June 1955 Popular Electronics
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
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
Middle East Gets Its First Television Station
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
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.
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. Technicians had to battle
sandstorms and thunderstorms in setting up the station.
Posted August 26, 2019