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History Lesson: NORAD Channels Santa’s Magic

20 Dec 2017, 9:30 am

All it took was a typo and a good sport to make some real Christmas magic. The story of how NORAD came to be the world’s premiere Santa tracker is up there with Frosty, Rudolph, and Buddy the Elf.

In 1955, a Colorado Springs Sears and Roebuck, Co. ad encouraged kids to use a special phone number to call Santa. “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure to dial the correct number.” Problem is, that phone number went directly to Colonel Harry Shoup of the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). On Christmas Eve, the first call came in. Instead of a Five-Star General on the other line, a small voice wondered where Santa was. Thinking it was a joke, his first reaction was confusion and annoyance. But Shoup quickly realized the honest mistake and had his operators report Santa’s location to every child who called in that night.

The tradition continued every year, even when CONAD became the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in 1958. To this day, NORAD uses satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet fighters to track Santa on his journey around the world. We will be riding right along side them to bring you Santa’s current position. Be sure to tune in on air and online to follow along with us!

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