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Television Steps Out!
January 1948 Radio-Craft

January 1948 Radio-Craft

January 1948 Radio Craft Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Craft, published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

Most of us have heard of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Founded in 1922 at the dawn of commercial radio broadcasting, it is still in existence today. When commercial television broadcasting "stepped out" in a major way in the early 1940s, industry chieftains and station owners decided that their new media paradigm was unique enough to warrant a separate union, so the Television Broadcasters Association (TBA) was formed. A lot of effort went into establishing and building a coalition with enough influence in the marketplace and with government regulators, independent of radio, to exist as a force to be dealt with. Many people believed that radio as an entertainment and news media source would decrease at a rate as great or greater than television was increasing. Once again, experts were not successful at predicting behavior of the citizenry, which was true both in the United States and around the world. An in-depth case study of the ordeal entitled, The Rise and Fall of the Television Broadcasters Association, 1943–1951, was published by Boston University's Deborah L. Jaramillo.

Television Steps Out!

Graphic comparison of radio and television - RF Cafe

Graphic comparison of radio and television.

Television's main arena, the northeastern section of the United States - RF Cafe

Television's main arena, the northeastern section of the United States.

The new art is repeating the history of broadcasting on a grander scale.

By Will Baltin*

Television's tremendous potential, which has been pent up for so many years, will burst forth across the United States this year with force that will rock the inertia and indifference out of a lot of people. Television talk has been bantered about for so long that it is little wonder that millions, of Americans living in the vast hinterlands, who have yet to see a television image sweep across the face of a cathode-ray tube, still accept this new art with the proverbial grain of salt.

Twenty-six years ago when radio broadcasting began to enlist adherents through the magic of a cat's whisker, a crystal, and a pair of headphones, a skeptical public was equally disbelieving. Only after the doubter got a "dose of listening" did he fully realize that a new wonder had been achieved for him to own and enjoy.

Television is finally breaking out of its shell and is now on its way to becoming a principal service. With nearly 150,000 television receivers in the hands of the public as 1947 faded into oblivion, television had at long last ceased to be an experimenter's delight. It is now a commercial product with enormous un-tapped possibilities.

A recent survey made by the Television Broadcasters Association, Inc., indicated that in 1922, radio's first big year, there were 100,000 radio receivers in use in the United States. In 1947, a comparable year for television, 150,000 television sets were in use. In 1923 there were about 550,000 radio sets in homes and public places. The estimate for television this year runs well over 750,000 receivers.

In dollar volume, the comparison between radio yesteryear and television today lifts the eyebrow high on the dome. For example: the dollar volume in radio receivers at retail levels in 1922 approximated $5,000,000. The dollar volume in television at the same levels last year amounted to a staggering $74,000,000! In 1923 radio's dollar volume totaled $30,000,000. In television, the estimate for this year exceeds $387,000,000!

Hence, the strides made by television to date are already far ahead, comparatively, of radio, presaging a popular future for this newest of twentieth-century miracles. 

Television brings into the home a veritable potpourri of entertainment, information, culture, and education. Ask any man who owns a television set. The effect of televiewing on the present army of set owners parallels - and surpasses - the enthusiasm of the early radiophone DXers.

The mere fact that television receivers will be abundantly available this year does not tell the whole story of the impending expansion. Unless television stations are operating, the market for receivers is negligible. No one knows this better than television industry leaders - and there are several factors at work to ensure their operation.

These include new station operators, network planners, and the Federal Communications Commission. At the close of the year, the FCC had granted nearly 75 construction permits for new television stations in 25 states. Service currently available in New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, and California soon will be expanded to include Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Rhode Island, the State of Washington, and in many other sections of the United States.

Four stations in the Midwest - RF Cafe

Four stations in the Midwest are the nucleus of a Central United States group of television stations which will be increased very soon.

experimental transmissions from W6XAO, represents Pacific Coast television - RF Cafe

This station, plus experimental transmissions from W6XAO, represents Pacific Coast television.

It is estimated that between 35 and 40 television stations will be operating in at least 18 states by the end of 1948 and that an additional 35 will be in full operation within the following year. Not all cities in the states listed will have television service immediately. Areas with the heaviest concentration of population will come first within the range of video stations; other areas will obtain this service subsequently.

To bring the best in television entertainment to multitudes living away from urban centers, network planners are now plowing into the ground thousands of miles of concentric or coaxial cable capable of carrying televised images from coast to coast and making possible networks similar to those that have been spun by radio stations into a gigantic web. Television images bound on highly directional microwaves over a series of towers from New York to Boston. Later they will be sent from New York to Chicago - and beyond.

The Federal Communications Commission has hitched its wagon to the star of television expansion and is cooperating with broadcasters to develop this potentially gigantic service. With such a cooperative effort in full swing, there is no doubt that 1948 looms big for television.

Although home television is the vogue, there is feverish behind-the-scenes activity in the motion picture industry to introduce theater-size television at your favorite movie house. In the East and Far West, it may happen early this year.

The revolution that marked the end of the silent era of movies undoubtedly will appear insignificant to the advances in entertainment which theater-type television will bring to the screen of the average movie house.

The march of television progress has begun; it cannot be halted; it will not be stymied. Television is here!

*Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Television Broadcasters Association, Inc.



Posted December 17, 2019

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