1906: Christmas Eve, the world’s FIRST radio broadcast by General Electric engineer Ernst Alexanderson.

1922: WGY Schenectady is licensed (was previously 2XI in 1912) and goes on air Feb. 20th. In October of the same year the FIRST chain broadcast is accomplished when WJZ and WGY transmitted a World Series game from the field.

In Sept. 1922, a 40-minute weekly time slot on WGY airs “The Masque,” a troupe of community-theatre actors headed by Edward H. Smith. As the “WGY Players,” Smith’s company performed 43 condensed stage plays in the first season, gaining national attention for its efforts: the FIRST regular dramatic series ever broadcast on American radio. Among the members of the group are a former stage technician named Frank Oliver: radio’s FIRST true sound effects man.

1927: Ernst Alexanderson, who was instrumental in the development of television, stages the FIRST home reception of TV at his Schenectady home using high-frequency neon lamps and a perforated scanning disc.

1928: WRGB is born, General Electric begins FIRST regular schedule of TV programming and the world’s FIRST news broadcast.

August 1928, the World’s FIRST remote TV news takes place on the steps of the Capitol in Albany as Governor Alfred E. Smith accepts the Democratic nomination for president. He becomes the FIRST man in history whose picture was flashed to the public via the new medium.

On September 11, 1928, W2XB (video) and WGY (audio) broadcast America’s FIRST television drama, a 40 minute one-act melodrama titled “The Queen’s Messenger.”

1930: an audience at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady becomes the FIRST in the world to see closed-circuit TV projected onto a 7-foot screen

1939: the King and Queen of England’s arrival to the U.S. is transmitted from New York to Schenectady, marking the FIRST network TV broadcast.

1940: W2XOY (FM) Schenectady (GE) begins transmitting on a regular schedule. NBC begins relaying telecasts to the General Electric station in Schenectady, thus forming TV’s FIRST “network.”

1941: The world’s first quiz show, “Spelling Bee,” was broadcast on WRGB,  Proctor’s shows the film “Edison the Man,” starring Spencer Tracy, and GE’s Katharine Blodgett INVENTS nonreflecting “invisible” glass, used today on almost all camera lenses and optical devices;

1943: Dec. 23, the FIRST complete opera, “Hansel and Gretel,” is telecast by WRGB.

1947: The opening game of the World Series, between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, is the FIRST World Series game to be telecast. The game was carried by WABD, WCBS-TV, and WNBT in New York, and was also telecast in Philadelphia, Schenectady, and Washington. The 1947 World Series was seen by an estimated 3.9 million people.

1954: WRGB Broadcasts the FIRST network color spectacular

1965: Freddie Freihofer, which began in black & white in 1949, goes color on channel 6 WRGB.

1975: Schenectady’s cable access Channel 16 goes on the air.

1978: Schenectady is featured in Dr. Seuss’ “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut.” 

1984: Barry Longyear’s “It Came From Schenectady” is published.

Gazette Newspaper Archives
Historian, Don Rittner
MiSci Archives

MiSci, Schenectady NY