Video: Whale Songs Featured On 60 Minutes

October 22, 2013

In an effort to make the lives of whales more apparent to television viewers around the world, 60 Minutes producer Dan Ruetenik spent much of last summer cold-calling different whale researchers in order to get their point of view for an upcoming episode, but the most interesting information he gleaned started with one man, a Bermudian who made history books in the 1950s as the first person to record whale songs beneath the surface of the ocean. That man, Frank Watlington, was also Ruetenik’s own grandfather.

The strength of that connection to Mr. Watlington became apparent after Ruetenik spoke with whale expert Nan Hauser, who currently resides on the South Pacific island of Rarotonga. When speaking about the goal of the upcoming 60 Minutes broadcast, Ruetenik mentioned that the inspiration for the story came from his grandfather.

“What? Wait a minute, are you talking about Frank Watlington?” responded Nan to the CBS producer. “Frank Watlington is the reason I do what I do.”

And with that, a 60 Minutes broadcast was born, and a Bermudian’s place in history was reestablished.

Speaking on Mr Watlington, CBS News said, “Watlington hadn’t been an expert on whales by any means. He was an engineer who developed underwater microphones for the U.S. Navy in the 1950s.

“It was the height of the Cold War, and Watlington worked at a top-secret listening station in Bermuda, where the U.S. was listening for the sounds of Russian submarines.

“One day, Watlington dropped his microphone about 1,500 feet into the ocean and heard strange, eerie sounds coming from the deep.”

It was this experiment that helped Watlington to record whale songs for the first time. The sound that he captured was so foreign to him that he simply couldn’t identify it; it was later, with the help of local fishermen, that he realized that he was listening to the songs of whales deep below the surface.

That discovery went on to inspire uncountable scientists to delve deeper into the life of whales, a subject that the upcoming 60 Minutes episode plans to explore.

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Comments (5)

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  1. So often the videos do not transmit in your online reports; very much of a loss!!! (Particularly sorry to have toiss seeing and hearing this video of Frank Watlington’s whale songs being featured on a “60 Minutes” show.
    Can an IT genius resolve this on-going problem??? Please?!

    • Bernews says:

      Hi Ms Drummond, thanks for your comment.

      We believe the videos are transmitting on our end, and it’s more likely it’s an issue on your end. Not sure what, maybe its flash ones and you are viewing on an iPad, or maybe you need to upgrade the flash on your browser?

      However for this case, we just pinched the video from 60 Minutes website, so maybe it will work there for you? Try the link below…it’s definitely a nice video worth watching, so hope it works for you!

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57608333-10391709/whale-song-a-grandfathers-legacy/

      • THANK YOU so much for replying to my plea! I was able to access the link you provided, and thrilled to be able to see Frank Watlington’s segment on “60 Minutes”!!! Most accommodating of you, and most appreciated by me! Re: your suggestion that it may be a flash problem on my end: I plan to consult the appropriate people to help with that, as soon as possible; again, THANK YOU for this advice for a very-desired resolve!!!
        btw: BERNEWS’ Morning Edition and Evening Edition ~ (as well as the Photo of the Day) ~ are highlights of every day for me: despite a very, very busy life, BERNEWS gets “triaged” to the front of the line, and I read it voraciously and thoroughly!!!

  2. Freedom says:

    Bernews do you have any idea why ‘Black Fish’ which was scheduled to be shown last night on CNN at 10pm our time was BLOCKED? I was looking forward to been educated on what really happens when Orcas are in captivity. I can’t understand why it would be blocked and find it quite a disservice to the Bermudian people if this was done so intensionally. Why should anything be blocked that we have paid for, let alone of educational value?

    Here is the link to the documentary:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/24/living/parents-blackfish-kids-seaworld-zoos/

    Please do some research for us, i’m sure there were many other Bermudians who also feel let down.

    Thanks Bernews you are the best news source in Bermuda. I think doing some investigations here and there would also increase your ratings. You are doing your bit to empower the people of Bermuda with information we should rightly have access too.

    • Smitty says:

      i think it might have something to do with international copywrite laws and that it wasnt authorized to be viewed on CNN outside of the U.S. But I can assure you that if you look for it online, you will be able to find it if you still wish to watch it

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