where he spoke on the Third Reich, and has spoken at schools in the USA. In recent years he has also turned to acting and has appeared in several Harry Potter films.

Topics covered in “Walter’s World” range from cultural and entertainment events and social problems to major political interviews. He holds up a mirror to Jewish life and paints pictures in sound. His many famous guests have included celebrated lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Jewish community leaders from many countries, as well as singers and TV stars, politicians, political commentators and academics.

“Getting recognition was an interesting process,” says Wally, “because with an age-related record you have to be able to provide numerous documents proving your date of birth. Fortunately, after a good deal of searching 93 years’ worth of paperwork I finally found the acceptable documents and after an 11 month process, I finally received notification.”

In the Institute we are proud that one of our members is, officially, the oldest talk-show host in the world.

Many congratulations, Wally!