WFPG-TV

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WFPG-TV
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Channels Analog: 46 (UHF)
Affiliations silent
Owner WFPG radio
First air date December 21, 1952
Last air date May 17, 1954
Call letters' meaning World's
Finest
Play
Ground
Former affiliations NBC (primary)
CBS, ABC, DuMont (secondary)
Transmitter power 1 kW TPO
Transmitter coordinates 39°43′43.6″N 74°50′39.6″W / 39.728778°N 74.844333°W / 39.728778; -74.844333

WFPG-TV was one of the earliest UHF television stations in the United States, licensed to Atlantic City, New Jersey. The station broadcast over channel 46 from December 1952 until May 1954, and held affiliations with all four major networks of the era: NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont.

Background[edit]

Geographically, New Jersey is sandwiched between New York City and Philadelphia. Between them, the two large cities were granted most of the available VHF channels. The only VHF station assigned to New Jersey was located in Newark, the state's largest city. However, channel 13—WATV, later to become WNTA-TV (and now WNET) -- was programmed as a New York City station. New York City was directly awarded channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11; while Philadelphia was assigned channels 3, 6 and 10. Channel 8 became unavailable as it was given to Lancaster, Pennsylvania's WGAL-TV, and later to WNHC-TV (now WTNH) in New Haven, Connecticut. Around the same time, WDEL-TV in Wilmington, Delaware (later WVUE) moved to channel 12, which the FCC reassigned to Wilmington to replace channel 7.

Prior to the opening of the UHF band in 1952, Atlantic City viewers could receive some of the Philadelphia stations. However, they could only be received with very large rooftop antennas, and signals were marginal even under the best conditions.

The use of a channel on the newly opened UHF TV band would allow Atlantic City to boast (in the words of one promotion to 1954-era convention-goers) "Operation of Atlantic City's own television station, WFPG-TV has begun, and it is expected that many national programs will visit here and originate their shows from 'On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City'."[1]

Construction began on October 30, 1952 and was completed 52 days later, with WFPG's AM broadcasts continuing uninterrupted while the new building and its UHF TV facilities were constructed around the existing radio operation.[2]

While local television receiver vendors were initially hesitant to promote the then largely unproven UHF band, due both to unfamiliarity with the selection of antennae required for the higher frequencies and a lack of factory-installed UHF tuners in many TV sets,[3] the ability to serve Atlantic City from even a relatively low-powered local station was to provide stronger signals and better-quality images in the local community than could be had at the time through the distant reception of Philadelphia VHF stations.

Demise[edit]

As Philadelphia's VHF stations increased their transmitted signal power to cover a growing market, they were able to regain market share in various outlying communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which already had local UHF stations of their own in 1953; along with WFPG-TV, they included WEEU-TV (channel 33) and WHUM-TV (channel 61) in Reading, Pennsylvania, and WSBA-TV (channel 43, now WPMT) in York, Pennsylvania.[4] As a result, channel 46 went off the air almost unnoticed on May 17, 1954.

It is not likely that WFPG-TV would have survived for long in any event, however. Shortly after WFPG-TV went dark, the FCC collapsed Atlantic City into the Philadelphia market. Almost immediately, the Philadelphia stations all secured construction permits to build tall towers in the Roxborough neighborhood, on some of the highest ground in the region. The new towers enabled the Philadelphia stations to provide a clear signal to all of South Jersey, including Atlantic City.

While WFPG-TV is no longer on the air,[5] its radio siblings continued operation. WFPG-FM 96.9 and WFPG (now WPGG) AM 1450 currently operate from studios in Northfield[6] with the original callsign still in active use on FM radio. The WFPG-TV tower also still stands; the facilities built for channel 46 now house WMID 1340 and 99.3 WZBZ radio.

Local TV broadcasting did not return to Atlantic City until January 25, 1966, when WCMC-TV (channel 40, now WMGM-TV) signed on as an affiliate of NBC.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.newjersey.imsasafety.org/Articles/1954/Mar-April/MSE-Mar-Apr%201954c.pdf
  2. ^ WFPG-TV Atlantic City, N.J. UHF channel 46, Fred Weber President of WFPG-TV and Blair Thron, RCA Broadcast News, March 1953 - as archived by Atlantic City broadcast engineer Tom McNally
  3. ^ WFPG-TV's entry at the UHF Morgue[dead link]
  4. ^ http://www.mcsittel.com/html/tvg-phl.htm
  5. ^ DuMont historical website, Clarke Ingram
  6. ^ Northeast Radio Watch, August 25, 2000

External links[edit]

  • Printed advertisement for WFPG-TV, "TURN TO WFPG-TV channel 46 Featuring Four Great Networks: N.B.C - C.B.S. - A.B.C. - DuMont Telecasting From The World's Finest Playground WFPG-TV, channel 46 Atlantic City