With a sharp eye for detail, American author and media historian Michael Socolow combines elements of geopolitical intrigue, Olympic history and sports broadcasting exploration infused with vigorous enthusiasm for rowing in his notable November 2016 book “Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics.”
On the May 9 “Huddlin’ With The Pros” podcast host David Weinstein referred to the influential time period of Socolow’s book by describing it as “the genesis of global sportscasting and how we all now pay attention to sports.”
Six Minutes in Berlin caught the attention of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, which named Socolow the winner of its 2018 Broadcasting Historian Award.
“As my book points out, NHK were the only foreign broadcasters to travel to Los Angeles in 1932 for those (Olympic) Games, but the Olympic organizers prohibited live broadcasts (the Japanese sportscaster would take notes in the stadium, drive to NBC’s Los Angeles studio, and re-create the event),” Socolow stated in a recent interview. “The signal would be sent to San Francisco for relay to Tokyo.”
In describing what Socolow accomplished in his thorough research and reporting, the news release announcing the award summed up his ambitious feat.
“Socolow uses a single case study — the gold-medal winning rowing crew from the University of Washington, which upset the Germans in front of Adolf Hitler and 75,000 fans — to illustrate the development of sports broadcasting at the personal, national, and global levels,” the news release stated. “He interweaves the broadcast of that race, heard by millions in the United States, with the memories of the oarsmen and contemporaneous press accounts to revisit the dramatic and exciting origins of live global sportscasting.”