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Middle East Gets Its First Television Station
June 1955 Popular Electronics

June 1955 Popular Electronics

June 1955 Popular Electronics Cover - RF CafeTable of Contents

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Popular Electronics, published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

When this article appeared in Popular Electronics in 1955, Iraq was considered a staunch ally of the United States and most Western countries, although not long thereafter relations were strained when Communist-aligned forces gained control of the former monarchy. As part of a plan to help Iraq modernize, English telecommunications company Pye Limited built and commissioned a television broadcast station in the capital city of Baghdad. As with any country when television was first introduced, Iraqi citizens were overwhelmingly enthusiastic - to the extent that TV sets were banned from being on in store display windows during major broadcasts because of the crowds being drawn and the subsequent traffic blockages.

Middle East Gets Its First Television Station

Middle East Gets Its First Television Station, June 1955 Popular Electronics - RF Cafe

Building houses all TV facilities.

In an idyllic wooded grove near Baghdad, Iraq, is a modest building resembling a cross between a split-level home and an oversized barn. Its calm, suburban-like appearance belies the feverish activity and "hot" equipment housed within it.

This is the first home of the first television station in the Middle East. Presently located on a site at the Trades Fair, where it was set up by Pye, Ltd. of Cambridge, England, as an exhibit, the entire studio and its equipment has been bought by the Iraq government and will be moved soon to an official site belonging to the Iraq broadcasting authorities.

The studio, which was erected and put on the air only four weeks after the arrival of Pye technicians from England, is equipped with all facilities of a modern TV station, including the latest cameras.

During the Trades Fair, Pye telecasted many programs which were received on sets in many parts of Baghdad, including the palace of King Feisal. At the outset, however, TV receivers had to be removed from shop windows along the main street because of traffic congestion caused by enthusiastic crowds.

Technicians in control room during Baghdad telecast - RF Cafe

Program producer and team of technicians in control room during Baghdad telecast. Latest equipment and methods are employed.

Programs included studio performances by local artists and personal appearances by members of the Iraq government. One of the most likely uses to which the new station will be put is educational. In the Middle East women do not appear in public and so are unable to share the same educational opportunities afforded to those who can attend movies and other public places. The Baghdad authorities hope that television in halls and other places where women congregate with their children will help to fill the gap in their knowledge of the world about them.

Middle East observers predict that the effect of television in Baghdad will be felt well beyond Iraq. British prestige, and that of her electronics industry, is expected to be enhanced greatly throughout the area.

Young artists pose before Pye TV camera - RF Cafe

Young artists pose before Pye TV camera. Technicians had to battle sandstorms and thunderstorms in setting up the station.

 

 

Posted August 26, 2019

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