Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Early Broadcasting in the Bay Area, Pt. 3

Originally published in the March, 2009, Old Radio Times.(http://www.otrr.org/pg07_times.htm)

Early Broadcasting in the San Francisco Bay Area: Stations that Didn’t Survive, 1920-25
John F. Schneider
Seattle, Washington Copyright 1997

Perhaps the first station to broadcast in the San Francisco area after Doc Herrold's KQW, was 6UV, a tiny station operated by the Radio Telephone Shop at 175 Steuart Street, near the San Francisco waterfront. That section of Steuart Street was known as "radio row", because of the large number of radio parts stores located there. 6UV, later re-licensed KYY, was operated by the store's proprietor, A. F. Pendleton. He was on the air from 8 to 9 PM every Tuesday and Friday night on 425 meters. 6UV first went on the air about March or April, 1920, and operated only for about two years.

Another of the early broadcast operations was carried on by the U. S. Army. The Army Signal Corps at the Presidio Army base operated an amateur station to communicate with local amateurs and other Army bases, but it also broadcast music and information programs to the general public. Known first as 6XW and then later by the call letters AG1, this station was operated by Sgt. Richard C. Travers. In an article appearing in 1921 in Radio Magazine, Sgt. Travers described the purpose of the operation: The experimental work of the Signal Corps School, Presidio of San Francisco, California, was commenced about August 1, 1920, with the idea in view of determining the maximum efficiency of some Signal Corps equipment ... Another reason was to afford a means of educating new amateurs just coming into the game and at the same time advocate the C. W. transmission for the amateur with a view of lessening interference.

Considerable has been accomplished up to the present in both undertakings. In a recent test made by the school, it was shown that there are 320 that are actually interested in the educational matters and concerts transmitted by this station. And, from the same test report it was shown than an audience of about 5,000 people listen to the radiophone concerts. AG1 broadcast a concert of phonograph records every Sunday evening from 7 to 9 PM, and during this program Sgt. Travers answered questions put to him by his listeners. The Presidio continued its broadcast activities until mid-1923.


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