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President Truman Makes the First Transcontinental Television Broadcast (September 4, 1951)


A speech by President Harry S. Truman delivered in San Francisco on September 4, 1951 and broadcast on television from coast to coast, was the first transcontinental television broadcast. Truman's speech, delivered at the opening of the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference, also known as the Treaty of San Francisco, discussed the acceptance by the U.S. of a treaty that officially ended America's post-war occupation of Japan.

The broadcast, the first test of new microwave radio-relay skyway technology developed by AT&T, was carried by 87 stations in 47 American cities. It was estimated that more than 30 million people saw and heard the broadcast—the largest single television audience to date.