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Engineering the Public Interest, 1922-1925: Technological Rationality and Institutionalization of American Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  13 sharing time with many small stations, they suffered severe interference: For example, 27 Class A stations were allocated on the same wavelength. Enrolled home-study students complained that they could not hear the broadcast lectures. Many colleges and universities became disillusioned with the original educational vision and withdrew many courses. 31 By the end of 1924, some 151 colleges and universities had been licensed and 49 of those disappeared in the same period. The highest death rate was observed in 1925; the number of educational stations dropped to 90. Some stations simply gave up due to rising operating costs and chaotic conditions. For example, KFAJ of the University of Colorado lapsed into license expiration in 1925 because of “disgust and weariness” with no hope for any effective educational service. In 1922 the university was authorized to operate at 1000 watts but the following year was forced down to 100 watts by the Commerce Department. When GE’s powerful KOA, Denver, was on the air, it could not even be heard locally. 32 Nevertheless, Radio News in early 1925 was saying that interference among the 455 Class A stations was not as much problem in wavelength allocation and interference as Class B stations, owing to their limited radius and the irregular program schedules during the day. The Commerce Department and radio commentators were apathetic to the situation of Class A stations. About the time of the Fourth Conference, some Class A educational stations tried to move to Class B with qualified power. 33 In the Fourth Conference in November 1925, Hoover came to abolish the classification of A and B as the “arbitrary distinction between two classes.” New criterion for the better portion of channels was said to be “the service to listeners.” This decision was denouncing the role of Class Bs as a central force to serve quality regular programs. This was the point when a few technologically and financially strong corporate stations were granted experimental licenses allowing the use of superpower (up to 50,000 watts) for regular broadcasting service. This

Authors: Baek, Misook.
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sharing time with many small stations, they suffered severe interference: For example, 27 Class
A stations were allocated on the same wavelength. Enrolled home-study students complained
that they could not hear the broadcast lectures. Many colleges and universities became
disillusioned with the original educational vision and withdrew many courses.
31
By the end of 1924, some 151 colleges and universities had been licensed and 49 of
those disappeared in the same period. The highest death rate was observed in 1925; the number
of educational stations dropped to 90. Some stations simply gave up due to rising operating costs
and chaotic conditions. For example, KFAJ of the University of Colorado lapsed into license
expiration in 1925 because of “disgust and weariness” with no hope for any effective educational
service. In 1922 the university was authorized to operate at 1000 watts but the following year
was forced down to 100 watts by the Commerce Department. When GE’s powerful KOA,
Denver, was on the air, it could not even be heard locally.
32
Nevertheless, Radio News in early 1925 was saying that interference among the 455
Class A stations was not as much problem in wavelength allocation and interference as Class B
stations, owing to their limited radius and the irregular program schedules during the day. The
Commerce Department and radio commentators were apathetic to the situation of Class A
stations. About the time of the Fourth Conference, some Class A educational stations tried to
move to Class B with qualified power.
33
In the Fourth Conference in November 1925, Hoover came to abolish the classification
of A and B as the “arbitrary distinction between two classes.” New criterion for the better portion
of channels was said to be “the service to listeners.” This decision was denouncing the role of
Class Bs as a central force to serve quality regular programs. This was the point when a few
technologically and financially strong corporate stations were granted experimental licenses
allowing the use of superpower (up to 50,000 watts) for regular broadcasting service. This


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