A visit to the morgue
Posted January 28, 2010
I love my industry. TV and radio play such big roles in almost every person's life, and it's fun to look back at how the two businesses developed over the years.
There are two types of TV channels: VHF channels (2 through 13) and UHF channels (14 through 69). Analog VHF channels had a clearer signal, bigger coverage areas and every home TV had a VHF tuner. The UHF channels had weaker signals, smaller coverage areas and UHF tuners and antennae used to be a rarity.
FCC rules forced TV manufacturers to include UHF tuners in the 1960s, but it wasn't until well into the 1970s that UHF TV stations were able to compete effectively with their more successful VHF counterparts.
The majority of UHF TV stations that signed on in the 1950s went out of business fairly quickly. In fact, Raleigh's first TV station was a short-lived UHF station. WNAO-TV, owned by the News and Observer, started broadcasting on Channel 28 in 1953. Once WRAL and WTVD began broadcasting, WNAO sank into oblivion. The News and Observer got out of broadcasting (they also owned WNAO-AM, which is now WRBZ-850, and WNAO-FM, which is now WBBB-96.1), and Channel 28 was dark until the late 1960s.
A great Web site celebrates some of those UHF TV stations that didn't make it. Check out the UHF Morgue for tales of broadcasters' shattered dreams. Click on "Please click here for station histories" for the good stuff.