80th Anniversary Of W2XOY Schenectady, New York


Radio engineers of the General Electric Company early became interested in the possibilities of FM Broadcasting systems, and have worked closely with Major Edwin H. Armstrong in the development of both receiving and transmitting equipment for various services.

In view of this experience, therefore, it seems only natural that the General Electric Company should have an FM broadcasting station of its own. Thus it came about that, on November 20th of this year, station W2XOY in Schenectady started transmitting on a regular schedule, after having been operated for developmental research work since early in 1937.

The advent of FM may, perhaps, make little difference in the radio entertainment of certain listeners. But to the thousands of families living in rural areas, and to city dwellers in noisy sections where there are no adequate signals for daytime reception, broadcasting by FM will be doubly welcome.

FM has many things to offer the public. They will become increasingly apparent as we move into a period of greater operating experience. FM should stimulate the advancement of programming and studio technique. Of course, by its very nature, FM will allow a great increase in traffic, thus furnishing listeners with a wider selection and variety of entertainment.

A very important advantage of FM is that, since the coverage from each station can be tied fairly definitely to specific trading areas, each station can direct its service to the specific interests of the residents in its own area.

To bring FM programs to a still greater number of listeners in the Schenectady-Albany-Troy area, General Electric has applied to the FCC for permission to increase the power of W2XOY to 50 kilowatts. Naturally, an increase in power will not increase our audience greatly unless we acquaint our listeners with the special advantages of FM reception. Thus, supplementing our national FM educational efforts, we shall work in conjunction with the dealers in the W2XOY area to make complete information available to the residents in this section.

With FM definitely launched on a career of public service, we can expect rapid progress in the improvement of equipment. program material and technique, and a great increase in the number of FM broadcasting stations. All this will widen the circle of FM enthusiasts. Both as broadcasters and as manufacturers, we are confident of the he future of FM and we consider it a great contribution to the advancement of the radio art.

W2XAD in Schenectady and W2XOY in New Scotland, New York, two experimental frequency modulation transmitters on 43.2 MHz, which began test transmissions in 1937. The two were merged into one station with the W2XOY call sign on November 20, 1940, and a month later, the frequency was changed to 45.7 MHz as the FCC closed the 43 MHz band. In the summer of 1942, the station adopted the W85A call sign and moved to 48.5 MHz. Just over a year later (November 1, 1943), the callsign became the long-running WGFM. On June 15, 1946, WGFM complied with the FCC’s postwar FM band reallocation and switched on a transmitter at 100.7 MHz in the new band; for two years, it operated on both the old and the new bands simultaneously. In May 1947, the remaining new-band transmitter moved to 99.5 MHz, where it broadcasts to this day as WRVE 99.5.

On June 1, 1961, at 12:01 AM (EDT), WGFM became the first FM station in the United States to broadcast full-time in stereo.


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