“Watch The Aggies Win”- WTAW is the marking the 100th anniversary of the first play by play broadcast in the United States. The Texas A&M (The Aggies) took on Texas.
The game was broadcast on campus wireless station 5XB. The next year the station would become WTAW; the flagship home of the Texas A&M radio network.
“While a lot has changed in 100 years, we’re proud that one thing remains the same,” said Ben Downs, VP Bryan Broadcasting and GM. “You can still hear every Aggie football game on the station that broadcast the first one all those years ago. Here’s to another 100 years of ‘Watching The Aggies Win’.”
Transmission lines for the Thanksgiving Day 1921 game were run from the Kyle Field press box about a half mile to the station inside Texas A&M’s Electrical Engineering building. The only radio equipment at the press box was a key for transmitting and a pair of headphones for receiving.
Licensed radio amateurs used a modified telegraphic code to transmit information. For example, “TB A 45 Y” is “Texas ball on the Aggies 45 yard line”. On the receiving end, at the University of Texas, slips of paper with received abbreviations were passed over a long table to someone who relayed the decoded information over a horn speaker through an open window.
FYI, the game ended in a tie.
A detailed story on the event can be found on the Texas A&M University Amateur Radio Club Website.