Broadcasting, October 1, 1933, page 14:
Amalgamated Network Gets Started
Wynn Begins 15-Hour Daily Schedule on Eastern Hookup With Four-Hour Program; Preparing for Sponsors
WITH A FOUR-HOUR inaugural program, Amalgamated Broadcasting System, Ed Wynn's third network enterprise, got under way Sept. 25 over a 14 station hookup along the eastern seaboard. Heralded by Mr. Wynn and his associates as the forerunner of a nationwide system, encompassing up to 100 stations, the network presented features during the opening week not unlike those usual over stations and networks. There were no commercials on the opening night and, as BROADCASTING went to press, nothing could be learned of sponsored accounts scheduled, though active preparations are being made to handle them.
Radio engineers who tuned in the programs noticed a high noise level. They stated this shortcoming might clear up as the regional network "shakes down." Amalgamated ascribed it to the large studio audience in New York on the opening night and predicted it would be eliminated.
Western Union Wires.
WESTERN UNION lines were being employed--an innovation in network broadcasting. These circuits are not balanced for voice frequencies, but use of equalizing apparatus at the terminals, it is claimed, make them comparable to regular telephone circuits, carrying the voice and music frequencies.
The network was opened with a variety program featuring names old and new to the audience. Among the "old timers" were Vaughn de Leath and Norman Brokenshire. Mr. Wynn himself was in Hollywood completing his new picture, but is expected to return to New York to take over the Amalgamated helm early in October. In the early stages of Amalgamated organization, he announced he would appear as master of ceremonies intermittently during evening programs. He is scheduled also to return to his Texaco "Fire Chief" program over NBC, unless that contract is abrogated.
Stations on Hookup.
Stations aligned in the inaugural program and, presumably, to be continued on the first segment of the network were: WBNX, New York, key; WPEN, Philadelphia; WDEL, Wilmington; WCBM, Baltimore; WOL, Washington; WCNW, Brooklyn; WCAP, Asbury Park, N. J.; WHDH, Boston; WCAX, Burlington, Vt.; WSYB, Rutland; WPRO, Providence; WNBH, New Bedford, Mass.; WSAR, Fall River, Mass., and WFAS, White Plains, N. Y.
Other stations originally stated for the net but which were not on the opening hookup were WTNJ, Trenton; WCAM, Camden; WJBI, Red Bank, N. J., and WLBZ, Bangor, Me.
Following the inaugural program, the statement was made in behalf of Amalgamated that the network "now has something to show them" and that an active campaign would be launched for commercial business. This activity falls upon Earl Bachman, Amalgamated's director of sales for the network. In charge as general manager during Mr. Wynn's absence is Ota Gygi, vice president.
Station relations arrangements, under the original plan, provided that each affiliated station should pay the line charge for the haul from the closest network outlet. In other words, the Trenton station would pay for the haul from New York, the Philadelphia station from Trenton, the Baltimore station from Philadelphia, etc. The line costs are said to be far below the regular network charges because of the use of Western Union circuits.
May Sell Station Breaks.
OTHER ORIGINAL policies enunciated by Mr. Wynn, understood to be in force, provide for the sale of network sustainings by affiliated stations with commercial announcement at station breaks so that, in effect, the station sells to its local sponsor a program of network calibre. A nominal sustaining program charge on the stations is provided for such programs.
A fortnight ago Amalgamated stated that more than 30 sponsored programs would be consummated within the month. Mr. Wynn has asserted repeatedly that the purpose of his network is to provide a "new deal" for radio listeners and means of employment to thousands of artists and musicians now unemployed. He has declared that he hopes to enlarge the network by degrees, spreading from the east into the middle west, with WCFL, Chicago, as the connecting link. The next segment, he has indicated will be the Michigan state network operated by Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Co. In practically every instance, the stations thus far aligned are in the low power category and independently operated.
Amalgamated's rate card for the six basic Eastern stations in New York, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington, quoted a $510 an hour weekday rate up to 6 p.m., and $850 an hour after 6 p.m. (See Sept. 15 issue of BROADCASTING.)
The inaugural program was featured by welcoming addresses by Postmaster General James A. Farley; Judge E. O. Sykes, chairman of the Radio Commission, and Rep. Sol Bloom, of New York, who spoke from Washington via WOL. Numerous telegrams from prominent personalities in public life and on the stage, were read over the network. M. H. Aylesworth, NBC president was the sender of a message wishing his new contemporary full success. Felicitations also were offered by CBS.
POSTMASTER General Farley praised the enterprise and its motives. He congratulated Wynn as a genius in his field, and predicted a "new era" in chain operation. He called radio a wonderful instrument for good, and said that all other modes of communication "were left at the post by it". In conclusion he stated that President Roosevelt had requested him to extend his best wishes to Amalgamated for its success.
Congressman Bloom hailed the enterprise and its purposes, particularly the expression by Wynn that it would give work to hundreds of unemployed in the show business. Mr. Wynn, he declared, is uniting "the art of the theater with the science of radio". Judge Sykes congratulated the sponsors and paid tribute to Mr. Wynn's enterprise.
Mr. Gygi welcomed Amalgamated's new listeners in a short address from New York. He also introduced Curtis V. Dall, son-in-law of the President, who is said to be associated with Amalgamated as chairman of the board and former Rep. F. H. LaGuardia.