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Curator's note: "Technical difficulties" have plagued broadcasters since day one. "Human error" often lurks behind these gremlins (though the engineer or announcer who subsequently writes the discrepency report is typically blameless). Here are some examples from WMAQ's earliest days:

The good old days, when talent was snatched from the hallways and everybody pitched in on all jobs, live again in the WMAQ logbooks engineers and announcers were browbeaten into keeping.

The volumes, rescued from a rubbish heap by Judith Waller, public service director of the NBC Central Division and manager of Station WMAQ from its opening day, April 13, 1922, until it was purchased by NBC in 1931, tell their own story. Here are some items, printed verbatim from the books:

Tues., Aug. 26, 1924, signed off for the night after a scrap with WQJ [Curator's note: WMAQ in those days shared its frequency with the station owned by the Calumet Baking Powder Company].

Feb. 12, 1925, 12:00 noon no artists for American Legion program on hand. 12:42 off air, line fuse on 4000 V machine passed out. 12:46 on again. 12:48, off again, another fuse. Back at 12:50.

Nov. 17, 1925, (Payday), 5:55, Chicago Theater program out. "A" battery on theater amplifier passed out. Someone left tubes on all night and battery completely drained. 6:38, some foreign waltz; no savvy Roumain language, hard enough to speak English. 6:43 '¦1'%&-('/ Fox Trot. If I am to announce this stuff I must have it written in United States language.

Nov. 28, 1:30 - Council of Foreign Relations. Speaker's name unobtainable but he was some kind of foreigner. Sounded like a Russian.

April 8, 1926, ballroom for banquet pickup, Hotel LaSalle. 6:35, banquet not yet ready, put on orchestra. BANQUETS SHOULD NOT BE BROADCAST IF THEY CANNOT START ON TIME! 6:51, back to ballroom, still no signs of life. 7:00 p. m. banquet now starts, just half hour late. Few words to the effect we will now eat. 7:03 off air waiting for action.

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Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
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