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Re: WNHC / WTNH / Ch. 6 / Ch. 8
- Subject: Re: WNHC / WTNH / Ch. 6 / Ch. 8
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott D Fybush)
- Date: Sat, 12 Apr 1997 14:40:35 -0400 (EDT)
A bit more on the allocation shifts of the 1950s and 1960s in
the Northeast, from my new Rochester perspective:
The original Upstate NY allocations looked like this:
2 WGR-TV Buffalo (on air 1954), CBFT Montreal (on air 1952), WCBW NYC (1941)
3 WSYR-TV Syracuse (on air 1954), WCAX-TV Burlington VT (on air 1954)
4 WRGB Schenectady (on air 194?), WBEN-TV Buffalo (on air 1948),
WNBT New York (on air 1941), WBZ-TV Boston (on air 1948),
CBOT Ottawa (on air 1954?)
5 WABD New York (on air 1944), WIRI Plattsburgh (on air 1954)
6 WHAM-TV Rochester (on air 1949), WNHC-TV New Haven (on air 1948), CBLT
Toronto (1954, after WHAM-TV moved to channel 5)
7 WCNY-TV Watertown (on air 1954), WJZ-TV NYC (1948), WNAC-TV Boston (1948)
8 WHEN-TV Syracuse (1948), WMTW-TV Poland Spring (1954)
9 WOR-TV New York (1948)
10 WHEC-TV/WVET-TV Rochester (1953), CFTM Montreal (195?)
11 WPIX New York (1948), CKWS-TV Kingston (1954), WJAR-TV Providence (1949)
12 WNBF-TV Binghamton (1949), CHEX-TV Peterborough (1954)
13 WATV Newark NJ (1948), WKTV Utica (1949)
The first big shift happened in the early 50s; as we've noted,
New Haven went from 6 to 8 and Schenectady from 4 to 6. At the same
time, Rochester shifted from 6 to 5 to prevent short-spacing to
At some point in the late 50s, channel 13 in Utica moved to channel 2.
The move of WKTV allowed 35 to move to 13 in Albany, and opened
channel 13 for allocation in Western New York (Rochester, where WOKR
signed on in 1962) and eastern Ontario (CJOH Ottawa, 1961). I suspect
that under the initial spacing scheme, 2 in Utica would have been
severely short-spaced to the channel 2 allocation in Buffalo.
There was another major upstate shift in 1961, and it looked like this:
Rochester's channel 5 moved to 8 (WROC-TV)
Syracuse's channel 8 moved to 5 (WHEN-TV, now WTVH)
Toronto's channel 6 moved to channel 5 (CBLT) [I'm not certain this
happened at the same time as the 5/8 swap, but whenever it happened
it opened channel 6 for use at Deseronto, Ontario for a CJOH relay]
This swap opened channel 9 in Syracuse, which signed on in 1962 as
WNYS and is now WIXT. It also left Rochester without low-band VHF
The channel 10 allocation at Vail Mills was opposed by channel 10
in Rochester, the shared-time WVET-TV/WHEC-TV operation. I've
seen the newspaper clippings talking about how the Rochester 10s
filed petitions to deny.
The WVET-TV/WHEC-TV sharetime was one of just a handful
nationwide, created as a compromise to get channel 10 on
the air in 1953. WVET and WHEC agreed to operate alternate
days and evenings, both as CBS affiliates. Around 1957, they
contemplated applying for the unused channel 27 allocation,
to be operated as an ABC affiliate, again shared-time by
whichever station wasn't using channel 10 that day. It
The shared-time 10s in Rochester ended in 1961, when the
Veterans Broadcasting Company, which owned WVET 1280 and the
WVET-TV half of channel 10, bought WROC-TV 5 and WROC-FM 97.9
from Transcontinental TV. WVET(AM) became WROC(AM), and
Veterans sold its half of channel 10 to Gannett, which then
owned WHEC 1460 and the WHEC-TV half of channel 10.
Veterans moved in at the 201 Humboldt Street WROC studios. The
old WVET-TV/AM studios at 17 S. Clinton Ave. were occupied
the next year by WOKR(TV) 13. WOKR moved south to Henrietta NY
in 1968 or thereabouts, and the site is now part of the
Xerox Tower skyscraper. WROC-TV 8 is still at 201 Humboldt
(the radio stations were sold off in 1979, and have moved
repeatedly since then). WHEC-TV is still at 191 East Avenue,
but in a new building built next door to the original one (since
demolished) in 1979.
UHF in the 50s up here? Not much...Buffalo had WBUF-TV 17, which
NBC put on the air in 1953 as one of its two UHF O&Os (WNBC-TV
30 was the other; CBS's were WHCT-TV 18 and WXIX-TV 19 in Milwaukee).
WBUF-TV lasted until 1959, when WGR-TV moved from ABC to NBC
and the new WKBW-TV 7 picked up ABC. The channel 17 facility
was given to educational TV and became WNED-TV.
Rochester had commercial allocations on 15 and 27. WARC 950 had
a CP to build WARC-TV 15 and WRNY 680 had one for WRNY-TV 27, but
neither was built. Both allocations were deleted in the 60s in
favor of channel 31, which signed on in 1980 as WUHF-TV.
Syracuse's channel 43 and 62 allocations were never even applied
for in the 50s, as far as I know. 62 was eventually activated
in the 80s, but as channel 68 instead, WSYT. 43 finally
materialized just a few years ago.
Binghamton and Elmira were active UHF cities from the start.
12 was Binghamton's only VHF allocation, so when the city got an
NBC affiliate in 1957, it was WINR-TV 40. ABC followed a few
years later as WBJA-TV 34.
Elmira's channel 9 allocation was never activated, and the FCC
decided to make Elmira all-UHF. Channel 18 arrived in 1957,
as WSYE, a satellite of Syracuse's WSYR-TV 3. Channel 36 was
activated in 1969 as ABC affiliate WENY-TV.
Utica's first U was in 1970, WUTR-TV 20.
One more note: the NY State Board of Education at one time took
out CPs for a string of noncomm TVs across the state, on 23 in
Buffalo, 21 in Rochester, 24 in Syracuse, 46 in Binghamton,
17 in Schenectady, and 31 in New York. None was ever activated,
but those allocations were later used for public TV in the
60s, 70s, and 80s.