A pioneer in the world of sports broadcasting, Graham McNamee was born on July 10, 1888 in Washington, DC, and had aspirations to become an opera singer before joining the staff of WEAF/New York in 1923.
In an era when most sports broadcasts were helmed by newspaper writers, McNamee quickly made a name for himself through his vivid descriptions of the activity taking place. McNamee worked as a broadcaster for a dozen World Series broadcasts and was asked by NBC to perform play-by-play duties for the 1927 Rose Bowl game, the network's first coast-to-coast broadcast. As a sports broadcaster, McNamee covered everything from the Indianapolis 500 to the famous 1927 boxing match between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney.
McNamee's ability to work spontaneously landed him several other high-profile broadcasts, including the second inauguration of President Calvin Coolidge and Charles Lindbergh's return to New York following his transatlantic flight.
During the 1930s, McNamee worked as an announcer on variety and comedy shows that starred Ed Wynn and Rudy Vallee. In the early 1940s, he hosted Behind the Mike, a series that answered listeners' questions about the inner workings of the radio industry.
Graham McNamee died on May 9, 1942.
He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2011.