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ARSCLIST  October 2005

ARSCLIST October 2005

Subject:

Re: History help needed

From:

John Ross <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 Oct 2005 10:37:27 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (69 lines)

At  10/26/2005 05:11 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>I'm trying to definitively gather the history of the studio spaces 
>at 711 5th Avenue,
>NY, which were eventually home to my father's first studio, Fine Sound.
>Here's what I know, but as you'll see, there are blanks in the timeline.

A great source of information on the history of New York City radio 
stations is "The Airwaves of New York," by Bill Jaker, Frank Sulek 
and Peter Kanze, published by McFarland in 1998.

>1. the studios were probably (likely) constructed by National Broadcasting
>Co. as their first network studios, circa late 20's. I'm not sure exactly
>when they opened for business, but it appears NBC was launched in 1926.

"Airwaves" says NBC launched on November 15, 1926 with a broadcast 
from the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (now site of the main NY Public 
Library).  WJZ (NBC Blue) was located across the street in the sixth 
floor of the Aeolian Building at 29 W. 42nd St. According to Banning 
("Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer; The WEAF Experiment 1922-1926," by 
William Peck Banning, Harvard University Press, 1946), WEAF (NBC Red) 
was still using the studios on the fourth floor of the AT&T Building 
at 195 Broadway.

WJZ moved  into 711 Fifth Avenue in October of 1927. WEAF (NBC Red) 
joined them about a month later.

>2. NBC occupied the studios until 30 Rockefeller Center opened -- in 1934?
>Not sure of exact date NBC radio studios moved to Rock Center because there
>is conflicting info (surprise). Perhaps someone has an authoratative history
>of NBC?

"Airwaves" says they moved to 30 Rock in the autumn of 1933.

>3. World Broadcasting Co. occupied the studios before, during and after
>WWII. I'm not sure if they were directly after NBC or if there was an
>interim occupant. Retired Columbia engineer Frank Laico told me he worked
>for World Broadcasting both before and after his WWII service, in that
>space.
>
>4. In 1948, WMGM moved into the entire space, according to histories of
>WHN/WMGM I've been able to locate.

"Airwaves" confirms that WMGM moved into 711 Fifth Avenue in 1948.

>5. When Loews/MGM bought an interest in Fine Sound in 1952 (they licensed my
>father's PerspectaSound 3-channel optical soundtrack system), they
>apparently moved WMGM to smaller quarters in the space and took over the big
>studios (A, B, and C) for Fine Sound. By that time WMGM was moving more to
>music-playing and small-format talk radio, so they did not need the big
>studios anyway. MGM may have taken over one or more of the big studios
>previously to do movie-sound mixing before licensing PerspectaSound. I'm not
>clear on MGM's timeline except that WMGM was definitely in the space that
>became Fine Sound Studio C later on as of 1949.
>
>So the parts of the timeline I'm fuzzy on are between NBC and WMGM and what
>MGM movie studio was doing in the space (if anything) before 1952.

Apparently, Loew's/MGM was producing network-quality programs for 
syndication, mostly based on MGM Movies such as "Dr. Kildare," 
"Maisie," and the "MGM Theater of the Air" among others. The 
syndication operation was based at WMGM, but considering that many of 
the shows used Hollywood stars, it's likely that they were recorded 
on an MGM sound stage rather than a New York radio studio. WMGM also 
carried Dodgers baseball, Knicks basketball, Giants football and 
Rangers hockey games. WMGM moved to 400 Park Avenue early in 1958. In 
1962, the call was changed from WMGM back to WHN.

John Ross

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