More Excerpts of Interest From Radio-Craft, "Radio's Greatest Magazine," March 1939

"Radio at the Crossroads," by the Editor, Hugo Gernsback

[...]Television is in the offing -- this time in real earnest. After having cried "wolf" for over a decade, television is now really on the map and will soon emerge from its swaddling clothes and become a new radio giant.

The radio industry behaves as it has always done in a crisis of this type -- it does not take kindly to the newcomer.

The recent announcement by Radio Corporation of America's President, Mr. David Sarnoff, that television will be ready late in April, has called forth the usual cat-calls and pooh-poohs of a number of manufacturers who see nothing in television and now do their best to knife it.

These things, are of course, done only for purely selfish reasons because the Radio-set manufacturers are not sure which way the radio cat will jump, and because they feel that the public, who now has been informed of the coming of television, will refrain from buying the regulation radio sets and will sit back and wait the coming of the television set.

While it is true that a few individuals might hold up buying a radio set for such a reason, experience has taught that the majority of individuals will still go on buying as they did before, for a variety of reasons.[...]

On top of this, it is even doubtful at this time of writing that television will replace sound-radio completely at any time. There probably will always be a market for the present type of radio set and I can envision a home equipped with television sets and with ordinary radio sets as well.[...]

Let the industry read its own radio history and take heed of the lesson that it should have learned, and that is: "Those who have opposed radio progress most strenuously in the past, were the first ones to be wiped out by the march of radio progress."

Cover story is about Hollywood turning to radio as a gimmick to spice up movie plots.

Story on television developments in England notes that "High-Definition Television" had been installed in at least two theaters.

The consensus of opinion among large audiences at these and other demonstrations was that theater television, while nowhere near the quality standard of 35 mm. film programs, had reached a stage where it could add the entertainment value of topical broadcasts to film programs, especially in short-subject houses.[...] Apparently the principal obstacle is the refusal of the B.B.C. to permit reproduction of its broadcasts for paying audiences because of copyright complications, while at the same time the Television Act of 1937 makes transmission by radio a government monopoly, and unless amended will not permit a private corporation to broadcast its own pictures to a chain of theaters.

Developments in the United States:

The RCA-N.B.C. experimental transmissions from the Empire State Tower in New York City were initiated in July, 1936.[...] A great deal of operating and program data has been gathered and it has just been announced that on the basis of this experience television in the home is regarded as "technically feasible."[...]

The N.B.C. television studio in Radio City is a room 50x30x18 ft., no larger than a single, medium-size Hollywood set.[...] Since television, at the present stage, is dramatically a close-up art, the sets are small.[...] Most of the sets consist merely of a back wall with appropriate props in front of it.[...]

The principal weaknesses of the run of the N.B.C. studio productions have been mediocre dialogue, stereotyped situations, and similar remediable faults of material. These have been excused on the ground that as the performances have not been public, the content has been regarded as purely incidental, the essential effort being to determine the visual possibilities of the medium and to solve technical problems.[...] [In retrospect, they weren't so remediable... --Ed]

Los Angeles, as we pointed out in our 1937 report, may reasonably be expected to carry over into the field of television its importance as a broadcasting and motion picture production center....

"Two National Television Nets Rumored for Spring; Nationwide Coverage Predictions Now Take Local Limitation Off New Art"

With some of the most reliable prognosticators going out on the limb with predictions of national networks, the "Big Cities Only" onus is being removed from television.[...]

Ed Sullivan, syndicated Hollywood columnist, went even further, stating definitely that NBC would announce that "transcontinental television is an assured engineering accomplishment" before the end of February.[...]

"G-E Active in Telly Field"

Primary problem is to convince public that present telly will not present an instantaneous news-of-the-world service on a 3 x 4 ft. screen, [Dr. W.R.G. Baker, chairman of the management committee of General Electric's radio & television] says. And adds that the formation of nets, coverage of country by limited-range stations, production of & payment for programs are all major headaches....

From "Radio Month in Review"

Newspapers, terrified at the shadow of television looming on the horizon, gave considerable publicity to sceptical statements originating within the trade; little space to the advances which continued to be made during the past month.

Reason for press's marked lack of enthusiasm is that television impresses papers as far more serious competitor for advertising revenue than even radio has been. Advertisers' axiom is that "1 picture is worth 10,000 words"; broadcast words can describe product's use and package, but can not actually show them; television can and will.

Carlton L. Dyer, managing director of Philco's British branch, visiting U.S., said that television would progress more rapidly here than in England. He also mentioned "static," transmitter cost and short range of "U-HF." But the erudite N.Y. Times headlined his story, "Dyer Sees Barriers in Television's Way."

Also headlined with an anti-television slant in papers last month was a statement to stockholders by E.F. McDonald, Jr., pres. of Zenith Radio Corp. It is true that Commander McDonald said that offering television receivers for sale to the public at the present time "is, in my opinion, unfair" -- but the fact that Zenith was planning immediate experimental broadcasts of high-definition television, and the production of test television receivers was played down.

N.B.C. televised the automobile show in New York, and also televised a fire, near which a mobile unit happened to be when the flames broke out, last month.

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