WCAU Radio MCR in 1952

This is a photo of the Master Control Room at WCAU Radio, early in 1952. At that time, they were located in Center City Philadelphia at 1622 Chestnut Street.

WCAU Long time tech Charlie Higgins e-mails: "Note that instead of the original DB meters, the console now has VU meters installed. The VU meter came into standard use about 1940."

What's the difference between DB and VU meters? Well, both VU & DB meters measure the audio power involved in audio and they both use logarithmic scales to report that power. VU stand for "volume units" and it is a measure of average audio power. A VU meter responds relatively slowly and considers the sound volume over a period of time. Its zero is set to the level at which there is 1% total harmonic distortion in the recorded signal. But DB stands for "decibels" and it is a measure of instantaneous audio power. A DB meter responds very rapidly and considers the audio power at each instant. Its zero is set to the level at which there is 3% total harmonic distortion. Because of these differences in zero definitions, the dB meter's zero is roughly at the VU meter's +8.

WCAU Radio "Studio H" in 1952

This is a picture of WCAU's Studio "H," known as "Standby Control." All station breaks originated from here because there were no turntables in Master. MCR was only for switching program feeds.

Charlie Higgins says: "Note that WCAU moved from 1622 Chestnut Street to City Line Avenue in May of 1952, so (these)...photos are among the last in the old building."

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photos originally donated by Charlie Higgins
Pictures originally taken by Broadcast Pioneers member Jack Jones, former Chief Engineer, WCAU Radio
© 2009, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is pioneers@broadcastpioneers.com