an audio console can be a work of art, the Western Electric 25B is
certainly one of the most elegant consoles ever made. Its sleek lines
hark back to an era when radio equipment was built like a tank and
had the lines of a Chrysler Airflow.
courtesy of Nick Kerry
(Click to Enlarge)
25A console was introduced in 1942. Within two years, Western
Electric advertised that it had sold more than 225 consoles, no small
feat at a time when there were less than a thousand radio stations in
console was built into the included operator’s desk, with its
passive components on top and the amplifiers below. It was designed
for easy servicing — the operating surface opened like a clamshell
and the electronics under the table hinged outward for easy
maintenance. The power supply was separate and rack-mounted.
25B, seen here, was a postwar upgraded version that had improved
audio quality for FM broadcasting. Its two audio busses could handle
two stations simultaneously, which was convenient for operations with
AM and FM under one roof.
the 1950s, Western Electric was forced to divest of its broadcast
products in an antitrust settlement, and Altec Lansing acquired all
of its audio products. They continued to make a variation of this
console for several more years as the Altec 250A.
Electronics acquired Western’s AM transmitter products, and the FM
transmitters went to Standard Electronics.)
station KGY in Olympia, Wash., opened new studios on the tide flats
of Puget Sound in 1960, and this photo was taken at the time of the
opening. This console remained in operation into the mid-1970s. KGY’s
RCA BTA-1R 1,000-watt transmitter is visible in the background.
of the country’s true pioneer radio stations, KGY began in 1922 as
7YS, operating from a log cabin at St. Martin’s College in Lacey,
Wash. Tom Olsen, a journalist and Olympia native, purchased it in
1939 and the station today is still owned by the same family. The
station manager, Nick Kerry, is Tom Olsen’s great-grandson.
operates on 1240 kHz with 1 kW. Its sister station, KGY-FM, began
operation in 1992.
Schneider is a lifelong radio history researcher. This is one in a
series of photo features from his collection. See past images under
Columns/Roots of Radio at radioworld.com.