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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
College Station in Brazos County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Early Play-By-Play Radio Broadcast of a College Football Game

 
 
Early Play-By-Play Radio Broadcast of a College Football Game Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, July 1, 2018
1. Early Play-By-Play Radio Broadcast of a College Football Game Marker
Inscription. In 1920, David J. Finn and other Texas A&M electrical engineering students attempted to broadcast the football game at Oklahoma A&M via ham radio. When the plan failed they used a telephone backup, relaying game updates to fans gathered in the Texas A&M stock judging pavilion.

The following year, students at campus wireless station 5XB planned to transmit live play-by-play accounts of the conference championship against the University of Texas. William A. Tolson and other students overcame technical difficulties to make the broadcast possible. They ran lines from the Kyle Field press box to a transmitter at Bolton Hall and borrowed equipment from the Corps of Cadets Signal Corps. They installed three redundant systems: two connected to the power plant and a battery backup. Harry M. Saunders and the coaching staff devised abbreviations to describe the action and improve transmission speed. "TB A 45Y," for example, signified "Texas ball on the Aggie 45 yard line."

On game day, November 24, 1921, the broadcast was flawless with Saunders at the telegraph key. At station 5XU in Austin, Franklin K. Matejka relayed messages to Longhorn fans seconds after each play. Amateur radio operators across Texas also followed the action. The game ended in a scoreless tie, but A&M became conference champion. The following year, 5XB became
Early Play-By-Play Radio Broadcast of a College Football Game Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, July 1, 2018
2. Early Play-By-Play Radio Broadcast of a College Football Game Marker
WTAW, and several of the students went on to distinguished careers in engineering, broadcast technology and related fields. By days, the experiment missed being the first such achievement in the U.S., but it is believed to be the first in Texas. Ingenuity and innovation resulted in a pioneering broadcasting accomplishment.
 
Erected 2005 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13065.)
 
Location. 30° 36.666′ N, 96° 20.394′ W. Marker is in College Station, Texas, in Brazos County. Marker is on Houston Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located on the Texas A&M University campus, near the Northeast entrance gates to Kyle Field. Marker is at or near this postal address: 756 Houston Street, College Station TX 77843, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Early Texas A&M Campus Housing (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Texas A&M Corps of Cadets (approx. 0.2 miles away); Main Drill Field, Texas A&M University (approx. 0.2 miles away); College Station Railroad Depots (approx. mile away); Nagle Hall (approx. mile away); Academic Building
Kyle Field image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, July 1, 2018
3. Kyle Field
Marker can be seen in the far distance of the photo, on the left side of the stadium.
(approx. 0.3 miles away); K. K. Legett Hall Centennial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Francis Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in College Station.
 
Also see . . .  Early Play-By-Play Radio Broadcast Of A Texas College Football Game (Brazos County Hist. Soc.). (Submitted on July 3, 2018.)
 
Categories. CommunicationsSports
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on July 3, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 3, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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