April 5, 1948, Chicago’s WGN Signs On…Great Vintage Pictorial

Above is a shot of my RCA TK10 from WGN…one of the original eight TK10s the station had in their studios, with four RCA TK30s in use on two mobile units.

WGN, Channel 9, is one of the nation’s first and only enduring independent stations, but it wasn’t always that way. In the beginning, they dual network affiliations with both CBS and Dumont, which early on wasn’t that uncommon in new TV markets, or markets with only one station.

The interesting part is, they shared that dual affiliation with WBKB, Channel 4, there in Chicago…until CBS bought WBBM. After that, WGN became one of Dumont’s strongest affiliates, as well as a major production center for that network.

Several Dumont programs were produced from the station’s facilities, including “The Al Morgan Show”, “Chicago Symphony”, “Chicagoland Mystery Players”, “Music From Chicago”, “They Stand Accused”, “Windy City Jamboree” and “Down You Go”.

The station lost the Dumont affiliation when the network ceased operations on August 6, 1956; at that point, WGN became an independent station. The rest, as they say, “is history”. -Bobby Ellerbee


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