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WLAW affiliation (Was: Sinatra the Radio Man)

Dan Strassberg wrote:
"...I did not know that WLAW had been a CBS affiliate.  The first time I
visited Boston, in 1947 or 1948, WLAW was an ABC affiliate. Can anyone
establish the history of WLAW's network affiliations?"

I didn't think I'd be able to answer this one as I knew the Manchester
(NH) Union stopped listing WLAW late in 1945.  A closer inspection of
the listings for that year, however, revealed all--backed by a little
fact-checking with The New York Times and a little digging in the Nashua

It turns out WLAW was with ABC from the network's Day 1.  RCA had sold
off the Blue Network in 1943 but it continued to be known by its old
name until Friday, June 15, 1945, when the network formally became the
American Broadcasting Company.  That day also marked affiliation changes
for WLAW and WFEA.  'LAW went from CBS to ABC while 'FEA dropped NBC for
CBS.  Here's the text of a display ad (apparently supplied by the
network with space to stick in the local logo) that appeared on the
radio page of the Telegraph 6/14/45: "America's favorite radio shows NOW
come to you over WLAW 680 on your dial/TOMORROW this station joins the
American Broadcasting Company/Seven days a week we will bring you the
best in radio entertainment...top notch stars, big names of the
airwaves, the very best in music, drama, comedy, news...programs of
interest to every member of the family...programs that have made history
in radio. NOW HEARD OVER WLAW 680 ON YOUR DIAL."  Those are their
ellipses, by the way; the slashes are mine!  The text was inside a map
of the U.S. and balloons lining the ad mentioned airtimes for ten
programs ranging from "The Lone Ranger" (MWF 7:30pm) to "Ladies Be
Seated" (M-F 3:45pm) and "Blind Date" (M 8:30pm).  I like the smaller ad
in the next day's Telegraph; over a picture of open parachutes, it
reads: "Your Favorite Saturday Shows Have Jumped/to a new location/680
on your dial."  Six programs are listed including "The Breakfast Club"
at 9am and the Boston Pops at 8:30pm.

This is one of several WFEA ads in the 6/15/45 Union: "Columbia Comes to
Manchester!/Tune to WFEA tonight at 7:30/Listen to Manchester's Welcome
as WFEA enters a new era of public service with CBS programs and The
Biggest Show in Town/You'll hear and enjoy [list of 10 names, including
the governor, the mayor, 2 reverends and a rabbi].

According to the Times, ABC was supposed to air its own Big Show at 10pm
on its first day, an hour-long drama called "Weapon for Tomorrow"
complete with a chance to hear and enjoy speeches by the FCC chairman
and the acting Secretary of State.  Times listings for 6/15 indicate
WJZ (770 kHz) carried this in NYC but the Union and Telegraph listings
show WLAW carrying something called "Richest Man in Duluth" at that

Back in Manchester, the other station in town (WMUR) was a Blue Network
affiliate and stuck with ABC; I presume the Union dropped WLAW's
listings 3 months later because they didn't see any sense listing an
out-of-state station with mostly the same programs as a Manchester
station.  On the other hand, the Union always listed WBZ, even when WFEA
was carrying the same NBC programs.

There was some fuss over how the new ABC would identify itself on the
air.  "While the network is expected to become generally known as 'the
American network,' legal complications and the possibility of confusion
with WABC [the CBS station in NYC] or NBC will bar formal identification
as 'the ABC chain'"  (Times, 6/10/45).  It's amusing to consider the
notion that folks would confuse ABC and NBC because, unlike CBS, they
share two whole letters in common.  The confusion for New York listeners
is certainly plausible, though; it was resolved on Saturday, November 2,
1946, when WABC and WABC-FM became WCBS and WCBS-FM.  The same day saw
WEAF and WEAF-FM change to WNBC and WNBC-FM.

Then there was the Associated Broadcasting Co. (or Corp.).  It was
trying to establish a national network and fed a lot of sustaining
programs coast-to-coast starting in September 1945.    Associated
Broadcasting filed a suit to stop American Broadcasting from identifying
its web as ABC.  An agreement was reached in December 1945 under which
you-know-who got to be ABC and Associated would be known as ABS. A
couple months later the Associated Broadcasting System was history as a
national network.  When it petered out it was reported to have 23
affiliates; WMCA New York was one of them, don't know about Boston.