Directional ex-Class IA AMs

Scott Fybush
Tue Nov 24 13:16:41 EST 2009 wrote:
> I had thought that WEAF became WRCA, and then WNBC.  Channel 30 in New 
> Britain had been WNBC when NBC owned it; when the station was sold, the 
> WNBC calls got transferred to New York.   Am I missing something in the 
> timeline?   -Doug


The launch of the WNBC and WCBS calls in 1946 was coordinated. Both 
flips happened on Nov. 1, 1946. CBS flipped the calls on its FM 
(WABC-FM) and TV (WCBW) properties as well; NBC changed WEAF-FM to 
WNBC-FM, but kept the WNBT calls on its TV station.

The WNBC calls had been used in New Britain, CT (on what's now WPOP 
1410) until 1944. I believe, but am not certain, that NBC bought the 
calls from the New Britain station in 1944 and parked them on one of its 
shortwave transmitters awaiting use on the flagship station in NYC.

The WCBS calls had been used in Springfield, IL on what became WCVS 
1450. (The calls stood for "Community Broadcast Service," the owner of 
the Springfield station.)

The WABC and WEAF calls were not reused immediately. I suspect, given 
the power that CBS and NBC wielded at the FCC, that they were held in 
some sort of informal "reserved" status and not available to Joe Radio 
Station who might have wanted them.

On March 1, 1953, ABC changed the calls of WJZ/WJZ-FM/WJZ-TV to 

On Oct. 18, 1954, RCA rebranded many of its stations with callsigns 
reflecting the corporate ownership. That's when WNBC/WNBC-FM and 
WNBT(TV) became WRCA/WRCA-FM/WRCA-TV. KNBH(TV) in Los Angeles became 
KRCA(TV), and WNBW(TV) in Washington became WRC-TV, matching the 
existing WRC/WRC-FM. I don't know why NBC didn't change the calls on its 
remaining O&Os - KNBC/KNBC-FM in San Francisco kept their calls, as did 
WMAQ/WMAQ-FM/WNBQ(TV) in Chicago and WTAM/WTAM-FM/WNBK(TV) in Cleveland.

(Actually, I'm pretty sure I know why they didn't bother with Cleveland 
- they were trying to unload the stations, and when they traded them to 
Westinghouse for KYW/WPTZ(TV) in Philadelphia, the Philly stations 
became WRCV/WRCV-TV.)

Once again, I'm certain there were behind-the-scenes discussions with 
the FCC to keep the WNBC calls out of the "available" pool. On a more 
practical level, RCA's lawyers surely would have looked unkindly at any 
NBC affiliate that tried to snatch those calls, and why would a non-NBC 
affiliate have wanted them?

The WNBC calls came back into use in 1957 on channel 30, ex-WKNB-TV.

On May 23, 1960, NBC flipped WRCA/WRCA-FM/WRCA-TV back to 
WNBC/WNBC-FM/WNBC-TV. I think the change from WNBC(TV) to WHNB(TV) on 
channel 30 took place a few days earlier.

The other "RC" calls went away around the same time - KRCA(TV) became 
KNBC(TV) in 1960, while KNBC/KNBC-FM in San Francisco became 
KNBR/KNBR-FM. WRCV/WRCV-TV in Philadelphia hung on until 1965, when the 
NBC/Westinghouse swap was undone and the Philly stations reverted to 
KYW/KYW-TV. There was no attempt to come up with "NBC" branding for the 
Cleveland stations when NBC got them back; Westinghouse had had some 
success with the radio station as KYW, and so the "KY" branding was 
maintained with new calls WKYC/WKYC-FM/WKYC-TV.

WNBQ(TV) in Chicago finally became WMAQ-TV in 1964. I don't know why it 
took so long.

WRC/WRC-FM/WRC-TV in Washington kept those calls, which were historic 
and long predated the RCA branding initiative of 1954.

WABC-FM went away on Feb. 14, 1971, becoming WPLJ.

WNBC-FM went away in 1975 with the launch of the News and Information 
Service, which rebranded 97.1 as WNWS(FM).

WNBC(AM) went away on October 7, 1988, of course, and on June 1, 1992, 
NBC quietly changed the calls of WNBC-TV to simply WNBC.


More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list