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Official WBZ-TV dates

Ah yes, memory does play tricks on one.  But Gordon was mostly right-- I
checked back on the printed timeline that we had started last year, and also
some newspaper clippings.  Here's the total storyof WBZ-TV's origins:

WBZ did a demonstration of TV at the Bradford  as far back as December of
1947, but they did NOT broadcast their own programme-- they rebroadcast a
boxing match from a New York station.  Reporters were impressed with the
pictures, however, and wrote it up favourably, saying they were eager for
WBZ to get on the air with its own TV shows.  That, however, was a process
fraught with delays.

According to Gordon Swan and Bill Swartley's memoirs, and according to
Broadcasting Magazine, Westinghouse had tried as far back as March of 1944
to get a permit to broadcast TV-- in fact, they had first tried to get
channel 5, with a transmitter to be in Hull and studios in Boston at the
Bradford.  But the FCC did not approve of their plans.  In June of 1945,
they got a cp for channel 4, with studios to be on land they had just
purchased-- Soldiers Field Road (Gordon prepared their application, and his
signature is on it).  The cornerstone for that building was laid in October
of 1947.  

Due to endless delays getting parts, plus some horrible winter weather, the
tower was not finished till April of 1948, and there were problems
installing the studio equipment as well.  After the tests at the Bradford,
the first announcement of a test program was sent to the media-- it was for
late May of 1948:  the first test pattern, according to all the printed
materials, was at 5.42 pm on 29 May 1948.  Another test programme, with
actual human beings before the camera, went on 3 June of 1948.  The word was
told to the WBZ staff to expect to move any day, but their first official
show ended up going on at the Bradford-- two hours of test patterns, sign
off for a while, then more test pattern, and then finally (ta-DAH!) Arch
MacDonald and the news (Arch had been a respected radio reporter with WBZ
since 1938...).

It took one full week to move everything, and some of the staff recalled
that the moving was going on while they were trying to broadcast.  But
finally, on 17 June 1948, the first broadcast from the new Soldier's Field
Road TV studio occurred-- radio had moved in already, although it had taken
a while for that to happen as well.

So, bottom line, it seems that perhaps 4 or 5 broadcasts at most went on
from the Bradford before they finally got everything into Soldier's Field
Road. WBZ-TV was not on 7 days a week at first; they did not broadcast on
Mondays or Tuesdays for a while, and they usually only went on the air
around 5.30 pm and off at 10.30 pm -- they would not be on the air 7 days a
week till late September of 1948 in fact; the station wouldn't be on the air
all day till around 1950!

I am sure the first week was rather hectic.  I have some amusing anecdotes
about how crazed early TV was in general, but when people are moving while
you are broadcasting, that really adds to it.  Gordon was the PD, and he had
a staff of 3.  That was it.  WBZ-TV began its life with one Program Director
and 3 staff; everyone else was borrowed from radio as needed.  (Does this
sound as if in some ways, we've gone full-circle, what with WBZ-TV reporters
doing radio and WBZ Radio folks doing TV these days to save money...)