Today, we have most anything we want in the form of radio and TV services. In our vehicles we have not only AM and FM and CDs but many variations of services including Sirius-XM satellite and OnStar and even DVD players in some automobiles. Amazing! We have Blackberries that can perform most everyday communications, and, of course, there will be more new technology coming. These new breakthroughs can practically do everything and anything but cook you your evening meal.
With TV, we have satellite dishes and cable and many more niceties so we can reach out and get any type of entertainment that we desire or not desire with close to a zillion channels.
Looking back in time and especially in our own valley, we find that radio broadcasting locally seemed to be the outgrowth of a radio service operation that was conducted by Warren Williamson Jr. and C.M. Chorpenning in the 1920s.
Williamson was employed as a clerk for Republic Steel. It occurred to him that operating a radio transmitter would provide a market for the receivers that he wanted to service. As sort of a suggestion, he asked Chorpenning if they could convert William-son's short-wave rig he had been using into a transmitter. The idea took hold, and the two men began testing their outfit from a porch on the second floor at Williamson's Aubundale Avenue home in Youngstown.
Thus, the first words spoken on Youngstown's first radio broadcast were "This is WKBN, Youngs-town, please stand by." Those words came from the mouth of Walter Lee Kauffman from Warren Williamson's home in August of 1926.
Williamson and Chorpenning later moved their transmitter to the Fitch Company Building and then back again to Williamson's home. It was from this location that local newspapers telephoned election results to Williamson, and he broadcast those results over the air. From there, the station grew and became an outlet of the Columbia Broadcasting Network chain.
In 1939, WFMJ became the second voice in the valley when Gard Chambers opened the new station with the words "There's a new voice on the air. This is WFMJ Youngstown." Then, along came WBBW in 1949, and on Oct. 16, 1955, WHOT entered the arena with the launching of the Dick Biondi Show.
WHOT became a full-time station in 1963. WHOT was managed by William Fleckenstein and owned by Myron Jones. This station in particular was really attuned to community interests. Rock and roll, at that time, became quite evident. It thrust names like Dick Thompson, Boots Bell, Johnny Kay, Jerry Starr, George Barry and Barney Pipp to popularity, and they soon became household words as "Good Guys," "DJ's" and "personalities."
Frequency Modulation, or simply FM, that produced interference free reception was introduced in Youngstown in 1947 by WKBN-FM.
In 1951, television was the talk of the town, and it became closer when the Federal Communications Commission announced that Youngstown would have three channels in the Ultra-High frequency band. The first television picture was transmitted locally on the last day of the year. WFMJ and WKBN were granted licenses. Yes, those were the days of test patterns, Howdy Doody, Captain Video, Milton Berle, Arthur Godfrey and tiny screens with some snow and no color.
On Oct. 30, 1957, our third channel, WKST-TV, went on the air. It was first licensed as a New Castle outlet. The channel continued to operate on channel 45 until 1964, when it became channel 33, WYTV. In 1970, the Adams-Russel Company bought the ABC affiliate and vastly enlarged its facilities. What a great improvement came into our valley in the middle '60s called color. We could actually see the great outdoor scenes in great movies and all events in living color!
Today, we can drive down the highways with our favorite CDs playing, texting (but not while driving) and perhaps a DVD playing for the kids in the back, and a Blackberry nestled in the hands of a passenger. We also have a Sirius-XM satellite radio available with any type of music or entertainment we desire. Indeed, we have come a long, long way since 1926.