Why W and K for US radio and TV stations?

One of those mundane questions I’ve long wondered about, but never bothered to look up, is why virtually all the radio and television stations in the US start with either the letter W or K

From https://www.primermagazine.com/2010/field-manual/know-it-all-w%E2%80%99s-and-k%E2%80%99s-the-history-of-radio-and-television-call-letters Primer Magazine: “In 1912, several countries attended a conference centered on the subject of ‘International Radiotelegraphs.’ One of the biggest things to come out of this gathering was the assignment of certain letters to certain countries, to identify their radio signals – America was given W, K, N, and A (fun fact: Canada got ‘C’ and Mexico got ‘X’).”

But why those particular letters has seemingly been lost. (A for America?)

“While N and A were chosen for American military radio stations, W and K were designated specifically for commercial use. Stations were allowed to choose the letters that followed the K or the W, and the combination was allowed to be three or four letters in length.”

Initially, the K stations were to the east and the W stations were to the west. Thus one can find early stations such as KDKA out of Pittsburgh, PA, established in 1920. By 1926, the Federal Communications Commission codified the idea of having four letters, but stations with three didn’t need to change.

From http://earlyradiohistory.us/kwtrivia.htm Warly Radio History:

“The original K/W boundary ran north from the Texas-New Mexico border, so at first stations along the Gulf of Mexico and northward were assigned W calls. It was only in late January, 1923 that the K/W boundary was shifted east to the current boundary of the Mississippi River. With this change, K’s were assigned to most new stations west of the Mississippi; however, existing W stations located west of the Mississippi were allowed to keep their now non-standard calls.”

This page has more information on the topic than most mortals would want to know, such as the K/W exceptions and other trivia. For instance, some break the rules by owner requests -examples: WACO in Waco, Texas; WMT (Waterloo [Iowa] Morning Tribune).

The page was compiled on 1 January 2017, so it’s quite recent.

For ABC Wednesday

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A teevee in every public place

Jaquandor wants to know:

What do you think of the trend today for a teevee blaring news to be present in nearly every public or open-to-the-public space there is nowadays? Every doctor waiting room, every super market cafe, even some of our favorite restaurants — teevees in all, and they are ALWAYS set to either CNN or FOX News. This bugs me. How about you?

Well, yes, it’s true that the phenomenon has grown. There was a time, particularly in airports, when the default network was CNN, because it was “neutral.” But now, it’s more often FOX. And I ALWAYS remember.

Nice diner in Catskill, about 45 miles south of here – FOX News. The Burger King in the same town – FOX News.

The Bible Guys breakfast in Albany at a local diner – FOX News. I wonder if the owners figured that, since we were a religious-minded group, that FOX would be amenable to us; it was most assuredly not, and we asked them to turn it off.

FOX in the morning, BTW, is particularly awful, actually. I’m especially annoyed with that dumb blond – what’s his name, Doocy?

Some venues, figuring that ANY news is controversial these days, have opted for HGTV, the home and garden network, which I see it at my allergist’s office – and I have to wait 30 minutes AFTER my monthly shot.

So I see folks getting their homes renovated a LOT. I saw a couple recent articles explaining that not everything was as it seemed on air. Here’s a piece that will tell you more than you ever need to know about the network. I really got to dislike Christina and Tarek of Flip or Flop, especially him, but am actually sorry their marriage broke up.

There’s a pizza place in Albany that used to show the local news, but now airs movies, some of them not amenable with wanting to eat.

I went to a now-defunct barbershop near my house, and they were showing some shoot-em-up movie with vulgar language on DVR when children were present.

I wonder if they feel they need to compete with all the handheld devices their customers undoubtedly own.

The Lydster, Part 127: Watching the news

NEWSFor her first nine years, I sheltered the Daughter from watching the evening news, viewing it after she went to bed, or before she got up in the morning. Sometimes, I’d watch it while she was in the other room.

Turns out that she is preternaturally interested in these things. Moreover, she develops opinions about them that did not necessarily come from us. Ferguson, MO made her aware that it’s a little scarier being a black child in America than she previously thought. The death of Palestinian children during the conflict with Israel made her angry. And she has great antipathy for Russia’s Putin.

Sometimes, she shows off her knowledge. Continue reading

Watching that TV show again

good-wife-the-second-season-dvd-coverOne of joyous experiences I have had recently is periodically watching episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) with The Daughter. I bought the complete five seasons a couple years and we’re down to the last half dozen of 158 episodes. It’s interesting watching what she finds funny, or mystifying. I’m also fascinating by what programs I remember very well (the Christmas show early on, the ventriloquist Paul Winchell near the end), and others not so much. Mark Evanier has been revisiting the classic show too.

In some ways, I’m like this columnist who sometimes would rather re-watch a program she enjoyed, rather than to venture out and try new stuff, even though there is a lot of quality stuff out there (The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad) I’ve never seen. Continue reading

M is for Michael Douglas is 70 (tomorrow)

Michael_DouglasIn the 1960s and 1970s, I used to watch The Fugitive and Cannon and Barnaby Jones, virtually all the Quinn Martin productions, including the cop show The Streets of San Francisco. It starred Karl Malden as the wise senior partner, and Michael Douglas as the impetuous junior partner.

I didn’t really know who Michael Douglas was, except that he was the son of Kirk Douglas, the guy whose jaw was so square that the mimics on the Ed Sullivan Show, just had to grit their teeth to “do” him. Continue reading

Closing TV themes that are DIFFERENT than the opening theme

Frasier_LogoMy daughter wanted breakfast one morning recently. I thought to give her the tossed salad I had made the night before, which she merely nibbled at. Instead, I went with her request of scrambled eggs; the egg carton was under the salad bowl.

That made me think, naturally, of Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs, the end theme for the TV show Frasier [LISTEN to the extended version] . But what was the opening theme of that show? Seems that it varies a bit; LISTEN to this compilation.

What other shows have distinctive different opening and closing themes? Continue reading

Robin Williams has died. SHAZBOT!

public domain

public domain

I had heard that Robin Williams had passed away while I was hanging out with some Times Union bloggers Monday night, Chuck Miller and Don Rittner and David Kalish. My first thought that maybe it was a hoax, which says a lot about the news these days. But it wasn’t until I got home that I discovered that he had apparently committed suicide.

The FIRST person I thought of Continue reading

July Rambling: Weird Al, and the moon walk

clock.numbers
Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell. To that end, Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations and Congratulations: It’s a corporation.

An answer to the child immigrant problem at the US-Mexican border? I note that the Biblical Jesus was a refugee, his parents fleeing Herod’s wrath. Yet so many people who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ “are so uncaring and hateful about hungry children trying to get to a better, safer place to live.”

In the non-surprise category: Stand Your Ground Laws Lead To More Homicides, Don’t Deter Crime.

Misleading on Marriage: how gay marriage opponents twist history to suit their agenda.

Yiddish Professor Miriam Isaacs has dug in a previously unknown treasure of over a thousand unknowns Yiddish songs recorded of Holocaust survivors; text is in Swedish, but can be translated. Miriam was my old racquetball buddy decades ago.

The Creation Myth of 20th Century Fundamentalism by Jeff Sharlet, who I also knew long ago.

Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe came out as gay. Arthur explains why it STILL matters. Also: I Can Be Christian, and Gay, and Live in Alabama.

Portraits of people in 7 days’ worth of their own garbage.
Continue reading

Teevee; remembering Dee, Gwynn, Kasem, Noll

televisionI was watching JEOPARDY! per usual. But this was strange: in the six days between June 6 and June 13, inclusive, none of the contestants got the Final correct in five of them, whereas I KNEW four of them, and guessed correctly on the fifth. The one question I got wrong, two of them got right.

These are the six final answers:

20th CENTURY AMERICANS: In 1911 Glenn Curtiss received this document Number 1.
THE MEDITERRANEAN: It’s the only U.N. member country in the Mediterranean where English is an official national language.
SCIENTISTS: As a humorous tribute, an astronomical term equivalent to at least 4 billion has been named for him.
CAPITAL CITY WORDPLAY: Ending in the same 2 letters, these 2 are capitals of a nation that covers a continent & of a nation reaching onto 2 continents.
CURRENT TELEVISION: George Romero declined to direct a few episodes of this series, calling it “basically…just a soap opera”
FOREIGN AFFAIRS: William Sullivan retired from the Foreign Service in 1979; he was the last U.S. Ambassador to this country.

Which one did I get wrong? Continue reading

Frank Oz is 70, tomorrow

frank_ozMiss Piggy and Fozzie Bear on The Muppet Show. Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover in Sesame Street. Thee were all creatures performed and co-created by Frank Oz, born Frank Richard Oznowicz. He has also performed Sam Eagle and Animal on the Muppet Show, and Yoda in the Star Wars movies.

Sesame Street, which I was too old to watch, but I did anyway; the various Muppet TV shows and movies; and the original Star Wars trilogy have brought me hours of joy.

I’ve indicated my favorite Muppets recently Continue reading