The First Nationwide Radio Broadcast


Have been boasting of Hoboken’s Firsts lately.  In 1921 Hoboken’s Erie Lackawanna Terminal was the location of the first nationwide radio broadcast.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The stunningly beautiful terminal opened in 1907 and was designed by architect Kenneth M. Murchison.  It has a Tiffany glass ceiling that is 50 feet high and walls of limestone, iron and bronze.  The main level is decorated with Greek Revival designs.  Last but not least is the spectacular double staircase with ornate cast iron balustrades.  The exterior has a copper roof and a high clock tower.

It is the clock tower that figures in the story of the first broadcast.  The heavy weight match between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier was advertised as the boxing match of the century.  The problem was how to get the fight transmitted across the county.

A hastily assembled outdoor arena was built on a farm in Jersey City, New Jersey, not far from New York City.  More than 80,000 fans came to see the fight in person on July 2, 1921, producing boxing’s first million-dollar gate.    But the big news for many was the radio broadcast of the fight.

Originally an aerial tower was proposed on a site in Jersey City but was squashed because of it’s cost.  The Hoboken town fathers and the Erie Lackawanna Railroad men came to the rescue.  Aerial wires were strung between from the railroad station’s towers and Ma Bell used the telephone system to hook  up to microphone at  ringside..

And the rest is history.  The Dempsey-Carpentier match was heard from coast to coast thanks to Hoboken.  Dempsey knocked Carpentier out in the second round.

There is so much know about Hoboken.

Heaven, Hell and Hoboken – a great summer read is a must!  Get it on Amazon before your next trip.  You will not be disappointed.