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Many of you might have never heard of the Liberty Broadcasting System before. Which isn't surprising at all since we are talking about a radio network dating back to the times where your now over 90-years old great grand father was in his best shape, shortly after beating the axis powers overseas in world war II.
To be precisely, we are going back to the year 1948 now. Imagine a time where most people in the USA had no television. And now imagine being stuck in the late 40's as a huge baseball fan.
Chances were high that the only way to get the news about all the latest Major Baseball League games were available to you by reading the newspaper, especially if you lived in the south. How boring, right?
That is exactly what one man thought, the "Old Scotchman" or "Old Scotsman", also known as Gordon B. Mclendon. During the second great war he noticed that many boys were enthusiasticly talking and arguing about baseball even though the only radio broadcasts they ever heard were the World Series.
He was going to change that, he started in Texas with one single station and expanded to 240 transmitting in 34 states in a matter of only 3 years. His formula of success?
He was using teletyped play-by-play dispatches about the ML Baseball games from a Manhattan office and spiced them up with fancy sound effects and reported about the games in an entertaining and exciting way live.
Sometimes the viewers did not even realize that this was not the official version of the game commentary or chose his broadcast over the original ones.
His program also included other baseball commentators like Bud Blattner, Jerry Doggett and Lindsey Nelson wich brought more popularity for LBN.
Though Major League Baseball games reports were Liberty Broadcasting Network's biggest draft horse, it also included various other types of shows and sports. like football or late night band reviews, a musical giveaway along with a series called "Great Days in Sport" where McLendon himself revived old sports related events.
Everything went great for the young businessman having created the second biggest radio network of the time after the Mutual Broadcasting System, with over 458 affiliates (though his network was mainly based in his Texas) and 16 hours on air time daily.
Until in 1951 MLB raised its broadcasting fee for their games from 1000 Dollar that the texan scotsman had to pay per year, to the for this time enormously high amount, of 225.000 dollars. Plus his broadcasts were forbidden in a 75 miles radius in any league city and later the National Football League games followed. With sport games being the main reason for the show, this obviously was a brutal strike towards the shining new star in the broadcasting world.
Luckily another texan, the rich oilman Hugh Roy Cullen came to the rescue and bought half of McLendon's radio empire for 1 million dollars. But even though the Scotchman paid another 500.000 following the MLB`s and NFL's rulings, his creditors filed bankruptcy against him.
By 1970 his empire had decreased to only 16 remaining stations. McLendon sold them for over 100 million dollars and later died at age 65 in 1987.
In 2003 IDT Media created another radio network using the name Liberty Broadcasting Co, but it is not related to the original Liberty Broadcasting Network.