WCAP On The Move, WLLH Lowell Going Dark?

tk41c@aol.com tk41c@aol.com
Mon Jun 17 13:05:24 EDT 2019

Having spent my career in NYC at NBC, ABC, and also briefly at Studio 50 (Ed Sullivan), I'd like to comment on your statement about 4 tube cameras producing a"washed out look."
With the exception of the Norelco PC-60/70 and the legacy RCA TK-41 and TK-26 (telecine) cameras, all new live and telecine cameras of the 1960s were of a 4 tube design.  That included RCA, GE, EMI, and Marconi. Philips experimented with 4 tube, but was satisfied with the 3 tube design.
It is possible to set the black level of a 4 tube camera's luminance channel just like any other camera. At CBS, they preferred a more pastel look, and this was accomplished by setting the RGB channels at about 10% positive pedestal. This technique is documented on the CBS Retired Engineers Website.
The issue at Studio 50 was its close proximity next to the subway rotary converter station that influenced camera registration. Good registration in one part of the studio was different if the camera was moved.  Even the control room monitors had to be shielded. I might add that other stages in NY and LA had similar problems..production was instructed not to shoot in those areas. Norelco eventually came up with better shielding for the so called "PC-69" cameras at CBS, but the emotions had already overcome any meaningful solution, so they were replaced with Mark VIIs from Marconi. CBS had these cameras installed at WBBM and KNXT also. This was a large, very heavy head with apparently better shielding. See Jim Herschel's comments on "Eyes Of A Generation" website.  Jim was at Philips during that period and has first hand knowledge of the problem. Later, he joined CBS, designing mobile units.
In the early 1990s , I had to produce source material fior the ATTC at Studio 50, and brought the lab's Gauss meter along, but it was not an issue, as the subway station was converted to solid state.
You can observe 3 tube and 4 tube cameras at the Museum of Broadcast Technology in Woonsocket, RI.
Jay Ballardex NBC Engineering Lab, ABC Engineering Lab

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin Vahey <kvahey@gmail.com>
To: Mark Watson <markwats@comcast.net>
Cc: Boston Radio Group <boston-radio-interest@lists.bostonradio.org>
Sent: Sun, Jun 16, 2019 9:08 pm
Subject: Re: WCAP On The Move, WLLH Lowell Going Dark?

CBS first used Norelco's at Studio 50 but switched to Marconi and that did
not address the issue.

The Marconi Mark VII's always had a washed out look as it was a 4 tube
design. WXPO got the cameras at a discount as the new RCA TK-44 which was a
3 tube plumbicon Norelco clone and RCA was promising a quick delivery. WSMW
in Worcester went that route and the cameras were fine.

WXPO had other issues including a transmitter location that was suspect and
by the time the Chief Engineer was replaced there was no money left to fix
the issues.

A major part of the station's plan was to become a local production house
for commercials but the RF issues made that impossible as other stations
refused to air commercials taped in Lowell.


On Sun, Jun 16, 2019 at 8:00 PM Mark Watson <markwats@comcast.net> wrote:

> Kevin Vahey wrote:
> >Mark, when was the transmitter moved from the 'Giant Building' at >Market
> and Dutton? I'm thinking it was around the time WSSH moved >to Woburn
> which would be 1986.
> The WLLH tower on the roof of the Giant Store building at 4 Broadway,
> corner of Dutton Street was taken down in 1986 after both WLLH & WSSH moved
> their studios, WSSH as mentioned to Woburn and WLLH moved to studios in the
> newly built Lowell Hilton hotel, which later became the Sheraton Inn
> Riverfront. Then they moved to 44 Church Street for the last few years of
> Arnold Lerner’s ownership. WXPO studios were on Dutton near Market, just a
> block away from the Giant Store. I knew about the RF issues that wreaked
> havoc with WXPO’s cameras but didn’t know that CBS had RF issues at the Ed
> Sullivan Theater. How did CBS get around that?
> Mark Watson

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