WNAC 1200

Dan.Strassberg dan.strassberg@att.net
Thu Aug 2 06:28:03 EDT 2012

Technically, most of Sheppard's complaints about WNAC's frequency (at least
the complaints he made in the years immediately preceding 1940/41) would
have been about 1230--not 1260. WNAC along with most, if not all, of the
other stations on the 1230 regional channel moved to 1260 at the end of
March 1941 when NARBA (the North American Regional Broadcast Agreement)
extended the AM band to 1600 kC (what we now call 1600 kHz) and shifted the
frequencies of most AM stations. Before NARBA, the band had ended at 1500 kC
with a few "experimental high-fidelity" AM stations on 1530, 1550, and
1570.) NARBA changed 1230 into a local channel, on which stations were
limited to 250W non-directional. Most of the stations that wound up on 1230
had been on 1200 before NARBA.

For sure, if Sheppard had been unhappy about 1230 pre-NARBA, had WNAC been
relegated to that frequency post-NARBA, he would have been apoplectic! Even
in those days, when the AM band was much less densely populated and noise
sources, such as switching power supplies didn't exist, the graveyard
channels, such as the post-NARBA 1230, did not permit stations with enough
coverage to serve major cities--especially in areas like New England with
its legendarily awful soil conductivity.

The post-NARBA 1200 underwent a transformation that was probably the most
dramatic of any channel in the band. It went from a pre-NARBA graveyard
channel to a post-NARBA Class IA clear channel on which only one station in
North America was allowed to operate at night. That station was WOAI San
Antonio TX, which ran and still runs a non-directional 50 kW full-time. With
an application for 1200, Sheppard would have been trying to get the FCC to
break down the 1200 clear channel, just as it later did with two other such
channels, 680 and 850, which, when broken down, became the home of two AMs
licensed to Boston. Since all three frequencies (680, 850, and 1200) are now
home to 50-kW stations in this area, we know that Sheppard's idea was
technically feasible--just 60 or so years ahead of its time.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Donna Halper" <dlh@donnahalper.com>
To: "Jim Hall" <aerie.ma@comcast.net>
Cc: "'bri'" <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 12:04 PM
Subject: Re: WNAC 1200

> On 8/1/2012 11:16 AM, Jim Hall wrote:
>> In perusing old Broadcasting magazines this morning, I was intrigued that
>> in
>> 1947 the then WNAC 1260 requested a move to 1200 kHz, 50 kW directional
>> from
>> the FCC. The request was of course turned down and they bought WLAW 680
>> instead. I am trying to imagine WRKO 1200 jingles now.haha.
> John Shepard 3rd complained bitterly about 1260, which WNAC was moved to
> in 1928.  He tried unsuccessfully for years to get a lower frequency on
> the dial, and ironically, never lived to see it happen, since he died in
> 1950, whereas the move took place in 1953.

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