The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1940s
In view of the great public interest in the European War (as it
was then conceived), the FCC decides in April to permit domestic
broadcast stations to rebroadcast the programs of international
stations, on a non-commercial basis, with the originating
On February 28, the FCC approves initial rules governing the
licensing of “limited commercial” television
stations, to be effective September 1. It quickly changes its
mind and suspends the new rules..
On March 29, Mexico formally deposits its ratification of NARBA
with the Cuban government in Havana, thereby allowing the treaty
to come into force.
In May, the FCC requires U.S. shortwave stations to
directionalize towards their target country or region, and
increase power to 50 kW. This is viewed as preventing stations
with “international broadcasting” licenses from
serving a domestic audience, responding to a concern among
Commercial FM radio service was authorized by the FCC on May
20, concurrently with removing from service the original
television channel 1. The new FM band runs from 42 to 50 MHz,
with the first megahertz being reserved for non-commercial
stations. All stations in the same market will receive the same
allocation, with the largest cities assigned 18 channels (a
station every other channel). RCA's proposal to use narrrowband
FM instead of Armstrong's preferred wideband system is rejected,
on the grounds that the multiplexing possibilities offered by
wideband FM will provide for facsimile service and eventually
stereo audio. All existing experimental licenses will terminate
on January 1, 1941. Stations are required to broadcast at
least two hours every day of “high fidelity”
After many complaints from potential FM applicants, the FCC
revises the commercial FM rules to provide for stations to be
licensed to “trading areas” rather than strict
mileage-based service areas. The previous system of classes A,
B, and C is maintained, wherein class A stations serve a local
area, class B stations serve a broader area, and class C
stations have no regulatory limit on the area they may
- Jan. 4
- The second all-FM network broadcast takes place. The program
originates from the home studio of C.R. Runyon, through
Runyon's station W2XAG. From there it is relayed by
Edwin Armstrong's W2XMN (Alpine, N.J.) and Franklin
Doolittle's W1XPW (Meriden, Conn.) to the Yankee Network's
W1XOJ (Paxton). The broadcast from Paxton is picked up on
Yankee's Mount Washington weather station, W1XOV, but that
station is high-frequency AM. (The first such broadcast had
occurred the previous month, involving W2XAG, W2XMN, and W1XPW
but not the Yankee stations.)
- Jan. 15
- An ice storm damages the tower and antenna of Yankee Network
FM outlet W1XOJ, destroying the top 200 feet of the tower.
The station is able to remain on the air and will reconstruct
- Jan. 26
- WCOP (1120 Boston) applies for full-time operation, adding a
directional antenna for night service, with 500 watts. WLAW
(680 Lawrence) files a similar application, but at 5000
- Feb. 6
- WEEI (590 Boston) files for a license to cover on its
nighttime power increase to 5 kW.
- Feb. 9
- Doughty & Welch Electric Co. (WSAR) applies for a 1-kW
FM station in South Somerset.
- Feb. 13
- WNBH (1310 New Bedford) applies to amend its construction
permit to specify a different site.
- Feb. 19
- WEEI is now licensed for 5 kW full time.
- Feb. 23
- WNAC (1230 Boston) applies to increase night power to 5 kW
by adding a directional antenna.
- Mar. 5
- Boston Edison Co. applies to build a television
- Mar. 12
- Westinghouse receives a construction permit to relocate
W1XK from the WBZ studios in Boston to the WBZ transmitter
site in Hull.
- Mar. 14
- The FCC proposes to deny the application of C.T. Sherer Co.,
the Worcester department store, for a new station on 1200
- Mar. 15
- E. Anthony & Sons (WNBH) applies for a new FM station in
New Bedford with 1 kilowatt on 45.7 MHz.
- WTAG (580) increases day power from 1 kW to 5 kW.
- Apr. 4
- The Yankee Network applies for a new FM station
to be licensed to Boston on 43.7 MHz with 5 kilowatts, to be
operated as a commercial station.
- Apr. 8
- The FCC sets a hearing date to consider its proposed denial
of C.T. Sherer's new station in Worcester.
- Apr. 9
- Hildreth & Rogers (WLAW) applies for a new FM station in
Andover, on 42.8 MHz with 1 kW.
- Apr. 13
- WTAG (580 Worcester) receives a license for its upgraded,
5-kW day service.
- Apr. 24
- Westinghouse and NBC announce an agreement for WBZ, WBZA,
KYW, and KDKA to revert back to Westinghouse mangement, while
remaining affiliates of the NBC Blue Network, effective July
1. Westinghouse will hire NBC staff working at the four
- Apr. 26
- W1XOJ applies for a license to cover its construction
- Apr. 29
- John Shepard applies to transfer control of the Yankee
Network stations to a pair of family trusts of which he is a
trustee. (The transfer will be approved July 25.)
- WSAR is sold to the owners of the Fall River Herald
News for $175,000.
- May 1
- WSAR requests designation as a class III-A station
- May 4
- W1XOJ (43.0 Paxton) licensed with 50 kW.
- May 29
- The FCC proposes renewal of WAAB (1410 Boston), and
dismissal of the competing application from Mayflower
Broadcasting, on the grounds that Mayflower misrepresented its
financial qualifications to build and operate a station.
- June 17
- W1XTG begins operation from the WTAG transmitter site in
Holden. It maintains a full schedule, 6:30 am to midnight,
simulcasting WTAG's programming, and operates on 43.4 MHz with
- June 21
- A hearing date is set for the WAAB and Mayflower
- July 1
- As planned, Westinghouse takes back management of its
stations from NBC. WBZ remains a Blue Network affiliate.
- July 17
- Ratifying a mutual interference agreement, the FCC grants
construction permits for WPTF (680 Raleigh, N.C.) to increase
power to 50 kW, full time, and for WLAW (680 Lawrence) to go
full-time with 5 kW. Both stations would install directional
antennas protecting each other in addition to NBC's KPO (680
San Francisco), the dominant station on the channel.
- July 17
- Worcester Broadcasting, Inc., applies for a new station in
Worcester, seeking the same facilities (1200 kHz, 250 watts)
as were denied to C.T. Sherer Co. Among the principals is New
York advertising executive Joseph Katz.
- July 18
- W1XTG receives its license.
- July 25
- WNAC (1230 Boston) receives a construction permit for 5 kW
directional at night.
- July 27
- The new WBZ transmitter in Hull begins operation.
Special programs were
broadcast, culminating in a switchover ceremony punctuated by
the decay of three atoms of uranium-235, which switched on the
new transmitter. The FCC will take over the old Millis site
as a monitoring station.
- Aug. 7
- The Yankee Network applies for a “Boston”
FM station, to operate on 43.9 MHz; it will become W39B,
- Aug. 15
- The sale of WSAR to the Fall River Herald News
interests is designated for hearing.
- Aug. 20
- The FCC schedules a reargument of the WAAB and Mayflower
- Aug. 27
- Worcester's C.T. Sherer department store reapplies for the
1200 kHz signal which had been rejected earlier in the
year—this time adding 100-watt synchronous repeaters in
Auburn, Whitinsville, and Marlboro.
- Aug. 29
- The Worcester Telegram applies to convert W1XTG
into a commercial FM station, to operate on 43.1 MHz from
Little Asnebumskit Hill in Paxton.
- Sept. 5
- The FCC terminates its investigation into Westinghouse's
former management contracts with NBC.
- Sept. 10
- New allocations for all stations affected by NARBA are
announced September 10. Notably, the FCC proposes to assign
WBZ-WBZA to 1030 kHz as a class I-B (duplicated clear
channel), with that channel being duplicated by
Albuquerque's KOB (previously with 5 kW on 1060 and authorized
for 50 kW on 1180). Other NARBA allocations: WAAB (1410
Boston) moves to 1440, class III-A; WCOP (1120 Boston)
to 1150, class III; WESX (1200 Salem) to 1230, class IV; WHDH
(830 Boston) to 850, class II; WMEX (1470 Boston) to 1510,
class II; WNAC (1230 Boston) to 1260, class III-A; WNBH (1310
New Bedford) to 1340, class IV; WOCB (1210 Osterville) to
1240, class IV; WORC (1280 Worcester) to 1310, class III-B;
WORL (920 Boston) to 950, class III; and WSAR (1450 Fall
River) to 1480, class III-B. Stations below 730 kHz did
not change frequency; WTAG (590 Worcester) and WEEI (590
Boston) remained class III-A, and WLAW (680 Lawrence) a class
- Sept. 9
- WMEX (1500 Boston) moves to the banks of the Neponset River
in Quincy, now operating on 1470 kHz with 5
kW, full time, using a directional array all hours.
The new transmitter site is in the marshes off Riverside Ave.,
about 500 feet west of the modern-day 1260 site; the array
consists of two 210-foot (64 m) Truscon self-supporting
towers. The transmitter building is a two-story Colonial with
English basement; the second floor serves as living quarters
for the station's engineers.
- Sept. 17
- WEOD, the Yankee Network “relay broadcasting”
station that serves as the studio-transmitter link for W1XOJ,
applies to change frequency to 156.750, 158.400, 159.300, and
- Sept. 27
- WMEX (1470 Boston) is granted a license to cover its move to
1470 kHz and new status as a class II station.
- Oct. 2
- WOCB (1210) begins operations. The station is located in
West Yarmouth, but sources disagree on its community of
license: Barnstable, Hyannis, Osterville, and Yarmouth are all
reported. It would end up licensed to West Yarmouth. The FCC
receives WOCB's application for a license to cover on
- Oct. 16
- WORL (920 Boston) applies to increase power to 1 kW (still
- Oct. 29
- The Yankee Network applies for a commercial license for
W1XOJ (43.0 Paxton), as a Boston station on 44.3 MHz.
- Oct. 31
- WORC (1280 Worcester) is granted a construction permit for
1000 watts, full time.
- Oct. 31
- The FCC also grants Yankee's application for an FM on 43.9
MHz, to be located atop Mt. Washington, N.H.
- Nov. 1
- WOCB (1210 Hyannis) is licensed.
- Nov. 12
- WBOS, Westinghouse shortwave station, begins testing its new
transmitter facility at the WBZ site in Hull. The old WBOS in
Millis is deleted; this WBOS is the old WPIT license from
- Nov. 17
- WLAW (680 Lawrence) begins operation with 5 kW full time,
DA, and becomes a supplementary CBS affiliate.
- Nov. 20
- WORL (920 Boston) is granted its power increase to 1
- Nov. 26
- WCOP granted night power, still with 500 watts, adding a
directional antenna. (The Radio Service Bulletin
still shows WCOP as a nondirectional daytimer as late as May,
- Nov. 27
- In an internal reorganization, Westinghouse applies to
consolidate all of its licenses under its subsidiary,
Westinghouse Radio Stations, Inc. (Previously, some stations
have been licensed to Westinghouse Radio and others had been
licensed to the parent company, Westinghouse Electric &
- Nov. 27
- Westinghouse files for commercial FM licenses to replace all
of its experimental FM stations; Boston's W1XK to move to 46.5
- Dec. 6
- The applications of the Worcester Telegram and
the Yankee Network for high-power commercial FM stations in
Paxton are designated for hearing on monopoly
- Dec. 6
- W1XK (42.6 Boston) is licensed.
- Dec. 7
- In a 3-2 decision, WHDH (830 Boston) will be granted
night service with 5 kW, using a directional antenna to
protect dominant KOA, Denver. This is seen as an attempt on
the part of the FCC to begin “breaking down” the
clear channels, and numerous operators of such stations
formally protest. The decision must still be ratified by the
- Dec. 17
- The C.T. Sherer department store in Worcester is tentatively
granted a construction permit for a new station, WMAW (1200),
and three hundred-watt synchronous boosters. The primary is
to transmit from
downtown Worcester rooftop. Competing applicant
Worcester Broadcasting Company's application is designated for
- Dec. 17
- The construction permit for W1XER's move to FM and the
license for same are granted simultaneously.
- Dec. 17
- WESX (1200 Salem) applies to increase power to 250 watts,
- Dec. 18
- Yankee Network engineers put W1XER on the air from Mount
Washington, New Hampshire; it begins regular operation the
following day. W1XER rebroadcasts the programming of W1XOJ,
- Dec. 18
- WNBH inaugurates its new transmitter facility on Crow Island
in New Bedford Harbor. The new transmitter building is a
single-story Cape, and includes living quarters for the
transmitter operators; access is by boat launch. The tower is
a 375-foot Blaw-Knox self-supporter. The original tower will
be destroyed in a 1944 hurricane, but the station will remain
on the island until the 1970s. New Bedford and Fairhaven
police stations will also use the tower.
- Dec. 30
- CBS applies for a commercial FM station in Boston, to
operate on 44.1 MHz.
Although the U.S. has yet to enter World War II, a large-scale
re-arming of the country means that electronics
manufacturers are experiencing critical shortages of important
materials, including aluminum (used in equipment cabinets,
chassis, vacuum tubes, and aircraft) and Bakelite. The Office
of Price Administration and Civilian Supply introduces a
priority system, and “entertainment” is given a low
priority, requiring manufacturers to redesign their equipment to
use less-scarce materials. This also has the result of limiting
the supply of new FM tuners and television sets; television in
particular is limited to a few thousand people, most of them in
New York and Los Angeles, due to the high cost and low
availability of receivers that meet the new standard.
On May 2, the FCC authorizes full operation of commercial
television, to begin July 1 using the newly-adopted NTSC
recommendation of 525 lines, 30 frames per second, with negative
video modulation and FM audio. Defense-related shortages of
material and personnel will prevent most stations from getting
on the air, and no new station construction will be permitted
once the U.S. enters the war.
Also on May 2, acting in executive session with two
commissioners not present, the FCC approves its long-awaited
“Network–Monopoly” report. Among the report's
major requirements: no ownership of, or network affiliation with,
multiple stations in the same locality; no ownership of multiple
networks by one company; and no exclusive affiliation contracts
or contracts lasting longer than one year. Licensees, under the
proposed rules, must remain free to reject network programs when,
in their view, the public interest would be better served by
local programs. Networks would be limited to owning three
stations each. The proposed rules are amended in October, to
come into force November 15, but NBC and CBS sue in Federal
court, asking for a preliminary injunction and a judgment by the
court that the FCC has exceeded it statutory power.
In July, the FCC begins another long inquiry, this time into
whether the public interest is served by cross-ownership of
newspapers and radio stations. The first round of hearings is
marred by inaccurate data presented by FCC staff, and
proceedings are postponed until late September.
On August 5, the FCC issues a proposed order prohibiting
one licensee from owning multiple “standard
broadcast” stations serving the same area. The proposal
does not limit the number of non-overlapping AM stations a
licensee may hold, but the Commission notes in its announcement
that FM licenses are already subject to a limit of six per
operator. A hearing date is set, but the the Commission offers
no clarification as to the meaning of how “serving the same
area” actually would be defined, leaving many licensees
unsure as to how they should proceed. In advance of the
hearing, a number of operators begin to discuss station swaps
that would eliminate the most clearly imperiled stations from
Also in August, Congress considers several methods of raising
additional tax revenue from radio, including House-passed
measure which would institute a direct excise tax on billboards
and radio time.
- Jan. 1
- WBOS (Westinghouse shortwave in Hull) begins regular
operations with broadcasts to Latin America. Its studios are
located in the Hotel Bradford adjacent to WBZ's, but it is
- WNBH increases power to 250 watts, full time, an moves to a
new transmitter site on
an island in Fairhaven harbor.
- Jan. 17
- The FCC renews WAAB's license, after John Shepard promises
not to run further editorials. In announcing the renewal, the
FCC states that stations must present “all sides of important
public questions fairly, objectively, and without
bias”. The competing application from Mayflower
Broadcasting is dismissed on the grounds that Mayflower had
insufficient capital to build and operate a radio
station. The “Mayflower Decision” will ultimately
be challenged in court.
- Jan. 31
- WHDH's application for full-time operation is designated for
- Feb. 19
- Westinghouse is granted a construction permit for commercial
FM in Boston on 46.7 MHz. The call sign will be W67B. At the
same FCC meeting, the transfer of WBZ-WBZA to Westinghouse
Radio Stations, Inc., is granted, and the application of CBS
to construct a commercial FM station in Boston is designated
- Feb. 20
- Oral argument is held on WHDH's application for 5 kW,
non-directional, at night. The “Clear Channel
Group”, representing a number of I-A clear-channel
licensees, and NBC, licensee of KOA, the I-A clear on
830 kHz, oppose the grant; WEEU, Reading, Pa., does not object
to the grant but puts forward its own claim for night power.
WHDH's argument is that KOA already receives sufficient
adjacent-channel interference at night that giving WHDH night
service would not reduce KOA's interference-limited secondary
- Feb. 25
- WTAG receives a construction permit for 5 kW, full time,
with a different directional pattern day and night
(necessitating construction of a new directional array).
- Feb. 28
- The FCC dismisses Old Colony Broadcasting Co.'s application
for a new station in Brockton, at the company's request.
- Mar. 1
- WLLH's synchronous booster in Lawrence receives a regular
- Mar. 3
- W1XTG (43.4) begins regular programming independent from
- Mar. 6
- WLAW (680 Lawrence) applies to increase to 50 kW, full time,
from a new transmitter site.
- Mar. 21
- Worcester Broadcasting Co.'s application for a new station
on 1200 kHz (would have become 1230) is dismissed, four months
after the competing application from C.T. Sherer Co. was
- Mar. 24
- Westinghouse files to split WBZA away from WBZ, requesting
970 kHz and 5 kW, presumably with the construction of a new
directional antenna in Springfield.
- Mar. 27
- After rehearing, the FCC again proposes to grant WHDH (830
Boston) full time operation, 5 kW DA-N.
- Mar. 29
- NARBA: WLAW to 680, WHDH to 850, WORL to 950, WBZ to 1030,
WCOP to 1150, WESX and WMAW to 1230, WNAC to 1260, WORC to
1310, WLLH to 1400, WAAB to 1440, WMEX to 1510.
- The Yankee Network announces that both Boston major-league
ball clubs will have their games broadcast over Yankee's FM
stations, W39B and W1XOJ (44.3). Standard broadcasts are
carried over WAAB (1440 Boston) and the Colonial Network.
- Apr. 3
- CBS's application for a new FM station in Boston is amended
to specify 43.5 MHz.
- Apr. 4
- Boston Edison applies to build an FM station, on 44.7
- Apr. 5
- W39B begins operation, the first commercial FM station in
New England. Under its first rate card, $25 buys an hour of
time during the day, $50 in the evening.
- Apr. 7
- WHDH (850 Boston) is granted a construction permit for
full-time operation with 5 kW.
- Apr. 11
- NBC, operatior of KOA (850 Denver) petitions the FCC to stay
the grant of WHDH's night power CP, pending
- Apr. 16
- The FCC grants a construction permit to Ruben E. Aronheim, a
Fitchburg furniture retailer, for a 250-watt station on 1340
kHz; it will adopt the call sign WEIM.
- Apr. 29
- WESX (1230 Salem) receives a construction permit to increase
power to 250 watts, full time.
- May 23
- WBOS receives a license to cover its move to Hull.
- May 26
- Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony) buys the first
commercials made exclusively for FM; they air on the Yankee
Netowork's FM stations W1XOJ and W1XER.
- June 5
- The Yankee Network files to relocate WAAB (1440 Boston) to
Worcester, in order to comply with the FCC's new monopoly
rules proposing to ban networks from owning two stations in
the same market. The application also proposes to increase
power to 5 kW, full time, directional day and night.
- June 7
- NBC files an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals against the
FCC's grant of 5 kW night power to WHDH (850 Boston), to the
claimed detriment of KOA, Denver.
- June 17
- World Wide Broadcasting Corp. (WRUL/WRUW shortwave) receives
at $40,000 loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corp., a
government agency, to help finance its broadcasting services.
The loan is unusual becase World Wide is a non-profit
supported by donations, but it is viewed in Washington circles
as a way for the government to subsidize what it sees as a
counter to the propaganda broadcasts of European
- June 30
- Westinghouse's WBOS begins French-language broadcasts to
Europe. The announcers are Streeter Stuart (who also does
Spanish-language programs for Latin America) and Nicolas
- The “Committee for the Coordination of Cultural and
Commercial Relations Between the American Republics”, a
government-funded body, buys $200,000 worth of time on
- July 22
- The application of E. Anthony and Sons (WNBH) for a
commercial FM station is placed on hold by the FCC, pending
the outcome of the Commission's newspaper cross-ownership
- July 24
- The Worcester Telegram's application for a
commercial FM station (to replace experimental station W1XTG)
is amended to specify lower power and a new frequency, 46.1
MHz. At the same time, it is removed from the FCC's hearing
- Aug. 2
- WSAR (1480 Fall River) applies to move to 1470 kHz.
- Sept. 16
- World Wide Broadcasting Corp. receives a construction permit
for a third shortwave station, to be located in Scituate and
sharing time with the existing WRUL and WRUW.
- Oct. 6
- WEIM (1340 Fitchburg) begins operations.
- Nov. 10
- WTAG (580 Worcester) begins program tests on its new 5 kW
- Dec. 18
- WCOP now operating full-time.
On February 21, a three-judge district court panel determines
that it lacks jurisdiction to hear NBC and CBS's challenges to
the FCC's rules governing operation of radio networks. The two
networks—Mutual is on the FCC's side in favor of the new
rules—appeal to the Supreme Court.
On April 9, 1941, the War Produciton Board promulgates Order
L-41, with immediate effect. The order requires prior government
approval of all construction projects over $5000 in estimated
cost. The FCC had already issued, in a Memorandum Opinion of
February 24, that changes to “standard
broadcast” (AM) facilities were to be frozen, except when
the applicant could demonstrate that the change would not
require any rationed defense materials or would be the first
radio service to a community. The WPB had already ordered all
radio manufacturers to end production of civilian radio
equipment (both receivers and transmitters) and convert to
military production by April 22, so there is no point in
granting a construction permit that cannot be built for lack of
equipment. On April 16, the Defense Communications Board
recommends to the WPB and the FCC that all broadcast
construction cease, including those services not previously
frozen, with the exception of “international”
(shortwave) stations, and then on April 27, the FCC adopts a new
freeze order, with a limited number of exceptions.
In November, the FCC orders all stations to reduce power by
21% (1 dB), to reduce demand for replacement tubes needed in the
war effort, to be effective December 1. Quartz crystals for
precision oscillators are also in short supply.
On November 16, the three-judge district-court panel
considering the legality of the FCC's
“network-monopoly” rules finds in favor of the
government. The court stays its mandate to allow the
plaintiffs, who include NBC and CBS, to appeal the case to the
- Jan. 11
- The Boston String Orchestra makes it debut performance over
the Yankee Network FM stations, W43B and W39B. The
performance is also carried by W65H, Hartford, and W47A,
- Jan. 23
- WNAC (1260 Boston) applies for reinstatement of its expired
construction permit for 5 kW full time, directional day and
- Jan. 29
- John Shepard, III, is elected chairman of the Broadcasters'
Victory Council, a organization created to act as a
liaison between radio and the government for the duration of
the war. Shepard was already chairman of the National Defense
committee of the National Association of Broadcasters, a job
which will now be handled by Kalamazoo, Michigan, station
owner John E. Fetzer.
- World Wide Broadcasting Corp. (WRUL/WRUW shortwave) opens
a new newsroom and studio in Manhattan.
- Feb. 25
- W1XK receives a commercial license. Commercial operation
requires a change of frequency, to 46.7 MHz, and callsign, to
- Mar. 3
- Shepard resigns as head of FM Broadcasters, Inc., the
national FM trade association. He is succeeded by Walter
Damm (WTMJ/W55M, Milwaukee).
- Mar. 11
- WAAB (1440 Boston) is granted its move to Worcester, where
it will operate with 5 kW full time from a new
directional array. WNAC (1260 Boston) is granted
reinstatement of its construction permit for 5 kW night
service, which includes construction of a three-tower
directional array. Both permits are granted despite the
wartime freeze on construction, as the stations have all the
requisite materials on hand.
- Mar. 20
- The Yankee Network opens six new studios in the existing 21
Brookline Ave. facility. The new studios are designed
specifically to meet the needs of FM, and include a 15-ton
Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.
- Mar. 28
- WCOP (1150 Boston) applies for a power increase, to 1 kW
full time, with changes to its directional antenna
- Mar. 29
- W67B on the air with 10 kW at 46.7.
- Mar. 29
- Streeter Stuart and Carl DeSuze join WBZ.
- Apr. 2
- John Shepard is appointed to the Defense Communications
Board's Committee IV, which handles issues related to radio
- Apr. 8
- WLAW's application to relocate and increase power to 50 kW
is designated for hearing.
- Apr. 14
- C.T. Sherer Company's application to extend the time for
completion on its construction permit for a new station in
Worcester is designated for hearing.
- June 15
- WBZ (1030 Boston) leaves the Blue Network, ending a
decade-plus affiliation, in favor of the former Red Network,
now known simply as “NBC”, which moves over from
WNAC (1260 Boston). WHDH (850 Boston) joins the Blue,
replacing WBZ, and WNAC picks up Mutual affiliation
(heretofore on co-owned WAAB 1440). WHDH's contract allows
the network to cancel if NBC wins in its fight to protect
KOA's clear channel, which would return WHDH to daytime-only
- June 15
- The Atlantic Coast Network begins operations, linking the
stations in the Arde Bulova–Harold Lafount ownership
group, including Boston's WCOP (1150). The flagship will be
WNEW (1130 New York).
- June 16
- The applications of Boston Edison Compamy and
E. Anthony & Sons (WNBH) for new FM stations are dismissed
for lack of prosecution given the war materials rationing
- June 23
- CBS's application for a new FM station at Paxton is
designated for hearing.
- June 23
- WLAW's application for an upgrade to 50 kW is dismissed at
the station's request, due to the inability to obtain
equipment under the war materials rationing regime.
- July 6
- WESX (1230 Salem) applies to move its main studio to
Marblehead, where the transmitter is already located.
- July 7
- WCOP's application for 1 kW, full time, is designated for
- Aug. 12
- C.T. Sherer's construction permit for WMAW (1230 Worcester)
is allowed to expire unbuilt, when the company asks the FCC to
dismiss its petition for an extension of time.
- Aug. 12
- WSAR (1480 Fall River) drops its application to move to 1470
- Aug. 18
- WESX's application to move its studio to Marblehead is
granted by the FCC, which also waives the main-studio rule,
allowing the station to remain licensed to Salem.
- Aug. 20
- Alexander H. Rogers, publisher of the Lawrence
Eagle and Tribune, owner of WLAW
(680 Lawrence), dies. His son, Irving E. Rogers, is the
general manager of WLAW.
- Aug. 27
- The New England Regional Network, a wireline network of NBC
affiliates in the New England states, begins operation with
a 15-minute triweekly commercial from Vick Chemical Co.
(Vatronol and Vaporub). Hartford's WTIC is the key station of
the network, which also includes WBZ-WBZA, WJAR in Providence,
WCSH in Portland, and WLBZ in Bangor.
- Aug. 31
- CBS fomally purchases WEEI (590 Boston) from Boston Edison
Company, terminating a lease arrangement which began in
1936, for $500,000.
- Sept. 12
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
reverses the FCC's decision not to allow NBC to participate as
a party in interest in the process of granting night power to
WHDH, and remands the case to the Commission for a proper
hearing. The six-judge panel released five separate
opinions, with no opinion gaining a majority on the grounds,
although four of the six agreed on the outcome.
- Oct. 12
- WHDH applies to remain nondirectional daytime until
Gainesville, Fla. (WRUF) sunset.
- Oct. 21
- The FCC finally grants a construction permit for W43B (44.3
Boston), taking over the existing facilities of W1XOJ (44.3
Paxton), the latter having already been operating as a
commercial station with that call sign under special
authorization since April, 1941.
- Nov. 5
- The Board of War Communications takes over WRUL, WRUW, and
WRUS, shortwave stations in Scituate, after being unable to
reach agreement with owner World Wide Broadcasting Corp. over
terms to lease of the stations.
- Dec. 1
- WAAB (1440) files for a license to cover its relocation from
Boston to Worcester.
- Dec. 8
- The Worcester Telegram's application for a
commercial FM station on 46.1 MHz, to replace experimental
station W1XTG, is designated for hearing.
- Dec. 13
- WAAB (1440 Worcester) officially begins service, carrying
Yankee Network and Mutual programs, with studios at the
Barnard department store building.
- Dec. 16
- General Tire & Rubber agrees to pay $1.2 million to John
Shepard, Jr.'s family trusts for all outstanding stock of
Winter Street Corporation, which owns the Yankee and Colonial
Networks, including Yankee's owned-and-operated stations:
WNAC (1260 Boston), WAAB (1440 Worcester), WEAN (790
Providence), WICC (600 Bridgeport), W39B (43.9
Mt. Washington-Boston), and W43B (44.3 Paxton-Boston). John
Shepard, III, remains chairman and general manager of
- Dec. 16
- WCOP (1150 Boston)'s application for license renewal is
designated for hearing after allegations surface that some of
its Italian-language announcers are propagandizing for
- Dec. 31
- The FCC approves the sale of the Shepard properties to
General Tire. Two commissioners dissent, saying that the FCC
should have held hearings on whether it was appropriate to
transfer a broadcasting company to “absentee”
ownership by a large industrial concern having no prior
experience in the field.
- Dec. 31
- The FCC grants a license to cover WAAB's move to
The the Radio Technical Planning Board, a joint
effort of the Radio Manufacturers Association and the Institute
of Radio Engineers, has its first meeting on September 29, and
elects Walter R.G. Baker, a GE vice-president and respected
expert in television technology, as its chairman. The NAB, the
ARRL, and FM Broadcasters, Inc., also participate in the
board. The RTPB will recommend widespread changes in frequency
allocations, including the relocation of the FM broadcast band
and the reallocation of TV channel 1.
On May 10, the United States Supreme Court upholds the FCC's
“network-monopoly” rules, restricting network owners
to a single network and providing more opportunities for local
affiliates to opt out of network programming; the new
rules—suspended since 1941—go into effect on June
On July 6, the FCC suspends its rule limiting simulcasting
between FM and “standard” stations.
On July 30, Edward J. Noble, chairman of Life Savers and
owner of WMCA, agrees to pay RCA $8 million for the Blue Network
and its three owned-and-operated stations. Noble's company,
American Broadcasting System, would later become ABC.
The FCC's freeze order on new station construction was
partially lifted on August 11, allowing new stations to be
granted provided that they could be constructed using only the
hundred or so low-power transmitters which had been assembled
before war rationing began, and which were deemed unsuitable for
war use by the government. Applications for higher powers are
still limited by the unavailability of power-amplifier
On October 12, the FCC authorizes the sale of the Blue
Network's stations. In the same announcement, the FCC says that
the hitherto suspended duopoly rule will come into effect in six
months time, prohibiting the operation of more than one network
by the same ownership. The same day, the Office of Censorship
relaxes the ban on broadcasting weather reports.
On November 1, all commercial FM stations change callsigns,
losing the confusing K/W-number-number-city format in favor of
standard four-letter callsigns just as were used by
“Standard Broadcast” (AM) stations. The change
is made by the FCC in response to a mid-June petition by FM
FCC Order 84-A, prohibiting station owners from operating
“standard broadcast” (AM) stations that have
overlapping primary service areas, is promulgated November 23,
with immediate effect as to new stations and station sales, and
June 1, 1944, with respect to license renewals, superseding a
suspended order originally announced in 1941. No Massachusetts
stations are affected by the order.
- Mar. 2
- Westinghouse's W67B (46.7 Boston) receives a license to
cover its original construction permit “in
part”—because of the wartime freeze, the FCC is
permitting FM and TV stations to file for licenses on however
much of their facility they have actually managed to build,
even if it is less than what the CP originally specified.
- Mar. 16
- Yankee Network FM station W39B (43.9 Mt. Washington-Boston)
receives a partial license to cover along the same lines as
- Mar. 20
- WNAC (1260 Boston) applies to slightly alter its
construction permit for 5 kW full-time service, with a
different transmitter site and a different directional array
- Apr. 1
- WNAC's application for CP modification is granted.
- Apr. 5
- WTAG (580 Worcester) takes over the CBS affiliation from
WORC (1310 Worcester), which joins the Blue Network. WTAG had
been an NBC affiliate, which is seen as no longer being
necessary in Worcester after WBZ took over the Boston NBC
- Apr. 13
- WLAW (680 Lawrence) files for an involuntary transfer of
control from Alexander H. Rogers, deceased, to his
- Apr. 21
- WCOP (1150 Boston)'s application for 1000 watts, full time,
with changes to its directional array, is turned down in a
proposed FCC action.
- Apr. 26
- WORL (950 Boston) and WCOP adopt a unified
management structure. WORL is owned by Harold Lafount, who
also manages the Arde Bulova radio group, including WCOP.
- WEEI (590 Boston) announcer Sherman Feller leaves the station
to join the armed forces.
- May 17
- The Supreme Court rejects the FCC's claim that KOA (850
Denver) was not entitled to a full hearing when the Commission
authorized WHDH (850 Boston) to broadcast full-time at
- WOCB (1240 West Yarmouth) goes off the air due to lack of
- May 26
- The KOA-WHDH dispute is designated for hearing.
- June 8
- The FCC rejects NBC's petition to postpone hearings on the
KOA-WHDH dispute until “six months after the cessation
- June 12
- Having established its right to a hearing on the breakdown
of KOA's clear channel, NBC waives appearance at the hearing
to consider WHDH's upgrade to full-time operation, which had
been scheduled for June 30. Another station involved in the
same controversy, WJW in Akron, had also been granted full
time on 850 kHz, with a move to Cleveland, which at that time
had only three stations; if NBC had successfully opposed
relocation of WJW, it would have been forced to sell its
Cleveland station, WTAM (1100), also on a clear channel, under
the “network-monopoly” rules.
- June 16
- John Shepard, III, returns to the board of FM Broadcasters,
Inc., the trade association for FM licensees.
- June 22
- The FCC adopts a final decision and order permitting WHDH to
operate full time as a class II station on 850 kHz. KOA, the
dominant station on 850, is downgraded to class I-B.
- July 1
- WNBH (1340 New Bedford) joins the Blue Network.
- July 6
- The FCC rescinds its hearing order and grants the license
renewal of WCOP (1150 Boston), after the station tells the
Commission that it has terminated the employment of certain
Italian-language announcers accused of broadcasting Axis
- July 27
- Yankee Network FM station W43B (43.1 Paxton-Boston) finally
receives a license to partially cover its construction permit,
along the same lines as Yankee's W39B and Westinghouse's
- July 31
- WOCB (1240 West Yarmouth) files for license renewal, despite
having no cash to pay the bills.
- Aug. 23
- WNAC (1260 Boston) applies for a license to cover on its
construction permit to move its transmitter and increase power
to 5 kW, direcitonal, at night.
- Sept. 11
- The FCC denies a petition from WHDH to allow it to operate
on day facilities until sunset at Gainesville, Florida
(WRUF). The move would have given WHDH more than an hour of
extra day operation during the winter months.
- Sept. 16
- WNAC receives a license to cover for its move and power
- Oct. 5
- In a major policy address before the Advertising Club of
Boston, FCC Chairman James Lawrence Fly sets out his
“freedom to listen” agenda, deprecating network
and station policies that limit time sales to purely
commercial buyers, restricting non-commercial and membership
organizations and controversial issues to just unsponsored
discussion programs. Fly also argues that experienced
reporters and analysts ought to be given the opportunity to
express opinions, so long as news and commentary are clearly
distinguished. The same day, he makes a 15-minute national
address on the topic over the CBS network, which had recently
instituted a policy forbidding news analysts from giving their
- Oct. 5
- Matheson Radio Co. (WHDH) applies for a new FM station, to
serve Boston on 46.1 MHz, later amended to 47.7 MHz.
- Oct. 26
- WOCB (1240 West Yarmouth)'s application for license renewal
is designated for hearing. The station has been off the air
for economic reasons since May.
- Nov. 1
- FM call signs change: W39B to WMTW, W43B to WGTR, W67B to
- Nov. 30
- The FCC denies the license renewal of WOCB (1240 West
- Dec. 3
- E. Anthony and Sons (WNBH, New Bedford
Standard-Times and Mercury,
Cape Cod Standard-Times) applies for a new
station with WOCB's facilities, having already purchased the
defunct station's equipment.
- Dec. 7
- Departing from its policy of holding all applications by
newspapers for FM licenses pending the outcome of an
investigation into newspaper cross-ownership, the FCC grants a
construction permit to convert the Worcester
Telegram's experimental W1XTG (43.4 Paxton) to a
regular commercial license on 46.1 MHz, to be WTAG-FM.
- Dec. 15
- An attorney for Natalie S. Whitwell testifies before a
U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the FCC
that she had loaned $40,000 to George Crockwell and others in
1936 to purchase WBSO (920 Needham, now WORL, 950 Boston) from
the Babson organization, secured by the capital stock of the
new company, but that control of the station was later
transferred to Harold Lafount and Sanford Cohen without FCC
approval. The FCC staff had recommended to the commission
that it begin an investigation into the station, but no action
was ever taken.
- Dec. 21
- The FCC approves the transfer of control of WEIM (1340
Fitchburg) from Ruben Aronheim to a new partnership in which
he has a one-third share. The other partners are Milton and
On January 13, the FCC abruptly abandons its prior attempts at
limiting newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, stating instead
that it would not adopt a “general rule”. The
unanimous decision is seen as a victory for commissioner
T.A.M. Craven, who was steadfastly opposed to any discrimination
in licensing based on the applicant's line of business.
In April, the FCC temporarily suspends the license-renewal
restrictions in its “duopoly” order, to allow
stations more flexibility in eliminating the prohibited
overlap. It also clarifies the process for determining
overlaps. No New England stations are affected.
Also in April, Panel 5 of the Radio Technical Planning Board
adopts recommendations on the future of FM broadcasting. The
committee rejects a proposal offered by FM Broadcasters, Inc.,
the FM trade association, to recommend that the FM band be moved
to 80–100 MHz, and instead recommends that the band be
expanded in its existing location, from 42–50 to
42–60 MHz—taking over an amateur allocation and the
existing television channel 1. Meanwhile, Panel 6 recommends
that thirty contiguous television channels be provided, between
40 and 220 MHz. That committee also considered whether FM audio
should continue to be used, or instead be replaced by AM audio,
but reserved the question for a subcommittee to consider.
In May, the FCC partially grants a petition from NBC and
increases the number of television licenses one company may
hold, from three to five—NBC had requested seven.
On August 11–12, a conference is held in Washington to
discuss the post-war spectrum allocations situation, including
FM, television, life safety, and aviation. The following week,
the FCC announces hearings, to begin September 28, which will
consider all aspects of civilian spectrum allocations, for the
entire radio spectrum from 30 kHz to 30 GHz. Among the issues
to be considered are the status of the clear channels, extending
the AM broadcast band, providing more channels for FM and
television broadcasting, and dedicated allocations for
international (shortwave) broadcasting. As the hearings begin,
the Radio Technical Planning Board recommends an FM band of 75
channels, from 41 to 56 MHz, with the existing TV channel 1
to be removed from service. Proposals are also presented to
introduce longwave broadcasting, on the 200—400 kHz band,
and to add three additional channels to the “standard
broadcast” band: 520, 530, and 540 kHz.
On September 28, acting CBS head Paul Kesten proposes to the
FCC that the FM band be expanded to 100 channels. He also
proposes that television be “kicked upstairs” to
300–780 MHz, with 30 16-MHz channels, and the pre-war VHF
television band be withdrawn after a transition period. (This
proposal follows from CBS's desire to implement a
non-monochrome-compatible system for color television.) Later
on in the hearings, witnesses (among them T.A.M. Craven, former
FCC chief engineer and Commissioner, now vice-president of Iowa
Broadcasting Co.) propose that the FM band be relocated to the
vicinity of 100 MHz, which would be less susceptible to
unintentional long-distance propagation and automotive ignition
noise. The hearings conclude November 2 with a final proposal
from the Radio Technical Planning Board's allocations panel,
chaired by RCA engineering executive C.B. Joliffe, recommending
18 channels of VHF commercial television, split between the
60–102 MHz low band and the 152-218 MHz high band;
experimental UHF television on 460–956 MHz; and an
expanded 75-channel FM band, 43–58 MHz.
- William O'Neil, president of General Tire & Rubber, is
reported to have agreed to purchase several of the Bulova
group stations, including Boston's WCOP (1150), for just under
$1.2 million. O'Neil is expected to keep only one or two of
the stations, with the remainder being sold on. The sale also
includes two stations in Connecticut and WPEN-A/F in
Philadelphia, but not WNEW (1130 New York). WCOP is one of
the stations expected to be sold, since General Tire owns the
Yankee Network, licensee of WNAC (1260 Boston).
- Jan. 14
- The Yankee Network files to assign all of its AM licenses to
its parent company, Winter Street Corp., in an internal
- Jan. 18
- Hildreth & Rogers (WLAW) applies again for a commercial
FM station to serve Lawrence on 44.9 MHz. (The previous
application had been dismissed while all newspaper-owned
applications were in limbo.)
- Jan. 25
- WHDH's application to operate non-directional daytime until
sunset at WRUF is designated for hearing.
- Jan. 30
- W1XTG officially shifts frequency and becomes WTAG-FM (46.1
Worcester). As WTAG is a CBS affiliate, WTAG-FM also joins
the CBS network.
- Feb. 29
- The FCC approves the Yankee Network's assignment of its
licenses to its parent company. The licenses include four AM
stations (WNAC, WAAB, WEAN, and WICC), two FM stations (WMTW
and WGTR), two experimental stations, four relay stations, and
one “intermittent provisional” station.
- Mar. 7
- E. Anthony & Sons is granted a construction permit for a
new station in Hyannis with the facilities of the former WOCB
(1240 West Yarmouth).
- Mar. 17
- AT&T announces plans to build a UHF relay system for
network television between New York and Boston, as the war
- Mar. 21
- The transfer of WLAW from the late Alexander Rogers to his
executors is granted.
- Mar. 21
- E. Anthony & Sons receives the call sign WOCB for their
“new” station in Hyannis.
- Mar. 22
- Winter Street Corp. is renamed The Yankee Network Inc.
- Mar. 22
- Westinghouse Radio Stations (WBZ) applies for a new
television station, to be on channel 5. Westinghouse also
applies for stations in its other large markets, Philadelphia
and Pittsburgh, but not in Springfield or Fort Wayne, because
FCC rules currently limit licensees to three television
- Mar. 29
- The FCC grants an amendment to WHDH's pending application
for extension of daytime operation to Gainesville, Florida,
sunset, and cancels the previously-scheduled hearing.
- Apr. 27
- WTAG-FM (46.1 Worcester) receives a license to cover its
original construction permit.
- Apr. 29
- WOCB (now listed as “near Hyannis”) applies for
a license to cover its original construction permit. (No
construction was actually done, since the new WOCB took over
the facilities of the old WOCB.)
- May 6
- WOCB returns to the air, joining the Blue network.
- May 9
- The long-pending sale of WSAR (1480 Fall River) to the Fall
River Herald News is designated for a hearing to
consider new issues that have arisen since the application for
transfer was first filed.
- May 10
- The Yankee Network stations' licensee name change is granted
by the FCC.
- May 17
- The FCC grants a license to cover for the new WOCB.
- May 25
- WSAR applies for an FM construction permit, on 43.7
- The Bulova group sells WCOP (1150 Boston) to Iowa
Broadcasting Company (Des Moines Register and
Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune,
KRNT, WMT, and WNAX) for $225,000.
- June 1
- WTAG applies for a new FM station, this one on
43.5 MHz, to replace the existing WTAG-FM.
- June 13
- WORL's petition to suspend the duopoly rule, insofar as it
applies to WORL and WCOP, to allow time for the paperwork to
be filed in the sale of WCOP to Cowles, is denied, and WORL's
application for license renewal is designated for
- June 16
- General Television Corp. applies for a construction permit
and simultaneous license to cover on the existing facilities
of experimental television station W1XG (channel 1, Boston),
- AT&T Long Lines receives the first experimental license for
point-to-point microwave facilities, in 12 different frequency
bands between 1.9 and 12.5 GHz. The company will use the
frequencies to test a microwave relay between New York and
Boston for telephone, radio, and television network
- June 20
- WESX (1230 Salem) is granted a license modification to move
its main studio back to Salem, having previously operated from
the Marblehead transmitter site under a waiver of the main
- June 27
- WHDH (850 Boston) is granted an extension of day power from
sunset in Boston to sunset in Gainesville, Florida (WRUF) or
Cleveland (WJW), whichever is earlier.
- June 27
- Irving E. Rogers, co-executor of the Alexander Rogers
estate, applies for FCC consent to acquire control of WLAW
(680 Lawrence) from the estate, for $26,687.03. If approved,
the transaction will give him 351 shares out of 700.
- June 30
- Bulova and Lafount finally file the FCC paperwork for the
sale of WCOP (1150 Boston) to Iowa Broadcasting Co. (Cowles
family), which was announced in May.
- July 11
- WLLH (1400 Lowell-Lawrence) receives a construction permit
to increase power at its Lawrence booster from 100 to 250
- July 31
- E. Anthony & Sons (WNBH, WOCB) applies for a new
FM facility, to be located on Asnebumskit Hill in Paxton with
studios in Boston, on 43.4 MHz.
- Aug. 3
- E. Anthony & Sons applies for a television station, to be on
channel 10 in Providence.
- Aug. 21
- E. Anthony & Sons applies for a television station in
Boston as well, on channel 2.
- Aug. 22
- The FCC approves Irving Rogers' acquisition of a controlling
interest in WLAW from the estate of founder Alexander
- Aug. 24
- Filene's Television, Inc., applies for a new FM station in
Boston, on 43.1 MHz.
- Aug. 30
- WHDH applies for a “developmental” FM station,
to be on 47.7 MHz in Boston.
- Sept. 13
- CBS applies for an experimental television station in
Boston, at 460 MHz, using a 16-MHz channel and the CBS color
system. Similar applications are made in Los Angeles,
Chicago, and St. Louis. (CBS would eventually acquire
conventional TV licenses in those cities, but not in
- Sept. 14
- A hurricane hits southeastern Massachusetts, toppling the
four-year-old self-supporting towers of WNBH, on Little Crow
Island in New Bedford Harbor, and WOCB in West Yarmouth.
- Sept. 19
- WLLH (1400 Lowell-Lawrence) applies for a license to cover
on the power increase for the Lawrence transmitter.
- Oct. 9
- WLLH receives its license to cover on the Lawrence
- Oct. 9
- The FCC approves the $225,000 sale of WCOP (1150 Boston) to
Iowa Broadcasting Company (soon to become Cowles
Broadcasting). (At the same meeting, the FCC also grants the
Yankee Network's purchase of WNBC (1410 Hartford), which
becomes WHDT, opening up the possibility for NBC's flagship,
WEAF, to adopt that call sign.)
- Oct. 17
- Pending for more than four years, the sale of WSAR to a
trust controlled by the Fall River Herald-News is
finally approved by the FCC. The decision reiterates the
Commission's opposition to licensees with trust structures in
which control is vested in disinterested trustees rather than
the beneficiary. The FCC approves the WSAR sale after
an investigation of the proposed licensee's management
- Oct. 19
- In a letter to FCC chairman James Lawrence Fly, Congressman
Richard B. Wigglesworth (R-Mass.) demands that the FCC rescind
the all of its grants of station sales by the Bulova group.
(Wigglesworth is a minority member of the House Select
Committee to Investigate the FCC, and has long been critical
of the FCC, and station sales in particular; he objects to the
practice of selling a radio station for its value as an
operating business rather than for the value of its fixed
assets, which he describes as “trafficking”,
although this this issue is not raised in his letter, instead
noting allegations of “hidden ownership”.)
- Oct. 23
- Filene's Television, Inc., applies for a new television
station in Boston, to be in channel 7.
- Oct. 30
- WHDH is granted a CP for a 1-kW “developmental”
FM station, now to be on 49.9 MHz “and other
frequencies”. The station will be used to experiment
with antenna systems and will be assigned the call sign
- Nov. 22
- Cowles applies for a one-kilowatt
“developmental” FM in Boston, on 49.1 MHz.
- Dec. 15
- Cowles signs an affiliation contract for three of its
stations, including WCOP (1150 Boston), with the Blue Network,
to be effective June 15, 1945. Also signing with the Blue is
WLAW (680 Lawrence), a CBS affiliate. The shift leaves WHDH
(850 Boston) without a network affiliation;
Broadcasting reports that WHDH broke off renewal
talks when the Blue opened negotiations with WLAW. As a
result of the new affiliation, WCOP owner Cowles drops plans
to build a network from Boston to Washington.
- The owners of Fitchburg's WEIM apply for a new class IV
(graveyard) station in Brockton, to be on 1450 kHz.
- Dec. 22
- WHDH applies for an amendment to W1XMR's
“developmental” construction permit, specifying
the frequencies 49.9 and 99.8 MHz, becoming one of the first
stations to operate on what would become the new FM band.
On January 3, the new Congess meets, and the outgoing House
Select Committee to Investigate the FCC (the Lea Committee)
presents its recommendations. The committee splits on party
lines, but both majority and minority reports favor a rewrite of
the Communications Act of 1934. The majority recommends, among
other things, that Congress should decide the question of
newspaper cross-ownership, that it should determine how much
supervision of station finances and sale prices is appropriate,
and that it reconsider the “public interest, convenience
and necessity” standard. The majority also recommends a
larger FCC engineering and field-office staff, to handle the
increasing number of applications and the introduction of new
technologies. The Republican minority issues two reports,
divided over the issue of whether the FCC should have the power
to approve sale prices of stations.
On January 16, the FCC unanimously (with one vacancy) proposes
a new allocation plan for frequencies above 30 MHz. Included in
the plan is the relocation of FM broadcasting, to a new
84–102 MHz band, and television, with six channels in each
of two bands, 54–84 and 180–216 MHz. The
independent FM broadcasters protest the new proposals; FM
Broadcasters, Inc., a trade association, asserts that relocating
the FM broadcast band would cost consumers $75 million. The
three major networks (NBC, CBS, and Blue) all support the
proposals, as does Cowles Broadcasting. Oral argument begins on
The same day, the FCC also reinstates a freeze on all
broadcasting applications, with the exception of those that
propose new service in “white areas”, in response to
a War Production Board memo indicating that the WPB will no
longer authorize most new station construction due to the
“problem of finding manpower for war industries”.
FCC chairman Paul A. Porter advises pending applicants to
withdraw their applications unless they can meet the new
standard, but the Commission shortly thereafter announces a
different procedure, whereby applications will be held in the
pending file until 60 days after the freeze is lifted.
The FCC releases a series of new spectrum allocation proposals
in late May. The first to be announced, on May 17, is the new
allocation plan—or rather, plans—for 25 MHz and up.
The Commission has been unable to decide how it should balance
the requirements of FM and television broadcasting, so it
releases three different proposals: the first assigns facsimile
to 48–50 MHz, FM to 50–68 MHz, and television to
68–74 and 78–108 MHz; the second assigns television
to 44–56, 60–66, and 86–104 MHz, facsimile to
66–68 MHz, and FM to 68–86 MHz; the third proposal
assigns television to 44–50 and 78-84 MHz, FM to
84–102 MHz (as previously proposed), and facsimile to
102–104 MHz. All three plans share the same assignments
for high-band VHF and UHF broadcasting. The allocations for
frequencies below 25 MHz are announced on May 21, and propose
adding 540 kHz as a new “standard broadcast”
On June 15, The Blue Network is officially renamed the American
Broadcasting Company, the change in its corporate name having
taken place late in 1944.
On June 27, the FCC finally decides, by a unanimous vote, to
define the permanent location for the FM band as 88–106
MHz, with manufacturers advised that the upper limit will
increase to 108 MHz when facsimile service is moved out of
the 106–108 MHz band. Existing FM signals will be packed
into a transitional 42–44 MHz band, to be reallocated for
non-broadcast fixed and mobile services after the transitional
band is phased out. The move is a disappointment to Major
Armstrong, Zenith, RCA, and FM Broadcasters, Inc., who had all
argued in favor of retaining the existing 42–50 MHz FM
band. The 88–108 MHz band would eventually be adopted
throughout the entire world, with the exception of Japan where
a 76–90 MHz FM band was chosen. The 44–50 MHz
portion of the old FM band is reassigned to television channel
Two days later, the FCC announces a decision in a long-running
controversy over the United Auto Workers' complaints against the
policies of many stations to refuse to sell advertising time for
the discussion of “controversial issues”, as
embodied in the NAB Code. The FCC ratifies the stance of WHKC,
Columbus, which said that (contra NAB) it would
determine what advertisers could air on the basis of its own
independent judgment. Broadcasting sees this as a
partial reversal of 1941's Mayflower decision.
With the end of the war and of rationing for defense materials,
licensees begin to apply for new FM and television signals, as
well as upgrades to existing stations. Many new directional
arrays would be built during the post-war boom years, most of
which still stand today. It takes the country some time to
demobilize after the German (May 8) and Japanese (Sept. 2)
surrenders, and it takes the FCC a while to work through all the
applications that come in for these new services, so not a whole
lot happens until 1946.
On October 1, the FCC lifts the 1942 power-reduction order,
allowing all station to return to their licensed transmitter
- Jan. 2
- Harvey Radio Labs of Cambridge applies for a new
“developmental” 250-watt facsimile station.
- W1XMR does experiments with a biconical horn antenna, a new
antenna type invented by A. Earl Cullum, Jr., of the federal
Office of Scientific Research and Development.
- Feb. 28
- E. Anthony & Sons assigns its licenses—WNBH and
WOCB—to Bristol Broadcastingh Co., in an internal
- Mar. 6
- Harvey Radio Labs is granted its “developmental”
facsimile construction permit.
- Twentieth Century Fox leases W1XG, Boston, an experimental
television station owned by General Television Corp., and says
that it will upgrade the equipment and apply for a new license
for the station.
- Raytheon negotiates with the Waltham park commission to
construct a television and FM transmitter site on Prospect
Hill. The city's mayor is in favor of the project and
recommended that the city council give Raytheon preference as
an important local industrial employer.
- The FCC approves the transfer of WNBH and WOCB to Bristol
- June 15
- WCOP (1150 Boston) takes over the Blue (now American) affiliation
from WHDH (850 Boston), which becomes an independent. WLAW
(680 Lawrence) drops CBS for American. (In nearby Manchester,
N.H., WFEA drops NBC in favor of CBS.) WBZ and WNAC stick
with NBC and Mutual, respectively.
- June 18
- Filene's Television amends its application for a new
television station in Boston, specifying channel 9 under the
FCC's new frequency allocations.
- July 12
- Raytheon amends its Boston TV application to specify the
new channel 2.
FM broadcasting moves from its original band, 42–50 MHz,
to the current band, 88–108 MHz. As a result, all FM
stations must change frequency. (A limited period of dual
operation is allowed during the transition.)
- Mar. 20
- WCOP granted CP for upgrade to 5 kW.
- Apr. 29
- Bob Clayton begins “Boston Ballroom” on
- Aug. 26
- WCOP now operating with 5 kW-U DA-2.
- Nov. 24
- WBMS started on 1090 kHz.
- Dec. 23
- WHOB (1340 Gardner) on the air.
A flood of new stations takes to the air, as the FCC grants
hundreds of new applications; more than 300 applications remain
pending as the year begins. New stations include WBMS-FM
(104.1 Boston), WLLH-FM (99.5 Lowell), and WLAW-FM (93.7
Lawrence); WBZ-FM also moves from its initial upper-band
assignment, 100.7, to 92.9 MHz.
- Apr. 21
- WKOX started on 1190 kHz.
- Aug. 6
- WCCM started on 800 kHz.
- Sept. 12
- WJDA started on 1300 kHz.
- Dec. 11
- WLYN started on 1360 kHz.
The FCC continues to work on its backlog, with many more
stations taking to the air. Among the new stations is WCOP-FM
(100.7 Boston). It's the end of the line, however, for low-band
(42–50 MHz) FM broadcasting, however, as the transitional
period ends on December 31.
- Jan. 30
- WCRB started on 1330 kHz.
- WTAO started on 740 kHz.
- June 2
- WBMS sold by Templetone Company to Friendly Group.
- June 8
- WBZ-TV started on channel 4, from new studios at 1170
Soldiers Field Road.
- June 12
- WVOM started on 1600 kHz.
- June 21
- WNAC-TV started on channel 7.
Although the economy in general and radio in particular are
doing quite well, many FM stations are in the red with no
end in sight. The relocation of the FM band rendered most of
the existing receiver base obsolete, and with many new AM
stations taking to the air, there is little incentive for
consumers to purchase expensive new FM tuners. As a result, new
FM stations nationwide—some even licensed to deep-pocketed
owners—begin to go off the air. In Boston, WBMS-FM
(104.1) is the first, after just two years of operation.
The “Mayflower Decision”, prohibiting stations from
editorializing, is reversed after a court challenge.
- May 30
- WORL goes dark.
- Nov. 4
- Pilgrim Broadcasting gains approval to take over WORL.
- Nov. 14
- WERS started on 88.1 MHz, becoming Boston's first