Unknown to me, there is actually a company by the above name. My article will not deal with them but rather with an interesting concept in sports television that began in 1957. As Heels fans know, that was a glorious year for the basketball guys. Led by Lennie Rosenbluth and Coach Frank McGuire, Carolina went 32-0, winning the first NCAA championship for the program (no, I didn’t forget the undefeated champs of 1924) by beating Kansas in a fabulous three overtime thriller.
As might be expected, interest in the 1957 team grew dramatically as the victories piled up. Woolen Gym(built in 1937) held about 5000 people and was packed to the rafters game after game. As the Duke game approached on February 9, interest was intensifying. UNC President William Friday and advertising executive Billy Carmichael came up with a unique plan to televise the game, but nothing like that which exists today. Working in tandem with WUNC public television, the plan they devised was ingenious.
There were obstacles to televising sports in those days, from the teams and from radio stations among others. What would happen to ticket sales, would anyone even care to go if they could see a game for free? The plan called for televising the game as it happened, no play-by-play, no commercials etc. You watched it as a fan who wa sathere and listened to the radio if you so chose. Voila! It worked. As a youngster, I remember it well and for me, it was as if I were there. For all I knew, it might be as close as I would ever get to a game in person. It was great. Many times since then , I have turned down the television and listened to Woody Durham and his predecessor, Bill( The Mouth of the South) Currie.
Woolen is still there, next to Carmichael which would succeed it in 1965. The Smith Center would arrive on the scene in 1986. I was privileged to watch a game or two in Carmichael and it was great indeed. I can only imagine how it was in Woolen Gym and its predecessor, The Tin Can which dates back to the 1920′s.
Broadvision, we salute you and those innovators who made it happen. For Carolina fans and others, you launched us on a magical journey.
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