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Disaster strikes WGBH-TV and FM on October 14, 1961 A predawn blaze, on Saturday October 14, destroyed the facilities of Boston's premier educational stations, located at 84 Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge, MA. click here to see to see building in better days, Newspaper accounts of the day, estimated the loss between 1.5 and 2.5 million dollars.
Television Studio A
Studio A was the presumed origination of the fire. As seen in this photograph, the studio was a complete loss.
WGBH-FM returned to the air with it's regularly scheduled program at 4 pm on Saturday, from it's booth at Symphony Hall.
Channel 2 was back on the air on Monday, from studios made available from the Boston Catholic Television Center at 25 Granby Street.
MIT offered use of the Kresge Auditorium for the staff to set up temporary headquarters.
LIBRARY SAVED Some of the items recovered from the fire included 200,000 dollar worth of video tapes a well as the complete audio tape library. Also saved, the records of thousand of donors who supported WGBH fund raising in the past.
WGBH-TV had a Greyhound Bus that was in the process of being converted into a mobile unit. The mobile unit was parked outside the studio building and was saved from the devastating fire. The process was hastened and pressed into service. (click for photo with WBZ-TV staff)
WGBH-TV and WENH-TV (Durham, NH) had an existing bi-directional microwave link as part of the Eastern Educational Network (EEN). Thereby allowing video tapes to be played in Durham and relayed to the Blue Hill transmitter site. Boston's commercial stations provided studio space, equipment and technical support. WHDH-TV channel 5, on Morrisey Blvd, made available their large color studio as well mobile unit for use by WGBH at off-peak periods. WBZ-TV and WNAC-TV also provided support.
The Boston Catholic Archdiocese had a complete professional three camera control room/studio located at 25 Granby Street near Kenmore Square. The equipment included three RCA TK31 cameras. This studio was in operation to provide, among other programs, the Catholic Sunday Mass LIVE to the commercial telecasters in the Boston area. There was an permanent tie-line to the telco C.O, NET&T. Later WIHS would acquire a full power UHF transmitter facility on channel 38, located on the Prudential Building.