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NY sports radio turns 90 Saturday

Mike Francesa's ratings have remained strong even after

Mike Francesa's ratings have remained strong even after the departure of former "Mike and the Mad Dog" co-host Chris Russo. (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

A couple of months before the Yankees won their first pennant and 66 years years before WFAN went on the air, New York sports radio was born 90 years ago Saturday.

(Thank you to radio historian David Halberstam, the St. John's play-by-play man back in my days on the beat, for the tip.)

The event was experimental station WJY's broadcast of the Jack Dempsey-Georges Carpentier bout from Jersey City.

There had been earlier experiments in live sports coverage, notably by KDKA in Pittsburgh in 1920, but given the magnitude of the bout and the size of the market, the WJY show was a pivotal event in making radio the big deal it soon would become.

As with the advent of televised sports coverage in 1939, there were relatively few people with receivers in 1921. But the spectacle was beamed to theaters equipped to receive the broadcast, and the event created a buzz surrounding the technology's possibilities.

By the end of the 1920s, radio's coverage of sports was ubiquitous, and would remain the primary means of live event coverage until TV took hold in the late 1940s and early '50s.


Jack Dempsey vs Georges Carpentier 1921 by TheHomelessDetective

Tags: radio

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