Milton John Cross was an American radio announcer famous for his work on the NBC and ABC radio networks. He was best known as the voice of the Metropolitan Opera, hosting its Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts for 43 years, from the time of their inception in 1931 until his death in 1975.
Born in New York City, Cross started his career just as network radio itself was in its earliest stages. He joined the New Jersey station WJZ in 1921. By 1927 WJZ had moved to Manhattan and had become the flagship station of the Blue Network of NBC’s new national radio network. Cross’ voice became familiar as he not only delivered announcements for the Blue Network but also hosted a number of popular programs. In addition to the Metropolitan Opera, Cross was the announcer for the quiz program Information Please, and the musical humor show The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street among others.
But it is as the host of the Metropolitan’s broadcasts that Cross will be remembered. His distinctive voice conveyed the excitement of live performances “from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City” for generations of radio listeners. Initially he broadcast from a seat in “Box 44” at the old Met at Broadway and 40th St. In 1966, he introduced America to the Met’s new home at Lincoln Center as he hosted a special broadcast of the opening night performance from a modern radio booth in the new house. Cross also edited several popular editions of opera synopses, published in conjunction with the Met broadcasts.