KRWG

Ralph Willis Goddard: New Mexico's First Broadcaster

Dec 9, 2020

This half-hour documentary produced by KRWG Public Media tells the story of Ralph Willis Goddard and his pioneering work in New Mexico broadcasting. The program is produced in the spirit of celebrating New Mexico’s 100 years of radio broadcasting.  It airs on KRWG-TV Thursday at 7pm, Saturday at 5pm, and Sunday at 11am.

In 1920, a bright young engineer put Las Cruces, New Mexico on the map – and on the air. That year, Ralph Willis Goddard, an electrical engineering professor and department head at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, broadcast the first signals from his hand-built radio station in a small shack on the college campus. It was one of the first radio broadcasts west of the Mississippi River, and the first-ever in New Mexico. That small radio station would come to be known as K O B, one of the most powerful in the country. One hundred years later we look at the man whose remarkable life and tragic death was tied to one of the most significant technologies of the twentieth century.

Goddard’s legacy lives on at New Mexico State University. The engineering building where he broadcast New Mexico’s first radio signals was dedicated in 1934 as Goddard Hall. The stately structure still serves as the administrative center for the college of engineering. KRWG Public Media, also on the campus of NMSU, honors Ralph Willis Goddard’s legacy in the call letters of KRWG-FM radio, and KRWG-TV.