The FM band; WESX on FM, etc

Bob Nelson
Wed Dec 1 12:31:13 EST 2004

Was sending an email to a tape trader and writing about WNSH and
WESX, so I decided to do a little research about "history of WESX"
and wound up finding a page with a bit of radio history.

It started with a reproduction of a 1943 New York Times article,
"New FM Calls Coming", explaining that the system of numbers and
letters (W242AB) would be replaced by "four letters".

"The commission's decision to abandon the number-letter FM calls was based on limitations discovered by the FM broadcasters themselves. They were found cumbersome, hence did not meet with general public acceptance. The old familiar three or four letter call system was well rooted in the industry. It seemed so, at least. Another difficulty was that when an FM station was moved, geographically or along the megacycles, it involved changes in both letters and numerals. 

"Letter calls are intrenched in the public mind. What old-timer does not remember WBF of Boston operated by the W. B. Filene store in Boston before, during and after World War I..." etc. Hmm! Didn't
know Filene's had a station.

Then there was an article about the FM band being moved from 1945:
"(The FCC) ordered today the assignment to frequency modulation of ninety channels between 88 and 106 megacycles, twenty of which, from 88 to 92 megacycles, are for non-commercial educational FM. At present FM is between 42 and 50 megacycles, and the action, consequently, lifts it 'upstairs.'"

I had known of this before, and later FM wound up claiming 
from 106 to 108 as well...the article mentions _those_ frequencies
were for "facsimile". (Meaning what we now call a fax? Or
something else?)

And it also has a list of construction permits for FM stations
in 1946; among the, 105.5 for WESX in Salem, MA. I didn't know
they had a CP for an FM and as far as I know they never
put it on the air, though wasn't there a 105.5 in Lynn for awhile?

Link to page in question--

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