The AT&T broadcasting station at Walker Street, reviewed in this article, was first licenced on April 29, 1922, as WBAY. But because of coverage problems with WBAY, AT&T's broadcasting experiment was quickly shifted to WEAF, owned by its Western Electric subsidiary. Then, in 1923, AT&T went back to broadcasting from the Walker Street transmitter. At this time WBAY's call was changed to WEAF, presumably because by now the WEAF callsign was more familiar to listeners. This station is now WFAN-660 in New York City.
Science & Invention, April, 1922, p. 1144:
National Radio Broadcast By Bell System
THE most ambitious radiophone broadcasting scheme so far advocated is being rapidly brought to the stage of practical realization by the radio and telephone experts of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, the owner of the Bell Telephone System. By April 1st it is expected that the powerful radiophone broadcasting station for the eastern district located in this company's twenty-four-story building between Lispenard and Walker Streets, Manhattan, N. Y., will be ready for service. A powerful vacuum tube transmitting set will be employed at this station. An actual photograph of this building, which towers far above its neighbors, is shown at the right of the accompanying illustration, also the great height of the 100 foot latticed steel towers which will be erected on the roof of the twenty-four story building. These towers will support an antenna of six stranded phosphor bronze cables, each 200 feet long, at a total altitude of nearly 500 feet above the street level, which will undoubtedly give a phenomenal range to this station.
The principal novelty in a business way with respect to this and the chain of other broadcasting stations in various large cities thruout the country, which are to be joined to the Bell Telephone System by a private circuit for use in broadcasting by radio such important national messages as those of the President, is that they are to be leased. The A. T. & T. Co. are not interested in this enterprise for their own personal glory, and they will not have anything to do directly with the sort of concerts or other matter broadcasted via the Hertzian waves. They are going to sell this service to any company or individual who has the price and wants to hire the station for a certain specified time. For instance, John Wanamaker might hire the station on a Thursday night for the hours of 8 to 9 to give a combined advertising and musical program, while some Broadway theatrical company may have hired the station for the hours of 9 to 10 or 9 to 11 to give their show over the radiophone, as did Ed Wynn and "The Perfect Fool" company at WJZ station, operated by the Westinghouse Company at Newark, N. J., on Sunday, February 19th. The only direct interest the telephone company officials will have in the radiophone programs to be broadcasted nightly or daily will be to see to it that these programs are kept up to a certain high class, and that they do not deteriorate to a lot of clap-trap advertising propaganda, such as "Don't buy any other shirts but Jones' shirts; Jones' shirts are the best that money can buy; don't forget Jones when you buy shirts; bla-bla-bla-bla." ad lib, ad infinitum.
This wireless broadcasting station will be unique in many respects. The distributing station is to be equipped with the latest developments of the Bell system, including the use of electrical filters and new methods whereby, as the business grows, several wave-lengths can be sent out simultaneously from the same point, so that the receiving station may listen at will to jazz dance music, opera, lectures, travelogues, etc. The company will provide channels thru which anyone with whom it makes a contract can send out his own programs, just as the company leases its long distance telephone wire facilities for the use of newspapers, banks and other concerns. There have been many requests for such a service, not only from newspapers and entertainment agencies, but also from department stores and a great variety of business houses. The station when completed will cover territory within a radius of from 100 to 150 miles of this city and under particularly favorable conditions may be able to operate over a greater territory. According to the officials of the company, there are about 35,000 wireless telephone receiving outfits in this territory. In this same area are more than 11,000,000 people, so that should such service prove popular, it can be reasonably expected that the number, of receiving stations will be greatly increased.
This is a new undertaking in the commercial use of radio telephony, and if there appears a real field for such service, and it can be furnished sufficiently free from interference from other radio services, it will be followed as circumstances warrant by similar service from stations erected at important centers thruout the United States by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. As these additional stations are erected, they can be connected by the toll and long distance wires of the Bell system, so that from any central point the same news, music or other program can be sent out simultaneously thru all these stations by wire and wireless with the greatest possible economy and without interference.
Only on special national holidays or other occasions will all the broadcasting stations of the A. T. & T. system be tied together on the common telephone circuit, so as to have their vacuum tube transmitting sets operated by the original voice current from a central point, such as Brooklyn, or Washington, D. C., or some other city. Ordinarily, all broadcasting stations, say, at Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New Orleans and elsewhere will put out each its own concert and program of music, advertising, and other attractions. When these stations are fully developed according to the present ideas of the company's engineers, as explained in an interview with our radio editor, several different classes of entertainment will be broadcasted simultaneously on different wave lengths. So in the near future we will probably find ourselves calibrating our tuning condenser and variometer dials for different kinds of music and entertainment, such as dance music; church music; popular songs; advertisements; opera; popular plays, and so forth, instead of the now familiar circle graduation marks in degrees.