Studio B

Dimensions: 45.5 x 31 x 26.5

Decor: "In the modern manner with a color scheme of Chinese red"
Studio B

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 your inspection.

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.

Return to the 1930 Studio Tour Guide

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
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