|Studio B was the
smallest of the four larger studios. It became the home of some of the dramatic
programs that required neither a studio audience nor a large orchestra. At least
one soap, "Today's Children",
used this studio.
"Lights Out!", which ranks
as one of radio's most blood-chilling shows, originated in this studio. And on
one occasion, its cast posed for a truly
remarkable photograph.. Though it's not for the squeamish, it's well worth
Studio B, like the other Merchandise studios, was originally equipped with "state-of-the-art"
RCA model 4A condenser microphones. First marketed in 1929 and based on a design
originally developed by General Electric, these microphones (like similar models
of different manufacture) incorporated a built-in vacuum tube preamplifer that
required external direct current power supplies for both the plate and filament.
The cable for these microphones was thus somewhat unwieldy.
In the fall of 1932, RCA model 44A ribbon mikes replaced the old condenser models.
They remained the industry standard throughout radio's "golden age"
and beyond. Some audio engineers prefer them for certain applications even today.
Among collectors they are highly prized.
Studio was converted into a television studio in 1948. It was renamed studio A1,
since it shared a control room (and, most of the time, cameras) with studio A.
The "studio B" designation went to a much smaller combination standby
studio and television announce-booth located near the southwest corner of the
Merchandise Mart's 19th floor.
In the late 1970's, studio A1 was renamed "studio Q". Its walls were
covered with blue carpeting (perhaps to control the asbestos problem) and a permanent
cyclorama was installed at its east end. It was hoped that studio Q would be used
for the outside production of videotaped commercials. But few clients were found.
Studio Q was generally dark. But it provided a comfortable venue for communal
holiday meals prepared by company employees obliged to work.