Joseph Baudino in 1968

Here's the text of a talk by Joseph E. Baudino given at the Broadcast Pioneers meeting on September 24, 1975. He was Commercial Manager of KYW-FM in 1946. Though the years, he held many posts with Westinghouse Broadcasting. The meeting was held in the KYW Transmitter Building in Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania. Here's what he said.......

At 4:30 on the afternoon of November 11, 1921, a new broadcasting station, the first station in the Chicago area, KYW, went on the air with a program broadcast from the stage of the Chicago Civic Auditorium.

The first historic words to be heard over the new station, spoken by Mary Garden, opera star and General Director of the Chicago Opera Company, were, as she walked across the darkened stage and not knowing that the mikes were open, "My God, it's dark in here!"

Miss Garden continued with a short address announcing the intention of the Opera Company to bring to the radio listeners the season operas as rendered at the Auditorium. Her announcement was followed by music by the entire orchestra conducted by Maestro Polacco. This was followed by an aria from "Madame Butterfly" sung by Edith Mason, accompanied by the orchestra. This, with appropriate closing announcements, concluded the program.

The opera season opened on Monday November 14, 1921 with the opera "Samson and Delilah" with Muratore in the role of Samson and Marguerite D'Alvera in the role of Delilah. Polacco conducted. KYW broadcast the entire program.

Why all this great interest by KYW in broadcasting operas? By the fall of 1921, the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company had inaugurated broadcasting services through KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; WBZ, Springfield, Massachusetts and WJZ, Newark, New Jersey. This new form of mass communication, combined with a great public service possibility, had received widespread newspaper publicity and accounts of these broadcasting stations were being read with interest throughout the United States.

At this period the great mid-western Insull Empire had reached its peak. Samuel Insull, the automatic head of the Insull interests, made his headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, and from his suite of offices in the Commonwealth Edison Company Building, ruled the various public service enterprises which comprised his empire.

Mr. Insull had taken a great interest in the affairs of the Chicago Civic Opera and had been financially underwriting it for several years. When the Westinghouse broadcasting activities were brought to the attention of Mr. Insull, he conceived the idea of establishing a radio station in Chicago to operate as an adjunct of the Chicago Opera Company so the performances of the opera might be broadcast and be brought into the homes of the people of Chicago and the surrounding area. Mr. Insull, through intermediaries, contacted Mr. H. P. Davis, Westinghouse Vice President in charge of radio engineering and broadcasting and an arrangement was made whereby Westinghouse would set up a broadcasting station in Chicago. It was agreed that the station would remain the property and be under the control of Westinghouse, however, it would be erected on the roof of the Commonwealth Edison Company Building and be operated jointly by Westinghouse and the Edison companies.

The original transmitter for the new station, KYW, was located on the elevator penthouse on the top of the Edison Building and the studio was located six floors below, on the 16th floor. The transmitter consisted of two 250 watt tubes used in a self-excited Hartley circuit, the output of which was Heising modulated by three 250 watt tubes. The plate supply was obtained from a 2000 volt direct current generator. The original antenna was a four wire flat top supported by two 50 foot steel poles mounted on top of the building. The operating frequency was 560 kc.

On January 18, 1922, KYW broadcast the first midnight revue from the studio on the sixteenth floor of the Edison Building. These revues brought to the KYW audiences such entertainers as the Duncan Sisters, Dream Daddy Harry Davis, Uncle Bob, Wendal Hall, Herbie Mintz, Little Jack Little, Paul Ash and many others who later climbed to fame as a result of their start over KYW. The feature of the opening night of the midnight revue was a scene from the "French Doll" with Irene Bordoni and several of her company.

Later in 1922 the news arrangement with the Chicago Evening American was expanded to a 24 hour service under the title "World Crier." News bulletins were read over the air on the hour and half-hour 24 hours a day. Bulletins were delivered by messenger every few hours and usually there were sufficient bulletins to provide the announcer with enough material for 5 or 6 "World Crier" schedules.

The "World Crier" service started on December 27, 1922 and continued until 1927 when it was found necessary to discontinue it due to complications of program scheduling.

At night, the "World Crier" bulletins were usually read by the operators on duty at the transmitter as the announcers were not always available. This resulted in a couple of embarrassing incidents and the paper from there on sent over material for the "World Crier" which could be put on the air as soon as possible.

In June 1924, the KYW frequency was changed to 1020 kc and the results were disastrous. In many places in Chicago, the KYW signal could not be received, fortunately the station was permitted to change back to a lower frequency, 570 kc.

In 1925 KYW moved to the roof of the Congress Hotel and a high powered (20 Kw) transmitter was installed. This was the first water cooled transmitter in the mid-west area.

In 1923, Westinghouse had installed a transmitter with call letters KFKX in Hasting, Nebraska to relay KDKA programs and also to originate some programs for the local area. In 1927, KFKX operations in Hastings were discontinued and the license moved to Chicago where KYW and KFKX shared time. (The move of KFKX to Chicago was made in anticipation of the upcoming 1928 frequency reallocation). Finally the Commission is effect said "quit kidding yourselves, which license do you want?" So the KFKX license was deleted.

In the November 11, 1928 frequency reallocation, KYW was again assigned to 1020 kc with the same disastrous effect on the station's coverage in Chicago. To improve coverage in the Chicago area, a 500 watt synchronized booster station KYWA was installed on the roof of the Edgewater Beach Hotel. This improved the coverage in the North Side area but did not help the main problem so plans were made to move KYW to a new site out in the country, near Wheaton, Illinois, and at the same time the studios were moved to the Strauss Building and arrangements made for the Chicago Herald and Examiner to take over the program and sales operations of the station.

The 1020 kc frequency assigned to KYW in the 1928 frequency reallocation had been, in the Davis amendment (the Davis amendment divided the country into five zones with all available broadcast frequencies divided equally among the five zones) assigned to the third zone, as well as new applicants applied for the 1020 kc frequency creating an almost continuous legal battle for KYW to protect its frequency assignment.

Finally, in 1932, KYW applied to the Commission to move to Philadelphia. The application was granted on October 27, 1933 for the facilities at this site.

The new KYW transmitter for the Whitemarsh location was the first all AC operated high powered transmitter, no rotating equipment except water pumps for circulating cooling water for the power tubes (now even the power tubes are air cooled). The antenna, a four tower array consisting of steel poles mounted on wood sub-bases was the first directional antenna designed to suppress sky-wave radiation while providing the required horizontal directional pattern.

As part of the move of KYW from Chicago to Philadelphia, arrangements had been for WCAU personnel to handle the program and sales operations of KYW and for Westinghouse personnel to take care of all technical operations. The KYW studios were located in the WCAU building on Chestnut Street. I worked with Jack Leitch, then Chief Engineer of WCAU on the layout and design of the studios for KYW. Jack was certainly a fine man to work with during the daytime but it was awfully tough trying to keep up with him at night.

In May, 1938, KYW studios were moved into the KYW Building at 1619 Walnut Street and NBC took over the programming and sales operations. This arrangement with NBC continued until July, 1940 when Westinghouse resumed the programming and sales operations of all the Westinghouse stations.

About the move out of the WCAU Building, some KYW personnel commented that KYW had gotten a divorce from WCAU on the ground of incompatibility.

On January 16, 1941, the power of KYW was increased from 10 kw to 50 kw and March 29, 1941 there was a frequency reallocation in which KYW's frequency was changed from 1020 kc to 1060 kc.

In 1949, the present directional antenna system consisting of two IDECO 450 foot steel towers which had better radiation efficiency than the shorter steel poles, was installed.

In January, 1956, Westinghouse and the National Broadcasting Company swapped their Philadelphia and Cleveland stations and KYW moved to Cleveland. On June 19, 1965, by action of the Department of Justice and by order of the Federal Communications Commission, the swap was reversed and KYW moved back to Philadelphia where we still are.

In 1965, KYW changed its programming to a 24 hour all news operation which, in a way, would be repeating the very successful 1922 "World Crier" news operation but on a much more highly sophisticated basis.

In January, 1968, a new Continental Electronics air cooled 50 kw transmitter was installed replacing the original water cooled transmitter installed in 1934.

In 1972, KYW moved its studios to the present Independence Mall East location and I sincerely hope that KYW has at last found a permanent home.

Attached to this was some kind of very badly duplicated document which says:

***WWJ, owned the Evening News Association, Inc. (Detroit, Michigan) requested the 1020 kc, 5 kw, unlmited. The application was dismissed October 23, 1931.

***Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Corporation, Detroit, Michigan applied for a new station at 1020 kc with 10 kw on November 19, 1931. Application was denied on October 27, 1933.

***WJAS, owned by the Pittsburgh Radio Supply House of Pittsburgh, Pa. on January 29, 1932 requested the 1020 kc frequency with 5 kw of pwoer. It too was denied on October 27, 1933.

***On June 8, 1932, WCAU owned by Universal Broadcasting Company, Philadelphia requested a change in frequency from 1170 kc to 1020 kc. This too was denied on October 27, 1933.

***On June 10, 1932, WFAN Radio, owned by Keystone Broadcasting Company of Philadelphia, requested approval of a new transmitter and to change frequency from 610 kc to 1020 kc. Also to change the power from 500 watts to 5 kw. It also was denied on October 27, 1933.

***On June 14, 1932, WIP Radio, owned by Gimbel Brothers, Inc. of Philadelphia, requested permission to install a new transmitter and change frequency from 610 kc to 1020 kc. They also wanted to increase power from 500 watts to 5 kw. This too was denied on October 27, 1933.

***On June 6, 1934, Kunsky-Trnedle Broadcasting Corporation of Detroit, Michigan requested a frequency of 640 kc with a power of 10 kw. Amended on June 15, 1934 to omit request for any KYW facilities or frequencies.

***On November 15, 1931 WAPI radio........(this was hand written in and is not readable at all because of the poor copy.)

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Text reconstruction by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Mike Muderick
All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is pioneers@broadcastpioneers.com