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Texas Signs On
The Early Days of Radio and Television
By Richard Schroeder
Texas A&M University Press
247 Pages
ISBN:  0-890-96813-6

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"On Thanksgiving Day, 1921, a man in Waco listened intently to a series of dots and dashes coming over his crystal radio receiver. The electronic signal spelled out 'T FP 8Y L.' The man yelled out [the] window, 'Texas forward pass; eight yard loss.""

For more than seventy-five years, the airwaves of Texas have buzzed with broadcast signals, beginning with a play-by-play Morse code transmission of the football game played by the University of Texas and Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day, 1921.

Filled with anecdotes gleaned from the author's extensive oral history interviewing for the project, Texas Signs On visits the colorful personalities that have filled the state's studios and booths (and business boardrooms) for seven decades: Dizzy Dean, Cactus Pryor, Amon Carter, NBC's Dave Garroway, sportscaster Bud Sherman, Gordon McLendon, Bob Wills, the Light Crust Doughboys, and many others. Schroeder even explains the absence of channel 1 from the old rotary VHF dials. He addresses historic firsts: the arrival of network television in Texas in 1952, the first live televising of political conventions, the establishment of KUHT in Houston as the nation's first educational station and of KCOR in San Antonio as the first Spanish-language station in the United States. The first murder trial broadcast in history was by Waco's KWTX.

This trip down memory lane for those who experienced the early days of radio and television records important oral history that might otherwise be lost. It also offers a valuable introduction to the entrepreneurial innovations and government regulation that have marked the development of the Texas airwaves.

About The Author:
Richard Schroeder, of Greenville, Texas, is an independent historian, photographer, and filmmaker with a doctorate in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce.


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