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Sesquicentennial Program
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A Pair of Pioneers

[This advertisement is from the Schenectady County Sesquicentennial Historical Souvenir Program, published in 1959 by the Schenectady Commemorative Committee, Inc. The Schenectady County Public Library has copies in its Schenectady Collection [Schdy R 974.744 S3245] and others available for borrowing.]

In the broadcasting field, WGY and WRGB, 37 and 20 years old respectively, might be called the Lewis and Clarke of the microwaves. In the roaring twenties along with the speaks, flappers and stock market heyday, WGY was cutting a large swath of progress using the "wireless." In 1922 for example, WGY arranged the first broadcast of a big collegiate football game, the Yale-Harvard clash from the Yale Bowl. W. O. McGeehan, then sports editor of the New York Sun, did the commentary from a telephone booth - while his engineer with a small mike around his neck roamed outside the booth picking up outside atmosphere. In 1923 WGY also arranged its own World Series commentary direct from the Polo Grounds.

[WGY broadcasting the Yale-Harvard Football Game - 1922]

WGY was also the pioneer in network broadcasting. As broadcasting stations began to pop up in metropolitan areas, WGY was first to realize that by pooling the best of their local programmings, each station would benefit. This was the forerunner of NBC.

Presidents, opera stars, famous actors, governors and religious leaders have all appeared before WGY microphones. When WGY was a youngster - records for broadcasting were practically unheard of. WGY had its own orchestra, baritones, sopranos and quartets. There was also a great demand for radio actors to perform in such famous dramas as "One Man's Family" which originated at WGY. From these illustrious beginnings has grown the WGY we know today - still a leader in the broadcasting industry.

While WGY was still in knickers but growing like the proverbial weed, another group of men was tinkering around with both sight and sound. As far back as 1926 Dr. E. F. W. Alexanderson, a G-E engineer, developed a mechanical method of television using mirrors mounted on a wheel. Two years later, using a rotating disc to scan the image, WGY became the pioneer television station broadcasting on a regular schedule three afternoons a week. In August of the same year a remote broadcast of Governor Alfred E. Smith was telecast as he made his presidential nomination acceptance speech. In September of 1928 the first play ever to be presented on television was telecast to four existing TV sets in the area. The opus, called "The Queen's Messenger," had to concentrate on the actors' faces and hands because the camera range was so small. Regular program service at WRGB started November 6, 1939. It was more of a laboratory than a television station with each day's telecasting becoming another experiment. Many famous names in early television saw their first TV camera in Schenectady as they made the transition from radio, stage and screen to TV as we know it today.

["The Queen's Messenger" - first TV drama]

Both WGY and WRGB have etched their call letters into broadcasting history with justifiable pride. Both are oldtimers in a relatively infant industry - an industry so dynamic that keeping up with day-to-day technical progress has become a full time job. There is an even more complex problem we face daily. Meeting our responsibilities as broadcasters, at the same time winning favor with the final judges of our performance - viewers and listeners.

WGY 810 ON YOUR RADIO DIAL: "The smoothest sound around"

WRGB CHANNEL SIX: "The clearest and finest in sight"

Sesquicentennial Program
Schenectady County
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