Kyws Grand Old coverage


KYW-TV Philadelphia will be at the Republican convention in Philadelphia this week, anchoring its 5, 6 and 11 p.m. news from a skybox at the convention center. The vantage above a GOP convention floor will be a familiar one: The station also covered the GOP convention in Philadelphia over a half century ago.

While the first national televised convention coverage came in the form of a 1948 pool feed, the 1940 GOP convention that nominated Wendell Willkie was covered by both Philco's experimental station W3XE (the forerunner of kyw-tv), with an assist from the Mutual Broadcasting System, and by NBC.

The station provided more than 60 hours of convention coverage to "about 150 homes," the station now estimates, most of them belonging to Philco engineers and executives. Monitors were also set up in the convention hall and at Philadelphia's Union League Club.

NBC fed its coverage-301/4 hours according to NBC-via coaxial cable to W2XBS (now wnbc-tv) atop the Empire State Building, and from there it was relayed upstate to GE TV facilities in the Albany area (B & C, July 1, 1940).

According to Broadcasting & Cable's reporting at the time, "convention goers showed great interest in [being] televised," particularly in viewing themselves on the monitors in the hall. Some things never change.