Master Control

(First View)

Right: It was through the jack fields seen on the equipment racks that both studio and remote material was patched into the master control desk that you'll see in the second view of this room. Additional jack fields determined the routing of the outgoing channels. The wall racks also contained equalizers that compensated for frequency response variations on the incoming lines, as well as amplifiers for NBC's in-house public address system. Much of the equipment in this room was redundant, so that it could be bypassed in case of failure. MCRA first

Here's what Broadcasting magazine said about Master Control in its issue of June 15th, 1932:

THIS MAIN CONTROL room is one of the showplaces of the Chicago headquarters of NBC and daily attracts hundreds of visitors because of its neatness and the very rhythm with which the ever-busy engineers move. The light that filters through a glass ceiling on the black and white acoustically treated floor forms an artistic picture.

[During World War II, black paint was applied over the skylight to save this "nerve center" from enemy bombing attacks. The paint was never removed. Master Control thus endured the Second World War and the Cold War that followed without casualty.]

When television arrived at the Merchandise Mart in the late 1940's, this radio master control room was reborn as "Video Central". Control equipment (for purposes of shading, etc.) for each studio camera chain was installed here. The actual television master control point was some distance away at the southwest corner of the 19th floor of the Merchandise Mart. Radio's master control point was moved to a former equipment storage area between studios F, G and H, the three "new" studios built in 1935.

Return to the 1930 Studio Tour Guide

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