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Part 1 - The Early Days
                 (A Short History)

The station had a very rough early history, including some of these facts:

Several people, including the director of what was then called "Audio/Visual" wanted to develop a means of bringing the technique of Instructional Television into the classrooms of the Newark City Schools. Newark had over 10,000 students at that time, needed to pass a school levy, and were very short on teachers in the arts, but looking for any help possible in all areas of education.
They looked at both Cable TV  (CATV) and Microwave systems. Both of these delivery systems were being developed, and installed, in the larger cities.
Nationally, this was the time universities were setting up vast lecture/viewing halls, with closed circuit TV. (CCTV)
Several TV stations were built in Ohio and other states on the new educational television allocations.
The Columbus City Schools were heavily into local ITV production at this time and teamed with WOSU-TV in Columbus.
However, the signal from WOSU_TV 34 was not adequate to be useful off-air in Newark.
The Federal Government and the Ford Foundation were making facilities and equipment grants to school and community organizations.
Locally, several people endeavored to bring a station to Newark, including the Games Slayter family. The reasoning was that open-channel television would have the added benefit of adding public access, called Educational Television (ETV) as well as Instructional/classroom television  (ITV) by mail on video tape and film. Nationally, an organization developed called National Educational Television, headquartered in New York. Programs were distributed on both video tape and film. Any station wishing to participate had to have equipment to play these formats.
The Newark group pushed ahead, truthfully believing they would be able to obtain funding. They managed to obtain enough to build a building, and to purchase a transmitter and antenna system.
The license for the broadcast station was set up in the name of the Newark City Schools. The community group that had managed the station up to this point had to relinquish all control to the schools.. Not everyone was happy with circumstances.
In addition to the transmiter/tower/antenna, there was a reel-to-reel audio recorder, microphone, and an obsolete TV Iconoscope camera.
The routine was to cut away from the off-air signal from WOSU-TV, show the WGSF Identification slide, play the aural Announcement, and switch back to WOSU-TV. Yes, there was written authorization to do that.
Existing equipment was not made eligible for reimbursement when the federal funding process was finally established. The station project was under-funded. It took the development of a special fund - The Licking County Fund for Public Giving - to pay it off.


They had no station manager as such, up to this time. E. Dana Cox was hired as Station Manager in late 1963/1964, after the station was on the air, rebroadcasting WOSU-TV.
An associate affiliation with NET was granted, permitting legal rebroadcast of NET programs from WOSU-TV
  A Foundation was set up to disperse the ITV programs, both from the Columbus City Schools, NET, and other ITV libraries. Newark was involved from the beginning in the Central Ohio Educational Television Foundation - COETV.
The original technical person/chief engineer resigned. I (Leland Hubbell) had worked with Dana Cox at a commercial station, and he contacted me. The schools had filed an application for a facilities grant to obtain studio, film, and tape origination equipment. It was an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of local origination.
I was hired as Chief Engineer in September, 1964. The staff consisted of Mr. Cox, a secretary, another engineer/transmitter operator, and myself.
The Federal part of the Facilities grant was approved.
The Board of Education was not able to meet the matching grant requirements, however. The Federal grant was forfeited.
Likewise, and application to the Ford foundation, seeking a video tape recorder, was also turned down, because of lack of funding and other facilities.
Further attempts to gain equipment were fruitless.
Dana Cox managed to borrow two old obsolete studio cameras from the Cincinnati TV station in the winter of 1966.
I managed to 'cobble' them together, and Dana put me in touch with a school group that had been promised an opportunity to "produce local television."
Dana Cox left at this time, very much discouraged with the situation in Newark. I was asked to stay on for a time (unspecified) although I had also made initial contacts at other employment possibilities. I remained as "Chief Engineer/Acting General Manager"  - a classification which was never changed.
This is where Janice Grieder, Bob DeBenedictis, Jim Allen, the Wenner's (and others) come into the picture.
Robert DeBenedictis headed up a high school drama production of "Little Women"; NHS had no theater/stage at that time, and were striving to retain their Thespian charter. I offered to train students to operate the production equipment. Once were had a few trained people, we looked at other possibilities.
The first program was done in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce and Ohio State University, promoting a fund drive for the Newark Campus. The drive resulted in construction of the first buildings at the current OSU Newark campus.
Athletic Director Jim Allen did a season wrap-up on school athletics.
We did some programs in music education, art, etc.
A summer school class was offered, and held at the station on the hill. The students out of this group - plus the earlier training  -  made up a core to start the fall school year.
John Hall was one of that group.
We could not come up with enough funds to purchase even the obsolete equipment. We had to return the cameras to Cincinnati.
Our group persisted: I got an old 'lantern slide' projector from Janice Greider's AV Museum, we found a Polaroid camera that took 3x4 transparencies, and did school news reports. I had the lantern slide projector, a 35 MM Kodak Carousel projector, and a film strip projector mounted on a piece of plywood. We slid one of the projectors into position in front of the 'Ike" camera, stuck an announcer in the audio booth, and were 'On The Air."
So began the school year 1966!

Next - perseverance pays off!!!


    Nationally, efforts were being made to seek permanent funding for Educational/Instructional television in the year 1966.  Programs were exchanged between stations primarily by video tape, under the auspices of National Educational Television (NET) headquartered in New York City.
    Congress established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to serve as the funding arm, and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) was formed by the stations.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting initiated a national survey to ascertain the status and needs of the stations. WGSF was included.
    The reporter was astounded at the situation at WGSF. Returning to Cleveland, he contacted station WJW-TV, and convinced them to donate two television cameras and some other equipment to WGSF. Robert DeBenedictis and Leland Hubbell went to Cleveland to inspect the equipment, and personally accept the gift. Another trip was made to transport the equipment to Newark.
    The Newark High School Industrial Arts Department constructed pedestals to mount the equipment.  NHS teachers formed a group of students, and began the production of  ‘Newark School News’. The NHS debate team,  the Athletic Department,  drama classes, and the school’s elementary music teachers took advantage of the opportunity. All programs were broadcast live; video recording was not yet possible at WGSF.
    Funding was sought by the active participants to obtain additional equipment. A Newark Board of Education allocation provided monies to purchase an audio console and  a new camera and equipment to televise motion picture film and 35 mm slides. An invitation was extended to various community non-profit groups to also utilize the station. The Historical Society, Art Association, League of Women Voters, Council of Churches, United Way, Toastmasters, and others agreed to take advantage of the opportunity. Each group sent volunteers to the station for training in television production. Once trained, many assisted in numerous productions in addition to their own organization.
    There were only two elementary music teachers in the Newark District at this time. Alice Armstrong began producing programs for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, which she continued to use until 1976. Margaret Agin made a few programs for her 1st, 2nd. and 3rd. grade students.
    Programs for elementary art, and 5th grade song flute (band) were also broadcast. Adult volunteers provided the crews for these productions. Janice Greider brought in specialists in several areas, enabling all classrooms to share in what had been a very limited exposure to community resources.
    The Girl Scouts were given the opportunity to broadcast a program to observe Girl Scout Week. A Senior Troop provided the technical crew; younger scouts presented the Girl Scout story. The broadcast  paved the way for an expansion of high school student involvement, and, coupled with the Summer School classes, extended to several schools in the Licking  County area.
    The success of local origination and participation brought about interest in additional funding. Mrs. Slayter  and Welcome Wagon donations enabled the purchase of additional audio production equipment. Finally, a video tape recorder was obtained. Although not the regular VTR used by most stations, the recorder had a major impact on the operation of the station. Programs were video taped at convenient times, even on weekends, for later broadcast.
    Through the efforts of James McNenny, one of the adult volunteers, The Thomas Evans Foundation provide a grant for the purchase of a television production truck. Although twenty years old, the 1948 model truck and equipment contained three television cameras, audio equipment, and a microwave remote broadcast link.  The Newark High School graduation ceremony at White Field was one of the first events broadcast by this equipment. The truck was utilized extensively for the next several years, televising parades, fairs, sporting events, election reports, and  two very critical Board of Education meetings.  A much-needed school issue was passed.
    WGSF was producing and broadcasting as many as thirteen programs a week during 1968. The locally-produced and video taped classroom instruction programs were now available for integration into the curriculum. Additional funding at the state and federal level provided ITV programming five days a week throughout the school year.
    Funding became available through the Ohio Educational Broadcasting Network and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for non-instructioal “Public” broadcasting.  The additional programming from PBS, and funding to employ additional transmitter operators, made it possible for WGSF to broadcast seven evenings a week.
    The year 1970 saw a major change in WGSF. At the request of the Ohio ETV Network Commission, The Ohio State University, and Nationwide Broadcasting, the Newark City Schools agreed to change channel assignments from channel 28 to channel 31. All costs were to be covered by Nationwide. The station ceased operation at the end of May, 1970, and resumed broadcasting later in June, just in time for the local “Summer Festival” broadcasts, on Channel 31.
    Programming changed, also. The Newark School News became “Schools In Action” and continued as a weekly broadcast under that name into the 1990’s, although via CATV 19 after 1976. Many of the broadcasts were consolidated under the titles of “Licking County Spotlight” and “Communiscope.”
    With the advent of CPB funding, additional personnel were employed for production, including several people who had been regulars as students. Eventually, a one-half hour evening news broadcast, “31 Reports”, was aired Monday through Friday.
    WGSF became interconnected directly to the PBS network in , and no longer had to rely on off-air pickup from WOSU-TV for evening programming.
    The station’s broadcast equipment was modified to broadcast network programs in color. Local programs were still limited to black and white. Color equipment for local origination was still very expensive.
    As WGSF moved into the mid-1970’s, it became evident that the equipment was aging, and maintenance was becomming difficult and expensive. Nationally, the stations were moving toward local color origination. The Ohio ETV Network Commission developed a plan to upgrade all stations in Ohio to color origination, and to interconnect them by a state microwave network. PBS  began a move from leased interconnect services to a dedicated satellite network. Both plans required extensive local funding to enable the stations to partipate. Once again, the WGSF station faced state and national conditions that could not be met locally.
    Unlike the early 1960’s, however, the schools did have some recourse: the City of Newark had granted a franchaise to a community cable television company. One Federal Communications Commission condition for any franchise required that channels be set aside for   local community access. The Newark schools requested access to operate on the Educational Access Channel.
    Further, the Ohio ETV Network Commission began the construction of several UHF “translator” stations to provide coverage of areas lacking service from one of the seven OEB stations. Newark would qualify for translator service, once WGSF ceased broadcasting. Negotiations between the City of Newark, The Newark City Schools, and The State of Ohio resulted in the lease of the building and trasmitting tower on Horn’s Hill to Ohio Educational Bradcasting .
    WGSF signed off for the final time on June 30, 1976. On July 1st, the new “translator” equipment automatically turned on, rebroadcasting WOSU-TV , still on Channel 31, but with no local input.


Leland Hubbell and  WGSF secretary Ellen Wolfe remained with the Newark City Schools.
Ellen worked in the Administrative Service Center until her retirement.
Janice Greider (Director of Audio/Visual services)  arranged for Leland Hubbell to move some of the equipment to the Newark High School Campus, in a small room in ‘E’ building. Instructional TV program services continued, first by tape recorders moved from room to room, and later by closed Circuit TV.
    The TV Center had the 2-inch B & W helicals from WGSF,  plus 1/2 inch reel-to-reel and 3/4 inch U-Matic cassettes. Instructional programs were recorded on the cassette format. As newer 1/2 inch  video cassette systems became available,  the VHS video tape format was adopted over Beta, which proved to be a wise move.
    The Newark CATV company extended a cable to Newark High school in 1977, and broadcasts began on Channel 20. Operation was changed to Channel 19 because of reception problems in some parts of town. It was at this time that Leland Hubbell started calling the facility the “TV Center.” The name was adopted.
    The schools were gradually wired to provide access to both the CATV programming, and the locally prograammed Newark Schools Channel 19. There were still no video recorders in the classroom,  and WOSU-TV broadcasts did not always correspond to the class schedule. Channel 19’s services were used extensively. Additional closed circuit channels were added at the High School.
As the service grew, Student Aides, were utilized to help move equipment, and make recordings and playbacks. The TV Center was moved to a room in ‘B’ Building that had at one time housed the district Audio/Visual Center. No space was available for a studio. Television production classes were made possible only by moving a mobile cart to the lobby of the auditorium, setting up the equipment, and taking everything down again, all for a forty-five minute class. The TV 19 staff consisted of Leland Hubbell, and an aide, Karen Williams, who prepared the daily ITV schedule, made recording and playbacks.
    Broadcasts consisted of the weekly “Schools In Action” program, which included the monthly “Citizen of the Month” luncheon. Coverage of the ‘recognition’ portion of the Board of Education meetings eventually expanded into monthly coverage of the entire Board meeting in the mid 1980’s.
    The location of the TV Center was once again changed, this time to ‘D’ building. Room for a small studio, and audio production booth, control room and editing suite resulted in the best facility for Newark Schools television since its inception in the 1963.
    Television production classes resumed after an absence of several years. Other schools in the district were invited to participate. Guest anchors for “Schools In Action” came from the high school, the three middle schools, and from a fifth grade class at John Clem Elementary.
    All regular teaching stations in the schools had  CCTV cable outlets , but did not have enough TV sets to make simultaneous broadcasts possible. Whittle Communications made the “Channel One” daily news broadcasts available to middle and high school students, offering to place a television in every classroom. Much debated, the Newark City Schools contracted to receive the satellite-based service, and the schools finally achieved the long sought goal of a television receiver in every teaching station.
    Each Channel One “Box” had a local origination input. The middle schools acquired minimal equipment for local origination. Leland Hubbell trained teachers and students to utilize the system. The schools began to broadcast  the daily school announcements via television.  The High School was the last to acquire the Channel One equipment. The television production class at first broadcast “live” from the TV Center. Later, the announcements were pre-taped.
    The high school included facilities to back-feed signals from several locations, including the auditorium, the gymnasium, and some classrooms. Many programs were aired live, but especially any Newark High Commencement held in the gymnasium. Although Board of Education meetings were seldom broadcast live,” facilities for such  broadcasts existed.