WRGB Channel 6, Schenectady, New York
SSB and Sign-on recorded circa 2003

Page modified Monday, 17 August 2020

Schenectady's Channel 6 is truly a historic television station, its origins going back to 1928 as part of television experimentation conducted by the General Electric Company, which founded and operated WGY Radio, a historic U.S. radio station. Under the callsign of W2XB, the station employed a primitive mechanical TV system. In the late 1930s it converted to an all-electronic system on the VHF band, and in 1940 became the first NBC-TV affiliate when it received programs from NBC's New York station over the air and re-transmitted them for the Schenectady audience. In February 1942 it began commerical operation as WRGB, the calls were the initials of Walter Ransom Gail Baker, then vice-president of GE and the organizer of the first National Television System Commitee (NTSC) in the U.S.. In 1954 WRGB switched to Channel 6 by request of the FCC, ending fifteen years of telecasting on Channel 4 (WRGB still telecasts on Channel 6 today, digitally, of course). In 1981 WRGB's long affiliation with NBC ended when it switched to the CBS network, which it remains with today. Two years later GE would sell off all its broadcasting properties, resulting in WRGB being acquired by Freedom Communications, the owner mentioned in the video. Freedom exited TV in 2012 when its stations were sold to the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WRGB's current licensee.

Our video commences with six seconds of color bars, which is immediately followed by the SSB film, the "split-screen" version produced by the U.S. Air Force with the American flag sitting smack-dab in the middle of the screen. The WRGB sign-on is next, which is chock full of video of the Schenectady, Albany and Troy area of eastern New York state, from the air and on the ground. And since Albany is the capital of the state of New York, an aerial view of the magnificent 19th-century State Capital building is included!

RELATED LINK: The Early Television Foundation's site has several pages of articles and photos about the history of W2XB and WRGB. View them here!

RELATED AUDIO:
WRGB Channel 6 static-ridden sign-off recorded Summer 1964 by the late Jeff Kadet

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