CNBC's Schacknow: 18 Candles (Happy Anniversary!)

Peter Schacknow
Peter Schacknow

Notable Anniversary
It was 18 years ago today -- April 17, 1989 -- that CNBC went on the air for the very first time.

For those of us who were here both then and now, we realize that the world is a very different place.

The Dow closed that day at 2337.79 -- roughly 10,000 points below where it is now.

Alan Greenspan was less than two years into his Fed chairmanship, and the position hadn’t yet become one of financial celebrity.


There were no proclamations in those days following a Fed meeting of what they’d decided to do with interest rates --traders had to fathom what the Fed had done based on other market activity. (The current system of issuing a statement following a meeting didn’t come into being until the mid-1990s.)

The average 30-year fixed mortgage carried a rate of 11.05%, compared to about 6.25% now.

The “tech” stocks that were all the rage -- and the object of frequent buying frenzies -- were biotech stocks, not technology.

We couldn’t "google" anything because there was no Google, and no Internet -- at least not the Internet we know today. We read the newspaper.

Many of our staff came to work listening to a Sony Walkman, not an Apple iPod.

There was only one other financial cable channel broadcasting: Financial News Network, which had some of the most skilled business journalists around. So much so that two years later, CNBC bought FNN, thereby insuring an infusion of great talent, not to mention our very survival.

All of us thought we had a chance to succeed and become a viable cable operation. Not very many of us had any idea just how important CNBC would become in many people’s lives.

The CNBC of today looks nothing like the CNBC of 1989, with the exception of the spirit and dedication of those who populate the building. We’re all very proud to have been -- and to continue to be -- a part of it.

Happy anniversary!