Mark Laurence marklaurence@mac.com
Fri Nov 20 18:02:14 EST 2009

Donna Halper wrote:
> At 12:32 PM 11/20/2009, vzeej5wn@myfairpoint.net wrote:
>> Worcester was indeed a thriving radio market for many years.  During 
>> the '60s, WORC and WAAB both had Top 40 formats and were hotly 
>> competitive; WNEB, the smallest of the bunch, held the CBS 
>> affiliation, and was oriented toward older listeners; and WTAG, the 
>> kingpin, was with NBC, had a full-service format, and a powerful 
>> regional signal that went well up into New Hampshire and Vermont.  It 
>> was arguably one of the most prominent stations in New England, which 
>> adds to the mystery as to why it would pass in the TV license.
> I wonder if it's an urban legend that WTAG actually had a license in 
> hand.  I am not saying somebody at WTAG didn't think about it or even 
> make some inquiries. But I am going through my files and I am checking 
> who is on record (and who is reported) as applying for the 
> Herald-Traveler's license.  On 26 March 1963, the NY Times reported 
> that a consortium of 15 businessmen, known as Charles River Civic 
> Television Inc and led by WCRB's Theodore Jones (the group was chaired 
> by Thomas D. Cabot), was trying to get the license.  Another group 
> mentioned in newspaper reports (Wall St. Journal, NY Times, Christian 
> Science Monitor) as a potential licensee was the Greater Boston TV 
> Company, but not much is said about it.  And then, as we all know, 
> there was Boston Broadcasters Inc.  But of all the many names 
> mentioned in these articles, none are associated with Worcester radio 
> stations, as far as I can see.  I'll keep looking.
1963 was long after the alleged Worcester license turnback.  I did an 
internship at WTAG in the 70's and I heard about this from long time 
employees who were probably at the scene when it happened.  Sometime in 
the mid-50's, the powers-that-be decided it was too expensive and risky 
for their hugely successful newspaper and radio station business and 
they turned down the TV license.  I heard they tore it up, but maybe 
they mailed it back. 

I know it sounds insane now, but this is a company that had been dumping 
money into one of the country's first FM stations for 15 years with 
nothing to show for it.  WWOR was losing money on channel 14 (dying 
after only 3 years in 1955 in its first incarnation).  I'm not sure but 
I think some other short-lived UHF station lived and died in Worcester 
in the 50's as well.  In that climate, the T&G's judgment might not look 
totally crazy.

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