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by E. C. "POP" FRASE, JR. - Chief Engineer, WMC Broadcasting Company, Memphis, Tenn.

The Showplace of the South, WMCT, was dedicated January 30, 1959 by "The Honorable Buford Ellington", Governor of Tennessee. The ceremony was attended by executives from Scripps-Howard. NBC, RCA, government officials, and many clients and agency friends of the station.

The million-dollar plant - (das 1 Million Dollar Gebäude)

The ultra-modern, million-dollar plant utilizes a host of the latest electronic developments available to the broadcast industry.

Some statistics may illustrate the vastness of the operation: 29,000 square feet of floor space; two huge studios, one large enough to accommodate a regulation basketball game with an entrance large enough to accommodate a bus, fire engine, or combine; a 156-ton air conditioning system; are a few of the plant's many features.

A Dream Come True

This new plant realized a dream of many years to bring to Memphis and the Mid-South the very best in technical facilities. After several years of studying and planning, these dreams were drawn into blueprints by The Austin Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

The resulting construction not only takes into consideration present needs but allows for expansion in several directions. Stations WMC, WMC-FM, and WMCT are owned by the WMC Broadcasting Company.

The stations are NBC affiliates, having joined the radio network January 23, 1927, and the television network December 11, 1948. - Station WMC began operations on January 20, 1923; WMC-FM on May 22, 1947; and WMCT December 11, 1948. All three are true pioneers in the broadcasting industry.

Transmitter Plant - das "Sende-Gebäude" mit Sendemasten

The transmitter location is about eight miles from the studio. Two RCA microwave units relay the picture to the transmitter while four Telco lines carry the various sounds. The AM transmitter is an RCA 10F, S-KW day and night, on 790 KC. A four-element directional antenna system is used after sundown.

A RCA 50-KW BTF-SOA FM transmitter into an eight-bay antenna gives WMC-FM an effective radiated power of 300 KW, one of the most powerful in the country. Two multiplex subcarriers are now in operation utilizing a BTE-1B exciter with two BTX-1A subcarrier generators.

The frequencies are 42 and 67 KC for background music and storecasting respectively. Audio termination equipment for subcarrier programs is located at the transmitter.

The television transmitter is a RCA TT-2S having recently been modified to a CL model by the addition of a new TT-6AL driver. The old TT-S driver was moved into an adjoining room and set up as an auxiliary.

The auxiliary unit feeds its own TF-3A antenna, 358 feet high. This 358-foot structure is also used as the radiator for WMC when CONELRAD operation (640 KC) is in effect.

The main TV antenna is an RCA TT-6BM located atop the main AM radiator, with an over-all height of 1092 feet. The FM antenna is located at a height of 975 feet on the same structure.

The top 452 feet of this structure is insulated from the bottom section which is the main radiator of the AM four-element directional array. It might be interesting to note here that WMC was one of the first stations in the United States to utilize a directional array for nighttime broadcasting.

Television Studios

The physical dimensions are 50 by 70 feet for Studio A, and 35 by 50 feet for Studio B. Both have 27-foot ceilings. Kleigl surveyed the layout and prescribed the necessary lighting. In A there are 102 fixtures and 52 in B. This will accommodate several sets in each studio.

Primary wiring has been brought into the studios to double the lighting when color originating equipment is added.

Two TM-8 monitors are pantagraph-suspended in each studio for video monitoring. Two television tape recorders, an automobile turntable, rear screen projection equipment, and a complete operating kitchen are a few of the principal production aids. A six-foot passageway from the storage room to the sound lock provides sound isolation between the studios.

Adjoining both studios is the 35-by-50-foot prop storage room, also with 27-foot ceiling, which can be converted into a studio if the need ever arises.

Film Arrangements

The offices of the TV Manager, Program Manager, Sales Department, Traffic, and Production personnel are all located conveniently on the first floor. Since the production personnel are directly responsible for receiving and preparing film for air, the film makeup department is located adjoining the production office. And next to film makeup is the projection room.

Film Room

Here we use two TK-21C vidicon film cameras with automatic sensitivity controls. One camera operates in conjunction with a TP-1S multiplexer, two TP-6CC projectors and a TP-3C slide projector. This system has space allocated for the addition of a TK-26 Color Film Chain.

The other film chain operates with a TP-11 multiplexer, two TP-6DL projectors and a TP-7 slide projector. There is sufficient room to allow for expansion if additional projection equipment is needed.

One last point to mention is the forced-air system employed to clean the projectors. A hose-and-nozzle is conveniently located at each projector, making the task easier. This, of course, insures clean film on the air.

Photo Lab

Also on the first floor are the film lab and art department. Charles Y. Caldwell, who made all the photographs for this article, is in charge. Principally, this department deals with shooting commercials, film and slides, and processing them. A Houston 16mm processor is in daily use and approximately one-quarter million feet of film are processed annually. (This figure includes film shot for the news department.)

Television Control

On the second floor, 1750 feet are allocated to the TV Control area. This has been divided into seven rooms with Master Control as the hub.

There are two sub-control rooms, each with its own announce booth and each controlling its own studio. Both the subcontrols are identical in size and layout: A BC-3C consolette and a BCM-lA mixer are used, giving 16 mike outlets into the studio. Turntables, tape, both film systems, net, remotes and the announce booth mikes also feed into the consolette.

Two audio monitors are incorporated in each subcontrol room. One is the monitor output from the BC-3C consolette; the other is fed by a distribution system (to be described later) that normally carries program (line) sound. An integral part of each subcontrol is the feedback amplifier system, to feed either turntable sound or program sound into the live studio.

Bildmischer und Trickmischer

Video equipment includes the switcher and special effects control panels, and eight TM-7AR monitors. The three camera monitors in Subcontrol A are for the three TK-11 cameras in Studio A, while the three camera monitors in Subcontrol B perform the same function tor Studio B.

Video System

Master Control has control of all video signals. The Master Console houses controls for four TK-10A and two TK-11 A studio cameras two TK-21C film cameras, a TM-6C line monitor, intercom and remote control panels, and a TS-2A switcher for the TM-6C test monitor.

There is also the master control panel for the TS-40 switching system. The racks containing the operating video equipment open into the master control room, while the power supplies are mounted in a second row of racks insulated from master control and well ventilated.

Transistorized Switching

When WMCT first decided to build new facilities back in 1957, it was evident that the old TS-10A switcher would have to go. Transistor switchers on the drawing boards at RCA were the answer.

Some substitutions were made at the new location until the new TS-40 Transistorized Switcher arrived December, 1959. Details of the TS-40 systems are as follows:

12 non-composite inputs that multiple to four busses (TAKE, PREVUE, MIX A and MIX B) 6 composite inputs that multiple to two output lines (two of these inputs are the output from the "TAKE" and "PREVUE" busses with sync added)

2 non-composite inputs on the "TAKE" and "PREVUE" busses for the "MIX" and "EFFECTS" inputs

2 non-composite inputs on the "MIX" busses for supering NET and
REMOTE signals

The system is controlled by any one of three custom-built control panels. All of these inputs and busses mean that the switcher will accommodate six monochrome and two color studio cameras, two monochrome and one color film camera, two video tapes, net, remote and test signals. Two output lines allow for simultaneously airing one program while rehearsing or ta|)ing another.

Audio System

The audio console in Master Control is a BC-2B consolette with modified control circuits. One input has been wired for each studio for emergency use o lly since all studio shows generally work only into a subcontrol room. Each announce booth also has a mike into the Master Console. Other inputs include the two film chains, net, turntables, tape and remote lines.

The Master Console is primarily used for recording and testing. All audio line equipment is in Master Control and includes such features as five BA-21A amplifiers to distribute net, film and tape sound to the three consoles; an audio delegate switching system; a BA-2SA AGC line amplifier; monitoring facilities and a unique speaker muting system.

The delegate switching system is a 3-way remote-controlled relay switch that selects the console to feed the AGC amplifier and thence to the line. It also delegates tally voltage so that "On Air" lights do not function unless a particular console is actually on the air.

Another speaker muting system is interconnected to enable either subcontrol console to mute the speakers and operate "On Air" lights in both studios. Another feature allows either subcontrol console to mute the speakers and operate "On Air" lights in the opposite studio. If anything other than the normal is employed, microphones may be patched from one studio to the opposite control room console.

House Audio Monitoring System

The main component in the monitoring system is a constant impedance 6 input, 10 output switcher. This, of course, allows us to feed any one of six sounds to ten different locations, greatly simplifying rehearsals and client auditions.

Intercom System

Intercom facilities are provided between all engineering, programming and production areas as well as to principal offices, delivery doors and to the top and bottom of the microwave tower.

Five complete intercom systems are linked together to provide this network of communication. In addition to the intercom system, a complete interphone system is provided between Master control, Subcontrols, camera and floor personnel.

Radio System

The heart of the Radio Master Control is a BC-6C dual channel consolette. Line 1 drives the regular plant line, while line
2 drives the spare line. Line 2 is bridged by two tape recorders, a disc recorder and a spot tape recorder. Also in Radio Master Control is the automation equipment that feeds the 50-KW FM main carrier.

An announce-control room adjoins Radio Master Control with a BC-3C consolette as the control console. Other facilities in the announce-control room include three BQ-2C turntables, two S-channel spot tapeplayers and a tape recorder. The announce-control room can feed the plant line allowing the Master Control Room to be utilized primarily for recording.

Two small studios located on the second floor accommodate most radio shows and recording sessions. In the event a show is too large for the radio studios, either TV studio may be used by feeding the output from either TV Subcontrol console into a remote input in Radio Master Control.

The General Manager's office is on the second floor along with his secretary and the auditor's office. Other offices on this floor include the Radio Station Manager and his staff of salesman and program personnel, the news room, music library, chief engineer and the publicity and promotion department.

air conditioning

An elaborate air conditioning and heating system had to be installed to take care of the varied needs of so large a radio and television plant. The studios must be cooled all year around, the control rooms require cooling almost all the time (but never require heating) and the offices require both heating and cooling.

A "Trane Centrovac" and a "Cleaver Brooks Boiler" supply the necessary cold and hot air. Here the elaborate portion of the system takes oyer, distributing heat to one office, cooling to another, and moderate temperatures to still others.

Four massive air-handling units feeding 16 separate zones make this distribution possible. Control of the entire system is pneumatic by Johnson Service.

Thats it ....

Of necessity this has been a very brief description of the facilities of WMC, WMC-FM, and WMCT, the "Showplace of the South." Even before this goes to press, there will be changes and improvements as there have been constantly since 1923. Tape, color, transistors, etc., are changing the industry almost daily and WMC, WMC-FM, and WMCT will continue to be pioneers to up-date the industry.


FIG. 1. New studio and office building of WMC Broadcasting Company, Memphis, Tenn. Modern, million dollar plant realizes dream of many years. This showplace was dedicated by Governor Ellington on January 30, 1959.

FIG. 8. Transmitter building is located eight miles from studio. Main and auxiliary towers are shown.

FIG. 9. Studio tower, showing STL microwave dish and passive reflector. At top of tower is a remotely controlled, panning microwave receiving dish for remote pick-ups.

FIG. 10. Production of local live television commercial in Studio A.

FIG. 11. Studio B, showing local program in progress, in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week.

FIG. 12. TV film room. Roy Morris (left), projectionist, is seated at control console. I. C. Clayton, crew chief, observes projector. Facilities include two complete film chains.

FIG. 14. TV Master Control. At left. Paul Wilson and George Alsobrook are at the video controls. At right, Mac Hix is at master audio console. Sub-control A is in front ol video console. Master panel for TS-40 Switching System is at right end of video console,

FIG. 15. Close-up of master control panel of TS-40 Transistorized Switching System. Note TM-6 Master Monitor with TS-2 Switcher: also remote controls for TA-9 Stab Amps and Sync-Gen changeover switching. Master intercom is at left.

FIG. 17. Sub-control A. In foreground is a panel for TS-40 Switcher. Joe McCrady is operating BC-3 Consolette. In background is announce booth A.

PIG. 19. Radio master control, showing BC-B Dual Consolette. Announce-control room is seen through window.

FIG. 20. Two RCA TRT-1B TV Tape Recorders, recently installed in Master Control area.

FIG. 21. Mobile television unit of WMCT.

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