Television in Nanticoke
Experimental television reaches as far back in time as the 1920’s. There were even moving pictures about television broadcasts such as the 1933 movie MURDER BY TELEVISION, starring Bela Lugosi.
This item may be the earliest mention of television in a Nanticoke column. Joseph Janowski’s building was at 48 S. Market Street in 1932, in the building between the Rosebush Tavern and People’s Market, as seen in this 1982 photo.
Students took lessons in repair on the most modern and experimental equipment available in the US even though no TV signals were, at the time, being sent into Nanticoke. An RCA Indian head test pattern signal was sent through cables from source to screen within the studio itself and the students studied and repaired their units under the guidance of their instructors. Mr. Michael Benanti, Director of the school, was advised in conversation with RCA‘s Manager in charge of sales and test and measuring equipment that television service men “are at a premium throughout the United States.” (Times-Leader: 1/12/1950)
According to the obituary of Helen Marie Lewski Tushinski, who died in 2008, the first use of television in Nanticoke was in 1951 at Tushinski’s Tavern and Restaurant at 41 E. Noble Street, being the highest point in town. The line was out the door to see Friday night boxing. A 1951 newspaper ad for Tushinski’s Tavern proclaimed: “See the Big Fight on Television; Baker vs. Brothers” This rare glimpse of the interior of the Tavern is from the Sunday Bulletin, published during a miners strike in 1954.
This ad appeared in the Thursday, November 11, 1954 edition of the Wilkes-Barre Record.
Evening television schedule for Tuesday, February 1, 1955. There were six channels, although they all may not have been receivable in Nanticoke City. Standard reception in Nanticoke from the mid 1950’s until the advent of cable were channels 16,22,28 and in the 1960’s, Public Channel 44 WVIA.
This former receiving station for channel 22 is on Loomis Street. The letters over the door read: Tilbury Knob, Inc. It was erected by Bill Thomas. The photo was taken in November 2009.†
Residents of Nanticoke petitioned city council to reject any franchise or license to the Universal Television Cable Systems, Inc., as proposed by the ordinance adopted 26 December 1964. The introduction of cable television was seen as a threat to free, local television service that would eventually lead to pay television. According to the petitioners, the City of Nanticoke would derive no revenue for the exclusive rights granted, for as long as 25 years. The cable system would, for the most part, duplicate programs already received free; at a cost of $6 a month and it would cost each subscriber $360 over a 5-year period. Local television stations would be crippled and local programming would suffer and the cable operator (without FCC regulations) would eventually have an uncontrolled monopoly over television, including the selection of programs, and over what the subscriber would pay. (Undated petition, circa 1965)
Nanticoke’s first cable server, 1976
†Web Master's Notes:
The Call sign W02AL was issued by the FCC for licence of operation of radio frequency emission equipment for amateur radio. Amateur Radio Operators often experimented with television as well as other modes of operation before they became commercial.
They must study and test for very technical requirements of knowledge of radio design and practical hands on experience including control of spurious interference, radio frequency emission and antenna design. They are knowledgeable of the limitations of there license privileges and are self enforcing of the laws of which they must abide. They are licensed by the Federal Government to promote and develop new technology. They are often college educated, work in technical careers and are commercially involved in Research & Development of new technologies.
If amateur operators had not "Sparked" the interest, television and many other modes of electronic communication may never have emerged. Ham radio operators were often blamed for interference with broadcast television signals. When the real problem was poor receiver design, often done intentionally by manufactures to reduce production costs. Rouge operators who had neither the technical training, license or ability to operate radio equipment responsibly also contributed to the problems for which amateurs were blamed. Citizen's Band operators, who at the time, were required to be licensed for operation, many times were not. They had acquired a band of operation previously assigned to amateurs, the 11 meter band (27Mhz). The 11 meter band was ideally suited for skip (transcontinental operation). The rouges quickly learned of this and began to abuse the band with very high powered and illegal linear amplifiers. Had they have studied and qualified for the task which they wanted to perform they would known that that very low power, even milli watts of power, was more that enough to get the signal to Europe or farther.
Amateur Radio operators have contributed vastly to the modern innovations in electronic communication ranging from the simple telegraphy to advanced packet switching designs responsible for today's internet technology. When you meet a licensed Ham thank him or her for their contributions to our great society.