Piece of sports TV history now on display in East Texas

One of the three original ESPN production trucks given to Texas Broadcast Museum in Kilgore

Piece of sports TV history now on display in East Texas
Conrad says they had to expand a garage door to get the truck inside the museum. (Source: KLTV)

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - A piece of sports television history is now on display at an East Texas museum.

The Texas Broadcast Museum in Kilgore is currently working on renovating one of the three original trucks that ESPN used for mobile production.

“Here it is!” museum curator Chuck Conrad said. “This is ESPN’s unit 327. It was put into service in 1979 when they first signed on.”

The truck was given to the museum by a production company, Crews Line, that later used it. Step inside the truck and you’ll find that not much has changed.

“This is where the magic happened,” Conrad said. “We hope to get enough of it works so we can really demonstrate it. But for right now, we’re just pleased that the monitors are coming on and smoke’s not pouring out.”

Conrad says the truck was used for countless broadcasts across the country and even went to Jamaica once for World Cup tennis.

“ESPN found out they could rent an entire 24 hour block of time on a RCA satellite for less than they can rent for 5 hours a day. So that’s why they became a 24 hours sports channel," Conrad said.

Some of the equipment inside the truck does work, while some of it does not. A work in progress that Conrad hopes future generations can learn from.

“I think we want people to see how things were done in the past, so they’ll have some appreciation of how to them in the future,” Conrad said. “Even though this was really complicated and convuluted. The people that used it, did some really quality work.”

The truck is now on display inside the Texas Broadcast Museum on East Main Street in Kilgore. The museum is open 10-5 on Fridays and Saturdays.

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