Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 25, 1920: The First Broadcast of Play by Play College Football By Radio Station

November 25, 1920:  For the first time in College Station, WTAW broadcast a play-by-play radio football match, during which Texas University beat the Aggies of Texas A&M by a score of 7-3

WTAW was one of the oldest radio stations continually in service for their listeners around central Texas
At the time of the broadcast, communication for a wide range was commonly conveyed by dots and dashes using the International Morse radio telegraph code.

The vacuum tubes that would be used for voice transmission did not exist yet. Transmissions by code were much slower than by voice. Harry Saunders, previously an operator at Western Union, advertised the play by play football at Texas University using a commercial telegraph to notify the public that there would be a list of abbreviations that was being prepared.

When they heard about the news, 275 then-licensed amateur radio operators in the state requested a copy of the list. Thus, WTAW transmitted the broadcast through those amateur radios, and what had started out as a point-to-point broadcast reached many listeners in the state.

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