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Old 06-07-2018, 07:11 PM
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Television comes to Detroit - 1946/1947

In late October of 1946, WWDT signed on as Detroit's very first commercial television station for a single day of programming. The transmitter and cameras had been purchased from DuMont, and network affiliation was originally intended to be with DuMont. Power input to the transmitting antenna was a paltry 500 watts, and engineers reported nothing but snow at the corner of 9 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale, Michigan. The Evening News, owners of WWDT, were dissatisfied with the test delayed the start of regular broadcasting until changes could be made.

Infrequent unannounced tests continued until March 4, 1947, when a second attempt was made to start regular programming was made. New RCA cameras had been purchased for remote work; the DuMonts stayed at the studios. There was a major advertisement blitz from RCA and DuMont, but again, the News was dissatisfied with results, and regular broadcasting was again delayed. Infrequent tests were made, again generally unannounced while the engineers struggled to get comfortable with the new medium.

On May 15, 1947, WWDT changed its call letters to the more familiar WWJ-TV and switched from a DuMont primary affiliate to NBC. At some point between May and June, the station received a new 5000 watt RCA transmitter. The old DuMont transmitter was sold to Harold F. Gross of Lansing where it would be used at WJIM from 1950 until sometime in early 1954.

Finally, on June 3, 1947, regularly scheduled programming from WWJ-TV commenced with a ball game live from Briggs Stadium at Michigan and Trumbull. The Tigers lost to the Yankees, but the News had considerably better success; engineers reported noisy but watchable reception as far away as Flint and Port Huron, with sufficiently large antennae of course, and a city grade signal throughout much of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

The following clippings from the Detroit News document this eight month period in chronological order.








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Old 06-07-2018, 07:13 PM
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March, April, May 1947:










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Old 06-07-2018, 07:18 PM
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May and June 1947, included are the television listing for June 3rd, June 4th, and June 5th:










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Old 06-07-2018, 07:18 PM
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[/url]










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Old 06-07-2018, 07:23 PM
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Has anyone actually ever seen the Scott advertised in the Grinnell brother's advertisement? I've seen a schematic; it is just a DuMont RA-102 chassis, in a homely cabinet, less AM radio, with a 6V6 triode-strapped and connected as a cathode follower to feed the audio to a Scott radio.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:27 PM
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Finally, follow this link, www.detroitvintagetv.com, to see 16mm home movie footage from June 3rd 1947. It shows Briggs Stadium, WWJ-TV announcer Ty Tyson, scenes inside a bar (since identified as Hoot Robinson's Bar) with television sets on, scenes of the DuMont iconoscope cameras in action at a WWJ-TV studio (either in the Penobscott or possibly in Hudson's department store) and finally the antenna tower atop the Penobscott.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:34 PM
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Very well done! Thanks for putting this together & sharing!
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:18 PM
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Excellent research. Must have been a very exciting time, the war was over and now this fascinating new “technology of the future” was debuting.

Oh to have a time machine...
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Old 06-08-2018, 03:22 PM
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This post would be a good candidate for a Sticky.
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:30 PM
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Thanks for putting this all together. The newsreel footage was very interesting. With so much lighting in the studio, they probably didn't have to turn on the stove for the cooking demo!
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:07 PM
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Having both the 630TS and 621TS TV's in my collection, I really enjoyed all the information. It made you really see just how new television was in '46-'47. It really wasn't until 1948 when programming improved and lower cost sets hit the market that it really took off.

Last edited by decojoe67; 06-09-2018 at 05:17 AM.
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