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Turn on your television and switch to any game playing. The odds are good that you’ll see several different sports announcers appearing, from the play-by-play announcers to the sideline reporters and everything in between.

Sports broadcasting is bigger and better than ever, but it has a fascinating history worth delving into, especially for all of the sportscasting fans out in the world. Sportscasters help add that human element back into the game, present new ways of looking at the same event, or even provide commentary about the athletes themselves. As such, they play a vital role in the way viewers participate in sports.

From all of this stemmed a new form of media: sports talk radio. This form of media is what it sounds like; the open discussion and broadcasting of live sporting events.

The Art Of Storytelling

Sports Talk Radio differs from all other sportscasting in one main thing; there is no visual element involved. That means the entirety of the interest and connection is on the narrator’s story. Thus, the art of storytelling in the world of sports broadcasting was born.

While sports broadcasting dates as far back as the 1920s, it took longer for sports talk radio to make a role for itself. 1964 brought with it the first official station that was entirely focused on sports commentary. Thus, The WNBC was born. 

Popularity Of The Radio

When sportscasting was in its earliest days, it wasn’t expected for every family to own a radio. Instead, people would gather around the few available, listening to the news, sports scores, and anything else that was both available and entertaining.

As radios became universal, so did radio stations. More frequencies were included, and with them, more stations were established and made available to the general public. This opened the door for stations to be exclusively focused on sports talk radio down the line.

A History Of Firsts

It’s difficult to pin down the first broadcast of sports radio, at least not without picking a fight. Every sport has its own first. Baseball’s first broadcast game was on August 5th, 1921, in Pittsburgh and was announced by Harold Arlin. 

Meanwhile, football’s first broadcast happened back in 1912 and was announced by Professor F.W. Springer – though admittedly, the broadcast was only available to a small number of individuals. The first significant broadcast was in 1921 and was announced by Harold Arlin (again). The game was West Virginia University versus the University of Pittsburgh.

The first broadcast for boxing happened on April 11th, 2921, and was announced by Florent Gibson. The match itself involved Harold Pitler (Johnny Ray) and Johnny Dundee (Giuseppe Carrora). 

BBC’s first soccer (football) broadcast was back in January of 1927. It was Arsenal versus Sheffield United. Many other firsts can be found in the world of sports radio, as clearly evidenced by all those above.