Wednesday, May 31, 2006

TV on The Radio, Part Two

It was many moons ago that I posted on the obscure topic of FM radio stations operating on the TV band. But it was an AM station that first broadcast a visual image.

It was August 13th in the year 1928. 1010 WRNY-AM in Coytesville NJ becomes the commercial licensed radio station to transmit a television image. It was a 1.5 square inch image of Mrs. John Geloso enlarged by a magnifying glass to about three inches so it could be viewed by 500 persons at Philosophy Hall at NYU.

At the time technological limitations forced WRNY broadcast the sight and sound alternately rather than simultaneously. Viewers would first see an image and then a few seconds later they would hear the voice. The performances took place for 5 minutes every hour and were designed to lure the radio audience into buying "televisor" sets from the Pilot Electric Co. The Pilot Electric Co. was owned by Mr. John Geloso, his wife's image was the first picture seen over radio. Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing Co presented daily 5 minute programs including cooking lessons, physical fitness instruction, concerts and calendars of events.

By 1929 sold WRNY for $100,000 to the Aviation Radio Station Inc., a company associated with the Curtiss Aircraft Corp. they used it to promote aviation (duh) and interestingly enough Emelia Earhart delivered a few on air speeches from their studios. The depression cut the legs out from under them and to continue they began a dayshare operation with WHN. The original WRNY was shut down when changed when Aviation Radio Station sold it to WHN-AM who scuttled it to end their day/share agreement in 1934.The WRNY calls now reside on 1350 in Rome NY on a sport talker. Charles Francis Jenkins was the first American to demonstrate television technology. His first successful transmission was 19 May 1922. The first public demonstration was on October 3rd in 1922 using the Naval station NOF in Washington, D.C. but, let me remind you These were still pictures not moving pictures, a cousin to what we think of as "television."

Other early test TV stations include 3XN Whippany NJ, W2XBS New York NY, W9XAA Chicago IL, W3XK Washington DC, W2XBU Beacon NY, W2XBV New York NY, W2XBW Bound Brook NJ, W2XAV East Pittsburgh PA, W4XA White Haven TN, W6XC Los Angeles CA and others Of course some of these test stations later became commercially licensed W9XAA became WCFL and one of those became WGN-AM I think.