Ad for Lang-Worth Transcription Service
June 1939

The Press Room



One of my frustrations over the years has been the lack of readily available information on broadcast equipment, especially from before the war. I've picked up copies of a couple of RCA catalogs but those are far from comprehensive. From time to time, I come across period advertisements and these can sometimes supply a lot of information. I've started this page to put some of these on display. Because RCA is my primary (though not my only) interest, the products of that company will be the most common entries.I will be as specific with dates as I can. I will try to add a new image on a regular basis—maybe once a week or so. I may occasionally slip in an ad for a station or a network or something, if I fond one that's interesting. If you like this feature, please let me know.
Note: No magazines were harmed in the production of this page.
April 1938
RCA 70-B Turntable

This ad is full of useful information. We know for example, that the 70-B was introduced in the Spring of 1938 (something I didn't know until I found this). It also tells us the production numbers for the 70-A. There are other facts in there as well.
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December 1941
RCA BTA-250-K Transmitter
RCA marketed this 250 watt transmitter not just as an entry-level unit but also as part of a more powerful transmitter that could be upgraded later on. This was no doubt and attractive option to small stations whose owners had plans to grow.
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September 1940
RCA Speech Input Assemblies
RCA was already selling the 76 series consoles when this ad ran in the Autumn of 1940. All the amplification equipment that was integrated into the 76 consoles occupied a separate rack in the earlier 78s. The 76 series still had a separate power supply but everything else was inside the console.
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April 1938
Western Electric Portable Broadcast Console
Virtually every radio station used portable mixers for covering remote events, from baseball games to political speeches. These WE 22-series units were widespread. They are very expensive today, when they can be found at all.
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February 1940
RCA 70-C Turntable
Here's another turntable ad, this time for the new RCA 70-C series. It's interesting to note that broadcast equipment was a bit behind consumer radio sets when it came to styling. While the consumer sets made the transition to the Art Deco influenced, streamline styling in the early thirties, it took professional equipment longer. For my money the 70-C turntables are the best looking of the series.
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February 1939
RCA 88-A Microphone
I think this is one of the nicest looking microphones of the golden era. It doesn't have the frequency response of a 44 or 77, but it was rugged and it sounded great. It was used widely for remote broadcast applications. As with the other RCA mics, most pre-war examples are black.
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