Portland’s 1st Radio-TV Stereo Simulcast

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    On September 6, 1958 it was announced that on October 21st the NBC Television & Radio networks would present the first attempt at a Radio-TV stereo simulcast on “The George Gobel Show”. This happened on that date when KPTV channel 12 and KGON 1520kc broadcast a stereo simulcast but by then it wasn’t as big a deal. ABC Radio & Television beat them to the punch. Read the announcement:


    The Oregonian – Wednesday – October 1, 1958


    Lawrence Welk will be heard in Stereo at 8 p. m. Wednesday on KGW-TV and KGW Radio. You can receive the three dimensional sound by placing your radio set 7 to 10 feet to the right of your TV. Microphones to the left of the orchestra pick up the TV. Those to the right pick up the sound for radio.


    (ch-8) First time in Portland, a television show in cooperation with a radio station (KGW) present stereophonic sound. Alice Lon and The Lennon Sisters will team up to present “Soon I Will Wed My Love,” of the featured sections, Lawrence Welk.


    Portland was one of 75 markets to carry the ABC special broadcast, leading me to believe this was also an Oregon first.


    Back in the early 80’s the station I was at KCCS and Doc Nelson of KBZY…we were both broadcasting from the Oregon State Fair. We thought it would work to “interview each other” live thus a stereo AM effect…I had a wireless mic and went to his booth and did our chat. We both pre-promoted the event and encouraged listeners to get 2 radios to put side by side in effect tuned to the respective stations…calls came into both stations loving it!


    Have OETA released that particular Welk episode for public TV? And if they have, did they include the stereo mix?

    I have seen several black & white Welk programmes on OPB in the past, all from the 50s, but none in stereo as far as I have been aware. (Of course, my parents’ having a mono TV set at the time didn’t help matters much, either….)


    KGW-TV & 62/KGW Radio did another simulcast in the Fall of ’70 or ’71 when we teamed up with….I think it was Nordstrom….to promote back to school fashions.

    The TV station pre-empted regular programming on a Friday night to run a movie. KGW Radio personalities emceed the broadcast and did live cut-ins on the Radio station while on live TV. Fashions were modeled by area high school kids during the breaks in the movie.

    To make it more interesting, 24 phone lines were installed in the studio so that kids viewing the program could call in and register to win the fashions they were seeing. A large plastic barrel was built to hold the entries, and drawings were done in each break.

    The evening started at 7 PM, and at 7:45 the Portland Fire Department sent an engine over to the station, requesting that we stop taking calls because we had shut down the phone systems in most of Portland and Western Oregon, and emergency calls could not be made.

    So, in the next break in the movie, all 24 phones were taken off the hook, operators were sent home and a camera panned across the phones to show they were not being answered, while an announcement was made that no more calls would be taken. By this time the plastic barrel was full of entries, and winners continued to be drawn until the movie ended at 10 PM. Even with the phone problems, the sponsor was ecstatic.

    I went out to a late dinner with clients and crew, and returned to the station with the show’s Director at about 12:30 to pick up our cars and head home. Just for the heck of it, he hung up one of the phones in the studio…line #24….and it rang almost instantly with a caller who still wanted to register.

    Shortly after this promotion the phone company initiated the “high impact” phone exchange in Portland, which was mandated for use by Radio stations and anyone else doing high volume phone work.


    Did any Portland station run the stereo audio for “In Concert?” Not live, but the FM radio stations played a stereo tape that was supposed to be synched to the TV video using vertical sync (I think) over a phone line.

    The station I worked at in Sacramento at the time was too cheap to buy the official box to drive the tape deck motor, so the sync was never good. Sounded great, though, and we got a TV for the station, finally.


    “Did any Portland station run the stereo audio for ‘In Concert?'”

    What a horrible flashback I just had, Kent! KQIV was repped by ABC-FM Spot Sales, so we got the first crack at airing the “simulcast” with KATU. KQ4 had been on the air for about a week and on the night of the premiere of “In Concert,” September 21, 1972, we took a stab at it. My recollections are foggy, but I believe we rented a fancy deck fitted with a speed control to play the stereo tape. Everything was fine for the first minute or so and then the sync started to drift. Despite my best efforts, we could never get the sound to lock! We got close, but no cigar! I don’t recall how many episodes we aired, but after that first nightmare we had Telco install a 15K line from Channel 2 and used their mono feed. Thanks for the memory! 😉


    I think KINK ran it later but I can’t be sure.

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