The courtship of NBC by the Herald-Traveler

Kevin Vahey
Sun Jun 21 00:37:39 EDT 2009

Interesting how it could have played out.

Had RKO and NBC swapped with DC and Boston WNAC-TV would have had
improved local news for starters. Of course who knows what would have
happened on the radio side as most likely WRKO never happens as a Top
40 outlet and WRC-AM would most likely have gone the Boss Radio route.

One has to assume that the bosses at the Herald-Traveler were
convinced they would get NBC by spending millions on all color in 1957
instead of playing it safe with B&W. Had the license been awarded with
no strings attached I am certain NBC would have jumped and then
Westinghouse would have grabbed CBS.

NBC by taking Captain Bob from WHDH was sending a strong message to
Westinghouse. Of course you have to wonder how much Westinghouse
worked behind the scene with the FCC to keep Channel 5 in limbo.

I do know that Westinghouse almost moved Mike Douglas to Boston from
Cleveland which is what Douglas wanted as he remembered the huge
crowds the show attracted when the Hynes Auditorium opened in 1965.
However Westinghouse decided it would be easier to train or limo
guests from NYC to Philly than flying them to Boston.

Another sidebar to all this was the equipment wars. WBZ-TV was in no
rush to buy RCA color gear for Boston as they were waiting for the
Phillips-Norelco gear that was promised for 1965 and was much better
than what RCA was making. But William Paley of all people forced
Westinghouse to buy RCA gear when he converted WCAU to color using RCA
equipment to blow the new KYW away. CBS then waited for Norelco to
convert Television City and made a mistake of converting Studio 50 in
NY to Marconi. The Hells Kitchen studios also waited for Norelco. WNAC
went with GE cameras as did ABC and also WSBK. WKBG went RCA as well.

When WHDH refused to sell Morrisey Blvd to WCVB they did that hoping
that building a studio and transmitter on spec would cause BBI to go
broke and that almost happened. Channel 4 actually saved BBI a ton by
renting space on their tower and the old channel 5 tower would become
FM-128. WCVB went the Norelco route.

I have always wondered where the WHDH gear wound up when Morrisey Blvd
was dismantled.

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