A U. S. Television Chronology, 1875-1970
Start dates are shown for all stations on the air or with a construction permit by Sept. 30, 1948, when a freeze on new applications was imposed. The following people have contributed to this page: Donna Halper, Bob Carpenter, Joseph Gallant, Paul Lindemeyer, Wesley Orr, Dan Kallenberger, Mark Leff, Pat Dyer, Neil Nelkin, Dave Robertson, Al Robinson, Xen Scott, William V. Sutherland, John Ross, Teddy Dibble, Chuck Davis, Tom Hoehler, Bill Hepburn, Rickey Stein, Garrett Bauer, Bill Myers, and Todd Kosovich. Suggestions are welcome via email. This page was last revised on Jan. 7, 2019.
1875. George R. Carey of Boston proposes a television system in which every picture element is transmitted simultaneously, each over a separate circuit.
1880. The principle of scanning an image is proposed, by E. E. Sawyer in the U. S., Maurice Leblanc in France, and others (approximate date).
1900. The term television is coined by Constantin Perskyi at the International Electricity Congress, part of the 1900 Paris Exhibition (Tube: The Invention of Television by David E Fisher and Marshall Jon Fisher, p. 29). The OED shows a use in English of the word in 1930 in the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine in June 1900: “Through television and telephone we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face.” The OED also shows a use of the term attributively in 1900 in Engineering on Aug. 31, 1900, 276/3: “The very complicated television apparatus which C. Perskyi explained with the help of slides are based upon the peculiarities of selenium cells.”
1921. Charles Francis Jenkins incorporates the Jenkins Laboratories in Washington for the sole purpose of "developing radio movies to be broadcast for entertainment in the home."
May 19, 1922. Charles Francis Jenkins achieves his first successful laboratory transmission.
Oct. 3, 1922. Jenkins first public demonstration, using Navy station NOF in Anacostia. He transmitted pictures, rather than television in the modern sense. The photographs were sent by a telephone wire from his Washington office to NOF and they were then broadcast by wireless back to the Post Office in Washington.
June 14, 1923. Jenkins' first true television demonstration, using NOF. (He continued to use NOF until 1925. By 1925, the NOF transmissions were on 1875 kHz, using 48 lines.)
Dec. 29, 1923. Zworykin applies for a patent for an all-electronic television system.
June 13, 1925. Charles Francis Jenkins achieves the first synchronized transmission of pictures and sound, using 48 lines, and a mechanical system. A 10-minute film of a miniature windmill in motion is sent from Anacostia to Washington, D. C., a distance of 5 miles. The images were viewed by representatives of the Bureau of Standards, the Navy, the Commerce Department, and others. Jenkins called this "the first public demonstration of radiovision" (although Baird had publicly demonstrated a working television set at Selfridge's Department Store in London two months earlier).
1926. Orrin Dunlap, radio editor of the New York Times, describes television as "an inventor's will-o'-the-wisp."
Aug. 18, 1926. A weather map is televised for the first time, sent from NAA Arlington to the Weather Bureau Office in Washington.
Dec. 1926. WGY's TV station on air, video 37.8 meters, sound 755 kHz
Apr. 7, 1927. An image of Commerce Secretary Hoover is transmitted in the first successful long distance demonstration of television using Bell Telephone Co. experimental station 3XN, Whippany NJ. 3XN used 1575 kHz video, 1450 kHz audio, 185 synch. AT&T had not previously announced its television research, which was being conducted by Herbert E. Ives and others.
May 23, 1927. The first demonstration of television before a large audience, about 600 members of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers, at the Bell Telephone Building in New York.
Sept. 7, 1927. Philo T. Farnsworth demonstrates TV in San Francisco. His transmission was electronic, unlike the mechanical TV of Bell Labs, Jenkins, and others.
Jan. 13, 1928. Alexanderson demonstrates the GE system and announces the beginning of television broadcasting. The pictures were received on sets with 1.5 square inch screens in the homes of Alexanderson and two board members in Schenectady. (This is considered by some the first home reception of television in the U. S.) The picture, with 48 lines at 16 frames per second, was transmitted over 2XAF on 37.8 meters and the sound was transmitted over WGY radio station.
Feb. 25, 1928. FRC grants first TV license to Jenkins Laboratories for W3XK at 1519 Connecticut Ave. NW Washington. On air 7/2/28? 6.42 MHz, 48 lines. (In 1929 it was authorized to move the transmitter to between Silver Spring and Wheaton. The station ceased to operate on Oct. 31, 1932.)
Apr. 1928. W2XBS New York, RCA, begins in the laboratory.
May 11, 1928. The first regular schedule of TV programming is begun by General Electric in Schenectady. Programs are transmitted Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., using 24 lines.
July 1928. These stations are on the air on this date, according to John Ross: W2XBU Beacon NY (Harold E. Smith); W2XBV New York (RCA); W2XBW Bound Brook NJ (RCA); W2XAV East Pittsburgh (Westinghouse); W4XA White Haven TN; W6XC Los Angeles.
July 2, 1928. Charles F. Jenkins begins broadcasting the first regular telecasts designed to be received by the general public.
July 12, 1928. First televised tennis match.
July 21, 1928. Boston Post reports W1XAY Lexington MA has been licensed.
Aug. 13, 1928. WRNY Coytesville NJ becomes the first standard radio station to transmit a television image (the face of Mrs. John Geloso). It was a 1.5 square inch image enlarged by a magnifying glass to three inches so it could be viewed by 500 persons at Philosophy Hall at New York University. Station also operated W2XAL New York, 9.705 MHz. (WRNY broadcast sight and sound alternately rather than simultaneously. Viewers would first see the face of a performer and a few seconds later 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 Pilot. [Tube: The Invention of Television, by Fisher])
Aug. 22, 1928. WGY simulcasts on radio and TV (WGY, 2XAF and 2XAD) Al Smith accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. This was the first over-the-air remote pickup and the first TV news event.
Sept. 11, 1928. First play broadcast by television, "The Queen's Messenger," on W2XAD. (Sound was also broadcast over WGY radio.) Video was on 21.4 meters; sound was on 31.96 meters. The event was reported on page 1 of the New York Times the next day. (During 1928, Ernest Frederik Werner Alexanderson of General Electric transmitted daily TV tests over W2XAD.)
Sept. 11, 1928. First TV signal in Buffalo, on WMAK in Kenmore
Late Oct. 1928. W1XAY Lexington MA on air. (The station was licensed to J. Smith Dodge and C. F. Jenkins. J. Smith Dodge was a former engineer for WNAC and former announcer at WGI. Carl S. Wheeler was also involved in founding the station. Station basically broadcast WLEX's radio programming. The station remained on the air sporadically until the end of March 1930.)
1929. Milton Berle appears in an experimental TV broadcast. Film of the appearance survives.
1929. W2XBS (RCA) begins two-hour daily broadcasts from Van Cortlandt Park.
Mar. 27, 1929. W2XCL Brooklyn NY on air (Pilot Radio and Tube Corp.) begins operating.
Mar. 30, 1929. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W9XAO Chicago IL (Nelson Brothers Bond and Mortgage Co.) 2.0-2.1 MHz, 500 watts; W2XCR Jersey City NJ (Jenkins Television Corporation) 2.1-2.2 MHz, 5000 watts; W2XCL Brooklyn NY (Pilot Electric Manufacturing Co.) 2.0-2.1, 2.75-2.85 MHz, 250 watts; W2XCO New York (RCA) 2.1-2.2 MHz, 5000 watts; W2XR New York (John V. L. Hogan), 500 watts (visual broadcasting and experimental); W2XCW Schenectady (General Electric) 2.1-2.2 MHz 20,000 watts.
April 1929. W1WX Boston begins experimental broadcasts two times a day with 100 watts. [These broadcasts continued until December, when the call was changed to W1XAV. The licensee of W1WX and W1XAV, Shortwave and Television Laboratory, Inc., was founded on 5 December 1928 by A. M. "Vic" Morgan, Hollis Baird, and Butler Perry. The company was officially dissolved on 1 January 1935, but by that time it existed only on paper, since Baird, Perry, and Morgan had all moved to General Television Corp, which they acquired on 8 March 1934. This information provided by Donna Halper, from state government records.]
Apr. 30, 1929. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W1XB Somerville MA (General Industries Co.) 500 watts (experimental and visual broadcasting).
May 11, 1929. The "first regularly scheduled TV broadcasts" begin (one source), three nights per week.
May 31, 1929. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W9XR Downers Grove IL (Great Lakes Broadcasting Co.) 2.1-2.2, 2.85-2.95 MHz, 5000 watts; W2XCP Allwood NJ (Freed-Eisemann Radio Corp.) 2.0-2.1, 2.85-2.95 MHz, 2000 watts (visual broadcasting and experimental).
June 27, 1929. First public demonstration of color TV, by H. E. Ives and his colleagues at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York. The first images are a bouquet of roses and an American flag. A mechanical system was used to transmit 50-line color television images between New York and Washington.
July 1929. WOKO Poughkeepsie NY begins transmitting TV as W2XBU in late July 1929.
July 31, 1929. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W9XAA Chicago (Chicago Federation of Labor), 6.08, 11.84, 17.78 MHz, 500 watts.
Aug. 31, 1929. Radio World reports WENR radio Chicago receives a license for a 5000 watt TV station (W9XR?).
Sept. 30, 1929. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W1XAV Boston (Shortwave and Television Laboratory Inc.) 2.1-2.2 MHz, 500 watts; W3XL Bound Brook NJ (RCA Communications Inc.) 2.85-2.95 MHz, 30,000 watts.
Oct. 31, 1929. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W10XU Airplane (Jenkins Laboratories), 2.0-2.1 MHz, 10 watts; W10XZ Airplane (C. Francis Jenkins), 1.608, 2.325, 3.088, 4.785, 6.335 MHz, 6 watts.
Nov. 30, 1929. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W9XAP Addison IL (Chicago Daily News), 2.75-2.85 MHz, 5000 watts.
1930. Don Lee's television station opens in Los Angeles.
Jan. 1930. W1XAV Boston on air
Mar. 1930. (End of March) W1XAY Lexington MA goes off the air, leaving W1XAV temporarily as the only mechanical TV station in Boston.
Mar. 31, 1930. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W2XBO Long Island City NY (United Research Corporation), 2.0-2.1, 2.75-2.85 MHz, 5000 watts; W8XT East Pittsburgh PA (Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co.), 660 kHz, 25,000 watts.
Apr. 30, 1930. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W2XAP Jersey City NJ (Jenkins Television Corporation), 2.75-2.85 MHz, 250 watts.
May 22, 1930. An audience at Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady becomes the first to see closed-circuit TV projected onto a big screen.
May 31, 1930. Radio Service Bulletin lists these new stations: W10XAL United States (portable) (National Broadcasting Co.), 2.392 MHz, 50 watts; W10XAO United States (portable) (National Broadcasting Co.), 1.584 MHz, 50 watts.
Aug. 9, 1930. An Associated Press item has: "Station WMAQ's new television transmitter is to be on the air some time this month. The first regularly scheduled sight programs in conjunction with a sound broadcast station are to provide studio scenes which are to be transmitted three times a day. The television station is W9XAP, 2800 kilocycles."
Aug. 20, 1930. The first demonstration of home reception of television, a half-hour broadcast from the Jenkins station, W2XCR in Jersey City, and the de Forest station W2XCD in Passaic. Two sets were available in public places and one in a press suite. (Or Aug. 25 1930)
July 30, 1930. NBC opens W2XBS, New York. W2XBS started as an RCA lab rig in Apr. 1928 and was used for big screen theater tests as early as Jan. 1930. In July 1930 it was put in charge of NBC broadcast engineers.
Nov. 1930. W9XAP Chicago (Chicago Daily News) broadcast the senatorial election returns. Press release claimed it was the first time a senatorial race, complete with charts showing the standings of the candidates as the votes were tallied, was ever televised.
Dec. 7, 1930. W1XAV Boston broadcasts a video portion of a CBS radio program, The Fox Trappers orchestra program, sponsored by I. J. Fox Furriers. Included was what is sometimes called the first television commercial, which was prohibited by FRC regulations. [However, Donna Halper reports that as early as 1928 W1XAY in Lexington Mass. simulcast one hour of WLEX radio daily, and there is a mention of commercials in that hour. She also reports that Big Brother Bob Emery made an appearance on W1XAV, as did several other Boston area announcers, when W1XAV tried on a few occasions in 1930-31 to telecast a Boston radio station's programming. They first tried WEEI and then WNAC. The FRC took a dim view of their attempts to telecast a network program, however, since there was no agreement yet about whether or not experimental TV stations could run network commercials, so the FRC advised them not to try it.]
Dec. 13, 1930. Radio World lists W1XY Lawrence MA (Pilot).
1931. The following stations are listed with 1931 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 2, KTSL, Hollywood, CA
Feb. 24, 1931. New York Times article (p. 32) refers to daily television broadcasts which began the previous evening on W2XCD (De Forest) in Passaic.
Apr. 1931. W2XCR, Jenkins second station, moves from its original site in Jersey City to 655 Fifth Avenue in New York. The station now had 5000 watts power, and could broadcast 60-line pictures rather than 48-line pictures.
Apr. 26, 1931. Jenkins Television Corp. gives a public demonstration on W2XCR, beginning a regular schedule of four hours per day, which lasted into early 1932. Simulcast with WGBS radio.
May 1, 1931. The first marriage is broadcast on TV, on W2XCR New York.
July 21, 1931. W2XAB New York (CBS) begins broadcasting the first regular seven-day-per-week TV broadcasting schedule in the U. S., 28 hours per week with live pickups and a wide variety of programs. The first broadcast included Mayor James J. Walker, Kate Smith, and George Gershwin.
Sept. 4, 1931. W9XD (later WTMJ-TV) Milwaukee licensed. (The first application for a TV license was filed May 5, 1930.)
Oct. 1931. W1XG Boston on air (Shortwave and Television Laboratory). This was a VHF station with 30 watts. Chief Engineer was Hollis Baird; studios were at 70 Brookline Ave.
Oct. 18, 1931. British television pioneer John Logie Baird appears on WMCA radio to discuss a proposed television station to be operated jointly by his company and WMCA. (Radio Pictures Inc. objected to the proposed station since the applicant was a foreign organization, and the FRC denied the application.)
Oct. 30, 1931. NBC puts a TV transmitter atop the Empire State Building. The first experimental TV broadcast from the ESB was on Dec. 22, 1931.
Dec. 23, 1931. W6XAO Los Angeles begins daily transmissions on 44.5 MHz, from 6 to 7 p.m. using 80 lines repeated 15 times per second. The station later became KTSL, for Thomas S. Lee, and then KNXT and KCBS-TV. (On March 10, 1933, W6XAO began full-scale broadcasting. An earthquake struck Los Angeles the same day, and films of the damage were broadcast the next day. W6XAO was the first broadcasting station to show a current full-length motion picture, The Crooked Circle. On May 6, 1948, the commercial KTSL went on the air with a kinescope recording of the Old Gold Original Amateur Hour. As late as April 1949 the Los Angeles Times TV listings showed “KTSL (W6XAO).” On October 16, 1949, the Long Beach Independent referred to “KTSL (W6XAO).” On May 9, 1949, Broadcasting reported that Don Lee Broadcasting System was granted reinstatement for its experimental W6XAO Hollywood and for an additional six months for completion. “The actions do not disturb Don Lee’s current operation of W6XAO commercially under temporary authorization from the Commission.” In 2019, Bruce Carroll wrote, “Our family in Beverly Hills got our first TV set a 10" Philco model 1049 in the fall of 1948. At that time and well into 1949 Los Angeles channel 2 (which transmitted from above the Hollywoodland sign) used the call letters W6XAO on the air and not KTSL. I would say the source giving the May 1948 may be correct for when the station got a commercial license, but on the air they used W6XAO well into 1949.”)
1932. RCA demonstrates an all-electronic television system, originally with 120 lines.
Aug. 7, 1932. New York Times article describes reception reports received by W2XAB.
Nov. 8, 1932. CBS TV reports on the presidential election to an estimated 7500 sets, or 9000 sets according to CBS's estimate. Program consisted of commentary, return charts, still cartoons of politicians.
Jan. 23, 1933. W9XAL Kansas City first day of broadcasting. [Journal-Post News Flashes with John Cameron Swayze begin the following day at 12:00 p.m. as a daily program simulcast on KMBC radio.]
Jan. 25, 1933. W9XK Iowa City, Iowa, begins mechanical TV broadcasts, with sound on its radio station WSUI. The program included a brief overview of the University of Iowa, a musical number, and a drama sketch. W9XK was the first educational station with regularly- scheduled programs.
Feb. 20, 1933. CBS suspends television broadcasts.
Aug. 4, 1933. W9XAT Minneapolis has its first broadcast. The station was licensed to Dr. George Young, owner of WDGY. WDGY personalities appeared on the station. There was an attempt to do regular telecasts, but it appears they gave up progamming by 1934. The license expired on Sept. 20, 1938. [Information from Todd Kosovich]
June 27, 1934. W1XAV Boston is discontinued. The FCC told Shortwave and Television Laboratory that the world didn't need two mechanical TV stations. One license was accepted, the other was denied, effective 13 July 1934. At this point Shortwave and Television changed its name to General Television Corp. and switched from a mechanical to an electronic system.
Dec. 1934. Philo Farnsworth demonstrates a non-mechanical television system.
1935. (Mid 1935) W1XG Boston changes from a mechanical to an electronic system.
April-May 1935. Short Wave Listener Magazine for
April-May 1935 lists these television stations:
2000-2100 kc. W2XDR Long Island City NY W8XAN Jackson MI W9XK Iowa City IA W9XAK Manhattan KS W9XAO Chicago IL W6XAH Bakersfield CA 2750-2850 kc. W3XAK portable W9XAP Chicago IL W2XBS Baltimore MD W9XAL Kansas City MO W9XG West Lafayette IN W2XAB New York NY 42000-56000, 60000-86000 kc. W2XAX New York NY W6XAO Los Angeles CA W9XD Milwaukee WI W2XBT portable W2XF New York NY W3XE Philadelphia PA W3XAD Camden NJ W10XX portable and mobile [Vicinity of Camden NJ] W2XDR Long Island City NY W8XAN Jackson MI W9XAT portable W2XAD New York NY W2XAG portable W1XG Boston MA W9XK Iowa City IA
Regarding W6XAH in Bakersfield, listed above, Mark D. Luttrell writes that it "was an experimental television station that was operated by Pioneer Mercantile Company in Bakersfield during 1932. The station was an experimental effort by the Schamblin brothers--Frank, Leo and Charles. It has been reported in several publicattions as 'the first television station west of the Mississippi River.' Due to technical problems the work ended later that year and the company then focused on starting a radio station which went on the air as KPMC 1560 AM in 1933 from Bakersfield. The station was later sold and is now owned by Buckley Radio in Connecticut. ...My grandfather worked in management for the company."
June 29, 1936. 343-line TV transmitted from the Empire State Building on W2XBS, the first high-definition television.
July 7, 1936. NBC's first attempt at actual programming after 6 years of tests: a 30-minute variety show strictly for RCA licensees, speeches, dance ensemble, monologue, vocal numbers, and film clips.
Aug. 15, 1936. Broadcasting reports Philco Corp. demonstrates its system of television with seven-mile transmission of live and film subjects in 345-line images 9 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches.
Nov. 6, 1936. RCA displays 343-line TV for the press as part of NBC's tenth anniversary celebration.
Apr. 1, 1937. Broadcasting reports CBS applies for experimental video station in New York, plans to install RCA TV transmitter in Chrysler building tower and to construct special studios.
May 1937. Gilbert Seldes becomes the first TV critic, with an article "Errors of Television" in the Atlantic Monthly.
May 15, 1937. Broadcasting reports RCA demonstrates projection television, with images enlarged to 8 by 10 feet, at Institute of Radio Engineers convention.
Oct. 13, 1937. FCC adopts new television allocations: seven channels between 44 and 108 MHz (44-50, 50-56, 66-72, 78-84, 84-90, 96-102, and 102-108 MHz), and 12 additional channels from 156-194 MHz. The higher channels are earmarked for a time when workable tubes are devised for these frequencies.
May 31, 1938. W2XBS telecasts the movie The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel, starring Leslie Howard; the staff projectionist played the last reel out of order, ending the film 20 minutes early. After this incident, NBC could not obtain first-run movies for many years.
Nov. 15, 1938. First telecast of an unscheduled event, a fire, on NBC's W2XBT. A mobile unit was in a park in Queens when a fire broke out on Ward's Island, across the river. (However on Apr. 24 1936 an outdoor scene of firemen answering an alarm was transmitted by RCA from Camden, New Jersey.)
1939. The following stations are listed with 1939 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 4, WNBT, New York, NY; ch. 4, WRGB, Schenectady, NY
Apr. 30, 1939. President Roosevelt is the first President to appear on television, from the New York World's Fair on W2XBS, now transmitting on 45.25 MHz visual and 49.75 MHz aural.
May 17, 1939. A Princeton-Columbia baseball game is telecast from Baker Field in New York by W2XBS, the first sports telecast 4 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Bill Stern was the announcer.
June 1, 1939. First heavyweight boxing match televised, Max Baer vs Lou Nova, form Yankee Stadium.
Aug. 26, 1939. First major league baseball game telecast, a double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, announcer Walter L. "Red" Barber or Bill Stern (sources differ), on W2XBS.
Sept. 30, 1939. First televised college football game, Fordham vs Waynesburg, at Randall's Island, New York, on W2XBS.
Oct. 22, 1939. First NFL game is televised by W2XBS: the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-14 at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn. Play by play announcer was Allen (Skip) Walz.
Nov. 10, 1939. W2XB (or W2XD?) (WRGB) Schenectady NY on air (became WRGB in 1942, on ch. 3 (?), moved from ch. 4 to ch. 6 in 1954).
Jan. 1940. The FCC holds public hearings on television.
Feb. 1, 1940. The first NBC network television program, from W2XBS to Schenectady.
Feb. 25, 1940. First hockey game televised, Rangers vs Canadians, on W2XBS, from Madison Square Garden.
Feb. 26, 1940. The first quiz show, Spelling Bee, on WRGB.
Feb. 28, 1940. FCC announces a limited commercial television service will be authorized beginning on September 1. Standards were not set, pending further research until the best system could be determined. (Two days later the FCC suspended its authorization for commercial service, declaring that the marketing campaign of RCA disregarded the commission's findings and recommendations.)
Feb. 28, 1940. First basketball game televised, from Madison Square Garden, Fordham vs the University of Pittsburgh, by W2XBS.
Mar. 10, 1940. W2XBS utilizes the Metropolitan Opera to broadcast a scene from an opera from its television studio. The audio portion is carried over radio station WJZ.
Mar. 15, 1940. Broadcasting reports RCA cuts price of television sets, starts sales drive intended to put a minimum of 25,000 in homes in service area of NBC's New York video station.
Apr. 1, 1940. Broadcasting reports FCC suspends order for "limited commercial" operation of TV, censures RCA for sales efforts which are seen as an attempt to freeze TV standards at present level, calls new hearing; critics call move "usurpation of power."
Apr. 13, 1940. W2XWV (WABD) licensed to DuMont.
June 1940. W2XBS (NBC) covers the Republican National Convention from Philadelphia for 33 hours over five days.
Aug. 1940. W9XBK (WBKB) Chicago on air (Balaban & Katz/Paramount).
Aug. 29, 1940. Peter Goldmark of CBS announces his invention of a color TV system.
Sept. 3, 1940. First showing of high definition color TV, by W2XAB, transmitting from the Chrysler Building, using 343 lines. This was the first telecast of any kind from CBS since the closing of their scanner station 2/2/33.
1941. W6XYZ (KTLA) Los Angeles on air.
1941. The following stations are listed with 1941 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 4, WBKB, Chicago, IL; ch. 2, WCBS-TV, New York, NY; ch. 3, WPTZ, Philadelphia, PA.
Mar. 1, 1941. New York Times lists: Television Sight: 51.25, Sound 55.75; W2XBS 2-5 p.m. test pattern; 730-830 p.m test pattern; 830 p.m. pick up of... track meet, Madison Square Garden
Mar. 8, 1941. NTSC formally recommends TV standards to the FCC, calling for 525 lines and 30 frames per second.
Apr. 30, 1941. The FCC approves the NTSC standards and authorizes commercial TV to begin on July 1.
May 2, 1941. 10 stations granted commercial TV licenses effective July 1. Stations were required to broadcast 15 hours per week. W2XBS received license number 1.
June 30, 1941. Broadcasting reports Bulova Watch Co., Sun Oil Co., Lever Bros. Co. and Procter & Gamble sign as sponsors of first commercial telecasts on July 1 over WNBT New York.
July 1, 1941. Commercial TV authorized.
July 1, 1941. W2XBS New York NY becomes a commercial station, changes call to WNBT (later calls WRCA-TV, WNBC-TV). At 1:29 p.m., General Mills sponsors a Brooklyn Dodgers-Philadelphia Phillies game, followed by the "Sunoco Newscast" with Lowell Thomas. At 9:15 p.m., "Uncle Jims Question Bee," hosted by Bill Slater and sponsored by Spry, made its one-and-only appearance and, at 9:30, Ralph Edwards hosted "Truth Or Consequences," simulcast on radio and TV and sponsored by Ivory Soap. This was the first game show broadcast on TV. The world's first (legal) TV commercial for Bulova watches occurs at 2:29:10 superimposed over a test pattern. According to a 2004 article in Newsday: "On July 1, 1941, the world's first television commercial aired on NBC, at that time known as WNBT-TV. The 10-second advertisement for Bulova clocks and watches consisted of the image of a clock and a map of the United States, with a voice-over that announced, 'America runs on Bulova time.' The ad was broadcast before a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies and cost the Woodside-based company less than ten dollars." [According to microfiche records at the FCC, WNBT was granted a C.P. on 6/17/41 for Channel 1 (50-56 mhz.), effective 7/1/41. License to cover the C.P. granted 6/17/41, eff. 7/1/41. First operation was granted to be effective 7/1/41. The first listed call letters were WNBT. They changed to WRCA on 10/18/54 and to WNBC on 5/22/60.]
July 1, 1941. CBS station in New York changes call to WCBW (later call WCBS-TV), goes on the air with the first news telecast at 2:30 p.m. This was the station's first actual programming other than test patterns and the color demo. At 3:25 p.m., WCBW broadcasts "Jack and the Beanstalk," narrated by Lydia Perera, Ann Francis and animator John Rupe. Mr. Rupe drew cartoons to accentuate the narrative in a program that ran each afternoon for the first several months of the stations operation. [According to microfiche records at the FCC, WCBW was granted a C.P. on 6/24/41 for Channel 2 (60-66 mhz). Program tests authorized to commence on 7/1/41. License to cover the C.P. granted 3/10/42. The date of first operation is shown as 10/29/41. The first listed call letters were WCBW. They changed to WCBS on 11/1/46.]
July 1, 1941. W3XE Philadelphia becomes WPTZ Philadelphia PA (later call KYW-TV). The station was then off during the war. (However Broadcasting magazine and the 1946 Broadcasting Yearbook give Sept. 1941 as the date for WPTZ.)
July 1, 1941. New York Times lists: WNBT, (2) WCBW, (4) W2XWV
Aug. 7, 1941. The first audience-participation program, a program of charades, is broadcast on WNBT.
Oct. 12, 1941. New York Times lists: (1) WNBT, (2) WCBW
Dec. 7, 1941. An hour-long report by John Daly on the Pearl Harbor bombing is telecast by CBS, according to an obituary of Daly. [According to Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television, on the Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 CBS television broadcasts, the only "visual" was an American flag being blown by an off-camera fan. On Dec. 8, CBS televised President Roosevelt's address to Congress with the same flag visual.]
1942. The following stations are listed with 1942 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 5, KTLA-TV, Hollywood, CA
Jan. 6, 1942. FCC grants permission to Du Mont Laboratories to build a commercial TV station, to operate on 78-84 MHz (then channel 4).
Mar. 1, 1942. W2XB Schenectady changes call to WRGB (for Walter R. G. Baker, GE executive.)
Mar. 1, 1942. New York Times lists (1) WNBT
Apr. 13, 1942. Broadcasting reports minimum program time required of TV stations is cut from 15 hours to four hours a week for war period.
June 28, 1942. [This is the date WABD was established according to the 1946 Broadcasting Yearbook. Station would have been W2XWV at the time. However apparently programs for W2XWV were listed in the New York Times before this date.]
Oct. 13, 1943. WBKB Chicago on air
Sept. 19, 1943. New York Times lists: (4) W2XWV
Nov. 7, 1943. New York Times lists: (4) W2XWV
Dec. 23, 1943. The first complete opera, Hansel and Gretel, is telecast, by WRGB Schenectady.
1944. A photograph dated 1944 in Please Stand By shows a card labeled "W6XYZ NEWSROOM." The newcaster has a large map of Europe on his right and a globe on his left.
Jan. 2, 1944. New York Times lists: (4) W2XWV
May 1, 1944. Broadcasting reports CBS proposes starting off postwar TV with high-definition, full-color pictures, broadcast on 16 MHz bands.
May 2, 1944. W2XWV becomes a commercial station, changes call to WABD New York NY (later calls WNEW-TV, WNYW-TV). At 9 p.m. station broadcasts "Your World Tomorrow," a 30-minute show consisting of news about World War II and entertainment segments featuring singer Jessica Dragonette. The program was sponsored by Dun22 Plastics. [According to microfiche records at the FCC, WABD was granted a C.P. on 5/2/44 for Channel 4 (78-84 mhz.) License to cover the C.P. granted on 5/2/44. The first listed call letters were WABD. Call changed to WNEW on 9/7/58.]
May 22, 1944. Broadcasting reports single ownership of five TV stations is permitted by FCC, up from former limit of three.
June 6 and 7, 1944 NBC-TV broadcasts several special reports with H. V. Kaltenborn summarizing the D-Day invasion. [These telecasts were advertised on radio station WEAF between network shows around noon. Information from Todd Kosovich.]
Oct. 2, 1944. Broadcasting reports FCC opens hearings on postwar allocations with testimony of Radio Technical Planning Board that agreement had been reached to recommend the 41-56 MHz band for FM, TV allocations to extend upwards from there.
Oct. 9, 1944. Broadcasting reports CBS, in testimony presented by Paul Kesten, executive vice president, asks for more space for FM, with TV being moved to UHF part of spectrum above 300 MHz.
1945. The following stations are listed with 1945 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 5, WTTG, Washington, DC
Jan. 15, 1945. FCC announces allocations proposal for spectrum above 25 MHz: 44-50 Television; 50-54 Amateur; 54-84 Television 84-88 Educational FM broadcasting; 88-102 Commercial FM broadcasting; 102-108 (Non-Government but not yet determined).
May 21, 1945. FCC announces allocation of spectrum above 25 MHz with exception of 44-108 MHz but delays decision as to placement of FM for propagation studies to be made by FCC and industry engineers. The 44-108 MHz spectrum is to be allocated, following tests, on one of the following three alternatives:
Alternative 1: 44- 48 Amateur; 48-50 Facsimile; 50-54 Educational FM broadcasting; 54-68 Commercial FM broadcasting; 68-74 Television; 74-78 Non-Government fixed & mobile -aero markers on 75 MHz to remain as long as required; 78-108 Television, fixed, mobile [shared].June 4, 1945. Broadcasting reports in joint request, FM Broadcasters Inc. and Television Broadcasters Association ask FCC to allocate 44-108 MHz immediately: FM to get 50-54 MHz for educational use, 54-68 MHz for commercial operation; TV to receive 68-74 MHz and 78-108 MHz.
June 27, 1945. FCC allocates 88-92 educational FM; 92-106 commercial FM; 106-108 facsimile broadcasting; 92.1-93.9 community; 94.1-103.9 metro; 104.1-105.9 rural; TV channel 1 44-50; TV channel 2-6 according to the present scheme.
Aug. 9, 1945. WABD New York and WTTG Washington are linked for a network broadcast, according to Alan E. Ruiter, biographer of Allen B. Dumont. [Todd Todd Kosovich reports that at least one source gives the date as Aug. 10 and that the first network telecast between the two DuMont stations was a blackboard with the words JAPAN OFFERS TO SURRENDER written in chalk. At around 7:30 a.m. EWT on Aug. 10, Japan radioed a willingness to surrender.]
Sept. 20, 1945. WABD(TV) signs off, channel 4, 78-84 MHz; plans to return Dec. 15 on channel 5, 76-82 MHz
Sept. 24, 1945. Broadcasting reports FCC distributes 13 VHF channels among 140 markets
1946. The beginning of network television as WNBT begins feeding its programs to Philadelphia and Schenectady on a more-or-less regular basis. (Some programs were fed from New York to both cities as early as 1941.)
Jan. 15, 1946. A directory of U. S. commercial television stations as of this date (from the 1946 Broadcasting Yearbook lists:
Jan. 17, 1946. W18XGZ Charleston seeks license to cover experimental TV (Zaharis)
Jan. 31, 1946. WTZR Chicago IL on air (Zenith).
Feb. 4, 1946. Broadcasting reports CBS demonstrates color-television film program broadcast from its new UHF transmitter; says with industry cooperation color for the home can be available within a year.
Feb. 18, 1946. Broadcasting reports first Washington-New York telecast through AT&T coaxial cable is termed success by engineers and viewers.
Feb. 25, 1946. New TV channel assignments go into effect; among the changes: WCBW from 60-66 to (2) and WNBT from 50-56 to (4).
Mar. 1, 1946. Modern channel allocation system goes into effect with channel 1 44-50 MHz, channel 2 54-60 MHz, etc.; WCBW(TV) and WNBT(TV) go off the air for channel conversions (WNBT resumes May 9 on channel 4)
Apr. 22, 1946. Broadcasting reports CBS color-television program is successfully transmitted over 450-mile coaxial cable link from New York to Washington and back.
May 9, 1946. First variety show premieres, Hour Glass, on NBC. The show ran 10 months.
June 19, 1946. First televised heavyweight title fight (Joe Louis vs Billy Conn), broadcast from Yankee Stadium, is seen by the largest television audience to see a fight. 141,000.
Sept. 6, 1946. W9XBK changes its call to WBKB(TV) Chicago IL, ch. 4 (later ch. 2; later call WBBM-TV).
Sept. 30, 1946. Broadcasting reports CBS petitions FCC to adopt standards and authorize commercial operation of color-television stations in UHF frequencies immediately.
Oct. 1, 1946. New York Times lists (2) WCBW, (4) WNBT, (5) WABD
Oct. 2, 1946. Faraway Hill airs on the DuMont network, becoming the first TV network soap opera.
Nov. 1946. WTTG Washington DC on air (DuMont), according to one source; however, the 1954 Telecasting Yearbook gives Jan. 1 1947 and Broadcasting magazine gives January 1947. The call stands for Thomas T. Goldsmith, DuMont's chief engineer. (Station was originally W3XWT. Starting May 28, 1945, it had given test pattern and recorded announcements asking for reception reports. None was received for 3 months. The U. S. Navy finally picked it up while monitoring for "suspicious" radio signals.)
Nov. 1, 1946. WCBW changes call to WCBS-TV.
Nov. 4, 1946. Broadcasting reports RCA demonstrates all-electronic system of color TV.
Nov. 11, 1946. Broadcasting reports Bristol-Myers is the first advertiser to sponsor a television-network program, Geographically Speaking, which started Oct. 27 on NBC-TV's two-station network.
Dec. 24, 1946. The first church service telecast, Grace Episcopal Church in New York, on WABD on the New York-Philadelphia-Washington network.
1947. The following stations are listed with 1947 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 4, WNBW, Washington, DC; ch. 7, WMAL-TV, Washington, DC; ch. 2, WMAR-TV, Baltimore, MD; ch. 4, WWJ-TV, Detroit, MI; ch. 5, KSD-TV, St. Louis, MO; ch. 5, WABD, New York, NY; ch. 5, WEWS, Cleveland, OH; ch. 6, WFIL-TV, Philadelphia, PA; ch. 3, WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee, WI
Jan. 22, 1947. KTLA(TV) on air as W6XYZ changes call to KTLA(TV) (5), first commercial TV west of Chicago. A 30-minute show is telecast from the Paramount TV stage, featuring Bob Hope, Jerry Colonna, Dorothy Lamour, and William Bendix. The FCC microfiche records show the station was granted a Special Temporary Authorization for commercial operation on 1/9/47 and that the date of its first commercial license was 2/9/53.
Jan. 30, 1947. The FCC declares that the CBS color system is "premature" and requires further testing before it could be approved.
Feb. 8, 1947. KSD-TV St. Louis MO on air, ch 5.
Mar. 4, 1947. WWDT (WWJ-TV) Detroit MI, ch 4, experimental (regular programs June 3).
Mar. 24, 1947. Broadcasting reports FCC denies CBS petition for commercial color-TV operation, sends color back to labs for continued search for "satisfactory" system.
May 7, 1947. Kraft Television Theater premieres on NBC, the first regularly scheduled drama series on a network.
June 27, 1947. WNBW-TV (WRC-TV) Washington DC on air (was W3XNB).
Sept. 13, 1947. WFIL-TV Philadelphia PA on air, ch. 6.
Sept. 30, 1947. The opening game of the World Series is the first World Series game to be telecast, between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. The game was carried by WABD, WCBS-TV, and WNBT in New York, and was also telecast in Philadelphia, Schenectady, and Washington. The 1947 World Series brought in television's first mass audience, and was seen by an estimated 3.9 million people, mostly in bars [Tim Brooks].
Oct. 3, 1947. WMAL-TV (WJLA-TV) Washington DC on air, ch. 7, the first VHF high band station.
Oct. 5, 1947. First presidential address telecast from the White House: Truman speaks about food conservation and the world food crisis, proposing meatless Tuesdays and eggless and poultry-less Thursdays
Oct. 17, 1947. WEWS Cleveland OH on air.
Oct. 27, 1947. WMAR-TV Baltimore MD on air, ch. 2.
Nov. 6, 1947. Meet the Press first appears as a local program in Washington.
Nov. 17, 1947. Broadcasting reports television network service extends to Boston with the opening of AT&T radio relay system between that city and New York.
Nov. 20, 1947. Meet the Press first network telecast. (Became a weekly program on Sept. 12, 1948.)
Dec. 3, 1947. WTMJ-TV Milwaukee WI on air, ch. 3 (later ch. 4) (previous experimental operation as W9XMJ and W9XD.]
Dec. 17, 1947. WEWS Cleveland OH on air, ch. 5.
Dec. 27, 1947. Puppet Television Theater (later called Howdy Doody Time), debuts on NBC TV with Buffalo Bob Smith. It was carried by six stations.
1948. The following stations are listed with 1948 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 9, KFI-TV, Los Angeles, CA; ch. 13, KLAC-TV, Los Angeles, CA; ch. 5, KPIX, San Francisco, CA; ch. 6, WNHC-TV, New Haven, CT; ch. 8, WSB-TV, Atlanta, GA; ch. 7, WENR-TV, Chicago, IL; ch. 9, WGN-TV, Chicago, IL; ch. 5, WAVE-TV, Louisville, KY; ch. 6, WDSU-TV, New Orleans, LA; ch. 4, WBZ-TV, Boston, MA; ch. 7, WNAC-TV, Boston, MA; ch. 11, WBAL-TV, Baltimore, MD; ch. 13, WAAM, Baltimore, MD; ch. 7, WXYZ-TV, Detroit, MI; ch. 5, KSTP-TV, St. Paul, MN; ch. 13, WATV, Newark, NJ; ch. 4, KOB-TV, Albuquerque, NM; ch. 4, WBEN-TV, Buffalo, NY; ch. 7, WJZ-TV, New York, NY; ch. 11, WPIX, New York, NY; ch. 8, WHEN, Syracuse, NY; ch. 4, WLWT, Cincinnati, OH; ch. 4, WNBK, Cleveland, OH; ch. 13, WSPD-TV, Toledo, OH; ch. 10, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, PA; ch. 4, WMCT, Memphis, TN; ch. 5, WBAP-TV, Fort Worth, TX; ch. 4, KDYL-TV, Salt Lake City, UT; ch. 6, WTVR, Richmond, VA; ch. 5, KING-TV, Seattle, WA
[WLWT was previously W8XCT.]
1948. ABC broadcasts the series On the Corner on four stations. ABC considers this its first network show, although an earlier show, Play the Game, produced by ABC using DuMont's facilities, was seen on a network.
1948. CBS begins network programming.
Jan. 1, 1948. New York Times lists: (2) WCBS-TV, (4) WNBT, (5) WABD.
Jan. 18, 1948. The Original Amateur Hour with Ted Mack debuts.
Feb. 9, 1948. WLWT(TV) Cincinnati OH on air, ch. 4 (later ch. 5).
Mar. 1, 1948. WCAU-TV Philadelphia PA on air (was W3XAU).
Mar. 11, 1948. WBAL-TV Baltimore MD on air, ch. 11.
Mar. 15, 1948. WCAU-TV Philadelphia PA on air, ch. 10.
Apr. 5, 1948. WGN-TV Chicago IL on air, ch. 9.
Apr. 22, 1948. WTVR (WTVR-TV) Richmond VA on air, ch. 6.
Apr. 27, 1948. KSTP-TV St. Paul-Minneapolis MN on air, ch. 5. [The station began experimental broadcasts on Dec. 7, 1947, according to information broadcast by the station in 1987.]
May 6, 1948. KTSL(TV) (KNXT) Los Angeles CA on air, ch. 2.
May 10, 1948. Broadcasting reports FCC orders into effect earlier proposal assigning TV ch. 1 (44-50 mc) to nongovernmental fixed and mobile services, denying FM spokesmen's pleas for that channel for use in FM network relaying; gives FM stations in 44-50 mc band until end of year to move to 88-108 mc; issues proposed new expanded TV allocation table; calls hearing on feasibility of TV use of frequencies above 475 mc; proposes required minimum hours of TV station operation be scaled from 12 hours a week for first 18 months to 28 hours a week after 36 months.
May 14, 1948. WBEN-TV Buffalo NY on air, ch. 4.
May 15, 1948. WATV(TV) (WNTA-TV, WNDT-TV, WNET-TV) Newark NJ on air. [According to an Internet web page, WATV began licensed operations on Jan. 2 1948.]
June 8, 1948. Milton Berle Show premieres on NBC.
June 9, 1948. WBZ-TV Boston MA on air, ch. 4.
June 15, 1948. WPIX-TV New York NY on air, ch. 11; WNHC-TV New Haven CT on air (ch. 6, moved to channel 8 in December, 1953; became WTNH in 1972) (was affiliated with NBC, CBS with a little ABC and DuMont programming as well; exclusively an ABC affiliate since September, 1955)
June 20, 1948. Toast of the Town, with Ed Sullivan, premieres on CBS, with guests Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. (The name was changed to the Ed Sullivan Show on September 18, 1955.)
June 21, 1948. First network telecast of political conventions; both parties meet in Philadelphia that year; telecasts reach cities connected to network lines with Philadelphia. NBC sends edited kinescope recordings for next-day telecasts on those stations not yet connected to the network.
June 21, 1948. WNAC-TV (WNEV-TV, WHDH) Boston MA on air, ch. 7.
July 21, 1948. WSPD-TV Toledo OH on air, ch. 13.
July 30, 1948. Professional wrestling premieres on prime-time network TV (DuMont).
July 1, 1948. W6XIS Salt Lake City UT on air, channel 2. [The station swithced to KDYL-TV and channel 4 shortly thereafter. Call letter history: KDYL, KTVT, KCPX, KTVX. Information from Jim McDermaid.]
Aug. 10, 1948. WJZ-TV (WABC-TV) New York NY on air, ch. 7, 7 p.m. The first broadcast originated from the Palace Theater on Broadway with a four-hour show. The opening act was Carlton Emmy's dog act, followed by stars such as Ray Bolger, Beatrice Lillie, Pat Rooney, Ella Logan, James Barton, Willie West and McGinty, Buck and Bubbles, Walter "Dare" Wahl, Gus Van, Henry Morgan, Raye and Naldi, and Paul Whiteman and his orchestra.
Aug. 10, 1948. Candid Camera debuts on ABC.
Aug. 15, 1948. The first network nightly newscast, CBS-TV News, debuts on CBS with Douglas Edwards.
Aug. 25, 1948. KSEE (KFI-TV, KHJ-TV) Los Angeles CA on air, ch. 9 (was W6XEA). However another source says KHJ-TV went on the air as KFI-TV on Oct. 6, 1948.
Aug. 27, 1948. Whitaker Chambers, appearing on Meet the Press, accuses Alger Hiss of being a communist.
Sept. 21, 1948. Texaco Star Theater, with Milton Berle, premieres on NBC (or Sept. 14)
Sept. 17, 1948. KLAC-TV (KCOP-TV) Los Angeles CA on air, ch. 13; WENR-TV (WBKB-TV, WLS-TV) Chicago IL on air, ch. 7.
Sept. 29, 1948. WSB-TV Atlanta GA on air, ch. 8. (With the merger in 1951 of Atlanta Constitution into Atlanta Journal, Cox took over the ch. 2 facility of Constitution and sold channel 8 to Broadcasting, Inc.)
Sept. 29, 1948. WBAP-TV Fort Worth TX on air, ch. 5.
Sept. 30, 1948. FCC freezes new TV applications; channel 1 deleted, assigned to land mobile
Oct. 8, 1948. WNBY (WNBQ, WMAQ-TV) Chicago IL on air, first telecast (a World Series game). Broadcasting magazine says WNBQ went on the air Sept. 1, 1948.
Oct. 9, 1948. WXYZ-TV Detroit MI on air, ch. 7.
Oct. 24, 1948. WJBK-TV Detroit MI on air, ch. 2.
Oct. 31, 1948. WNBK (KYW-TV, WKYC-TV) Cleveland OH on air, ch. 4 (later ch. 3).
Nov. 2, 1948. WAAM-TV (WJZ-TV) Baltimore MD on air, ch. 13.
Nov. 24, 1948. WAVE-TV Louisville KY on air, ch. 5 (later ch. 3).
Nov. 25, 1948. KRSC-TV (KING-TV) Seattle WA on air, ch. 5.
Nov. 27, 1948. WDTV (KDKA-TV) Pittsburgh sends out its first signal, ch. 3 (although Jan. 11, 1949, is considered the start date below).
Nov. 29, 1948. KOB-TV Albuquerque NM on air, ch. 4; Kukla, Fran and Ollie debuts on NBC. (Show had previously aired on WBKB Chicago as Junior Jamboree beginning Oct. 13, 1947.)
Dec. 1, 1948. WHEN-TV Syracuse NY on air, ch. 8 (moved to ch. 5 in July 1961)
Dec. 11, 1948. WMCT (WMC-TV) Memphis TN on air, ch. 4 (later ch. 5).
Dec. 18, 1948. WDSU-TV New Orleans LA on air, ch 6. 6 p.m.
Dec. 22, 1948. KGO-TV San Francisco CA on air.
Dec. 24, 1948. The first Catholic midnight mass is telecast by WNBT, WJZ-TV, and WCBS-TV.
1949. The following stations are listed with 1949 start dates in the 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook: ch. 4, WBRC-TV, Birmingham, AL; ch. 13, WAFM-TV, Birmingham, AL; ch. 5, KPHO-TV, Phoenix, AZ; ch. 4, KNBH, Los Angeles, CA; ch. 7, KECA-TV, Los Angeles, CA; ch. 11, KTTV, Los Angeles, CA; ch. 8, KFMB-TV, San Diego, CA; ch. 4, KRON-TV, San Francisco, CA; ch. 7, KGO-TV, San Francisco, CA; ch. 9, WOIC, Washington, DC; ch. 7, WDEL-TV, Wilmington, DE; ch. 4, WMBR-TV, Jacksonville, FL; ch. 4, WTVJ, Miami, FL; ch. 5, WAGA-TV, Atlanta, GA; ch. 5, WOC-TV, Davenport, IA; ch. 5, WNBQ, Chicago, IL; ch. 10, WTTV, Bloomington, IN; ch. 6, WFBM-TV, Indianapolis, IN; ch. 2, WJBK-TV, Detroit, MI; ch. 7, WLAV-TV, Grand Rapids, MI; ch. 4, WTCN-TV, Minneapolis, MN; ch. 4, WDAF-TV, Kansas City, MO; ch. 3, WBTV, Charlotte, NC; ch. 2, WFMY-TV, Greensboro, NC; ch. 3, KMTV, Omaha, NE; ch. 6, WOW-TV, Omaha, NE; ch. 12, WNBF-TV, Binghamton, NY; ch. 9, WOR-TV, New York, NY; ch. 6, WHAM-TV, Rochester, NY; ch. 7, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, OH; ch. 11, WKRC-TV, Cincinnati, OH; ch. 3, WLWC, Columbus, OH; ch. 6, WTVN, Columbus, OH; ch. 10, WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH; ch. 5, WLWD, Dayton, OH; ch. 13, WHIO-TV, Dayton, OH; ch. 4, WKY-TV, Oklahoma City, OK; ch. 6, KOTV, Tulsa, OK; ch. 12, WICU, Erie, PA; ch. 13, WJAC-TV, Johnstown, PA; ch. 4, WGAL-TV, Lancaster, PA; ch. 3, WDTV, Pittsburgh, PA; ch. 11, WJAR-TV, Providence, RI; ch. 4, KRLD-TV, Dallas, TX; ch. 8, KBTV, Dallas, TX; ch. 2, KLEE-TV, Houston, TX; ch. 4, WOAI-TV, San Antonio, TX; ch. 5, KSL-TV, Salt Lake City, UT; ch. 5, WSAZ-TV, Huntington, WV
Jan. 1, 1949. KLEE-TV (KPRC-TV) Houston TX on air, ch. 2; KTTV Los Angeles on air.
Jan. 3, 1949. Colgate Theatre premieres on NBC.
Jan. 10, 1949. The Goldbergs premieres on CBS.
Jan. 11, 1949. A two-hour special on all networks celebrates the linking of eastern and midwestern networks via coaxial cable; WDTV (KDKA-TV) Pittsburgh PA on air, ch. 3 (later ch. 2).
Jan. 16, 1949. KNBH (KRCA, KNBC) Los Angeles CA on air; WOIC (WTOP-TV) Washington DC on air.
Jan. 17, 1949. Broadcasting reports AT&T coaxial cable links East Coast and Midwest television stations.
Jan. 31, 1949. Broadcasting reports first Emmy awards ceremony is held, and broadcast by KTSL(TV) Los Angeles.
Feb. 23, 1949. WHIO-TV Dayton OH on air, ch. 13 (later ch. 7).
Mar. 8, 1949. WAGA-TV Atlanta GA on air.
Mar. 15, 1949. WLWD (WDTN-TV) Dayton OH on air, ch. 5 (later ch. 2); WICU-TV Erie PA on air, ch. 12.
Mar. 18, 1949. WGAL-TV Lancaster PA on air, ch 4 (later ch. 8).
Mar. 21, 1949. WTVJ(TV) Miami FL on air.
April 1949. KTLA Los Angeles broadcasts 27 hours and 30 minutes of live coverage of the effort to rescue three-year-old Kathy Fiscus, who had fallen into a well. The event gripped Los Angeles and stimulated sales of TV sets in the city.
Apr. 3, 1949. WLWC Columbus OH on air, ch. 3 (later ch. 4).
Apr. 4, 1949. WKRC-TV Cincinnati OH on air, ch. 11 (later ch. 12).
May 1949. The first telethon, benefitting the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund, is hosted by Milton Berle. It aired for 24 hours.
May 5, 1949. KGO-TV San Francisco CA on air.
May 9, 1949. Broadcasting reports FCC authorizes NBC to operate a UHF station at Bridgeport CT for experimental rebroadcasts of programs of WNBT New York.
May 16, 1949. KFMB-TV San Diego CA on air; Milton Berle appears on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.
May 22, 1949. WAFM-TV (WABT, WAPI-TV) Birmingham AL on air.
May 30, 1949. WFBM-TV Indianapolis IN on air, ch. 6 [station broadcasst the Indianapolis 500 on its first day of operation]; Broadcasting reports longest direct TV pickup, 129 miles, is made by KFMB-TV San Diego during dedication when it got and rebroadcast salute from KTLA(TV) Los Angeles without special equipment of any kind.
June 1, 1949. KSL-TV Salt Lake City UT on air, ch. 5.
June 6, 1949. WKY-TV Oklahoma City OK on air, ch. 4.
June 11, 1949. WHAM-TV (WROC-TV) Rochester NY on air, ch. 6 (later ch. 5, and later in a trade to ch. 8).
June 27, 1949. Captain Video debuts on DuMont.
July 1, 1949. WBRC-TV Birmingham AL on air, ch. 4 (to ch. 6 in 1953); WTCN-TV (WCCO-TV) Minneapolis-St. Paul MN on air, ch. 4.
July 10, 1949. WJAR-TV Providence RI on air, ch. 11 (later ch. 10).
July 11, 1949. FCC announces TV allocation plan; to add 42 UHF channels to the present 12 VHF channels, with another 23 to 28 UHF channels reserved for experimental television, providing for 2,245 TV stations in 1400 communities.
July 15, 1949. WBTV Charlotte NC on air, ch. 3.
July 18, 1949. WJAR-TV Providence RI on air, ch. 11 (moved to ch. 10 in May 1953).
July 26, 1949. WCPO-TV Cincinnati OH on air, ch. 7 (later ch. 9).
Aug. 15, 1949. WLAV-TV (WOOD-TV) Grand Rapids MI on air, ch. 7 (later ch. 8).
Aug. 25, 1949. RCA announces the development of a compatible color TV system.
Aug. 29, 1949. WOW-TV Omaha NE on air, ch. 6.
Aug. 30, 1949. WTVN-TV Columbus OH on air, ch. 6.
Sept. 1, 1949. KMTV Omaha NE on air, ch. 3.
Sept. 15, 1949. WMBR-TV (WJXT) Jacksonville FL on air, ch. 4; WJAC-TV Johnstown PA on air, ch. 13 (later ch. 6).
Sept. 16, 1949. KECA-TV (KABC-TV) Los Angeles CA on air.
Sept. 17, 1949. KBTV (WFAA-TV) Dallas TX on air, ch. 8.
Sept. 22, 1949. WFMY-TV Greensboro NC on air, ch. 2.
Oct. 5, 1949. WBNS-TV Columbus OH on air, ch. 10.
Oct. 6, 1949. The Ed Wynn Show becomes the first regularly scheduled network show to broadcast from the West Coast, where it is seen live.
Oct. 11, 1949. WOR-TV (WWOR-TV) New York NY on air, ch. 9 (was W2XBB; later to Secaucus NJ). An Internet web page says the inaugural broadcast was Oct. 11 1949 and began at 7 p.m., with soprano Joan Roberts accompanied by an off-stage pianist in the 15-minute "Joan Roberts Show." That was followed by "Apartment 3C," a domestic comedy starring John and Barbara Gay and the "John Reed King Show," a giveaway sponsored by Flagstaff Foods, "The Handy Man," featuring Jack Creamer with tips for homemakers. Then "The Barry Gray Show" with guests Myron Cohen, Irving Caesar, Tony Canzoneri, the Di Castro Sisters and Hope Miller with interviews conducted from the roof studio at the New Amsterdam Theater.
Oct. 14, 1949. WSAZ-TV Huntington WV 1st test pattern, channel 5 (regular programming begins Oct. 24)
Oct. 16, 1949. WDAF-TV Kansas City MO on air, ch. 4.
Oct. 22, 1949. KOTV Tulsa OK on air, ch. 6.
Oct. 31, 1949. WOC-TV (KWQC) Davenport IA on air, ch 5 (later ch. 6).
Nov. 11, 1949. WTTV Bloomington-Indianapolis IN on air, ch. 10 (later ch. 4).
Nov. 15, 1949. KRON-TV San Francisco CA on air; WSAZ-TV Huntington WV on air, ch. 5 (later ch. 3).
Dec. 1, 1949. WNBF-TV Binghamton NY on air, ch. 12; WKTV Utica NY on air, ch 13 (later ch. 2).
Dec. 3, 1949. KRLD-TV (KDFW-TV) Dallas TX on air, ch. 4.
Dec. 4, 1949. KPHO-TV Phoenix AZ on air.
Dec. 11, 1949. WOAI-TV San Antonio TX on air, ch. 4.
Dec. 19, 1949. WXEL (WJW-TV) Cleveland OH on air, ch. 9 (later ch. 8).
Dec. 29, 1949. KC2XAK, first experimental UHF TV station operating on a regular basis is opened by NBC at Bridgeport CT on 529-535 MHz.
Feb. 2, 1950. What's My Line debuts on CBS.
Feb. 15, 1950. WSYR-TV Syracuse NY on air, ch. 5 (later ch. 3); KEYL (KGBS-TV, KENS-TV) San Antonio TX on air, ch. 5.
Feb. 21, 1950. WOI-TV Ames IA on air, ch 4 (later channel 5).
Feb. 25, 1950. Your Show of Shows premieres on NBC.
Mar. 27, 1950. WHAS-TV Louisville KY on air, ch. 9 (later ch. 11). [According to a history of WHAS, the station originally operated with 9600 watts, but increased power to 50 kW visual on Aug. 7, 1951, the first TV station to broadcast with this much visual power. On Feb. 7, 1953, the station moved to Channel 11 and became the nation's first station with 316,000 watts visual ERP.]
Apr. 2, 1950. WTAR-TV Norfolk VA on air, ch. 4 (later ch. 3).
May 1, 1950. WJIM-TV Lansing MI on air, ch. 6.
May 29, 1950. Broadway Open House debuts.
June 1, 1950. WKZO-TV Kalamazoo MI on air, ch. 3.
July 1, 1950. WHBF-TV Rock Island IL on air, ch. 4.
July 10, 1950. Your Hit Parade premieres on NBC.
Sept. 4, 1950. Broadcasting reports FCC states it will adopt the CBS color-television system unless set makers agree to "bracket standards" to enable sets to receive both present 525-line pictures and the 405-line images proposed by CBS; if they agree, commission will adopt "bracket standards" for black-and-white TV and postpone color decision.
Sept. 30, 1950. WSM-TV Nashville TN on air, ch. 4.
Oct. 10, 1950. The FCC approves CBS color TV system, effective Nov. 20. CBS promises 20 hours of color programs a week within two months. RCA continues work on its compatible system. Manufacturers are divided as to whether to make sets and converters to receive CBS colorcasts.
Mar. 26, 1951. Broadcasting reports FCC reveals proposed allocation plan making full use of UHF band in addition to 12 VHF channels to provide for some 2,000 TV stations in more than 1,200 communities.
May 28, 1951. The U. S. Supreme Court upholds the FCC's approval of the CBS color system.
June 25, 1951. CBS broadcasts color using its non-compatible system. The one-hour program, called Premiere, featured Ed Sullivan and other CBS stars, and is carried on a five-station East Coast CBS-TV hookup. The network estimated that 40,000 persons saw what it called the first sponsored color program in television history.
Late June 1951. RCA demonstrates its new electronic color system.
Aug. 11, 1951. First baseball games televised in color, a double-header between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves, by WCBS-TV. Red Barber and Connie Desmond were the announcers.
Sept. 4, 1951. First transcontinental TV broadcast, featuring President Truman.
Sept. 22, 1951. First live sporting event seen coast-to-coast: a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, at Pittsburgh (NBC-TV).
Oct. 1, 1951. WLTV (WAII-TV, WQXI-TV) Atlanta GA on air, originally ch. 8, later ch. 11.
Oct. 3, 1951. First live coast-to-coast network telecast of a World Series game (produced by Gillette, aired on NBC, CBS and ABC). [Todd Kosovich reports that Oct. 3, 1951, is actually the date of the Giants-Dodgers playoff game 3, with Bobby Thompson's famous game-winning home run. The first game of the World Series was actually played on Oct. 4. He is checking to see whether that was the first World Series televised coast-to-coast.]
Oct. 15, 1951. I Love Lucy premieres on CBS.
Nov. 18, 1951. See It Now premieres on CBS, showing live shots of the Statue of Liberty and San Francisco Bay.
Dec. 24, 1951. First televised opera written for television, Amahl and the Night Visitor, on NBC.
1952. KTLA makes the first telecast of an atomic bomb detonation. Klaus Landsberg led the engineering feat on short notice that established microwave links that had previously been considered impossible with existing technology. The station fed the coverage to the nation.
Jan. 14, 1952. Today show premieres on NBC.
Apr. 14, 1952. FCC lifts TV freeze as of July 1; provides for 617 VHF and 1436 UHF allocations, including 242 non-commercial educational stations; establishes 3 zones with different mileage separation and antenna-height regulations; changes required of 30 TV stations.
Sept. 18, 1952. KPTV(TV) Portland OR on air, the first commercial UHF TV station, transmits its first test pattern, on ch. 27.
Sept. 23, 1952. Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech is delivered.
Oct. 12, 1952. KBTV(TV) Denver (9) on air, first post-freeze station in channels 7-13
Dec. 21, 1952. WSBT-TV South Bend IN on air. [The station claims to be the longest continuously broadcasting UHF television station in the U. S., and the first UHF station to produce a live telecast.]
Late 1952 to 1954. Numerous TV stations switched channels. This list may not be complete.
Mar. 8, 1953. WFMJ-TV Youngstown begins broadcasting on channel 73, the highest channel so far.
Mar. 25, 1953. CBS concedes victory to RCA in the war over color TV standards.
Apr. 3, 1953. First issue of TV Guide is published, with 10 editions and a circulation of 1,562,000 copies.
May 25, 1953. KUHT Houston TX on air, the first non-commercial educational TV station, begins regular programming.
May 29, 1953. St. Petersburg Times reports WSUN-TV will go on the air with a half-hour dedication ceremony at 4:15 p.m. May 31 (test patterns are currently being transmitted) channel 38 (to 2/23/70)
Aug. 30, 1953. NBC's Kukla, Fran, and Ollie Show is broadcast in color, the first publicly announced experimental network broadcast in compatible color.
Sept. 28, 1953. Broadcasting reports that, with the end of daylight saving time, CBS and NBC inaugurate "hot kinescope" systems to put programs on air on the West Coast at same clock hour as in the East.
Oct. 19, 1953. Arthur Godfrey fires Julius La Rosa on the air.
Nov. 22, 1953. RCA tests its compatible color TV system on the air for the first time with a telecast of the Colgate Comedy Hour. [or Nov. 23?]
Dec. 17, 1953. FCC reverses its 1951 decision and approves the RCA/NTSC color system. NBC broadcasts the NBC chimes image at 5:31:17 p.m. using NTSC standards. CBS broadcasts the first live color program at 6:15 p.m.; NBC followed with a live program at 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 1, 1954. NBC broadcasts the Rose Parade in color on 21 stations.
Mar. 9, 1954. Edward R. Murrow denounces Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy on See It Now.
Oct. 17, 1954. WNBC to WRCA AM, FM, TV, at midnight; KNBH(TV) to KRCA(TV), WNBW(TV) to WRC-TV
Dec. 13, 1954. Broadcasting reports WBRE-TV Wilkes-Barre PA is ready to become the first UHF station to use 1,000 KW, maximum ERP authorized by the FCC.
Apr. 1, 1955. DuMont drastically cuts back its programming; very few Dumont shows stay on the air past this date. [On Apr. 18, 1955, Broadcasting reported that DuMont had switched to a film network, using Electronicam, reserving live relays for special events and sports. By September 1955, Dumont programming had been reduced to NFL football on Sunday afternoons, boxing on Monday nights, and some college football on Saturday afternoons.]
July 2, 1955. The Lawrence Welk Show debuts on ABC television.
Sept. 28, 1955. First World Series game broadcast in color, by WRCA-TV.
Apr. 1956. WNBQ Chicago replaces all black-and-white equipment with color equipment, becoming first TV station to broadcast all its local programming in color.
Apr. 1956. Ampex demonstrates first practical videotape recorder at NAB Convention in Chicago. The three networks immediately place orders for Ampex VTR's, which begin to arrive later in the year.
July 2, 1956. Broadcasting reports FCC uncovers plan for long-range shift of TV to all UHF and, for present, proposes deintermixture in 13 markets.
Aug. 8, 1956. Final telecast of the Dumont network, a boxing card. Although Dumont ceased network operations, the boxing show continued locally in New York until 1958. CBS inherits the rest of the Dumont/NFL football deal, giving the NFL its first-ever true national TV exposure.
Oct. 25, 1956. The Los Angeles Times reports on the tryout of videotape on the Jonathan Winters Show. A recording of guest singer Dorothy Collins made the night before the broadcast was shown on the live show. [This is the first use of videotape in broadcasting. Shortly thereafter, the CBS evening news anchored by Douglas Edwards was tape delayed to the west coast on Oct. 29, 1956, or Dec. 5, 1956. Information from Mark Moffatt.]
Oct. 29, 1956. Chet Huntley and David Brinkley take over anchor duties of NBC newscast, which is renamed "The Huntley-Brinkley Report."
Mar. 16, 1962. Walter Cronkite succeeds Douglas Edwards as anchorman of the CBS Evening News.
July 9, 1962. Telstar communications satellite is launched into orbit. [The first test transmissions between the U. S., France, and Britain occurred the next day. This was not actually the first trans-Atlantic TV, as the BBC and German TV were received in the 1930s in Long Island and perhaps elsewhere in the U. S.]
July 23, 1962. A joint ABC/CBS/NBC production is telecast to Europe via Telstar. The program featured excerpts of a baseball game at Wrigley Field, Chicago, a live news conference by President Kennedy, and a concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, who had traveled to Mount Rushmore to perform. The host of the U. S.-to-Europe program was Chet Huntley of NBC.
May 15, 1963. First TV pictures transmitted from a manned U.S. space capsule, astronaut Gordon Cooper's "Faith 7." Because the picture quality is poor, only NBC carries the transmission, and on tape-delay, not live.
Sept. 2, 1963. CBS becomes first network to expand early-evening network news from 15 to 30 minutes.
Sept. 9, 1963. NBC expands early-evening network news to 30 minutes. (ABC did not follow until Jan. 2 1967, since their affiliates were strongly opposed to give up the extra 15 minutes, especially as ABC's news was then a very-distant third place).
Apr. 30, 1964. Television sets manufactured as of this date are required to receive UHF channels.
Oct. 10, 1964. Live telecast on NBC-TV (via Syncom III) of the opening ceremonies of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (airing on the U. S. East Coast from 1 to 3 A.M.); first live color TV program ever transmitted to the U. S. by satellite.
Mar. 24, 1965. Live TV pictures from unmanned U. S. moon probe Ranger 9 transmitted prior to impact in the crater Alphonsus.
May 1967. Premiere of the Las Vegas Late Show with Bill Dana, which was supposed to be the cornerstone of the United Network, an attempt to launch a fourth commercial TV network. In less than a month, both the show and the fourth network idea get canceled.
Oct. 14, 1968. First live network transmission of TV pictures from inside a manned U.S. space capsule in orbit: Apollo 7 There were six such broadcasts during their eleven-day mission.