After the color conversion at WMAQ-TV, the next major technical advance was the arrival of videotape. This device, which electronically records both image and sound on a two-inch wide strip of acetate tape, began on an experimental basis in I956. WMAQ-TV hegan installation of its first machines in early 1959. Today the station has eight videotape recorders.

Right: Video tape, making possible instantaneous recording and playback of program material, is one of the most recent technical developments at channel 5. Videotape room

In 1966, WMAQ-TV engineers developed the nation's first small mobile videotape unit. On February 6, 1966, the unit was successfully tested in nine-degree weather in Evanston. Now, with a miniaturized color camera, it is part of Channel 5's daily news coverage. And like so many other of today's highly technical and complicated pieces of equipment, it has a nickname: VTMU (pronounced 'vit-moo').

Jorie Lueloff and the VTMU Left: WMAQ-TV's video tape mobile unit facilitates on-location news coverage, as demonstrated here by reporter Jorie Lueloff.

WMAQ-TV studio facilities have gone through a constant program of modification and improvement. The original TV studio 'A' has been renovated twice. Channel 5 now has five all-color TV studios, ranging from the 15-by-20 foot studio 'B' to the 45-by-71 foot studio 'A'.

Right: The control room of Studio D, WMAQ-TV's newest and most advanced production center, is a highly sophisticated and versatile electronic marvel manned by skilled technicians (and by director Roger Lee Miller, the back of whose head is featured at the left). Studio D control

The newest---studio 'D', a little smaller than 'A', was completed in 1967. It is the newest and most modern facility of its kind in Chicago, and is fully equipped for the production of either live or videotaped programming---in color and for the complete production of color videotape commercials. It has a separate sound control booth, and a control console whose limitations Channel 5's engineers have not yet found. One of them summed up its abilities in just three words: ''It does everything!"

Late in 1969, WMAQ-TV will move its transmitter from the 42-story Kemper Building to the new 100-story John Hancock Center. The new tower will improve still further the station's reception.

Return to the Channel 5 20th anniversary booklet index

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
Audio and video downloads
About the Curator

Comments or suggestions? click here to send them to Rich Samuels

Created by Rich Samuels (e-mail to