Channel 74 Adams, MA
Greylock Broadcasting Company
1954 was the era
of the FCC freeze on CP's for all VHF television stations.
The freeze was in effect from September 1948 thru April 1952.
The freeze was
instituted by the FCC to solve basic design problems with the original post-war
assignment of television channels. It was discovered that in a number of cases there was an
overlap of signals, in the fringe areas, causing interference in the received signals.
A phenomenon called the "venetian blind effect" resultes when two stations on the same channel
are competing for the same television receiver.
To rectify this problem
new channel assignments were drawn up by the FCC, with greater spacing for cities
on the same channel, or existing stations were assigned a new channel. Such as in the northeast, where
channel 4 was in New York, Boston and Schenectady. WRGB in Schenectady was changed to channel 6.
This was also the birth of "offset" carrier frequencies, this is where a transmitter frequency is offset either higher (+)
or lower (-) on the assigned frequency, using a critically controlled oscillator to maintain the precise offset.
This, again, was used on CH 4, between Boston, New York and Washington, DC.
While the freeze
was in effect no new CP's would be granted. A review of all existing CP's
was made. Stations that
were on-the-air were allowed to remain operational,. the others were given a "conditional grant" which in effect meant
the broadcaster had been granted a CP but construction could not begin or would be halted at the current point.
This meant no new VHF television stations.
During this period
the FCC had opened a new band of frequencies, UHF (Ultra High Frequency).
Broadcasters who wanted to get into television were relegated to UHF. These channels were readily available,
usually without any challenges. There was a glut of applications for these new facilities. Most were granted CP's.
Sept 18, 1952: KPTV, Portland Oregon was first the commercial UHF on the air
Many were never
constructed, while others like WMGT, built their TV stations. Mount
Greylock was granted
channel 74, others in the area were also originally on the high end of the band; WWLP on CH 61 and WHYN on 55.
Transmitters were not efficient and were very cranky at these high frequencies, receivers needed converters and they too
were a challenge. The market was all UHF except for WRGB. WTIC, CH 3 in Connecticut had a "conditional grant".
The Albany Schenectady Troy market was in a turmoil since the FCC had proposed to drop-in channel to in Vail Mills.
the FCC all had their views as to what could be done in this market. These
it all UHF for commercials stations, moving WRGB to CH 17 and assigning CH 6 non-commercial status.
This certainly would not, and did not, fly with General Electric.... the pioneering TV station since 1939.
In Oct 1956---WMGT joins WTRI (35) in asking the high court for reversal in the Vail Mills case and delete CH 10.
UHF stations were
having a rough time making it financially/. April 1, 1956 is the
final telecast for WTAO Cambridge.
In Broadcasting's Open Mike of Oct 1956: WNOW CH 49, 62nd UHF to go dark.
it's own financial problems, especially after the collapse of it's transmitting
After being off the air for almost a year following the tower incident, Greylock Broadcasting (WMGT) would
eventually sell to Hudson Valley Broadcasting (WCDA). WMGT would become a satellite of WCDA as WCDC.
The legacy telecasters, that had been on the air with their VHF channels, were concerned about converting to color.
A bit of trivia
from Art Donahue: Fast Forward to September 11, 2001. With the
destruction of the World
Trade Towers and their under construction DT transmitters, WCDC-DT became the state of
New York's first TV market DT transmitter, even though it actually is in MA.
Return to main page Return Home