You may want to start at
the KRLD Pictures Index Page, especially
if you have stumbled across this page through the use of a search engine.
As always, click to enlarge:
This is the scene as the transmitting antenna for KRLD-TV is about to be hoisted to the top
of the tower (at Griffin and San Jacinto). The exact date of this event is unknown,
but I can tell you that KRLD-TV signed on, using this antenna, on December 3, 1949. And
it must have been late in the year when this picture was taken, because everybody's dressed for
I find this picture rather interesting because of the downtown buildings that are so conspicuously
absent in the background, as you can see in
this close-up version. (2.42
As part of the station's 60th anniversary celebration, Fox 4 reporter Richard Ray mentioned on 11/29/2009
that the original KRLD-TV tower on Griffin St. was the tallest television tower in the world when the
station went on the air. So the installation of this transmitting antenna was a history-making
It should be noted, however, that experimental TV broadcasts from the Empire State Building in New York
were on the air as long ago as December 22, 1931, broadcasting ultra-low resolution pictures. TV
pictures using the standard 525-line format were broadcast from the Empire State Building beginning
on July 1, 1941* -- on the
old TV Channel 1, which was later deleted. The Empire State Building is about 2½ times
as tall as the KRLD-TV tower, although it is still quite possible that the KRLD-TV tower was the
tallest tower (at the time) built specifically for television transmissions.
You may also notice
that quite a crowd had gathered to watch, not because they're eager for television programs
to start, but rather, I suspect, because the steeplejack does not appear to be wearing any
safety equipment other than perhaps a hard hat.
No doubt some of the men in the crowd were wondering what "television" was. It was generally
described back then as a way to watch movies over the radio. If the men in this crowd had
been able to see into the future and watch a few episodes of today's TV programs, they might have
burned the station down!
The 1951 Statistical Abstract shows
that when KRLD-TV signed on, 15 of the 48 States still had no TV stations.
Naturally you're wondering about the antenna specifications, so I should mention that the antenna was made by General
Electric, like almost everything else in the station. Further details are available on the
license, which the station maintained until 1980. (A long time ago, I heard that the downtown
transmitter was tested every Wednesday night after sign-off, just to see if it still worked.) The
transmitting antenna was removed years ago (about 1995) to reduce the load on the tower,
and the original transmitter was scrapped several years earlier, around 1984.
The license is 29 years old and somewhat discolored with age, and if you "click to enlarge", it's
2.37 Megabytes, but this is one of the clearest scans of a 29-year-old station license you'll find online,
if I may be so assertive. In the corners, you can see where the thumbtacks were.
This is an even older license for the auxiliary (downtown) transmitter. This license was valid for
the one-year period ending August 1, 1971.
Like every other FCC license issued in
the late 1960s and early 1970s, this one was signed by Ben F. Waple.
Here is Royce Jones in the Master Control room. (1.5 Megabytes)
Royce called a few days ago to say that he has really enjoyed seeing the photos on this
page. At the moment that he called, I was doing
the samejob in the same room,
about 40 years after this picture was taken. But the job was much more difficult back then. TV
stations ran far fewer commercials per hour, but the Master
Control engineer had to roll and switch and log every commercial break manually, and back-time
movies without a calculator. There was nothing automatic about it.
This is the Master Control room at KRLD-TV, sometime in the early 1960's. The video
switcher was made by General Electric. Elsewhere in this room, off to the right, there was
a five kilowatt water-cooled GE transmitter as well. (Model TT-6C)
I think the tags on the phone say "DO NOT USE THIS PHONE"
and "COMPANY BUSINESS ONLY".
The phone number apparently starts with "RIverside 4-" (or 7-) but the rest is unclear.
This is the Studio A control room, sometime in the 1960's. The video switcher and the audio
board were both made by General Electric. Looks like the same video switcher that was in the
Master Control room.
Here's the old audio booth. That
gooseneck lamp next to the audio board (or one exactly like it) is still in use today in the Master
Control room. It appears that the video monitor is behind the glass, in the next
room. How strange!
Seems to be a Collins audio cart machine to the left of the audio engineer.
And that's a Collins audio board,
if I'm not mistaken.
And the audio engineer is
apparently watching Art Linkletter's House Party on a DuMont monitor.
Remember the CBS
top-of-the-hour tone? I thought that was
one of the best features of early television. It would be more difficult to provide an accurate
time signal these days because of satellite delays, digital encoding delays, and the fact that many
network shows don't begin exactly on the hour. (And the networks don't want you to keep track of
the time anyway. You're encouraged to just sit there and watch TV all night.)
The calendar in this picture, just above the
operator's head, shows April 1964. This was back when Sundays were shown in red.
Another view of the Master Control
room and the projection room behind it.
But I don't know who the operator is.
This man has been identified as KRLD-TV "Old timer" Charley Dobkins. The person making
the positive I.D. is Charley himself! He appears in this picture and the one
Updated 5/13/2006: Tony Santos,
who was working at KRLD-TV (or was at least thinking about it) by the time I was born,
says this is not Buck Talley, as I had guessed, but another gentleman whose
name he couldn't remember off the top of his head. But Tony says this guy was
as strong as an ox, and could carry one of these heavy old cameras by himself.
After thinking about it for a few days, Tony says the man in this picture is Roland Gregory.
The man on the right is believed
to be Ken Hansen.
The other fellow has not yet been identified.
Charley Dobkins wrote and identified the other fellow as a film developing
expert named Jim Dungan. See Charley's collection of
Hey, isn't that a Super Universal Zoomar?
And a Teleprompter
Elsewhere on the internet, you may occasionally run across other old photos from KDFW, although they
seem to be rare. Recently I
discovered this photo at
a web site that specializes in old cameras, not personalities.
The news people in this photo are -- if I am not mistaken -- Wayne Shattuck, Clarice Tinsley,
Barry Judge, and an unidentified sports announcer. The three camera men are (from left to right) Bob
Jacobs, Gene Paszalek and Gene Dimock. As always, correct me if I'm wrong.
KDFW was one of the first stations to acquire the fabulous RCA TK-47 studio cameras in 1979. They
were the third generation of new cameras at the station, I believe, and with each new generation, the
picture gets about ten times better.
If you really like old television broadcast equipment -- and who doesn't? -- you should spend at least an hour exploring
Barry Mishkind's excellent site.
The TK-47s were replaced by Sony CCD cameras, which were excellent cameras, but even they were
replaced by a new generation of Sony high-definition cameras. The pictures on the air are
very impressive, especially considering how little time is spent on technical adjustments.
The lighting never changes, so the studio cameras get an automatic white balance once a day (maybe),
and that's it!
The RCA cameras were among
the first studio cameras to feature computer-assisted setup. You could replace a
tube or change the length of the cable or do something else to disturb the camera, and
then -- instead of having to spend half an hour adjusting every little aspect of the
picture -- just push the Auto-Setup (red) button and in about five minutes
the camera was ready to go on the air. Some additional fine-tuning could make
improvements, but the automatic setup was pretty good. There was also a shorter
setup routine called "Check" which was used much more often.
Another peculiar thing about these cameras was that (at KDFW) the "master gain" was
always set to minus 3 dB, to reduce the video noise. This
required more light in the studio, but light was plentiful and cheap.
(The setup terminal looked impressive, but it had less processing power than a Gameboy. It was based
on a CDP1802 processor, which has roughly the same level of computing power as a Z-80.)