Saturday, August 4, 2018

August 4 Radio History

➦In 1735…The principle Freedom of the press was established with the acquittal of New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger, who had been charged with seditious libel by the royal governor of New York. The jury said "the truth is not libelous."

➦In 1921...the first tennis match on radio was broadcast on Pittsburgh’s KDKA, the first commercial station in the United States.  Within eight months Westinghouse management figured out that sports on radio would bring in big sales revenues; so the Davis Cup match between Great Britain and Australia was aired on the radio, much to the wonderment of KDKA’s listeners.

➦In 1927...WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, NY, began experimental operations from a 100,000-watt transmitter.  Later, the FCC regulated the power of AM radio stations to not exceed 50,000 watts on “clear channels” (where few, if any, stations would cause interference with each other).

➦In 1927…At the Taylor Christian Hat Factory in Bristol, Tennessee, Jimmie Rodgers, later revered as "The Father of Country Music," made his first recordings, "The Soldier's Sweetheart" and "Sleep, Baby, Sleep." Three days earlier, the Carter Family – Sara, Alvin Pleasant 'A.P.,' and Maybelle – made their first recordings, "Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow," "Little Log Cabin By The Sea," "The Poor Orphan Child," and "The Storms Are On The Ocean," at the same location.

➦In 1957…The Everly Brothers made their second appearance on CBS-TV's "The Ed Sullivan Show" singing "Bye Bye Love" and introducing their upcoming single, "Wake Up Little Susie," a song that was initially banned by radio stations in Boston and elsewhere because it was about two teenagers who accidentally fell asleep together at a drive-in movie. The song, however, does not say that Susie and her boyfriend had sexual relations. In fact, it strongly implies that they did not. They simply fell asleep because they were bored by the movie.

➦In 1966...a ban of The Beatles records went into effect on some radio stations in response to John Lennon’s controversial claim that the band was “more popular than Jesus.”

➦In 1983...WHTZ 100.3 FM moves transmitter to Empire State Building

New York City is the largest media market in the United States. Since the September 11 attacks, nearly all of the city's commercial broadcast stations (both television and FM radio) have transmitted from the top of the Empire State Building, although a few FM stations are located at the nearby Condé Nast Building. Most New York City AM stations broadcast from sites across the Hudson River in New Jersey or from other surrounding areas.

Broadcasting began at the Empire State Building on December 22, 1931, when RCA began transmitting experimental television broadcasts from a small antenna erected atop the spire. They leased the 85th floor and built a laboratory there, and—in 1934—RCA was joined by Edwin Howard Armstrong in a cooperative venture to test his FM system from the building's antenna. When Armstrong and RCA fell out in 1935 and his FM equipment was removed, the 85th floor became the home of RCA's New York television operations, first as experimental station W2XBS channel 1, which eventually became (on July 1, 1941) commercial station WNBT, channel 1 (now WNBC-TV channel 4). NBC's FM station (WEAF-FM, now WQHT) began transmitting from the antenna in 1940.

NBC retained exclusive use of the top of the building until 1950, when the FCC ordered the exclusive deal broken, based on consumer complaints that a common location was necessary for the (now) seven New York-area television stations (five licensed to New York City, NY, one licensed to Newark, NJ, and one licensed to Secaucus, NJ) to transmit from so that receiving antennas would not have to be constantly adjusted. Construction on a giant tower began. Other television broadcasters then joined RCA at the building, on the 83rd, 82nd, and 81st floors, frequently bringing sister FM stations along for the ride. Multiple transmissions of TV and FM began from the new tower in 1951.

In 1965, a separate set of FM antennas was constructed ringing the 103rd floor observation area.

When the World Trade Center was being constructed, it caused serious reception problems for the television stations, most of which then moved to the World Trade Center as soon as it was completed. This made it possible to renovate the antenna structure and the transmitter facilities for the benefit of the FM stations remaining there, which were soon joined by other FMs and UHF TVs moving in from elsewhere in the metropolitan area. The destruction of the World Trade Center necessitated a great deal of shuffling of antennas and transmitter rooms to accommodate the stations moving back uptown.

As of 2012, the Empire State Building is home to the following stations:

Television broadcasting: WCBS-2, WNBC-4, WNYW-5, WABC-7, WWOR-9 Secaucus, WPIX-11, WNET-13 Newark, WNYE-25, WPXN-31, WXTV-41 Paterson, WNJU-47 Linden and WFUT-68 Newark

FM broadcasting: WBMP-92.3, WPAT-93.1 Paterson, WNYC-93.9, WPLJ-95.5, WXNY-96.3, WQHT-97.1, WSKQ-97.9, WEPN-98.7, WBAI-99.5, WHTZ-100.3 Newark, WCBS-101.1, WFAN-101.9, WWFS-102.7, WKTU-103.5 Lake Success, WAXQ-104.3, WWPR-105.1, WQXR-105.9 Newark, WLTW-106.7 and WBLS-107.5

➦In 1987...the Federal Communications Commission voted 4-0 to rescind The Fairness Doctrine for broadcasters.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced. The FCC eliminated the Doctrine in 1987, and in August 2011 the FCC formally removed the language that implemented the Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented.

The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. In 1969 the United States Supreme Court upheld the FCC's general right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine where channels were limited. But the courts did not rule that the FCC was obliged to do so.  The courts reasoned that the scarcity of the broadcast spectrum, which limited the opportunity for access to the airwaves, created a need for the Doctrine. However, the proliferation of cable television, multiple channels within cable, public-access channels, and the Internet have eroded this argument, since there are plenty of places for ordinary individuals to make public comments on controversial issues at low or no cost at all.

The Fairness Doctrine should not be confused with the Equal Time rule. The Fairness Doctrine deals with discussion of controversial issues, while the Equal Time rule deals only with political candidates.

➦In 2005...Howard Stern announced he had cut a deal with "On Demand" subscription to offer at least 20 hours per month of his radio show on video via cable TV.

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