The Old WHDH-TV Channel 5 equipment (was Re: The courtship of NBC by the Herald-Traveler)

Peter Q. George
Sun Jun 21 02:58:12 EDT 2009

Good question.  I do know that a few of the old WHDH-TV cameras wound up at Grahm Junior College once WCVB-TV took charge of Channel 5 in Boston in March, 1972.  The many hours of the sports tapes recorded by WHDH-TV during their years as the Red Sox flagship first went over to WBZ-TV (Channel 4) when 'BZ obtained the broadcast rights for the BoSox for a couple of years.  Eventually when WSBK-TV (Channel 38) got the Sox rights in '75 or '76, I believe 38 got the archives from 'BZ.  I'm sure NESN now holds the archives of most of the pro teams in Boston.

As for the transmitter and associated equipment that operated at the old WHDH-TV, I am not sure.  I do know that Harold J. Clancy, CEO of WHDH and publisher of The Herald-Traveler was so convinced that WHDH-TV would prevail, he started purchasing new equipment as late as November, 1971.  When WCVB accidentally fired up on prime time for 20 minutes of prime time in November, 1971 during WHDH's showing of "The Plot To Kill Hitler" ('CVB was already doing nightly equipment tests from 2:00 AM until 5:00 AM), this accidental collision of the two Channel 5 transmitters might have given Clancy some "false hope" that eventually WHDH-TV would not meet the executioner's sword (aka The FCC).  Nothing doing, as in late December, 1971 the FCC gave it's final verdict, WHDH-TV must cease operations as of 3:00 AM, Sunday, March 19th, 1972.  Since most of WHDH's staff moved over to WCVB on 3/19/72, though most are long since retired or may have passed away, the fate of
 the old 'HDH equipment remains a mystery.  Any takers on this question?  

Peter Q. George (K1XRB)
Whitman, Massachusetts
"Scanning the bands since 1967"

--- On Sun, 6/21/09, Kevin Vahey <> wrote:

> From: Kevin Vahey <>
> Subject: Re: The courtship of NBC by the Herald-Traveler
> To: "Donna Halper" <>
> Cc: "(newsgroup) Boston-Radio-Interest" <>
> Date: Sunday, June 21, 2009, 12:37 AM
> 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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