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Photo of the
Month

January 2008

Courtesy Art Donahue -- WCVB's Chronicle The Forgotten Pioneer 
High-Power UHF TV Station
Owned by Greylock Broadcasting Company
WMGT signed-on February 5, 1954.
 Transmitting on CH 74 from the top of Mt. Greylock, Adams MA. 
At the time, the world's most powerful television station.

Greylock Broadcasting Co. operations also includes radio station station WBRK, licensed to Pittsfield. MA  

WMGT had the highest transmitting location in southwestern New England, at  3700 ft. above sea level.
Utilizing a 12 KW transmitter and high gain UHF antenna it radiated 300 KW ERP (Effective Radiated Power),
making it the most powerful television station in the world.

The  president of Greylock Broadcasting is Leon Podolsky of Pittsfield.
Podolsky ,an electrical engineer, also holds over 100 patents in electronics.  During WWII worked as chairman 
for several committees  for the Army and Navy.  Most recently served as consultant for the Department of Defense.

WMGT operated with a primitive Studio-Transmitter-Link that was very High Maintenance.  It was so 
unreliable, that the film chain was removed from the studio and was installed at the transmitter site. 
The station had only one live studio camera, an RCA TK11, making local programs tricky and challenging. 
As best as can be determined, the network feeds for both DuMont and ABC, were off-air from New York City.

In April of 1955, WMGT was given permission. by the FCC. to change from the very high CH 74 to CH 19.

On February 25, 1956,  two years after it's inaugural telecast, disaster struck.
Winds of hurricane force destroyed the antenna and part of the tower.   Station will be off the air while a new tower is
 constructed, according to Alan D Vaber, program director.  Because of adverse weather conditions on the Mt. 
rebuilding may  take as long as four months, but we will definitely return as soon as repairs are completed.

Thousands of viewers signed a petition to get the station back on the air, to no avail. 
Most UHF stations at the time were not profitable,  WMGT  was broke.  

 
This would be the death knell for WMGT.    Leon Podolsky's Dream Died

An August 1956 Broadcasting - Telecasting article noted that WMGT's return to air was dependant on the FCC 
decision that sought clarification of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy VHF-UHF situation.  
The FCC had proposed dropping-in VHF channel 10 in Vail Mills.  A federal court earlier this year  stayed the FCC's 
assignment  of CH 10 to Vail Mills.  In June the FCC proposed to deintermix the Albay- Schenectady-Troy market area, 
by deleting channel 10 from Vail Mills.

December 10, 1956...Sale of CH 19 WMGT Pittsfield, MA by Leon Podolsky and associates to Hudson Valley Broadcasting
  for 379.000 dollars.  Hudson Valley Broadcasting is owned by CBS commentator Lowell Thomas and associates, 
 WCDA Albany CH 41 and satellite  WCDB CH 29 Hagaman as well as WROW (AM).

Payment will be $91,000 in cash and the $288,000 remainder in monthly payments over a seven year period.  
RCA is taking back the studio equipment with an adjusted refund.  GE is accepting a reduced price for the transmitter.


WMGT will operate as second satellite of WCDA.  The Commission waived it's overlap requirement rules for multiple ownership.

Additional photos,  Use your browser Back Button to return to this page 

View of transmitter site Coverage map

Commentary

 Timeline
Leon Podolsky, owner Studio camera Studio microwave link CH 79  Test Pattern WCDC ID slide

Most photos courtesy Art Donahue Producer/Photographer WCVB's Chronicle
Information gathered from Broadcasting - Telecasting magazine and

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