The First Broadcast

Curator's note: The article below by K.A. Hathaway appeared in the Chicago Daily News on Thursday, 28 August, 1930. It describes the inaugural broadcast of W9XAP the night before.


Crowds Watch W9XAP Program on Sets Operated by Dealers

Although television is still in the experimental stage it was taken out of the laboratory last night when W9XAP, the experimental television station owned and operated by the Daily News went on the air at 8 p.m. with a half hour program of pictures synchronized with voice broadcast through WMAQ

More than 300 television receivers placed in the hands of dealers throughout Chicago and its suburbs demonstrated to thousands of curious spectators that there was something to this thing referred to as talking pictures of the air.

Unfortunately the program did not go through as planned due to the failure of a filter condenser in the transmitter and there was a break in the continuity as engineers placed the transmitter in service again. While the rest of the demonstration did not show results as good as those obtained during the first few minutes, they showed the possibilities of this new addition to the radio family.

Problems for the Layman

With the introduction of television there are numberous things that must be taken into consideration on the part of station engineers and the public. The station operators will, through tests, determine those things that will make the television pictures better, but it remains for the layman to "get the hang" of his television receiver in order that he may receive the pictures in the proper manner.

The situation might be compared to the early days of radio when the owner of a crystal set would search diligently for the "hot spot" of his crystal in order that he might hear the low strains of music coming from a station miles distant. Today the owner of a television receiver must not only accurately tune his receiver so that he receives a good, sharp signal, but he must also watch the framing of the picture so that it is centered within the square of light made by the neon lamp that corresponds to the loud speaker connected to the radio voice receiver.

This fact was forcefully demonstrated in Chicago last night when some of the dealers, having their first television receivers, found a lack of familiarity to their disadvantage. Not realizing that there was station trouble when the picture first faded, they turned the dials and the framing control on the receiver, with the result that when the station returned on the air they did not receive the signal. Others who were patient and allowed the controls to remain as set did receive the remainder of the program.

Program Especially Prepared

The program that constituted W9XAP's introduction to the air was especially prepared by the continuity department of WMAQ. Bill Hay gave the opening announcement and reports from dealers in all points of the city were in agreement that he could be distinguished with ease.

That oart of the program which followed the break included a talk of welcome by Edward G. McDougall, president of Libby, McNeilland Libby, sponsors of the program on WMAQ; the Whitney Trio; Ken Murray, R-K-O commedian; Harold Kooden, saxophonist; Betty McLEan, dramatist; George Smith, baritone; Harold Van Horne, pianist, and a comedy act together with an exhibition bout staged by Tuffy Griffith and Stanley Harris.

Subsequent to the regular program another half hour of pictures was transmitted without voice accompaniment as a further demonstration of the possibilities of television. At this time among other features a cartoonist worked before the microvisor to show that the lines of his drawing could be clearly defined on the receiver screens.

With the first public test completed the engineers on the Daily News staff will will work during the remainder of the week prior to the beginning of the regular schedule of television broadcasts to correct such deficiencies as were found in the broadcast of last night. The fact that double scanning devices necessitating fading facilities have been incorporated into the studio apparatus complicates the setup and has a direct bearing upon the action of the transmitter.

Another unofficial test program will be transmitted some time today, the time depending upon the findings of the engineering staff.

The demonstration has shown conclusively that the public is intensely interested in television, and it is thought that with the inauguration of regularly scheduled prepared programs of the talking pictures of the air, a widespread interest in the art will be made manifest. Those responsible for the activities of W9XAP are highly elated with the restults attained on the first attempt.

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Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
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