Tour Guide

Welcome to NBC's Chicago Studios in the Merchandise Mart as they appeared at the time of the facility's opening in the fall of 1930!

Curator's note: Though the 1930 NBC-Chicago studio complex is the primary focus of this page, a number of later improvements and additions are documented here as well. The Merchandise Mart studios were a work in progress. The changes continued until NBC moved from the Mart in the fall of 1989.

Right: The NBC pages stand at attention in studio B. In the old days, they would have served as your guides through the areas you are about to visit. But since they are no longer on staff---and since NBC is, in fact, no longer in the radio business---you'll have to proceed on your own. But I've provided a few tools that will serve as their surrogate.

NBC Chicago pages

By way of a preview, you might want to take quick looks at the following (and, in the process, traverse sixty years of broadcasting history):

Birdseye thumbnail
Studio A last broadcast thumbnail

Now move on to the following:

Right: The facility's original floor plan (created by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst and White).
The legend at the bottom of the plan will help guide you. Shown on the floor plan are all the original studios with the exception of the original Studio F which was located on the twentieth floor. Not shown are three studios built in 1935 (the "new" Studio F, Studio G and Studio H) in an area of the 19th floor not shown on this plan; and three additional studios (Studio T, Studio U and Studio V) built in the southeast corner of the 19th floor several years later. (The ever-increasing popularity of the radio 'soap opera'---invented in Chicago---created the need for the additional studio space.)
Areas that you can presently visit are rendered in gray. If your browser supports client-side image maps, you can click within any of the gray areas to activate the links to them.
But you may find it more convenient to navigate with the thumbnail graphics that appear below the floor plan. They activate links to areas not shown on the floor plan. They also offer links to different views of the same area.

19th floor map

You may presently visit the following locations by clicking on the thumb nails:

Studio A (remodeled)
Studio A
Studio A
Studio B thumbnail Studio B Studio C thumbnail Studio C
Studio C (remodeled) Studio D thumbnail Studio D
Studio D control Studio D (remodeled)
Studio D (remodeled) Studio D (remodeled)
Studio E thumbnail Studio E Studio F thumbnail Studio F
Studio G Studio H

MCR thumbnail: first

MCR (first view)
MCR thumbnail: second
MCR (second view)
Original master control board The 1936 master control board

You may also:

Press clippings thumbnail See what the press wrote about the Merchandise Mart studios

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