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WFIL-TV The Philadelphia Inquirer Television Station Placed on the National Register of Historic Places July 28, 1986
"A little over a year ago , the proposed Inquirer outlet was assigned Channel 6 by the Federal Communication Commission" (RCA Broadcast News September 1947) The second video station for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Philco's WPTZ being the first.
The station is licensed to media mogul Walter Annenberg's Philadelphia Inquirer, Triangle Publications. Media properties include WFIL (AM), WFIL-FM, The Philadelphia Inquirer, broadcast rights to two professional sports teams , as well as other media interests and now WFIL-TV. Annenberg also owns the Philadelphia Arena. TV Guide was later added to his portfolio. WFIL-FM also transmits facsimile
Installation of the TV equipment began at the 18 story Widener Building in Center City early in June 1947. The WFIL-FM, prewar turnstile antenna was removed from the 200 ft tower and installation of the three section Super Turnstile TV antenna began on July 12th. The antenna is 502 feet above the street. The video transmitter is an RCA TT-5A with radiated power of approximately 24,000 watts. The station triplexed the audio, video and FM carriers on the same antenna. A practice developed by RCA/NBC and used on Empire in New York, WNBW in Washington DC, as well as other locations (ggn)
The first test pattern aired on August 6, 1947 from a monosope camera. The next two weeks saw "program testing" using remote equipment. Regular operations began on September 13 1947.
The 18th floor of the Widener Building houses the studios and offices of WFIL, as well as the WFIL-TV & FM transmitters. The TV transmitter location is equipped with a video switcher, monosope camera for test patterns, film chain and microwave receiver for remote broadcasts. An additional remote receiver is located at the Philadelphia Arena . This second remote microwave receiver, as well as the new studio (when completed) , are linked to the transmitter using telco facilities. Early programming was either film of "live" remotes.
Pictured above is the artist sketch of the WFIL-TV Building. Ground breaking was on July 9, 1947, construction was completed sometime in early '48. WFIL-TV's building was the first building in the country designed and built for television. The new WFIL-TV studio building will be attached to the existing Philadelphia Arena, the city's largest sports arena.
WFIL-TV has an RCA remote broadcast van equipped with two cameras, there are two remote cameras permanently assigned to the Philadelphia Arena and two more to the new studio, for a total of six TK10A cameras
WFIL-TV became the first ABC affiliate on March 29, 1948. Inaugural ABC TV Network program "On the Corner", hosted by Henry Morgan, originated from WFIL-TV on April 19. The ABC New York facility was not ready.
A major renovation to the building was made in 1952, consolidating all WFIL operations into one location. Among the additions were two new televison studios, including the Legendary Studio B home to Bandstand, a local dance party program. The program became American Bandstand beginning August 5, 1957, when the program aired daily Live on ABC-TV from Philadelphia.
In 1963 an era ended, when WFIL-TV moved from 46th & Market to new facilities on City Line Avenue.
Ambassador Walter Annenberg donated the building to Philadelphia's Public Televison station WHYY in 1964.
Links to WFIL related material Use "Back Button" to return to this page. Television antenna and 200 foot tower atop Widener Building RCA Video transmitter located on 18th floor Floor plan of new studio building One of the Test Pattern used by WFIL channel 6 WFIL-FM facsimile transmitting equipment WFIL studio placed on the National Register of Historical Places
For more information on WFIL and Philadelphia, check out the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia website