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the last word on WBZ/WBZA
- Subject: the last word on WBZ/WBZA
- From: Donna Halper <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 02:52:56 -0400
In a letter Gordon Swan wrote, when he was helping to compile the WBZ
history about 25 years ago, he explained that it no longer made sense to
have a dinky little transmitter and studios in Springfield-- most of the
talent was now at the Boston studio, the staff had grown, the orchestra had
expanded, the station had its own drama group, etc etc-- and nobody wanted
to shlep to Springfield (no offence to Springfield). So, the chief engineer
(Phil Robinson, I believe) filed the appropriate paperwork and the call
letter switch was made. On 13 March 1931, WBZ's new 15 kw transmitter went
on in Millis, and WBZA was left with 1000 wonderful watts and a venerable
old transmitter (which wasn't replaced till 1933-- an old water-cooled
transmitter it was!!!). The official opening of the Hotel Bradford studios
(5th floor) occurred on 5 June 1931. Scott is right-- the FRC didn't
especially care, because stations did move all over the place back then.
When WCBR got started, for example, it was a portable out of Providence.
Then in 1928, the FRC got rid of all the portables, so the owner (Charles
Messter) moved it---- to Illinois. Bottom line-- WBZ's swap with WBZA was
inevitable, and in order for Westinghouse to really compete in Boston, they
needed to be there all the time. By the summer of 1931, they finally were.