This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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DO YOU RECALL U.S. PRESIDENT HUGHES?
By Rob Farr © 2010
(From Radio Recall, June 2010)
The year is 1916 and the three Navy radio towers on Columbia Pike in Arlington (just a short stroll from our Club's meeting place) is the technological pride of America.. The strongest radio transmitters in the world were poised demonstrate their strength by broadcasting the 1916 U.S. presidential election results around the world within hours of the polls closing.
The Washington Post proclaimed on Nov 8: “On a 100 kilowatt charge the Arlington radio station dispatched the news of Charles Evans Hughes’ election to the four corners of the earth last night, to Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, London and every other capital of Europe, South America, and Asia, the final result was flashed from the most powerful sending apparatus in the world.". Within an hour the Arlington station was receiving messages from world leaders congratulating President-elect Hughes on his victory.
Only problem was…they got it wrong. The broadcast went out before the California returns were counted. Incumbent Woodrow Wilson squeaked out a win there by just a few thousand votes and was declared the winner. But for Arlington’s mighty broadcasting station…the news came too late.
Historical research gives no indication that the Arlington Towers ever broadcast a retraction. So in the firm belief that it is never too late to correct the public record, Radio Recall hereby states uncategorically that Thomas Woodrow Wilson was duly re-elected as President of the United States and took his oath of office on March 5 1917. We apologize for any confusion resulting from this error.