Television digest with AM-FM reports (Jan-Dec 1951)

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12 Telecasting Notes: A few headlines and excerpts from 290-page 45th anniversary edition of Variety Jan. 3, which more or less set tone of its fulsome treatment of TV : “The TV Winter of Our Discontent. Some Reflections on the New Turbulence That’s Gripped Show Business in an Era W’hen ‘Radio Is Only Half Destroyed and TV Is Only Half Built’ ” — by Carroll Carroll . . . “RCA Prexy Envisions Radio’s Importance Anew in the 1951 War Effort; Tele’s Next Big Advance” — by Frank Folsom . . . “Despite Exhibs’ Gripes, the Nation’s Leading Theatre Execs Seek to Harness TV” . . . “Television’s Senile Celluloid, or Dragging Out Those Old Pix” — by Eugene Burr . . . Now it’s official: Soviet Tass News Agency, reporting on American “depravity, decadence, pessimism and escapism from life” in 1950, observes that TV is creating “a new threat to the already low level of culture in the United States” and creating a “generation of imbeciles” . . . Billboard reports 4-year contract between Burr Tillstrom and NBC-TV probably makes ci’eator of Kukla, Fran & Ollie the highest paid puppeteer in the world — at $10,000 per week first 2 years, $11,000 third year, $12,600 fourth . . . New Television Authority (TV A) wage scale is reported by Billhoard to have added $2926 to Westinghouse’s weekly bill, formerly about $16,000, for Studio One on CBS-TV . . . NBC’s Los Angeles KNBH shortly will drop a.m. programs, will sign on at 12 noon and run to midnight; it’s now operating 9:30-12:30 p.m., silent until 4 . . . CBS fired 3 announcers and 3 engineers of its Chicago AM station WBBM for letting profane remarks of one announcer get out over air during Rose Bowl game station-break . . . Howdy Doody has so impressed Wall Street that new firm, Kagran Corp., was formed, bought rights to all names and characters on program from co-owners Martin Stone and Bob Smith; new owner contracted to give NBC exclusive TV rights . . . First winner of Majestic’s “Mighty Monarch of the Air” award, based on poll of TV editors, is John Cameron Swayze for his Camel Caravan on NBC-TV ; monthly awards are backed up by Majestic ads in TV cities . . . Baltimore’s 3 TV stations will combine to carry inauguration of Maryland’s Governor-elect McKeldin from Annapolis Jan. 10; for WMAR-TV, key station, it’s 900th First week of Phonevision evoked many laudatory comments on Zenith’s pay-as-you-look TV. Particularly praised was clarity of pictures, attributed to new prints being used. Public comments were summed up by remarks of Mrs. George M. White, of one of the 300 “guinea pig” families: “Phonevision beats going to the movies the regular way. We like being able to relax at home while watching the show. I think we would be willing to pay $1 several times each week to see movies this way.” But Zenith itself discounted early viewer enthusiasm. In application to FCC this week, asking for extension of 90-day test to March 31, chief engineer J. E. Brown carefully explains that “little of significance” will be gained first month, since novelty effect will be high. However, after first month, after first bill for service comes in, “test families will tend to become more conservative.” Therefore, third month will be “the most significant and dependable” for evaluation purposes. Each of the 300 test families got booklet for first Jan. 1-6 week, titled Zenith Presents Phonevision. It listed pictures and stars, contained also reproductions of advertising previously used for exploitation when pictures were first shown in regular theatres. Inside front cover contained statement emphasizing that tests are experimental, that FCC had not approved Fdionevision commercially, that there was no assurance FCC would approve system. Back cover carries KS2XBS remote telecast . . . WOR-TV, New York, has filed plans with city authorities for 2-story TV studio and office building at Columbus Ave. & 68th St., now parking lot, to replace present studios at 28 W. 68th . . . CBS reports 36 employes, mostly reserves, have gone into military service since Aug. 4 . . . Cincinnati’s W'LW (Crosley) has completed own studios in Washington’s Wardman Park Hotel. More Jan. 1 rate rises: WLWT, Cincinnati, base hourly rate from $550 to $700, one-minute rate from $70 to $100 (with special new premium $250 rate); WLWC, Columbus, and WLWD, Dayton, $375 to $500 & $50 to $75 (with special new premium $200 rate) ; WKRC-TV, Cincinnati, $500 to $700 & $65 to $78; WCPO-TV, Cincinnati $500 to $700 & $70 to $77; WTCN-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul, $500 to $650 & $100 to $130. [For digests of all station rate cards, and full network rate cards, see TV Factbook No. 12.'\ “Hoffman Plan” isn’t the answer. Pacific Coast Conference said in effect Jan. 5 when it banned televising of its 1951 football games. Hoffman plan (Vol. 6:35,51) guaranteed gate receipts of 30 games telecast last year, but conference commissioner Victor 0. Schmidt said “the conference is not so disturbed over financial losses as in the fact of half-filled stadia.” Merrill (Red) Mueller, NBC newsman in San Francisco, recently news chief in London and during war NBC’s correspondent with SHAEF, will shortly become personal aide to Gen. Eisenhower, handling public relations. His job, probably as an Army officer, will be comparable to that held by Comdr. Harry Butcher during war. Jan. 1 sets-in-use reported since NBC Research’s “census” of Dec. 1 (Vol. 6:51): Memphis, 70,144, up 5744; Omaha, 56,789, up 8589; Dallas, 56,456, up 4756; Miami, 50,000, up 5000; Fort Worth, 44,088, up 3888; Utica, 33,000, up 2800. Correction: Dec. 1 San Francisco sets-in-use (Vol. 6:51) should have been 127,000, not 147,000 reported. Ashtabula (O.) Star-Beacon’s WICA filed this week for Channel 8 in that city. Owners are R. B. & D. C. Rowley, also publishers of Conneaut News-Herald, Geneva Free Press, Painesville Telegraph, all in Ohio. test pattern (Channel 2), with this “sales” message: “Phonevision can bring you the best in low cost home entertainment.” Pictures listed for first week, besides those reported last week (Vol. 6:52), were EagleLion’s Lost Honeymoon, with Franchot Tone; Warner’s The Unsuspected, with Joan Caulfield & Claude Rains; Warner’s Silver River, with Errol Flynn & Ann Sheridan; Paramount’s Dear Ruth, with William Holden & Joan Caulfield; Paramount’s I Walk Alone, with Burt Lancaster & Lisbeth Scott. New York Times Jan. 3 quoted several reactions. Motorola president Paul Galvin said he and his wife were delighted and added: “I think it is an added feature any TV set owner would appreciate and I hope it will be approved by the FCC.” CBS Chicago v.p. H. Leslie Atlass said, “It’s fine, but I don’t think it fits our broadcasting system or that it can be accepted by the FCC.” One father, non-subscriber, complained that his children watched the picture even though it “jiggled.” But Zenith says image can be hashed up much worse. Washington Post editorialized Jan. 1: “TV programs are enormously expensive. This means that sponsors can scarcely afford to cater to minority interests. But, if listeners are willing to pay for programs, they can get w'hat they want. They can get symphony concerts, for example: they can get educational courses by top teachei's in their own living rooms; they can get forum discussions . . .”