Facts

What Became of TV Channel 1?

Ever wonder why your television dial starts with Channel 2? In the early days of television broadcasting in the United States, there was a channel 1 And there were television stations operating on channel 1 and TV sets had a number 1 on the dial. Here are the details. (All frequencies are in MHz.)

 

Channel

1938-1940

1940-1946

1946-1948

1948-2010

1

44-50

50-56

44-50

 

2

50-56

60-66

54-60

54-60

3

66-72

66-72

60-66

60-66

4

78-84

78-84

66-72

66-72

5

84-90

84-90

76-82

76-82

6

96-102

96-102

82-88

82-88

7

102-108

102-108

174-180

174-180

8

156-162

162-168

180-186

180-186

9

162-168

180-186

186-192

186-192

10

180-186

186-192

192-198

192-198

11

186-192

204-210

198-204

198-204

12

204-210

210-216

204-210

204-210

13

210-216

230-236

210-216

210-216

14

234-240

236-242

 

 

15

240-246

258-264

 

 

16

258-264

264-270

 

 

17

264-270

282-288

 

 

18

282-288

288-294

 

 

19

288-294

 

 

 

In 1937, the channel assignments for television were set as 1 to 19.

In 1940, the FCC allocated 42-50 MHz for FM radio broadcasting. All the frequencies had to me moved again.

Between 1940 and 1948, following a number of redistribution of frequencies, the frequencies were finally redistributed amongst the channels. The FCC allocated 42-50 for FM radio. And the number of channels was reduced from 19 to 13.

In 1945, the FCC decided to move FM radio to the 88-106 MHz band (later 88-108 MHz). Because FM broadcasting would be vacating 42-50 MHz, TV channel 1 was moved down to that part of the spectrum.

After 1948 the FM frequencies were changed from 44-50 Mhz to 88-106 (later 108) Mhz. Channel 1 was then freed to be allocated for mobile land services. But the Channels were never renumbered and channel 1 disappeared.

 

In the 1940s, the FCC assigned television's Channel 1 to mobile Services (two-way radios in taxicabs, for instance) but did not Pre-number the other channel assignments. That is why your TV set has channels 2 and up, but no channel 1.

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