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WGSF Television
           Newark, Ohio
                 1963 - 1976

Public Broadcasting Television Station WGSF operated in Newark, Ohio, from 1963 to 1970 as Channel 28, and then as Channel 31 until it ceased operation in 1976.

 The First Day of Broadcasting

The first day of television broadcasting in Newark, Ohio, began at 2:30 PM on Monday, March 18, 1963.
WGSF Chief Engineer Robert Brooks was at the controls of the transmitter on Horn’s Hill. Brooks was the station’s first paid employee, and kept  a hand-written program log, which has the note: “First test programming started this day,” and initialed RRB. 
To the best of my knowledge, Robert Brooks was the first paid employee of WGSF.
      He worked during the construction phase of the station, and operated the station during the  broadcast schedule from March 18, 1963, through the summer of 1964,
     I met him only briefly: He came into the station to pick up his FCC license while Dana Cox was showing me the facility.
   Leland Hubbell

  Bob Brooks
Borrowed Camera
      It was a requirement of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules, as well as legal authorization between the stations and their licensees - The Ohio State University and the Newark City Schools - that an agreement be made to engage in the rebroadcast of programs from WOSU-TV, Channel 34, The Ohio State University station. This agreement to rebroadcast their signal was renewed periodically until WGSF operation ceased in 1976.
The 2:30 PM program was titled “Achievement,” followed by “French II,” “News Reel Album,” and a program from “The Christophers.” The stations broadcast programming oriented toward children in the block from 4:30 until 6:00 PM.

At 7:00 PM, the first locally originated program was broadcast on WGSF, Channel 28. The program log lists this half-hour broadcast as “Panel Show - Dr. Southard.”  Dr. Thomas Southard was Superintendent of the Newark City Schools, and had championed the building of the WGSF station.

     Programs were interspersed by a station identification, which consisted on a picture of the WGSF call letters televised by a television camera in the studio.  The program log does not indicate that an aural (voice) announcement was made. Control Panel

    The transmitter control console had a row of switches to select the source of the sound and picture.  There were only two options - WOSU-TV, Channel 34 in Columbus, and LOCAL origination at WGSF. 
     The WOSU-TV signals on channel 34 were picked up “OFF AIR” by an antenna located about half-way up the WGSF tower, DEMODULATED by a special receiver in the control room, and the audio and video (sound and picture) signals selected and sent to the transmitter by one position of the control switches. The selection of sound and picture were separate, so the sound from WOSU-TV could be turned off and no sound broadcast locally during the Columbus station’s identification.
The videcon television camera shown in this photo was borrowed from Educational TV station WGTE-TV in Toledo.
The first locally originated broadcasts used the single television camera and a microphone in the studio.

There was no interconnected network , such as PBS, in 1963. National programming was supplied by National Educational Television (NET) headquartered in New York. Members of NET were supplied video tapes of programs, along with promotional materials, such as scripts, slides, and print advertising. The local stations would obtain the program tapes by mail, broadcast them on their own tape playback machines, and return them to the NET tape center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The advent of the WGSF station presented a problem in that the station could not participate at the full membership level; WGSF had no video tape machine of any kind. In fact, WGSF never did acquire a  broadcast standard video tape machine, although WGSF was included in the PBS interconnection via a microwave system in the 1970’s.

There were a lot of behind the scene maneuverings, and NET finally made a special category for WGSF, authorizing them to broadcast NET programs OFF-AIR from WOSU-TV. They  also became eligible to receive promotional materials and other membership benefits from NET.