Channel 1

John Clark (
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 01:35:43 -0500

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>> P.S. As a kid I wondered why my television went from Channel 2 to 13,
>> what happened to Channel 1?

Television sets made before 1949 do have channel 1, although at the time there were few TV stations and none were yet on Channel 1. In 1949 the law was changed and the spectrum for Channel 1 was given to the new FM radio broadcasting band. The reason for this is interesting.

FM radio was invented by the brilliant radio pioneer Howard Armstrong, and the 1930's had made thousands of FM radios and even started his own FM network with dozens of stations. All FM broadcasting was discontinued during the war but Armstrong wanted to resume operation afterward. RCA also wanted to get into the FM business but feared Armstrong's lead was too great, so they lobbied the government to change the band from where it was, at about 50 meg, to the 88 -108 meg band (Channel 1). This made all of Armstrong's radios and equipment useless and his network died. He then checked into the 13'th floor of an expensive hotel in New York, put on his best cloths, opened a window and jumped out.

John K Clark

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