weeks after moving to the La Salle location, WMAQ scored a great
triumph by broadcasting the address of President Harding---by
wire from San Francisco,
over a special Telephone Company network. And thereby hangs a
1923 and 1924 the American Telephone and Telegraph Company provided
the only kind of national network service for radio stations,
in the sense of what we consider a national network today. For
all special events, in any large city, they would pick up the
proceedings with portable amplifiers at the point of origination,
and then sell this service individually to any one radio station
in any one city. There was no duplicate service to rival stations
in the same city. A few days before each special event was to
transpire, the Telephone Company would send wires to all Chicago stations informing
them of the details for the proposed “Nemo” pickup---and soliciting
their air time for the event. Then, the first local station to
acknowledge their telegram would be granted the exclusive rights
for the entire city for that particular event. This meant that
the various stations had to be constantly on the alert in notifying
the Telephone Company in order to “scoop” other local stations.
And this method of arranging out-of-town pickups was the chief
cause of worry for most of the Chicago
stations, WMAQ included.
line with the aforementioned policy, WMAQ exclusively broadcast
the memorial services for President Harding on August 10th,
shortly after his untimely death.
in August, by agreement with the La Salle Hotel, Jack Chapman’s
Orchestra began to broadcast music daily. Chapman’s Orchestra
was playing at the hotel at the time.
the summer and fall the operating schedule consisted of three
regular periods every day, except Sunday: noon to 2:00 p.m., 5:00
to 6:00 p.m., and 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. at night.
Weller had guided the somewhat uncertain technical destiny
of WMAQ from its inception. But by the fall of 1923 plans for
the expansion of the daily broadcasting schedule demanded additional
operators. It might be mentioned that the demand for experienced
operators and technicians in Chicago
was very great during these years---and good operators were conspicuous
by their absence. For the most part, radio operators were drawn
from two general sources: amateur radio and marine or ship operating.
There were few technical schools of any kind in existence, particularly
in Chicago, with the lone exception
of Dodge’s Institute at Valparaiso,
Indiana, just southeast of Chicago. Radio operating jobs were far from
scarce back in those days.
this scene came a young radio operator, Walter
Lindsay. He had just completed two years with the Government
doing airmail installation work and had come to Chicago.
He was undecided whether to return to his home in California
or to look for work in the Windy
west on Madison Street one November afternoon he happened to notice
towers above the La Salle Hotel, and decided to investigate
the possibilities, if any. He walked into the studios of WMAQ,
asked for a job and got it! That was seventeen years ago, and
Mr. Walter R. Lindsay is still guiding the destiny of WMAW as
transmitting engineer, which is probably an all-time long service
record with one broadcast station.
and Mr. Weller worked together at first, and later alternated
shifts. But less than six months later, Mr. Lindsay took over
full technical charge of WMAQ, which he still holds today.
that time WMAQ was not incorporated, and was treated merely as
a department of the newspaper. Miss Judith
Waller was the director of the station, assisted by Mr. William
S. Hedges, who at that time was the radio editor of the Daily
News. Mr. Hedges was later made president when the station was
incorporated in 1929, and is now a Vice-President of the National
Broadcasting Company in New York.