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1948 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.

links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 1  Nordwestdeutsche Rundfunk (NWDR) is the first of the new 'öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk' (publicly owned) radio stations to go on air in Germany, based on the model of the BBC. Headed by Hugh Carleton Greene, later director-general of the BBC, it has  studios in Hamburg and Cologne.  
January 2  WNDT-TV (later WNET) begins transmissions in the New York-Newark area on channel 13.  
January 5  BBC Television transmits a 15-minute silent film newsreel, first of a twice-weekly series. > 1954
January 5  Warner Bros-Pathé first distribute colour newsreels to US cinemas.  
January 27  Wire Recording Corporation of America introduces the Wireway audio tape recorder, selling at $149.50.  
January  BBC Television forms a Film Unit, which makes a twice-weekly newsreel.  
January  CBS launches its Chicago station WMAQ-TV on channel 5.  
January  Eastman Kodak announces a new 16mm camera specially designed for recording programmes from a television screen. Developed in collaboration with NBC and Du Mont, it has a 50mm f/1.6 lens and a 1,200 ft magazine, allowing for continuous recording of a complete half-hour programme.  
February 6  CBS opens its Los Angeles television station KNXT (later KCBS) on channel 2.  
February 9  NBC affiliate station WLWT-TV begins transmissions on channel 5  in Cincinnati, Ohio.  
February 17  NBC begins a nightly television news broadcast, Camel Newsreel Theatre, using Fox Movietone news film.  
February 19  John Grierson is appointed controller of film operations at the Central Office of Information with overall responsibility for all UK government film activity.  
March 11  Agreement is reached between the UK government and the Motion Picture Association of America to lift the 75 per cent customs duty on film imports (see May 3) and to arrange for controlled remission of funds to the US (see June 14). American film boycotts
March 30  L'Ecran Français publishes an article by Alexandre Astruc on 'Naissance d'une nouvelle avant-garde: la caméra-stylo' (Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Caméra-Stylo', which establishes the concept of the auteur and paves the way for the nouvelle vague (new wave) in French cinema.  
April  Four US television stations go on air: two ABC, one CBS and one independent (WGN-TV Chicago). Start dates of US television stations
April  Surprise public exhibition of a 15-minute newsreel using intermediate film large-screen television at the Paramount Theatre, New York. Television pictures—re-photographed on 35mm film from a 10-inch cathode ray tube and fed through a machine which develops, fixes, washes and dries it before entering a conventional projector—reach the 18ft x 24ft screen in 66 seconds. The screen used is larger than the average cinema screen at this time.  
April 25  Bing Crosby with his Ampex Model 200A audio tape recorderBing Crosby's 27th radio show of the 1947/48 season is recorded on the first two audio tape recorders, Model 200A serial #1 and #2, delivered by Ampex to Bing Crosby Enterprises. From now on all Crosby radio programmes for the ABC network are pre-recorded on tape (having hitherto been recorded—'transcribed'—on disc). When Ampex demonstrates a tape of a pilot Crosby recorded programme, ABC orders 12 recorders at $4,000 each. The live shows are allowed to overrun so that weaker parts can be edited out; rehearsal recordings are also spliced in and at an early stage laughter from one show is saved to incorporate in later shows where the audience reaction is less than wholly enthusiastic.
[Picture source: Ampex]
April  Bing Crosby Enterprises team, led by John Mullin, begins work on broadcast videotape recording.  
May 3  UK levy on film imports is repealed, in accordance with the Anglo-American Film Agreement.  
May 9  First edition of TV Forecast, a television listings periodical launched in Chicago by Les Vihon and three partners.  
May 14  Kol Yisrael radio service begins broadcasting in Israel.  
May  Warner Brothers demonstrates a large-screen television system made by RCA, producing a 15ft x 20ft image.  
June 14  For the next two years, US film companies can repatriate a maximum of $17m a year from the UK (see March 11). Much of the balance of earnings is spent on acquiring or producing British scripts, films, studios, equipment and other associated items, excluding cinemas.  
June 14  TeleVision Guide programme listings journal is launched in New York by publisher Lee Wagner. It evolves into TV Guide.  
•  Another listings guide, TV Digest (not to be confused with the trade newsletter) is launched in Philadelphia by the Barowski brothers publishing company.  
June 15  WPIX-TV, an independent station, goes on air on channel 11 in New York City and ABC affiliate WTNH-TV on channel 8 in New Haven, Connecticut.  
June 21  Microgroove LP disc playing for 23 mins a side at 33 rpm, invented by Dr Peter Goldmark and made by Columbia Records, is publicly introduced at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. The discs are priced at $4.85, compared with $7.25 for a five-record 78rpm equivalent. > year end
June 21  At Manchester University, a program is first successfully run on the Baby electronic digital computer, programmed by Tom Kilburn with help from Alan Turing of the university's maths department. It is the first to employ random access memory (RAM) technology. > 1951

F C Williams quotation
June 24  Olympic Games (XIV Olympiad) at Wembley, London, start and are covered extensively by television. Olympic dossier
June 30  Development of the point-contact transistor is demonstrated in the US by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley, working at Bell Telephone Laboratories. > 1956
June  Direct projection large-screen television is installed by Twentieth Century-Fox at the Fox Philadelphia theatre to show instantaneous pictures of Louis-Walcott fight relayed from New York over 100 miles away. Gillette reportedly pays $100,000 for sponsorship rights.  
June  BBC has 677 staff in the television service at Alexandra Palace, an increase of nearly 50 per cent since 1946. The BBC Board of Governors agrees that the service has urgent need of more studio space.  
June  Denham Studios to the west of London makes us of the Cyclop camera, which incorporates an electronic viewfinder. The image is split behind the lens to be directed to both the film and a television pick-up tube. This is probably the first instance of video-assist in film production.  
July 17  Electrical engineer and part-time magician Harry Corbett from Yorkshire spends 7s 6d (37½p) in a shop on a Blackpool pier for a glove puppet of a bear that, with blackened ears, he uses in his act and calls Sooty. It becomes an early British children’s television star and has the world’s longest running children’s television programme (over 50 years).  
July 25  Bob Howard Show on CBS is the first US television show with a black host.  
July  British government announces plans for a National Film Finance Corporation (NFFC) to make production loans. In connection with the launch of the NFFC, President of the Board of Trade Harold Wilson, says ‘pretty well the whole of the rest of the industry [apart from Rank] is now facing a stoppage, unless financial provision is made available’. Under the new Films Act, the British screen quota for the coming year is set at 45 per cent for first feature films and 25 per cent for supporting programmes, effective from October. There will no longer be any American representative on the Cinematograph Films Council Advisory Group to the Board of Trade.  
July  First Congress of the World Union of Documentary is held at Mariánské Lázne (Marienbad), Czechoslovakia with representatives from France (Henri Langlois), Hungary, Netherlands (Joris Ivens), Poland, UK (Basil Wright) and Yugoslavia.  
July  By now there are an estimated 350,000 television households in the USA, of which about half are in the New York area. However, it is also estimated that only 10 per cent of Americans have ever seen a television receiver. > 1949
July  Paramount announces incorporation of large-screen television using an intermediate film system as part of its regular cinema entertainment policy.  
•  In the ‘Paramount consent decree case’, the US Supreme Court rules that for producers and distributors also to own cinema chains amounted to ‘price-fixing conspiracies’. Distribution companies have to dispose of their exhibition interests. This also had the effect of killing off any idea of the Hollywood majors controlling or buying into television. > 1951
August 10  ABC's flagship television station WABC-TV goes on air on channel 7 in New York City.  
August  Radio and television coverage of Whittaker Chambers’ allegations of communist activity by former State Department official Alger Hiss contributes to a nationwide ‘red scare’ in the US, leading eventually to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s use of broadcasting for scaremongering.  
September 15  In New York, radio  station WHN changes its call sign to WMGM.  
September 17  ABC's Chicago television station WLS-TV begins transmissions in channel 7 and independent broadcaster KCOP-TV goes on air on channel 13 in Los Angeles and Hollywood, California.  
September 18  Columbia Records publishes the first catalogue of LP releases.  
September 18  BBC Television transmits the first documentary film made specially for television: Robert Barr's Germany Under Control.  
September 29  ABC affiliate station WSB-TV goes on air in Atlanta, Georgia on channel 2 and NBC's affiliate station WBAP-TV begins broadcasting in Fort Worth, Texas.  
September 30  US Federal Communications Commission freezes all television broadcast licence applications pending further study of technical developments, notably for colour transmissions. Interference between adjacent stations' transmitters is an issue. The six-month moratorium (which lasts for four years) does not affect the 37 stations already operating nor the 86 licensed and under construction, but 300 pending applications are put on hold, creating a patchwork of provision across the country.  
September  British Film Academy (later British Academy of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA) is founded.  
September  Franco-American Film Agreement limits the number of imported American films and the amount of funds that can be repatriated to $3.625m. The remaining $10m earnings could be used for co-productions, building new studios, acquiring distribution rights to French films for export—similar to the recent UK arrangements.  
autumn  Cheapest television receivers in the UK are now 36 guineas (£37 16s = £37.80), the price being increased to £46 8s (£46.40) with the addition of purchase tax. The sets have 10-inch tubes. > 1953
October 6  Independent television station KHJ-TV starts transmissions on channel 9 in Los Angeles, California.  
October 9  ABC's WXYZ-TV goes on air on channel 7 in Detroit, Michigan.  
October 24  CBS affiliate WJBK-TV goes on air on channel 2 in Detroit, Michigan.  
October  Stringent screen time quotas for British films come into effect.  
October  Radical US Jewish organisation Sons of Liberty calls for a boycott of British films because of British policy over Palestine.[0076]  
October  NBC affiliate WKYC-TV opens on channel 3 in Cleveland, Ohio.  
November 2  US television achieves its largest audience to date: an estimated 10m watch the presidential election results. ABC, CBS and DuMont networks broadcast from 8pm, NBC from 9pm and through the night. The winner, Harry S Truman, is at home in Independence, Missouri, which has no TV service.  
November 28  Polaroid instant photography camera, invented by Dr Edwin Land, goes on sale in Boston.  
November 29  Metropolitan Opera's opening production of the season, Verdi's Otello, is televised from New York for the first time.  
November  Four US television stations  goes on air: three NBC and one ABC. See also Start dates of US television stations.
November 20  French Minister of Information, François Mitterand, announces that country’s television service will be based on the 819-line system proposed by Henri de France and Radio Industrie, starting at the end of 1949, although 441-line transmissions continue in parallel from the Eiffel Tower until January 1956. See 1949 November
December 8  RCA demonstrates split-screen television for the first time, displaying two images side-by-side on a kinescope tube at a Television Broadcasters Association meeting in New York.  
December 11  NBC affiliate television station WDSU-TV begins on channel 6 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  
December 18  CBS affiliate television station WHEN-TV (later WTVH-TV) opens on channel 5 in Syracuse, New York and NBC affiliate WMC-TV begins on channel 5 in Memphis, Tennessee.  
December 22  CBS opens its San Francisco television station KPIX-TV on channel 5.  
December 26  Bertrand Russell gives the first Reith Lecture on BBC radio on the theme of Authority and the Individual.  
December  In connection with the issue of multiple ownership of US television stations, the FCC rules that DuMont is controlled by Paramount Pictures.  
end  Since the launch of the format on June 21, CBS has sold 1.25m LPs.  
•  US has 50 television stations, 10 belonging to the four networks, with combined revenues of $8.7m and expenditures of $23.6m. There are 66 television set manufacturers, although three companies—RCA, DuMont and Philco—control 75 per cent of the market.  
•  During the year 933 advertisers buy time on US television.  
•  ABC network in US purchases 12 Ampex audio tape recorders at $5,200 each.  
•  AEG of Germany converts a 35mm Mechau continuous motion projector to a camera for continuous recording of television pictures. System uses a rotating mirror drum synchronised with the film so that the reflected images of the television picture follow the film down. In theory this does away with need to have exceptionally high rate of pull-down in the camera and means that no lines are lost in the recording process.  
•  British film companies Ealing, Rank and London Film Productions, the latter headed by Alexander Korda, begin to supply older feature films to US television networks, following a lack of success in trying to crack the US theatrical market. Korda sells TV rights to WPIX, an unaffiliated New York station. Small US producers like Monogram and Republic follow suit and before long thousands of B-pictures and serials like Flash Gordon are available to American television.  
•  Howard Hughes acquires 929,000 shares in RKO for nearly $9m—said to be the biggest cash deal ever made in Hollywood. He cuts the staff from 2,500 to 600 and starts a process of selling off the RKO library.  
•  Howard Hughes releases a version of The Outlaw that is not authorised by the Production Code Administration (PCA) and is forced to return his PCA seal. [Is this why he bought RKO?]  
•  RKO Theaters exhibition company is formed.  
•  Universal-International is formed when Universal Pictures merges with International Pictures, whose head, William Goetz, becomes head of production of the merged business. It concentrates on handling independent productions.  
•  Wheare Committee on Children and the Cinema reports in UK, recommending the introduction of X certificates for unsuitable films.  
•  Association of Mobile Cinemas formed in Finland.  
•  Hammer Film Productions is founded by James Carreras, son of Enrique Carreras, who had been a partner with ex-actor Will Hammer (William Hinds) in the House of Hammer production company in the mid 1930s.  
•  Alliance Film Studios buys Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London to add to its Twickenham and Southall Studios.  
•  Teddington Studios re-opens. > 1955
•  British Universities Film Council is founded.  
•  British government appoints the Wheare Committee on Children and the Cinema to examine the possible influence of films on the moral and social development of young people.  
•  There are now 820 drive-in cinemas in the US.  
•  First Icelandic feature film: Milli Fjalls og Fjöru (From the Mountain to the Seashore), directed by Loftur Gudmundsson. See also 1923
•  Australian Broadcasting Act is amended to change funding of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) to a block grant from federal government instead of from licence fees.  
•  First Indian film shot on 16mm colour film and blow up to 35mmm for release is Ajit, or Rangeen Zamana (Colourful Life), directed by Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani (1903-1962).  
•  Cellulose triacetate is introduced as the base for 35mm negative and print films.  
•  RCA develops a 35mm magnetic film studio recorder, the film having similar dimensional characteristics to picture film and running at the same speed to allow for accurate synchronisation.  
•  Copenhagen Agreement of International Radio Regulations allocate medium- and long-wave radio broadcasting frequencies for Europe.  
•  BBC starts experimental VHF transmissions from Alexandra Palace on 90.3MHz (FM) and 93.9MHz (AM).  
•  Scophony-Baird Ltd, of which Baird Television is a subsidiary, is located at Lancelot Road, Wembley.  
•  WBAL-TV in Baltimore, one of the pioneer television stations, is acquired by the Hearst Corporation.  
•  Television advertising of liquor is suspended in the USA. It does not reappear until 1996.  
•  Radio station owner Leroy E Parsons in Astoria, Oregon, USA installs a master antenna on the roof of the Astoria Hotel and uses coaxial cable and amplifiers to relay the television signal from the new KRSC station in Seattle, 125 miles away, to his own and others' homes. He charges an installation fee, reported to be $125 [and may have made a monthly service charge of $3].  
•  Television retailer John Walson in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania introduces a cable relay service to bring television signals to the mountainous region. Connection cost $100 and service subscription $2 a month.  
•  Installation of television sets in automobiles is banned in the USA.  
•  First television weatherman is Clint Youle (1916-1999)  in Chicago.  
•  Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency is founded in New York.  
•  Acetate substrate is first used for magnetic recording tape by 3M for its Scotch type 111.  
•  Leading US professional audio recorder manufacturer, Magnacord, switches from making wire recorders to tape recorders.  
•  Claude Shannon at Bell Laboratories publishes a paper on A Mathematical Theory of Communications, which postulates that if all telecommunications messages were in the form of binary digits, which Shannon calls bits, it would be possible to separate the medium and the message, allowing telecom engineers to concentrate on the means of delivery for all types of message, without concern for the content of the message. Claude Shannon quote
•  Dennis Gabor makes the first hologram, an ‘in-line’ transmission hologram using a filtered mercury lamp as the light source. The results are crude, dim and blurred, but demonstrate the theory of holography.  
•  Ultrafax high-speed radio document transmission system jointly developed by RCA, NBC and Eastman Kodak, is demonstrated in Washington DC. It can handle around 1m words a minute. In the demonstration the text of Gone With the Wind is sent from a hotel to the Library of Congress in two minutes, together with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, the terms of the Japanese surrender and passages from the Bible.  
•  Leo Fender (1909-1991) designs and introduces his Telecaster solid-bodied electric guitar [right]. > 1951
•  Capitol Records releases Lover/Brazil, the first record by Les Paul (Leslie Polfuss) to feature his multi-tracked guitar recording technique. > 1955
•  Folkway Records label is founded in the USA by Moses Asch to preserve traditional American music.  
•  Rotofoto, the first photosetting type machine, is developed in the UK by George Westover.  
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