David is joined by author, media historian and University of Maine professor Michael J. Socolow to discuss Socolow’s award-winning book – Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics.
Later, David speaks with Washington Post sports columnist Jerry Brewer about his latest article detailing the series of "deplorable" decisions made by the Washington Redskins.
Michael Socolow’s award-winning book about the Berlin Olympics and the origins of global sports broadcasting
Originally published in 2016, Socolow’s book recently received the 2018 Broadcast Historian Award from the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation in partnership with the Broadcast Education Association.
The announcement reads, in part, that Socolow’s book “illustrate[s] the development of sports broadcasting at the personal, national, and global levels” with his single case study of the American rowing team victory at the Berlin Olympics, and in doing so revisits “the dramatic and exciting origins of live global sportscasting.”
As David points out, the 1936 Olympics are best known for Jesse Owens’ victory and the longstanding record he set for track and field gold medals by a U.S. citizen. Owens indeed “takes over our historical memory of the 1936 Olympics,” Socolow agrees.
But Socolow’s book details a lesser-known narrative during the games, David says – one that would influence the world of sports broadcasting for decades to come: the story of how the victory of the University of Washington rowing team turned out to be “genesis of global sportscasting and how we all now pay attention to sports.”
“In 1936, the Germans had planned the Olympics to be far bigger, more expansive and more complex than any previous Olympics,” Socolow says. “...They knew that this was their really great chance to introduce the world to their Nazi government.”
They also wanted to contrast themselves with other authoritarian dictatorships. Socolow says, “The Soviets weren't letting people in and weren't letting people report on them, [whereas] the Nazis were welcoming everybody for this Berlin Olympics.”
Additionally, there was the simultaneous development of new radio technologies that allowed for the Games’ live transmission, which Socolow calls “the finest live transcontinental transoceanic transmission that had ever been done before.”
“It created this excitement in the audiences around the world that we sort of take for granted today,” he says.
Socolow tells David he was able to listen to the event from a variety of sources, including Japanese broadcasts from the NHK, German broadcasts (many of which he says can be found online today), and recordings by NBC located in the Library of Congress.
“The 1936 Berlin Olympics may have been the most-recorded event between 1920 and 1940,” Socolow says.
Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics can be purchased here.
Jerry Brewer on the Washington Redskins’ “deplorable” leadership
In one of his latest columns, The Washington Post’s Sports Columnist Jerry Brewer writes that the Washington Redskins’ continuing series of poor decisions is a direct result of its leadership. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and team president Bruce Allen, Brewer argues, “continue to lead one of the NFL’s most important franchises deeper into the sewer.”
A recent report from the New York Times alleges that the team allowed male sponsors and FedEx Field suite holders access to see Redskins cheerleaders topless or wearing only body paint, after which some of them picked cheerleaders to be their “personal escorts at a nightclub.”
By allowing the franchise to treat their female cheerleaders so poorly, the Redskins' owners and operators "were dancing a dangerous dance in this #MeToo era,” Brewer tells David, adding that this is just one of many instances showing extremely poor judgment on the part of Snyder and Allen.
The Redskins’ leaders “consistently act in a deplorable and privileged manner that makes them ill-suited to represent a community as diverse and influential as this one,” Brewer writes in his article. The full interview is available below.