The History of WMAQ Radio

Chapter 13

Finally, in November of 1931, WMAQ was taken over by the National Broadcasting Company, under whose management it still operated. And in May of 1932 the entire WMAQ studios were  moved from the Daily News Building to the Merchandise Mart, where they have since remained.

In September of 1935,  the last important change was made at WMAQ. With new, modern studios operating downtown the need was felt for a more powerful radiating transmitter. Application dor a fifty kilowatt license was approved, and a new transmitter site was selected at Bloomingdale, Illinois, A Westinghouse 50B transmitter was installed at that location, housed in a large new building on a twenty-seven acre tract about twenty-eight miles from the city of Chicago. The transmitter and related quipment was formally dedicated and put into service on September 15th, 1935, and has been in continuous operation ever since, feeding a 490 foot vertical radiator. Mr. Walter H. Lindsay is still in charge of the station.

WMAQ has been on the air from Chicago for well over 100,000 hours---in seventeen years of operation---approaching, if not equaling, any record for continuous coverage of any region by a broadcast station. And much of the credit for the long operation of WMAQ must go to Engineer Lindsay. But there were many other operators---a few that have gone to other work, a few that still remain at NBC, and a few unknown or forgotten---all of whom had a hand in guiding the technical destiny of WMAQ.

Next oldest in point of service at the transmitter is A.J. Schroder, who came to WMAQ in January, 1929. Byron Speirs, now in the NBC Chicago studios, came to WMAQ in 1928.

Not a few old-timers have gone on to other work. Donald Weller, the first WMAQ operator, is now Chief Engineer at WISN in Milwaukee, Charlie Pease is in New York, Don Johnson and Bill Leverett are both doing recording work in Hollywood and there are, of course, many other deserving of mention.

The writer wishes to gratefully  acknowledge assistance given him by Miss Judith Waller and Walter R. Lindsay of NBC, and by Donald A, Weller of WISN, in the preparation of this history of WMAQ. Research in this neglected field would not have been possible without their help in chronicling the history of WMAQ, Chicago’s oldest radio station!

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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