100 Years of WGY

100 Years of WGY

Learn about WGY's history and celebrate 100 years of service to New York's Capital Region.

 

Facts About WGY, New York's First Radio Station


WGY staff and GE engineers lead the way when it came to "wireless" radio technology and as a new medium for news, information and entertainment.

Here are some of the firsts pioneered by WGY:

  • First station in New York State
  • First coverage from outside the studios as Governor Nathan Miller spoke on WGY from Union College, two miles from the studios on February 23, 1922
  • First presentation of a radio drama in August 1922 as the WGY Players presented "The Wolf" by Eugene Walter
  • First broadcast at 50,000 watts of power in 1925. At various times, WGY also transmitted at 100,000 and as much as 200,000 watts with reports of reception from as far away as New Zealand
  • First World Series coverage as WGY joined with WJZ in New York in October 1922 to carry the game announced by Graham McNamee
  • First remote broadcast: Yale-Harvard game, 1922
  • First use of the condenser microphone
  • First international dog and cat fight broadcast with the dog in Australia and the cat in WGY's studios in Schenectady
  • WGY broadcasts first two-way communication with England
  • First trans-world transmission via short-wave to the Netherlands and then to Java, to Australia and back to Schenectady
  • First network affiliation as WGY in 1925 linked together with WTIC, WFBL, WLOC, WHAN AND WTAM to broadcast dramas and specials
  • First NBC affiliate in 1926, along with WTAG, WTIC, WEAF, WOC, WTAM, WJAR, WRC and WCSH
  • First radio station (and perhaps the only one) to have food products and stores featuring WGY products all over the Great Northeast. Levi Wholesale Grocers had a line and distribution for WGY Food Stores. Products included coffee, tea, oatmeal, spices, etc.
  • First radio station to solve a major criminal case: The 1923 kidnapping of Ernst F.W. Alexanderson's six-year-old son. Alexanderson used WGY's airwaves to plead for his son's safe return. The broadcast was heard by Bert Jarvis of Teresa, New York, near the Thousand Islands, over 150 miles from WGY. The child's description fit that of a boy brought by a man and woman to the summer cottages where Jarvis was a caretaker. Police were called and Verner Alexanderson was soon returned to his parents. "Radio Broadcast" magazine wrote the headline "Radio Repays Its Genius."

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