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Video Viewers Await First Network Shows

November 17, 1953

By Bob Emahiser
Spokane Daily Chronicle

Just one year ago, residents of Spokane and the Inland Empire were looking forward eagerly to the advent of a relatively new and fast-growing medium of entertainment—television

Today, they are looking forward just as eagerly to the most recent development in this area’s television operation—the opening of a microwave relay system December 1, which will link Spokane with the rest of the nation for live network programs.

Back in 1950, the Pacific Telephone Company completed installation of a coaxial cable from Seattle to Yakima at a cost of $5,000,000 to handle its own communications “and television when the time comes.”

The time came, and early this year, the company went to work on a microwave system to link Spokane with Yakima. The line, consisting of a series of relay towers, was built at a cost of $2,700,000, according to Carl E. Connell, northeast district manager for the phone company.

The system now is to be extended, Connell said, with work starting on a microwave link from Pasco to Portland early next year and completion scheduled in 1955. Cost is estimated at $2,000,000.

The present setup, Seattle to Yakima to Spokane, links Spokane with the transcontinental television networks to bring Inland Empire televiewers the long-awaited live network shows.

Just what it means to set owners is best expressed by the managers of Spokane’s two television stations.

“It definitely will result in keener interest in television,” Richard O. Dunning, president and general manager of KHQ and KHQ-TV, declared. “And undoubtedly it will bring an impetus in the sale of sets. Many potential buyers have held off, awaiting the advent of live telecasts.”

At KXLY-TV, W. Norman Hawkins, television manager, said: “The important thing, of course, is that Spokane now is joined with the rest of the nation, particularly in the televiewing of sports events and such special events as important news breaks.”

Both joined with the telephone company officials in pointing out that the new cable system permits transmission to Spokane of only one network show at a time. Allocations are made in New York to the major networks and every effort made to avoid conflicts.

The schedule has been so carefully worked out in the past that there has been little difficulty, a phone company official here pointed out.

However, in the event of a major catastrophe or exceptional news event, heads of networks get together in New York with the phone company to work out agreeable priorities on transmission.

The time element, of course, is taken into consideration. This will be shown on New Year’s Day, 1954. KXLY-TV has booked the Orange Bowl game at Miami, which will reach here in the morning.

KHQ-TV is scheduling both the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl games, which will come later in the day.

Live Shows Are Listed

One of the first big live sports events on KHQ-TV will be the Notre Dame-Southern Methodist football game at 10:45 a.m., December 5. The station also is scheduling a live boxing show for Friday evenings.

Other live KHQ-TV shows include “Voice of Firestone,” “I Married Joan,” “This Is Your Life,” “You Bet Your Life,” “Circle Theater,” “Hit Parade” and the “Comedy Hour.”

Among the first live shows to be seen here will be the following on KXLY-TV:

“Medallion Theater,” “Jackie Gleason,” “Omnibus Hour,” “Private Secretary,” “What’s My Line,” “Red Buttons” and “My Friend Irma.” A live boxing program is slated for Wednesday nights.

KHQ-TV is presenting both NBC and ABC network shows. KXLY-TV has CBS and DuMont.

A third TV station, Channel 2, remains in dispute here, with applications before the FCC by both Louis Wasmer, owner of KREM, and Burl Hagadone, Coeur d’Alene, head of Inland Empire Broadcasting Company, which operates station KNEW.

The impact of television on the area is revealed by figures supplied by the Inland Empire Electrical League. On January 1, there were 14,500 sets in operation. The figure today stands at better than 43,000.

Tuesday, November 17, 1953



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