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Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Discussion pertaining to the Tri-Cities, Flint, Mt. Pleasant, and Bad Axe
Arthur Mometer
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Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:22 pm

Piecing together several infomation sources, here are some data on WTAC-TV Channel 16 Flint, which operated for a few months in 1953 and 1954.

Visual ERP 17.4 kW
Aural ERP 8.4 kW
Antenna Tower Height 470 Feet (Unclear whether this is the tower height or HAAT)
Network ABC
Business Address 740 S. Saginaw St. (Next to First Presbyterian Church. Later housed WAMM Studios, 1st Pres Youth Ministry called The Pipe.)
Studio Address 2302 Lapeer Rd. (Present Location of WJRT-TV Studios)
Transmitter Address 2302 Lapeer Rd. (Present Location of WJRT-TV STL Tower)
Owners Were The Legendary Trendle and Campbell
General Manager J. R. McKinley
Station Manager Rubin Weiss
Program Director James A. Washburn

Left the air in 1954. Tower collapsed in a tornado in 1956. Tower built for WJRT-TV STL is 250 feet, considerably shorter than the WTAC-TV Tower.

ERP was typical of UHF locals at the time in other places like Lansing, Saginaw, and Grand Rapids. These were designed to serve a very limited area around these cities.
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Mancinomark
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Mancinomark » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:36 pm

I've always been fascinated by TV-16. I was about 5 when it was on the air and lived in the Thumb Area, so that signal didn't get anywhere near me.

But here's a newspaper ad which ran then, about WTAC TV-16 (probably Flint Journal, or other smaller, local paper):


Image

Arthur Mometer
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:52 pm

The 470 foot tower infomation came from a book that was called something like "Flint, The First 100 Years 1855-1955" that was published in 1955 by The Flint Journal as I recall. This was after WTAC-TV signed off but before the tower collapsed. It stuck with me even though I have not been able to find the book again, because it was 100 feet higher than any other tower in Central Genesee County. The FAA has prevented taller towers since that time, except near the county lines (WCMZ-TV and WEYI-TV have been allowed much taller towers). If anyone has that book, send me a PM. Rumor has it that when there were radio studios at 740 S. Saginaw where the WTAC-TV Offices were, and later the WAMM Offices and Studios, before First Presbyterian bought the building to expand and eventually tore it down, you could hear the pipe organ playing in the WAMM studios. Organ students of the late Bill Renneckar were told to not practice the organ too loudly so as not to be a bad neighbor.
"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

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"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

Arthur Mometer
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:12 pm

Here is more information regarding WTAC-TV. This was from the initial application information from the 1952 Broadcasting Yearbook apparently. The coordinates apply to the studio location at 740 S. Saginaw, not the actual TL that was built. But the 432 foot RCAGL looks to be about right for the 470 foot tower that was apparently built on Lapeer Rd.

FLINT, Mich. — Trendle-Campbell
Bcstg. Corp. (WTAC). UHF Ch. 16 (482-
488 mc); ERP 59 kw visual, 29.5 kw
a u r a l ; antenna height above average
t e r r a i n 380 ft,, above ground 432 ft.
E s t i m a t e d construction cost $298,666,
first year o p e r a t i n g cost $240,000, reven
u e $380,000. Post Office address: 1800
Mutual Bldg., 26 West Adams Ave.,
Detroit 26, Mich. Studio and t r a n s m i t -
t e r location: 740 S. Saginaw St., Flint,
Mich. Geographic coordinates: 43° 00'
49" N. Lat., 83° 41' 20" W. Long. Transm
i t t e r DuMont, antenna GE. Legal
eousel Bingham, Collins, P o r t e r & Kistler,
Washington. Consulting engineer
Kear & Kennedy, Washington.
"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

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Mancinomark
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Mancinomark » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:37 pm

Great information once again, Arthur. WTAC-TV 16 always fascinates me.

But the question must again be asked: with 59kw visual power, even from a 470-foot tower, that signal couldn't even cover all of Genesee County, could it? Not to mention Saginaw, or Lapeer (another story...) or Clarkston or anywhere else.

Do you think they would have gone on the air that way, and maybe planned more power or a taller tower, later on? Actually, they probably weren't thinking about the future -- just trying to get operating, under-experienced and apparently under-funded, even though T-C was a big company...

Arthur Mometer
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:54 pm

Actually, if it had actually been 59 kW, it would have gotten out 20 miles or so, enough to cover Genesee County. There probably would have been a few terrain coverage holes with that ERP. What actually went on the air was 17.4 kW from what has been pieced together. Probably that would cover Flint and the surrounding townships, which had a total area around 300,000 population by 1960.

Low ERP on UHF was typical in those days. They were local TV stations much like a Class IV/Class C AMs or Class A FMs were local radio stations. They were designed to cover a medium size town.

WTVS, WKNX-TV, and WKBD were all around 175 kW when they were first on the air, and those were the more powerful UHFs at the time. They served a wider, though not wide, area, like 25 miles.
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jry
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by jry » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:16 pm

Could you even make the power that UHF needs to "get out" back then?
Its interesting that VHF hadn't even fully developed when UHF was being introduced.

Dan Drolett

Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Dan Drolett » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:36 pm

Another thing they had going against them was that UHF tuners were not standard equipment on most TV sets of the time, although many sets were adaptable for an external tuner which had to be purchased separately. It wasn't until sometime in the 60's that the FCC mandated that all manufactured sets contain an internal UHF tuner. Early educational UHF stations like WTVS and WKAR-TV only operated a few hours a day. WKAR operated on channel 60 from 1954-57 before abandoning UHF in favor of a shared-time arrangement with WILX on channel 10, which lasted from 1959-72, at which time they moved back to UHF on channel 23 with a full-time schedule.

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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by RingtailedFox » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:12 pm

That would be the All-Channels Reciever Act of 1964, requiring all newer sets to include a UHF tuner alongside a VHF tuner.
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jry
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by jry » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:12 pm

I can remember that we had an add on tuner and a bow tie antenna. Worked good from Redford Township.

By the time we moved to Hartland, all of the sets had the built in tuner. However, if it wasn't for the H*** outside antenna, we'd have never picked up the Detroit stations.

I do wish that the Saginaw St. building had been around when we bought 600.

Arthur Mometer
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:27 pm

According to what people said back then, many people added a tuning slug, a slug tuned inductor that handled a narrow range of channels. It is not clear if it used the existing tuner or another tuner. Tubes used only would oscillate and amplify up to a certain frequency, so I would assume that if the tuner didn't have tubes that would handle the UHF frequencies, or had long radiating leads, the TV would need a separate tuner. People had 2 Bay Bowties with a reflector on their outside antennas, and those survived quite a number of years after Channel 16. I saw an "all channel" TV for the first time around 1958. I was fascinated and even had dreams of tuning in channel after channel. I came close to actually tuning every channel when I started DXing UHF a number of years later.
"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

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Arthur Mometer
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:47 am

I was looking through some Allied Catalog images on the American Radio History site, and the tuners used with tuning slugs definitely had to be compatible to be used. In some tuners, the coils for unused VHF channels were removed and replaced with the tuning strips or slugs. So the tubes would have be be able to oscillate and amplify at the UHF frequencies and oscillator frequencies. Probably this is another reason why lower UHF channels were heavily used in the early years. I would assume that each slug or strip would handle at least three UHF channels, the typical range of the fine tuning control of the TV sets of the time. Manufacturing 70 separate tuning strips, one for each UHF channel 14-83, would have presented a mass production nightmare. Later sets had "detent" tuning, but used a continuously tuned UHF section. Still later, electronically tuned sets simulated the detent function to have tuning equivalency between VHF and UHF.
"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

Arthur Mometer
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Mon May 16, 2016 11:59 am

The 1953 Telecasting Yearbook shows the authorization as 59 kW ERP from 380 feet HAAT. The overall height was 467 feet. This listing properly lists the eventual TL as at 2302 Lapeer Road. Many stations then were authorized more power than they operated with. Another listing showed the ERP as 17.4 kW. There was another CP for Channel 28, a commercial allotment at the time, with this ERP. I wonder if WTAC-TV bought the transmitter from that applicant that never went on the air. The TL for that was shown as 3.1 miles East of Flint. That probably corresponds to the much talked about Courtland Center site.
"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

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"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

ftballfan
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by ftballfan » Mon May 16, 2016 7:26 pm

Was the 12 allocation later dropped into Flint after this?


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Arthur Mometer
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Re: Coordination Of Channel 16 WTAC-TV Information

Post by Arthur Mometer » Mon May 16, 2016 7:33 pm

ftballfan wrote:Was the 12 allocation later dropped into Flint after this?
At one time Channel 11 was allotted to Flint. 12 was substituted. Around 1960, it had 12, 16, *22, and 28 allotted.
"I'm meteorologist Arthur Mometer."

"Those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do."

"Lies have to be repeated and repeated to be believed. Truth stands on its own merit."

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