a question about unreliable old technology

Don Donald_Astelle@yahoo.com
Tue Dec 27 12:24:04 EST 2011

> My Canadian friend Art, who is writing a book with a backdrop in late 
> 1940s or early 1950s broadcasting, asked this of me, and since technology 
> is not my strong suit, I thought I'd ask you nice folks.  I'll pass along 
> your replies to him.  He was reading some old articles about technical 
> failures in TV equipment:  "Everyone who was working in TV at the time 
> recalls how temperamental and unreliable the electronics were, but exactly 
> how temperamental and unreliable is not spelled out.  So I am trying to 
> find comprehensive and detailed information about the extent of it:  what 
> were the most common component failures that would lead to loss of service 
> (not necessarily loss of the signal altogether, which was quite rare.) 
> Essentially anything that led to the "We Are Experiencing Technical 
> Difficulties" slide appearing fits the definition, with the exception of 
> component failure from external causes:  a burst water main that shorted 
> out the electronics, or a lightning bolt that fried the transmitter don't 
> count.  What were the most common components to fail, how long on average 
> would it take to fix them, and what percentage of the broadcast hours 
> would the average station expect to lose over the course of a month?"  Any 
> guidance you can offer will be appreciated!

I realize I am not answering your question, but when I think of old 
broadcast failure events, one of the things that changed is the 
proliferation of  backup systems...and redundancies bult into the todays 
broadcast facilities.

I think management has come to their senses as to how important, backup 
programming, backup switchers, backup transmitters, backup sites are.

I haven't heard anyone in a long time respond to a bad rating book by saying 
"remember, we were only on half-power for 10 days during the book!"  ;-)

Again, not answering your question Donna, just offering some thoughts...

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