30 Apr 2000

The On-Air Game: The story of radio sport 1921-1996

From the collecton Resounding Radio

From the earliest days sports broadcasters exploit radio's immediacy. Add advances in technology and talkback, and sport becomes a hugely popular radio mainstay.

Programme contents

The contents are listed by running time, detail of material and name of the person speaking, where applicable. 'Actuality' means that the material is drawn from a 'live' or recorded programme or event.

0' 00" Cellphone call UK to NZ. Martin Crowe

0' 50" Description of NZ coverage All Blacks 'Invincibles' final game 1924 UK tour, Twickenham. (no commentary, score only). Clive Drummond

1' 40" Earliest sports commentary is from Nelson station 1923 Australasian sculling champs.

2' 15" First rugby commentaries start in Christchurch 1926. Alan Allardyce

3' 00" Probable world-first commentary: 1926 Canterbury Jockey Club 3-day meeting. Done from haystack. Alan Allardyce

3' 30" 1929: Four-year ban on race commentaries. Commentators describe from outside the ground.

4' 00" Bookies flourishing. John Proudfoot

5' 00" 1930 Threat to ban broadcast of Saturday matches of touring British Isles teams to protect local game attendance. Ban does not happen.

5' 25" Wheelbarrow trundles transmitter around golf course 1932.

5' 55" Gisborne's Tom Heeney fights Gene Tunney for world boxing championship 1928. Bout transcribed from Morse Code. Clive Drummond

7' 00" 500 fan letters for Gordon Hutter's wrestling commentaries 1929.

7' 50" Commentators now popular personalities. Winston McCarthy

8' 50" Actuality: Commentary Kiwi rugby tour of UK 1946. Winston McCarthy

9' 35" NZBS establishes sports section early 1950s. Charles Martin

11' 25" 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games coverage. Lance Cross

12' 20" 1953 telegram coverage, NZ cricket in South Africa explained. Charles Martin

13' 30" Actuality: Telegram coverage NZ cricket in South Africa. Lance Cross

14' 15" 1956 Springbok rugby tour electrifies New Zealand. Charles Martin

15' 30" Actuality: Peter Jones 'I'm buggered' comment. Peter Jones

15' 40" Jones comment deleted from repeat broadcast. Charles Martin

16' 20" High quality Post Office lines used from early 1950s.

16' 45" 1960s: demands of long rugby tours. Bob Irvine

17' 50" TV and private radio alter sports broadcast styles. Charles Martin

18' 10" Actuality: Tim Bickerstaff sports talk back. Tim Bickerstaff

18' 40" Impact of private radio on sports broadcasting. Tim Bickerstaff

21' 15" 1970s-style sports journalism defined, Charles Martin

22' 00" Actuality: Introduction to 'Sports Round-up'.

22' 15" 1952 embryo 'Sports Round-up' matures by December 1965. Ron Findlay

24' 10" New technology helping in 1970s. Rob Crabtree

24' 55" Actuality: Netball commentary 1988.

25' 30" Development of netball on radio and male domination of sports journalism.

28' 35" Growth of yachting broadcasting. Peter Montgomery

30' 20" Actuality: Rugby game cancellation, Hamilton, during Springbok tour 1981. John Howson

31' 20" 1981 Springbok tour and how sports journalists cope with controversy and civil disorder. John Howson

35' 00" Actuality: Racing commentary 1963 Wellington Cup. Peter Kelly

35' 30" Kelly, Tonks, Murtha, household names on racing network but racing goes to Radio Pacific in mid 1980s. Rob Crabtree

37' 30" Actuality: John Wright scoring century on NZ cricket tour of Pakistan. Bryan Waddle

38' 00" Severe technical limitations affecting cricket commentating in three Third World countries. Difficulties broadcasting Richard Hadlee breaking test wicket record. Bryan Waddle

41' 15" Actuality: Richard Hadlee breaking test wicket record, Bangalore, India. Bryan Waddle

42' 00" Mid 1980s start of private sports network 'Independent Radio Sport' (IRS). John Howson

44' 50" RNZ sports broadcasters welcome private competition. Gary Ahern

45' 50" After 1990 Commonwealth Games, funding cuts to Public Radio cause staff cuts and trimming of sports section. Ron Findlay

47' 00" 'Sports Round-up' threatened, but saved by joint sponsorship BNZ Mobil Comalco. John Howson

48' 10" Commercial arm of Public Radio sold and 'Independent Radio Sport' takes over.