OK, cramming three things together that aren’t each related to the others, but I can link them enough to justify the single post. And, I know, all of these would have been much more timely a week ago. You were busy, too. Let’s get caught up together.

First, radio. Last week was the 75th anniversary of the War of the Worlds broadcast. I’ve always been fascinated by it for a variety of reasons. And I had heard many times before that the “panic” wasn’t nearly as widespread as legend insisted.

But this piece does the math, checks the historical record, and then delves into why there was a “panic” in the first place. The answer is awfully interesting.

How did the story of panicked listeners begin? Blame America’s newspapers. Radio had siphoned off advertising revenue from print during the Depression, badly damaging the newspaper industry. So the papers seized the opportunity presented by Welles’ program to discredit radio as a source of news. The newspaper industry sensationalized the panic to prove to advertisers, and regulators, that radio management was irresponsible and not to be trusted.

Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds Did Not Touch Off a Nationwide Hysteria. Few Americans Listened. Even Fewer Panicked.

Now, radio and baseball.

A wonderful look at the tremendous reach of St. Louis station KMOX, and how its power and the geography of baseball before expansion made the Cardinals, arguably, the most popular team in America, even at the height of the Yankees dynasties.

Supposedly, it still is, despite the proliferation of televisions and Internet access. But can it really still be heard clearly in other states, without the harsh accompaniment of static and interference from other stations trying to muscle in on the signal? Surely there must be some exaggeration.
To put it to the test, I set out in my rental car Sunday, the day of Game 4 of the World Series, between the Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, and headed south, the radio tuned to 1120 AM, to see if I could I outdrive the signal before the end of the game.

Trying to Outrun The Cardinals’ Long Reach

And, finally, just baseball.

I love the site Flip Flop Flyball. Artist Craig Robinson uses his mastery of Photoshop and his new-found love of baseball (He’s a native of England), to create kickass, 8-bit-style graphics of famous players and historical moments. He also makes cool infographics that are not necessarily 8-bit.

He currently resides in Mexico and using the Mexican sculpture style known as Árbol de Vida (Tree of Life), he created an Árbol de Béisbol: the history of baseball in one, cool, 8-bit graphic. Here is the image, but he sure to go to the page and read up on all the elements. It’s really fantastic.


Árbol de Béisbol

And while you’re over there, look at some of his other work.