Live from “America’s Rhineland”: The Poughkeepsie Regatta and Early American Network Sports Broadcasting, 1925-1940
Michael J. Socolow
Between 1925 and 1940, the Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s annual championship regatta was one of the premiere sporting events in the United States. The regatta, contested on the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, brought together crews from both coasts and was one of the first truly nationwide sporting contests. Attendance at the event often toppled one hundred thousand, while radio audiences in the millions tuned in each June. National interest, and the regatta’s location near New York City, made it an ideal broadcasting event for CBS and NBC, America’s first radio networks. This article examines the history of the regatta in the context of the development of American network sports broadcasting before World War II. Using memoirs, contemporaneous periodicals, and archival sources, this article establishes the regatta’s important catalytic role in the development of American national network sports broadcasting.