1925 and 1926 WMAQ continued its normal operating ways, while
all around it broadcasting had worked itself into a hopeless maze
of confusion. Beginning late in 1924 there were entirely too many
stations in Chicago.
With little government control (there was no provision in the
Federal laws for the establishment of any kind of controlling
body to regulate radio broadcasting) there was a resulting chaos.
More and more stations came on the air, and any person with a
little money was certain to build a radio station (sooner or later)
and start “broadcasting”. Many frequencies were clogged with three,
four or even five stations in the same area going full blast at
the same time. This condition was general all over the country,
but it was particularly bad in Chicago.
Many of the smaller 50 and 100 watt stations had absolutely no
regard for frequency allocation or any time-sharing agreement.
There was a need, at least in Chicago,
for more and separate channels---and not a few stations in this
area moved over to Canadian frequencies and continued operation.
In July, 1926 alone, twenty-three stations took to the air in
district---all of them less than 100 watts in power.
larger stations, such as KYW
and WMAQ, were not greatly concerned or particularly worried over
the multitude of low-powered stations that surrounded them on
both sides of their allotted frequencies. They pursued a normal
operating course, confident that sooner or later the government
would step in and straighten out the tangle of confusion. This
was finally done, but not until February, 1927, when a new government
body took over the control of radio communication and radio broadcasting.
This was the Federal Radio Commission. It proposed immediately
to designate radio zones and allot new frequencies to radio broadcasters.
Many stations around Chicago were denied a license
to transmit, and others went off the air voluntarily. Within a
few months broadcasting was back on the “straight and narrow path”---where
it has since remained.
radio cycle is significant. While the ether was overburdened with
so many unnecessary stations, it caused the larger stations to
improve the quality of their entertainment and educational programs.