Sat Nov 21 13:27:31 EST 2009
I don't know if you nice folks have been in correspondence with
sometimes list-member John Andrews, but he sent me his recollections
about WTAG and early television. I have not been able to verify the
1945 date he gives, however, nor do I see a channel 5 assignment in
any of the reference books from that period which I possess. That
doesn't mean he is wrong-- it just means more digging is required,
and alas, I don't have a ton of free time to do it. I was able to
verify in early 1940s issues of Radio Annual that WTAG Radio was in
fact a CBS affiliate, with the other Worcester radio stations being
(WAAB) Mutual/Yankee and Blue Network (WORC). Anyway, for those who
did not see John's comments about WTAG-TV, here they are:
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette did indeed have a CP for Channel 5
in 1945. And they did indeed surrender it without having built the TV
station. As best I could determine it, there were several reasons:
1. That Channel 5 allocation to Worcester was very different than the
one that eventually turned up for Boston. It was short-spaced to a
grant on Long Island (hope I'm right about the location), and was
given an ERP about 1/10 of the other northeast grants. Given the
proposed transmitter site on Little Asnebumskit Hill in Paxton, the
Boston coverage would have been troublesome, even with the rooftop
antennas that became common in the early TV days. I know that WTAG
did look seriously at a Blue Hill site for the TV operation, but the
only real planning was done for the Paxton location.
2. WTAG-AM was indeed a CBS affiliate after 1943, as NBC had stopped
allowing simulcast of network material on WTAG-FM. Crazy as it may
seem now, CBS had invested considerable R&D on their "color wheel"
color transmission system, and it was incompatible with the fledgling
B/W standards. CBS was telling their affiliates that the VHF channels
would forever be stuck in black & white, and that color TV would only
be on UHF. Amazing, but CBS appears to have heavily pushed that
concept to their radio affiliates.
3. TV Network affiliations were a problem with every TV scheme that
the Telegram & Gazette investigated. None of the networks (Dumont
included) would ever commit to either a primary affiliation to try to
cover Boston, or to a duplicate affiliation at that distance.
For those reasons, the CP was turned back. Within less than 2 years
(if memory serves), the T&G got in the middle of the 10/11/12 switch
in Providence, trying to get 12 for Worcester. They dropped out after
again getting no agreement with a network.
More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest