AM Broadcasting History - Various Articles

WOR Announcers Limited to Initials

This article appeared in the July 2, 1932, issue of Radio World. It was provided by Ron Kramer.

Mere announcers at WOR, Newark, N. J., which station has studios in New York city, are to be semi-anonymous, experimentally. The station announced that the announcers will not identify themselves by name any more. However, the change as noted by listening has been that the announcers use code initials instead.

If an announcer writes a continuity or sketch or otherwise deserves credit as an author he will receive it, the same as any other author.

The trial of the semi-anonymous system is the result of criticism of announcers pushing themselves forward too much and making it appear as if they were more important than the program. However, when a reporter canvassed the WOR announcers none of them found himself in this class. Nevertheless the new method prevails, and if it succeeds it may be retained, or even the initials will be omitted, making for complete anonymity, except so far as listeners now recognize the voices of announcers they've been hearing for years.

The station's announcement about announcers included the following:

"We feel that radio has progressed beyond the novelty stage. It is the program and not the announcer that the audience is interested in. For that reason, the announcer, for station purposes, will sign off using a simple three-letter call word. In such cases where the continuity has been compiled or annotated by an announcer, he will be allowed to use his name."

Singer Campaigns to Prove Grandfather Invented Radio

by Allen G. Breed, Associated Press, April 1991

PIKEVILLE, Ky. - The history books say Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi invented wireless telegraphy - the forerunner of radio. But a pop singer is out to prove his grandfather developed the concept first.

So far, however, few people are tuning in to the arguments of Keith Stubblefield that Nathan B. Stubblefield is radio's true inventor.

A Smithsonian Institution expert dismisses Stubblefield's contributions, and even in Kentucky, the elder Stubblefield's home state, the broadcasting association has refused to recognize him as radio's inventor.

Marconi is credited with developing wireless telegraphy in 1896.

In 1892, Stubblefield amazed onlookers in Murray, his eastern Kentucky hometown, when he transmitted the human voice using what he called "wireless telephony," says Stubblefield's grandson, who uses the name Troy Cory in his singing career.

Stubblefield never got a patent for the device, although he did patent improvements to wireless telephone equipment in 1908. He died a pauper in 1928.

Now, almost 100 years later, Cory, 47, says he is nearly obsessed with having his grandfather recognized.

"We want to educate the public, we want to educate the people to show them how he did it," Cory said. "The children are being educated that the wrong person invented the radio,and they don't know that it was an American ... They've been defrauded by some teacher, by some book."

To change that, Cory has designed a poster honoring Stubblefield, and his Television International Magazine is editing a history of radio that cites Stubblefield as its inventor.

Cory has some supporters. Kentucky Governor Wallace Wilkinson signed a resolution last month declaring Stubblefield the inventor of radio.

But at a meeting here Thursday, the Kentucky Broadcasters' Association amended the resolution so that it only recognized Stubblefield's "contribution to the early development of wireless transmissions."

Cory was furious. Outside the meeting, he confronted Francis Nash, who was commissioned by the group to write a history of Kentucky broadcasting and who urged that the resolution be amended.

Stubblefield's invention used amplitude modulation, the basis of AM radio, Cory told Nash.

"Now if that's not radio, I'll eat my hat," he said.

Nash, a 25-year broadcasting veteran, said there was no evidence that Stubblefield's device used modulation.

"He was using methods other people had already abandoned," Nash said. "It wasn't really radio."

Elliot Sivovitch, a specialist in radio and television history with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said there were dozens of experiments similar to Stubblefield's between 1865 and 1900.

But Cory called Nash a "pseudo-intellect," accused him of fraud for altering the resolution and vowed to sue.

"It's not a joke. This is serious to me," he said.

He said he also may sue the National Association of Broadcasters, which failed to recognize his grandfather at its convention in Las Vegas last month.

Did Nathan B. Stubblefield Invent Radio?

Why Do People Insist That He, Not Marconi, Invented Radio?

This article appeared in Popular Communications in August 1991. It is reproduced here with permission.


A growing chorus of voices continues to insist the true inventor of radio was some one by the name of Nathan B. Stubblefield. Stubblefield's own descendants are included in this chorus demanding what they feel is the credit due him for his work. As these voices grow louder and more demanding, let's see who Nathan Bowman Stubblefield was, and what he did.

Stubblefield hailed from Murray, a community of 14,000 souls located in the tobacco-growing area of southwestern Kentucky. He was born in the summer of 1860, and resided in Murray all of his 68 years. He was known as the town's resident eccentric experimenter. Yes, he had a small vegetable farm with which he supported his family, but he spent all of his free time chasing a dream. His dream consisted of the concept that people could converse with one another at a distance, and that it could be done without the need for wires to link their locations together.

Mostly he worked in secret, fearing the theft of his apparatus, notes, and ideas. His workshop was in back of his residence, a humble shack on the outskirts of Murray. It was ringed by an overgrown hedge. His security system included a shotgun, just in case the remoteness of his shack and the dense foliage didn't give visitors the message that they weren't invited. When he went into town, he was the center of curiosity.

Unfortunately, Stubblefield's obsession with secrecy may have been a major contributing factor in his works having gone virtually unrecognized while others who came after him garnered all of the laurels, glory, and money. It does appear that Stubblefield did do pioneering work in telecommunications, but his unwillingness to allow others to use his ideas worked against him.

To put this into a time perspective, Stubblefield was probably working on his concepts about the same time that Alexander Graham Bell was developing the telephone (patented 1876), and the formulas relating to radio waves published by Maxwell in 1865 and 1873. In 1888, Hertz proved that radio waves existed. Marconi's early telegraphic experiments were in 1894, with his radio telegraph device patent issued in June, 1896. Marconi's first telegraph transmission across the Atlantic took place in December of 1901.

With this in mind, know that Stubblefield had success transmitting the human voice over what he called a Vibrating Telephone, a wireless circuit in 1885! Not long after this experiment, he told a local friend, Duncan Holt, "Duncan, I've done it. I've been able to talk without wires. . . all of two hundred yards. . . and it will work anywhere." Holt never saw the apparatus, however.

The first record of anybody actually seeing Stubblefield's wireless apparatus was in 1892. He showed it to Dr. Rainey T. Wells, Who was a prominent educator, and who also happened to be an attorney. Wells Wrote of this years later, "One day Stubblefield invited me to his farm for a demonstration of some kind of wireless outfit. Mind you, this was in the days when telephones were rare.

"He had a shack about four feet square near his house, from which he took an ordinary telephone receiver such as we have today, but entirely without wires. Handing me this, he asked me to walk some distance away and listen. I had already reached my post which happened to be in an apple orchard when I heard, 'Hello, Rainey' come booming out of the receiver.

"I jumped a foot and said to myself, 'This fellow is fooling me. He has wires someplace.' I moved to the side about twenty feet but all the while he kept talking to me. I talked back and he answered me as a human voice sounds over a telephone today. But there were no wires."

Sometimes, after that, he would allow certain carefully selected persons to witness private demonstrations of his system. Stubblefield's family physician told of being given a private demonstration that included Nathan talking and playing the harmonica.

Also, in 1892, he began giving public demonstrations of his apparatus in the Murray town square. Hundreds of people came from miles around to watch as Stubblefield set up one set near the courthouse, and the other set about 250 feet away without any wires between the devices. The crowd startled at watching Stubblefield speak into one unit in a normal tone of voice, and hearing his voice emerge clearly from the distant apparatus.

Perhaps these people scarcely realized the significance of Stubblefield's device. But remember, that he was considered by local residents as merely the strange and eccentric inventor who lived on the outskirts of town. They didn't know what to make of Stubblefield. It's doubtful that they took him very seriously, or his invention either. That didn't discourage Stubblefield at all.

In March of 1902, Stubblefield loaded his wireless telephone aboard the steam launch Bartholdi on the Potomac River. As the vessel made its way up river from Washington, Stubblefield showed his radio at work by transmitting his voice to a group of scientists standing on the bank of the river.

The prestigious Washington Post quickly recognized that the reclusive inventor had developed something their readers would like to know more about. On March 21, 1902, the newspaper published an interview containing just about the only words Stubblefield ever had to divulge to the public regarding his device. He still wasn't divulging much, but it was amazingly perceptive, and more than he had said until then.

"My invention is capable of sending simultaneous messages from a central distribution station over a very wide territory. For instance, anyone having a receiving instrument, which would consist merely of a telephone receiver and a few feet of wire, and a signaling gong could, upon being signaled by a transmitting station . . . be informed of weather news. My apparatus is capable of sending out a gong signal as well as voice messages. Eventually it will be used for the general transmission of news of every description.

"I have as yet devised no method whereby it can be used with privacy. Wherever there is a receiving station, the signal and the receiving message may be heard simultaneously. Eventually I, or someone, will discover a method of tuning the transmitting and receiving instruments so that each will answer its own mate.

"The system can be developed until messages by voice can be sent and heard all over the country, to Europe, all over the world."

This didn't tell anything of the theory or design of his device, which he was reticent to discuss. His son, Bernard, who was born around 1890, was perhaps the only person ever to be present when he was working.

In 1930, after Stubblefield's death two years earlier, The New York Sun offered a vague description of the apparatus.

"His transmitting apparatus was placed in a box four feet high and six inches in width. A coil of heavy wire was at one end and led to the ground. Stubblefield made the startling statement that the earth's electrical waves furnished the power by which an ordinary power transmitter was operated. About a quarter of a mile away another box was fastened to a stump. There were wires leading to the ground and a pair of telephone receivers on top.

"Examination showed that the wires terminated in each case at steel rods topped with a ball of iron which was nickel-plated.

"Stubblefield claimed that the earth and all about it is charged with electrical power, part of which he was harnessing--and that in time spoken messages could be sent without wires thousands of miles.

"He admitted that he had developed a radio-frequency current through a battery of his own arrangement, and an earth battery, following which he devised a system of modulation and an adjustment for tuning. The detector was a receiving coil, tapped for adjustable inductance."

From a vantage point of more than sixty years after this description, we still can't get much of an insight into what Stubblefield was really doing except to guess that it may have relied upon induction. Undoubtedly the telephone equipment itself was standard, but had been adapted for wireless operation. The transmitter he designed most likely included in its components some tuning coils, some type of amplifier, and a ground battery cell system. The use of rods placed in the earth could suggest a sub-strata communications system, but the knobs atop the rods could have meant they were antennas. And we don't know if the distance separating the placement of the rods was critical.

For years, many friends told him to patent his invention, but Stubblefield refused. He said it needed more work to get it perfected. One patent, No. 887357, issued on May 12, 1908, was given to Stubblefield for a radiotelephone device.

You may question why Stubblefield failed to attain general recognition for his work and become widely known as radio's inventor. He certainly appeared to be standing on the threshold of destiny when he gave his 1902 demonstrations on the Potomac. Somehow, though, after that he seemed to fade from the public eye.

A probable contributing factor was his long-standing fear of permitting anyone to buy into his invention, which would have provided sufficient funds to develop and market the device. It wasn't that nobody wanted to invest. Many big city investors traveled to Murray to entice Stubblefield after the St. Louis Dispatch carried a story about him on January 10, 1902. He turned them all away, including (friends said) one attempting to give him a check for $40,000. It's said that he once turned down an offer for $500,000 for his invention, declaring it was worth double that amount.

But there are rumors. One story says that he took the device with him in a trunk when he visited Washington in 1912. When he returned from Washington, nobody saw the device. Had it been stolen? Stubblefield became embittered and disillusioned.

Apparently, the facts seem to be that in order to raise funds, Stubblefield had been persuaded to exchange all of his secrets, rights, and equipment for a half-million shares in a company called The Wireless Telephone company of America. The company was a fraud, its stock was totally worthless. Wireless Telephone had no interest in developing and marketing his invention, only in selling more of its worthless shares to gullible suckers. He had been swindled.

Not long after, Stubblefield's house had been taken by creditors. He left his wife and nine children, moving to nearby Alamo, KY. There he built and moved into a crude tin hut insulated with corn husks. The house in which the family resided later burned down under mysterious circumstances. In complete isolation and obscurity, Stubblefield became a recluse and continued to work secretly on his inventions for years from his little shack. Neighbors reported hearing strange disembodied wireless voices resulting from his experiments, and they also described wireless electric lights in the trees near his shanty. But then, they had always expected the unusual from Nathan. On March 28, 1928, he died of starvation and, some said, a broken heart. He was laid to rest in an unmarked grave at Bowman's Cemetery, near Murray. A tragic end to a true eccentric genius.

In 1930, the New York Supreme Court ruled that Stubblefield's heirs had proven all of the details in their claim for patent rights, but that the statute of limitations had voided their claims regarding royalties.

Murray, KY honors Stubblefield as the inventor of radio. In 1930, they put up a memorial to Stubblefield on the campus of Murray State University. In 1948, twenty years after Stubblefield's death, a broadcast station in Murray went on the air, taking the call letters WNBS to pay homage to Stubblefield. Some books do offer passing mention to Stubblefield, but usually little information is given.

Stubblefield's descendants continue to proclaim the invention of radio by their esteemed ancestor, and press for appropriate recognition to be given to him. Many historians feel that these claims have merit, but they do wish that old Nathan had been less secretive and reclusive.

The author wishes to thank Christopher Adams, of Murray, KY, and also Steve Cole, of New York, NY, for the information they provided in conjunction with this story. A lengthy, and excellent story about Stubblefield was called "The Man History Overheard," by Harvey Geller. It was included in "Circular," Vol. 7, No. 34, of December 8, 1975, published by Warner-Reprise Records. Another story about Stubblefield appeared in the July, 1961, issue of Electronics Illustrated.

More on Stubblefield

The following message was posted to an Internet mailing list in 1995 by John F. Schneider.

The material on Nathan B. Stubblefield has all been very interesting, and it caused me to dig out an article from my files which addresses the technical details better than anything I have seen. The article is called "Who Really Invented Radio? --the twisted tale of Nathan B. Stubblefield", by Larry Kahaner WB2NEL. It appeared in the December, 1980 issue of 73 Magazine. Kahaner travelled to Murray, KY and did his research for the article there. While I'm not equipped to scan the entire article, I'd like to repeat some important quotes from the article:

"It appeared that much of what has been written about Stubblefield was based on the research of two prominent Murray citizens who are less than unbiased about the role of the farmer/inventory in radio's early days.

"Riley Kaye W4LMF holds a different view of the Stubblefield story. 'I think Stubblefield invented the induction telephone. He used loops above the ground. There appeared to be no carrier. He used audio frequencies, and that's where the challenge comes in,' said the man who worked for seven years as chief instructor at RCA and high frequency development engineer for Western Electric in Chicago. 'There is no proof that he used radiation. There's no proof that he used resonant circuits. That would be radio.' Kaye, 9DKN during the sparkgap days, added: 'Nobody can challenge that he didn't invent the wireless telephone and that he was the first to transmit voice without wires. He deserves a lot of credit and Murray can be proud of him.'

"Another local ham takes issue with the Stubblefield saga. William Call KJ4W is vice president and trustee of the Murray State University Amateur Radio Club. 'It may have been magnetic induction,' he said, 'But you won't find that opinion around here much because it offends people. They want to believe he invented radio. On what I've seen, I don't believe he invented radio, but one thing almost everyone agrees on is that Stubblefield was a genius.' "

The most interesting part of the article is a copy of the patent document for patent No. 357,887 that Stubblefield was issued in 1908. It is reprinted in its entirety and without comment, allowing the reader to draw his own conclusions. It shows a giant multi-turn induction loop mounted on telephone poles and surrounding a complete section of river, road or railroad track. The circuit diagram for the attached transmitting apparatus shows a battery, a microphone, earphone, and a transmit/receive switch. There are no RF components in the circuit. The receiver consists of a smaller loop mounted on the roof of the boat or wagon traversing the route. Its attached circuit is identical. It can apparently communicate with the stationary station only when it is inside the confines of the loop.

It seems obvious that Stubblefield had developed an audio frequency induction system. I've seen this method used in museums, and it allows a person to carry a passive listening device from exhibit to exhibit. When he approaches each exhibit, he hears an aural description of that exhibit. The signal falls off very rapidly as he leaves the exhibit, because the signal is just a magnetic field (if you will, it's a loosely-coupled transformer), and there is no electrical field. If you raise the frequency of the signal, at some point both magnetic and electrical fields appear. This is radio, and signals now travel great distances from the transmitting device. It is then necessary to modulate this high frequency signal to allow transmission of the audio information. This is a much more complex and more useful technology.

Stubblefield obviously invented the first wireless telephone, and was the first person to transmit the human voice. But it was not radio. Radio is a much more complex technical process, and there was no single inventor. Rather, like most technologies, it resulted from the combined efforts of a number of scientists and inventors who each built upon the others' work. This requires a sharing of information, something Stubblefield was obviously not willing to do. For this reason, his research represented a scientific "dead end".

I enjoy receiving the articles and comments of others through the old radio list server. Thanks for including me.

John Schneider

Radio Service Bulletin, Aug. 31, 1927


The Federal Radio Commission finds that while the broadcasting of music performed through the agency of mechanical reproductions, such as records or perforated rolls, is not in itself objectionable, the failure clearly to announce the nature of such broadcasting is in some instances working what is in effect a fraud upon the listening public. The commission therefore hereby orders that, effective August 21, 1927, all broadcasts of music performed through the agency of mechanical reproductions shall be clearly announced as such with the announcement of each and every number thus broadcast, and that proved failure to make such announcement shall be deemed by the commission cause for action under section 32 of the radio act of 1927. -- General Order No. 16, Aug. 9, 1927.

Relay Broadcast Stations (1927)

The following list was taken from the Radio Service Bulletin of September 30, 1927.

CallCityStateFrequencyPowerStation Controlled ByOther
1XAAProvidenceRI14997.5Stanley N. Read
1XYTiltonNH2855, 275150 to 250Booth Radio Laboratories
2XALCoytesvilleNJ9700500Experimenters Publishing Co.
2XAOMU-1...2830100Atlantic Broadcasting Co.yacht portable
2XAQNewarkNJ461050L. Bamberger & Co.
2XBANewarkNJ460050WAAM (Inc.)
2XBHConey Island (Brooklyn)NY5550150Charles G. Unger
2XERichmond HillNY1270, 282850Atlantic Broadcasting Co.
2XZBellmoreNY61050000National Broadcasting Co.
3XLBound BrookNJ500030000R. C. A.
4XEWinter ParkFLvariable to 1499250Wm. Justice Lee, USNR
6XALos AngelesCA2800100Los Angeles Evening Express
6XAFLos AngelesCA2770100Clarence B. Juneau
6XAILos AngelesCA454050Los Angeles Radio Club
6XAKEurekaCA277050F. Wellington Morse
6XALLos AngelesCA277050L. E. Taft
6XANLos AngelesCA2830250Freeman Lang
6XARSan FranciscoCA936950Julius Brunton & Sons Co.portable
6XAULos AngelesCA288050Times Mirror Co.
6XAZSan DiegoCA282830Nelson Radioportable
6XBALos AngelesCA2770250Echophone Manufacturing Co.
6XBHAlma (Holy City)CA9672, 5657, 4759, 281050W. E. Riker
6XBRLos AngelesCA7496, 285550Warner Bros. Motion Picture Studios
6XBXVeniceCA285550McWhinnie Electric Co.
7XABSpokaneWA283050Symons Investment Co.portable
7XAOPortlandOR5600100Wilbur Jerman (Inc.)
7XCSeattleWA28505 to 250Northwest Radio Service Co.
8XALHarrisonOH5760500Crosley Radio Corporation
8XAODetroitMI937075WJR (Inc.)
8XFClevelandOH4540500Radio Air Service Corporation
8XJColumbusOH555050 to 250Ohio State University
8XKEast PittsburghPAvariable40000Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co.
8XPEast PittsburghPA29982 to 1999500Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co.
9XABOmahaNE285550R. J. Rockwell
9XUCouncil BluffsIA4910500Mona Motor Oil Co.

2 Killed as Plane Hits Radio Tower in Rainstorm Here

This article appeared in the New York Times, Monday, August 28, 1967.

At least two persons were killed yesterday when a single-engined plane crashed into a Bronx radio transmitter tower during a blinding rainstorm that stalled traffic, flooded basements, knocked out subway service and disrupted airline operations here.

The crash demolished the 541-foot tower on High Island near Orchard Beach and silenced the AM broadcasting operations of WCBS and WNBC.

The stations went off the air abruptly at 4:21 P. M. as thousands of bewildered listeners twisted their dials, wondering what had happened.

WCBS had been scheduled to begin all-news programming at 5:30 this morning on its AM frequency. The station announced last night that it would still try to do so, using an auxiliary WOR radio transmitter in New Jersey. If this transmitter could not be tuned in time, the new format will be broadcast over WCBS-FM, station officials said.

WNBC quickly made arrangements for temporary use of the WABC-AM auxiliary transmitter in Lodi, N. J. The station's signal from Lodi, however, was only 10,000 watts, compared to its normal 50,000 watt transmission.

The FM broadcasts of the two stations, which are transmitted from the Empire State Building, were not affected. [...]

The plane that crashed into the radio tower was a Piper Cherokee that authorities said was owned by the Zodiac Construction Corporation of 33 Sherman Avenue, Plainview, L. I., and leased by the Arrow Aviation Company at La Guardia Airport.

A spokesman for Arrow, who refused to give his name, said the plane had been taken without authorization. It was reported to have left La Guardia around 1:30 P. M. bound for East Hampton, L. I. It landed there about an hour later.

At 4:20 P. M., apparently on its way back to La Guardia, the plane ran into blinding rain and fog and was seen circling around the radio tower on High Island, which lies between City Island and Orchard beach in the Bronx.

A minute later, the plane slammed into the radio tower, which is owned by the Columbia Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting Company. All but the lower 60 feet of the steel frame tower was shattered and large insulators were scattered around the quarter-mile island.

Tom Hertzog, a caretaker on High Island, heard the sound of the plane's engine "revving up like he was trying to gain altitude," then heard a crash.

"I said to my son, 'Hit the deck, a plane just hit the tower,'" Mr. Hertzog said.

Sections of the steel tower crashed to the ground near the caretaker's house, but he was not hurt. The green and white plane plunged into Long Island Sound about 200 yards east of High Island and sank in about 50 feet of water.

Two bodies floated to the surface almost immediately and were recovered by a police launch.

The victims were tentatively identified as Ronald Bumbalo, 31 years old, of 233 East 60th Street, and either William Sedutto, 32, of 29 Perry Street or Joseph Abraham, of 45 East 9th Street. Papers with both the names of Mr. Sedutto and Mr. Abraham were found on one of the victims.

The police said that members of Mr. Bumbalo's family had expressed the belief, on the basis of descriptions given over the telephone, that Mr. Bumbalo had been in the plane.

Dr. James Bumbalo of Jamestown, N. Y., Mr. Bumbalo's brother, was due to arrive here today to identify the body. Members of Mr. Bumbalo's family said he was employed by the American Management Association of 135 West 50th Street.

It was believed that a third man was aboard the plane and frogmen searched the area for several hours before discontinuing their hunt. The search will be resumed this morning. The plane was signed out of La Guardia Airport and East Hampton by Peter Barris of 19-24 81st Street, Jackson Heights, Queens.

WCBS has decided to initiate the all-news programming because of sagging ratings on its AM operation. Under the plan, the station will broadcast only news from 5:30 A. M. to 8:10 P. M. weekdays except from 10 A. M. to 11 A. M., when Arthur Godfrey's show is broadcast. That show is scheduled to be shifted to a 1:10 P. M.-to-2 P. M. slot in October.

From 8:10 P. M. to 11:30 P. M., the station will continue to broadcast the Jim Gearhart disk-jockey show, and from 11:30 P. M. to 5:30 A. M. it will carry its usual music-to-dawn program.

Weekend programming will remain as it was until after the first of the year, when it, too, will become all news. The news format will be expanded next year to run from 5:30 A. M. to 11:30 P. M.

WINS became New York's first all-news station in April, 1965. [...]

(Deleted portions of the article above, indicated by [...], described the unusual recent weather conditions, and did not pertain directly to the tower collapse.)

WCBS-AM Goes Back on Air, Plans to Put Up a New Tower

This article appeared in the New York Times, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 1967.


WCBS radio went back on the air with its new AM broadcasting operations at 9:17 last night. The station's programs and those of WNBC-AM were knocked off the air Sunday when a single-engined plane hit their transmitting tower in the Bronx, killing at least two persons.

WCBS returned to the air broadcasting with a 10,000-watt transmitter in Long Island City, Queens, that was lent to it for the emergency by radio station WLIB.

Joseph Dembo, the newly appointed general manager of WCBS, said he had "no idea" when the 541-foot tower that was linked to the station's 50,000-watt transmitter at High Island, near Orchard Beach, would be repaired. The tower was demolished.

WNBC radio, which shared the tower, also was knocked off the air at 4:21 P. M. Sunday, but quickly made arrangements for temporary use of the WABC-AM auxiliary transmitter in Lodi, N. J. This transmitter is only 10,000 watts and WNBC normally transmits at 50,000 watts. WNBC was back on the air at 5:27 A. M. yesterday.

The bodies of two persons who died in the plane crash were identified by relatives yesterday. The police, using three scuba divers and two boats, continued to search Long Island Sound for the plane and for bodies of other persons believed to have been on it. The police said that the plane might have been carrying six or seven persons. A wing was recovered.

WCBS-AM's new all-news and information format was to start yesterday morning. The switch from the music, talk and news programs, planned for months, came after lagging ratings and sagging profits.

The new programming was started, but on the station's FM facilities, which had its regular 5:30 A. M.-to-8:10 P. M. programming pre-empted. Radio station WINS has been an all-news station since April, 1965.

Mr. Dembo said that an attempt would be made to set up a temporary tower on High Island, possibly by sometime today, to enable WCBS to start AM broadcasting again, but on 10,000 watts.

He said there was "a silver lining" to the problem. "Ten years ago," he said, "it wouldn't have happened but now all the radio and network people have called us and offered to help out."

Plans to use WOR's 10,000-watt transmitter in Carteret, N. J., did not work out because of technical problems.

With 10,000 watts, WNBC and WCBS can transit to the five boroughs and nearby suburban communities. Fifty thousand watts supplies enough power for the city and 18 metropolitan-area counties.

The known victims in the accident were identified by the police as William Sedutto, 32, of 29 Perry Street, and Ronald Bumbalo, 31, of 233 East 60th Street.

The plane crashed while apparently going to La Guardia Airport from East Hampton, L. I.

It was a single-engined Piper Cherokee owned by the Zodiac Construction Company of Plainview, L. I., but on lease to Arrow Aviation Company, which charters planes at La Guardia Airport.

Stanley Leonard, an official of Arrow, said yesterday that the plane, one of six operated by Arrow, had been taken on an unauthorized flight.

It apparently was signed out from La Guardia and East Hampton, Mr. Leonard said, by Peter Barris, a licensed pilot, of 19-24 81st Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, who had previously rented aircraft from Arrow.

"We grounded all our planes at 11 A. M. because of the bad weather," Mr. Leonard said. "Barris was one of several people in our office when we grounded them. He left with the rest."

Mr. Leonard said that he had approved closing the Arrow office at 2 P. M. Sunday after being told by telephone that the six planes were "all secured on the ground."

"At 3:30, someone went back to the office and called me to say one of the planes was missing from the line. We called all over and found that it had been on East Hampton," Mr. Leonard said. "It was an unauthorized flight, and we filed a stolen-from-airport report."

The police were unable to find Mr. Barris yesterday.

First Stations by State, According to Compton's Encyclopedia

The definitive list of earliest and oldest surviving radio stations by state has been compiled by Thomas White and is available at his excellent website United States Early Radio History. White's list is generally based on the date each station was first authorized as what we now call a broadcast station. These licenses usually specified a wavelength of 360 meters and the first such license was granted to WBZ in 1921.

In many cases the determination of the first station in a state is open to dispute. For example, according to research by Donna Halper, Massachusetts amateur station 1XE (later broadcast station WGI) transmitted music in 1916, long before WBZ was granted the first 360-meter authorization. In addition, several of the dates given by Compton's and the World Book Encyclopedia are based on claims by the stations that they should be linked to earlier stations that operated with different call letters. For example, WQAM claims to have begun broadcasting in 1921 although the WQAM call was not issued by the Department of Commerce until 1923.

Some of these claims seem rather dubious. For example, Barry Mishkind says that, according to Ed Brouder's research, there is no connection between WKAV and the earlier WLNH except the frequency and the sales manager. WKAV was shut down by the FRC and an different person financed the succeeding station.

The following is the information taken from the articles on each of the fifty states from Compton's Encyclopedia.

Alabama          WGH    Montgomery     Feb  3 1922
Alaska           KFQD   Anchorage      Apr    1924
Arizona          KFAD*  Phoenix        Jun 21 1922
Arkansas         WOK    Pine Bluff     Feb 10 1922
California       KQL    Los Angeles    Oct 13 1921
Colorado         KLZ    Denver         Mar 10 1922
Connecticut      WCJ    New Haven      Sep 29 1921
Delaware         WHAV*  Wilmington     Jul 30 1922
Florida          WQAM   Miami          Feb    1921
Georgia          WSB    Atlanta        Mar 15 1922
Hawaii           KGU    Honolulu       May    1922
Idaho            KFXD*  Logan Utah            1922
Illinois         WDZ*   Tuscola        Mar 17 1921
Indiana          WGAZ*  South Bend     Sep 25 1921
Iowa             WOC    Davenport      Feb 18 1922
Kansas           WEY    Wichita        Mar 23 1922
Kentucky         WHAS   Louisville     Jul 18 1922
Louisiana        WWL    New Orleans    Mar 31 1922
Maine            WCSH   Portland       Jul 24 1925
Maryland         WKC    Baltimore      Mar 23 1922
Massachusetts    WBZ    Springfield    Sep 15 1921
Michigan         WWJ    Detroit        Oct 13 1921
Minnesota        WLB    Minneapolis    Jan 13 1922
Mississippi      WDBT*  Hattiesburg    May  1 1925
Missouri         WEW    St. Louis      Apr 26 1921
Montana          KFBB   Great Falls    Jul 11 1922
Nebraska         WOU*   Omaha          Dec 29 1921
Nevada           KOH    Reno           Oct 25 1928
New Hampshire    WKAV*  Laconia        Aug    1922
New Jersey       WJZ    Newark         Jun  1 1921
New Mexico       KOB    Albuquerque    May    1922
New York         WJX    New York       Oct 13 1921
North Carolina   WBT    Charlotte      Apr 10 1922
North Dakota     WDAY   Fargo          May 23 1922
Ohio             WLW    Cincinnati     Mar  3 1921
Oklahoma         WKY    Oklahoma City  Apr 21 1921
Oregon           KGG    Portland       Mar 15 1922
Pennsylvania     KDKA   Pittsburgh     Oct 27 1920
Rhode Island     WEAN   Providence     Jun  5 1922
South Carolina   WSPA   Spartanburg    Nov    1929
South Dakota     WCAT   Rapid City     May  9 1922
Tennessee        WKN    Memphis        Mar 23 1922
Texas            WRR    Dallas                1921
Utah             KZN*   Salt Lake City Apr 21 1922
Vermont          WCAX   Burlington     June   1922
Virginia         WTAR   Norfolk        Sep 21 1923
Washington       KFC    Seattle        Dec  8 1921
West Virginia    WHD    Morgantown     Mar 16 1922
Wisconsin        WHA    Madison        Jan 13 1922
Wyoming          KDFN   Casper         Jan  2 1930
*KFXD was originally licensed to Logan Utah in 1922. It moved to Jerome in 1926 and to Nampa in 1929. WDZ Tuscola moved to Decatur. WHAV became WDEL. KFAD became KTAR. WDBT became WFOR. WOU became KOWH. WSAZ became WSBT. KZN became KSL. WKAV became WLNH.

First Stations by State, According to The World Book Encyclopedia

The following is the information taken from the articles on each of the fifty states from The World Book Encyclopedia (1992).

ALABAMA. WAPI of Birmingham is Alabama's oldest commercial radio station. It began in 1922 in Auburn as WMAV.

ALASKA. The first radio station in Alaska, KFQD, started broadcasting from Anchorage in 1924.

ARIZONA. KTAR, then called KFAD, was Arizona's first commercial radio station. It began broadcasting in Phoenix in 1922.

ARKANSAS. The state's first radio station, WOK, began broadcasting in Pine Bluff in 1920.

CALIFORNIA. In 1909, David Herrold began operating a radio station in connection with a radio school in San Jose. This was three years before Congress established radio licensing requirements. In 1913, Herrold adopted the call letters SJN. The station's letters were changed to KQW in 1921, and to KCBS in 1949. California's first commercial radio station, KQL, in Los Angeles, was licensed in 1921. KWG in Stockton was also licensed in 1921, and is still broadcasting.

COLORADO. The state's first commercial radio station, KFKA in Greeley, began broadcasting in 1921.

CONNECTICUT. The state's first radio station, WDRC, opened in Hartford in 1922.

DELAWARE. Delaware's first radio station, WDEL, began broadcasting in Wilmington in 1922.

FLORIDA. Florida's first radio station, WQAM in Miami, went on the air in 1921.

GEORGIA. The Atlanta Journal established the South's first radio station, WSB, in 1922. WSB became the first radio station in the United States to have regular nightly programs and a slogan, "The Voice of the South." WSB also originated the use of musical notes for station identification.

HAWAII. The state's first two radio stations, KDYX and KGU, began broadcasting in Hawaii in 1922.

IDAHO. Idaho's first radio station, KFAU (now KIDO), began commercial broadcasting in 1922 at Boise.

ILLINOIS. Illinois' oldest radio station, WDZ in Decatur, started in Tuscola in 1921.

INDIANA. The South Bend Tribune established the state's first radio station, WSBT, in 1921.

IOWA. Iowa's first radio station, WSUI, began operating at the University of Iowa in 1919. Station WOC in Davenport became the earliest commercial station in the state in 1922.

KANSAS. Kansas' first radio station was KFH. It began broadcasting from Wichita in 1922.

KENTUCKY. The state's first radio station, WHAS, began broadcasting in Louisville in 1922.

LOUISIANA. Louisiana's first radio stations, WWL in New Orleans and KEEL in Shreveport, started broadcasting in 1922.

MAINE. Maine's first radio station, WABI, began operating in Bangor in 1924.

MARYLAND. Maryland's oldest radio stations, WCAO and WFBR of Baltimore, began broadcasting in 1922.

MASSACHUSETTS. The state's first radio station, WGI, began broadcasting in Medford in 1920.

MICHIGAN. Radio Station WWJ in Detroit began broadcasting in 1920. WWJ and Pittsburgh's KDKA were the nation's first regular commercial radio stations.

MINNESOTA. Minnesota's first licensed radio station was WLB (now KUOM), an educational station owned by the University of Minnesota. The station was licensed in Minneapolis in 1922. The first commercial radio station, WDGY, began broadcasting from Minneapolis in 1923.

MISSISSIPPI. No information provided.

MISSOURI. The first radio station in Missouri, WEW of St. Louis University, began broadcasting in 1921.

MONTANA. The first radio station, KFBB, began broadcasting at Great Falls in 1922.

NEBRASKA. Nebraska Wesleyan University established Nebraska's first radio station, WCAJ, in Lincoln in 1921. The first commercial station, WOAW (now WOW) began broadcasting from Omaha in 1923.

NEVADA. The state's first radio station, KOH, began broadcasting from Reno in 1928.

NEW HAMPSHIRE. The first radio station in the state, WLNH, was founded at Laconia in 1922.

NEW JERSEY. WJZ, the second licensed commercial broadcasting station in the United States, was established in Newark in 1921. This station now operates in New York City.

NEW MEXICO. The state's first radio station, KOB, began from Albuquerque in 1922.

NEW YORK. The General Electric Company set up New York's first radio station, WGY, in its Schenectady laboratories in 1922.

NORTH CAROLINA. North Carolina's oldest radio station, WBT of Charlotte, began broadcasting in 1922.

NORTH DAKOTA. The first radio station in North Dakota, WDAY, started broadcasting in Fargo in 1922.

OHIO. Ohio's oldest radio station, WHK, began broadcasting in Cleveland in 1922. Also that year, Ohio State University in Columbus started WOSU, the first educational radio station in North America.

OKLAHOMA. Station WKY in Oklahoma City, the state's first commercial radio station, went on the air in 1921.

OREGON. Oregon's first commercial radio station, KGW, opened in Portland in 1922.

PENNSYLVANIA. In 1919, Frank Conrad, an engineer of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, set up a broadcasting station, 8XK, in his Wilkinsburg home. The following year, Conrad and some of the other Westinghouse engineers established radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh. It began broadcasting on Nov. 2, 1920. KDKA and Detroit's WWJ were the first regular commercial radio stations in the United States.

RHODE ISLAND. Rhode Island's first radio stations, WEAN and WJAR, began broadcasting from Providence in 1922.

SOUTH CAROLINA. The state's first radio station, WSPA, began broadcasting in Spartanburg in 1930.

SOUTH DAKOTA. The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology established the state's first radio station, WCAT. The station was licensed in Rapid City in 1922.

TENNESSEE. Tennessee's first radio station, WNAV, began broadcasting at Knoxville in 1922.

TEXAS. Texas' first radio station, WRR, began broadcasting in Dallas in 1920.

UTAH. The state's first radio station, KZN (now KSL), began broadcasting in Salt Lake City in 1922.

VERMONT. Vermont's first radio station, WSYB, opened in Rutland in 1930.

VIRGINIA. Virginia's first commercial radio station, WTAR, began in Norfolk in 1923.

WASHINGTON. Washington's first commercial radio broadcast was made from Everett in 1920 by station KFBL (now KRKO).

WEST VIRGINIA. The state's first radio station, WSAZ, began broadcasting from Huntington in 1923.

WISCONSIN. The history of radio in Wisconsin dates from 1909. That year, University of Wisconsin scientists conducted wireless experiments. The university radio station was licensed as 9XM in 1916, and the station became WHA in 1922.

WYOMING. The state's first radio station, KDFN (now KTWO), began broadcasting at Casper in 1930.

List Of Ultra-Short-Wave Broadcasting Stations

The following is taken from 1944 UK publication "Manual of Short-Wave Technique and International Broadcast Reception." Thanks to William R. Hepburn (, who provided this list.
M/c s   Call      Location           Times of Operation GMT
        Letters                      (Schedule)

25.95   W6XKG     Los Angeles        Broadcasts 24 hours daily.
25.95   W9XUP     St Paul, Minn.     Relays KSTP, 16.00 - 22.00
25.95   W8XNU     Cincinnati         Relays WSAI, daytime programmes.
26.05   W9XTC     Minneapolis        (irregular)
26.10   W9XJL     Superior, Wisc.    Relays WEBC, 15.00 - 20.00
26.30   W2XJI     Newark, N.J.       Relays WOR, 18.00 - 23.00
26.40   W9XAZ     Milwaukee          Relays WTPM, 18.00 - 05.00
26.45   W9XA      Kansas City        Relays KITE, around 17.00 - 22.30
26.55   W2XQO     New York           Relays WMCA, 17.00 - 23.00
31.60   W1XKA     Boston, Mass.      Relays WBZ, 11.00 - 18.00
31.60   W4XCA     Memphis, Tenn.     Relays WMC, 13.00 - 01.00
31.60   W8XKA     Pittsburgh         Relays KDKA, 20.00 - 23.00 irreg.
31.60   W3XKA     Philadelphia       Relays KYW, 15.00 - 03.00
31.60   W5XD      Dallas, Texas.     Relays WFAA, around 17.00
31.60   W3XEY     Baltimore          Relays NBC, 23.00 - 05.00
31.60   W8XAI     Rochester, N.Y.    Relays WHAM
31.60   W8XWJ     Detroit            18.15 - 03.30, 19.00 - 22.00 & 00.00 - 03.00
31.60   W2XDV     New York           Relays WABC
31.60   W9XHW     Minneapolis        14.00 - 22.00
31.60   W9XPD     St Louis           Relays KSD, 14.00 - 24.00
31.60   W1XAQ     New Bedford        Relays WNBH, 19.00 - 23.00
31.60   W5XAU     Oklahoma C.        17.00 - 18.00 & 23.00 - 11.00
31.60   W9XUY     Omaha              Almost all day.
35.60   W3XES     Baltimore          Relays WCAO, 14.00 - 22.00
35.60   W2XDV     New York C.        Owned by CBS, 14.00 - 17.00
37.50   W3XES     Baltimore          Broadcasts 22.00 - 04.00
38.60   W2XDV     New York           Relays WABC
38.60   W2XDG     New York C.        Afternoons
38.60   W8XNT     Cleveland          Relays WHK, Wed., 17.00 - 05.00
41.00   W2XDV     New York           Relays WABC
41.00 * W2XGH     Schenectady        13.00 - 04.00 daily
41.00 * W8XA      Schenectady        Mon., Wed., & Frid. 01.00 - 02.00, Sat. 20.00 - 22.00
41.50   WBOE      Cleveland          14.00 - 16.30 & 18.20 - 20.40
49.00   W2XBS     New York C.        On Empire Building
55.50   W8XK      Pittsburgh         irreg. 18.00 - 02.00
55.50   W1XKA     Boston, Mass.      Daily 11.00 - 05.00, Sund. starts at 13.00

* Altered call.

Station Call Letters

[The following is from The Principles Underlying Radio Communication - U.S. Army Signal Corps Pamphlet No. 40, 2nd ed., revised to May 24, 1921, p. 563.]

All radio stations throughout the world under the jurisdiction of any countries adhering to the London International Radiotelegraph Conference of 1912 are assigned station calls consisting of three or four letters. Practically all countries of importance have adhered to this convention. There is no duplication of calls. Groups of call letters have been assigned to each of the countries under the authority of the convention. The calls assigned cover both land and ship stations. [...]

United States Government and Commercial Calls. The call letters assigned to the United States are all three and four letter combinations beginning with the letter N and all beginning with the letter W, and all combinations from KDA to KZZ, inclusive. All combinations beginning with the letter N are reserved for United States Government stations, and have in most cases been assigned to stations of the United States Navy. The combinations from WUA to WVZ and from WXA to WZZ are reserved for stations of the United States Army. Calls assigned to the United States beginning with K and W, not assigned to Government stations, are reserved for commercial stations open to public and limited commercial service. In addition to calls consisting entirely of letters, certain Army and Navy stations use calls consisting in part of numbers.

United States Amateur Calls. The station license granted for the operation of an amateur transmitting station in the United States designates a call which is to be used by that stations at all times. The call consists usually of a number followed by two letters, as 1AB, but may consist of a number followed by three letters, as 1ABC. The number is the radio district in which the station is located. Experiment stations have calls consisting of a number followed by two or three letters, of which the first one is X, as 1XA. Technical and training school stations have calls consisting of a number followed by two or three letters of which the first one is Y, as 1YA . Special amateur stations have calls consisting of a number followed by two or three letters of which the fist one is Z, as 1ZA.... No station is allowed to transmit unless a station license has been issued. The radio regulations formerly provided that after an application for a station license had been filed and pending the issue of the station license, a provisional call could be used and the station could transmit. This provision has been repealed.

K Calls in the East, W Calls in the West

[The following was posted by Scott Fybush in, and is reproduced here with his permission.]

There are precisely four scenarios under which a radio station east of the Mississippi can have a callsign beginning with K, or vice versa.

The first is the historical anomaly from the early 1920s under which KDKA, KYW, and KQV received their calls. KDKA and KQV have always been in Pittsburgh, and have at various times had FM and TV counterparts (there is still a KDKA-TV, and in the past there have been KDKA-FM and KQV-FM). The KYW calls began in Chicago in 1921, on Westinghouse's station there. KYW moved itself to Philadelphia in 1934. In 1956, NBC more or less forced Westinghouse to trade KYW (and WPTZ-TV) in Philadelphia for NBC's WTAM (along with WTAM-FM and WNBK-TV) in Cleveland, under the threat that it would otherwise pull WPTZ's lucrative NBC-TV affiliation. So the KYW calls moved to Cleveland, where they were put not only on 1100 AM, but also on KYW-FM 105.7 and KYW-TV 3. In 1965, Westinghouse won its lawsuit against NBC, and NBC was forced to return the Philadelphia stations and take back its Cleveland outlets. Cleveland became WKYC-AM/FM/TV (the "KY" was a reference to the KYW calls), and Philadelphia became KYW-AM/TV, which it remains to this day.

The second way for a station to have "wrong" calls is to have been licensed in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, or Texas in the 1920s, before the K/W line was shifted east to the Mississippi River. Many of these pioneer stations still exist and still bear W calls. They (or their descendants) are:

WMT AM/FM Cedar Rapids IA
WOC AM Davenport IA
WHO AM/TV Des Moines IA
WSUI AM Iowa City IA
WDAF AM/TV Kansas City MO
WHB AM Kansas City MO
WEW AM St. Louis MO
WIL FM St. Louis MO
WJAG AM Norfolk NE
WKY AM Oklahoma City OK
WBBZ AM Ponca City OK
WTAW AM College Station TX
WRR FM Dallas TX
WBAP AM Fort Worth TX
WOAI AM San Antonio TX
The third way to have "wrong" calls is to be near the Mississippi River. The FCC has long been somewhat relaxed about mixing W and K calls in northern Minnesota and southern Louisiana, where the river's course becomes twisted from the north/south line it follows for most of the way. Markets such as Duluth and Minneapolis/St. Paul are well split between W and K calls, often with little regard for which side of the river the station is on. In Duluth's case, the FCC even allowed some K calls over the state line into Superior, Wisconsin.

In recent years (beginning with KWK-FM Granite City IL), the FCC has also become more relaxed about allowing the W/K line to blur elsewhere along the river. Several St. Louis-area stations have W calls even though they're in Missouri, or K calls in Illinois, thanks to the FCC's liberalism in the last few years.

The fourth way to have "wrong" calls is to wait for the FCC to get confused. There is at present exactly one station in this category, KTGG(AM) Spring Arbor MI. It seems that when KTGG got its calls in 1984, someone at the FCC looked at "MI" and saw Missouri...and on went the K call, which KTGG was somehow able to keep. Several other stations have been assigned "wrong" calls by accident (the 106.9 in Moultonborough NH was first given KNHX) but did not keep them.

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