Father of Richmond sportscasting passes away

by Matt Lincoln

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Frank Soden was the first sportscaster in the state of Virginia.  The word 'pioneer' just does not seem to do him justice.  Sunday night Soden passed away at the age of 91.

Soden went on the air in Richmond in 1948 first at station WXGI and later at Richmond's WRNL. In addition to serving as WRNL's executive vice-president and general manager, Soden was the play-by-play announcer for both the Richmond Virginians and the Richmond Braves AAA Baseball teams while at the station. The first AAA baseball game ever to be broadcast in Virginia featured the Richmond Virginians at Parker Field in April of 1954 with Frank Soden calling the plays.

Soden lent his voice for University of Virginia football (1952-54), Virginia Tech football (1956-58), University of Richmond football (1969-80) and University of Richmond basketball (1956-80). In 1950 the first college basketball game to be broadcast in Virginia hit the airwaves with Frank Soden calling the action as the University of Richmond took on West Virginia University at West Virginia. From 1950 through 1975, Soden also commentated NCAA and Southern Conference basketball games.

Soden's funeral will be held at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Richmond on Friday at 10pm.  There will be a reception following the funeral on the University of Richmond campus.

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