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Engineering the Public Interest, 1922-1925: Technological Rationality and Institutionalization of American Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  19 a three-tube set) since superpower would enable the listenera with crystal sets within a thousand miles to listen in, where heretofore 25 miles was the maximum. 47 In mid-1925 six months after the first erection of superpower stations, about a dozen superpower stations were being operated under the experimental licenses. For example, GE’s WGY (Schenectady, New York) was among superpower stations that provided broadcast programs through the new stations on an everyday basis except Sunday. The Commerce Department also allowed five broadcasters to use 5000 watts in the logic that increased power would bring better program service to more listeners. 48 In late 1925, preliminary reports of the operation of the 50,000-watt WGY transmitter gave the information that fading was the major problem disappointing the average listeners in the areas 50 miles away or more from a station. Signals of 50,000 watts superpower stations of KDKA and WGY came in as loud as those of a local, but they faded as before. Fear of additional interference according to increased power size was still bringing a great deal of discussion. There also had been heated debates going on over the efficiency of the use of superpower and uncertainty about its public implications. Particularly, the use of higher power covering a large portion of the country raised the question about the rights of local stations and the rights of local listeners. Nevertheless, radio engineers held the firm position that superpower would give a more reliable and definite program over a range of 100 miles and would not increase interference if it was located away from congested centers of great cities. Hoover expressed his satisfaction with the higher power experiments in the Fourth Conference, calling them “not only harmless. . . but advantageous.” The Conference confirmed that the increased transmitting power had improved general conditions of reception and recommended continuing experiments with superpower. 49 In December 1925, RCA’s new station, WJZ at Bound Brook, New Jersey, was granted licenses for regular broadcasting with 50,000 watts. Corporate radio engineers were developing

Authors: Baek, Misook.
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19
a three-tube set) since superpower would enable the listenera with crystal sets within a thousand
miles to listen in, where heretofore 25 miles was the maximum.
47
In mid-1925 six months after the first erection of superpower stations, about a dozen
superpower stations were being operated under the experimental licenses. For example, GE’s
WGY (Schenectady, New York) was among superpower stations that provided broadcast
programs through the new stations on an everyday basis except Sunday. The Commerce
Department also allowed five broadcasters to use 5000 watts in the logic that increased power
would bring better program service to more listeners.
48
In late 1925, preliminary reports of the operation of the 50,000-watt WGY transmitter
gave the information that fading was the major problem disappointing the average listeners in the
areas 50 miles away or more from a station. Signals of 50,000 watts superpower stations of
KDKA and WGY came in as loud as those of a local, but they faded as before. Fear of additional
interference according to increased power size was still bringing a great deal of discussion. There
also had been heated debates going on over the efficiency of the use of superpower and
uncertainty about its public implications. Particularly, the use of higher power covering a large
portion of the country raised the question about the rights of local stations and the rights of local
listeners. Nevertheless, radio engineers held the firm position that superpower would give a more
reliable and definite program over a range of 100 miles and would not increase interference if it
was located away from congested centers of great cities. Hoover expressed his satisfaction with
the higher power experiments in the Fourth Conference, calling them “not only harmless. . . but
advantageous.” The Conference confirmed that the increased transmitting power had improved
general conditions of reception and recommended continuing experiments with superpower.
49
In December 1925, RCA’s new station, WJZ at Bound Brook, New Jersey, was granted
licenses for regular broadcasting with 50,000 watts. Corporate radio engineers were developing


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