45 Boston Alumni Join In Fight for TV Station
Group Would Offer Cultural Programs
Forty-five Harvard alumni have joined with some 40 other prominent Boston citizens in order to gain control of the still-unassigned Channel Five and give the city some worthwhile commercial television.
Massachusetts Bay Telecasters, Inc., an independent group including several University Faculty members and such well-known Bostonians as Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the Pops Symphony, Dom DiMaggio, Red Sox outfielder, and novelist John P. Marquand '15, is competing with five other applicants for Channel Five, the last of the city's three commercial channels.
The Federal Communications Commission will decide who gets the channel after it holds public hearings on the subject. The hearings are expected to begin in Boston in approximately a month.
Although shareholders in Massachusetts Bay Telecasters are interested in running a television station as a profit-making venture, they intend also to give Channel Five a greater regard for art, culture, and education than is shown by Boston's present two channels. "Commercial stations have not devoted much intelligence or effort to offering educational programs," said Henry M. Hart, Jr. '26, professor of Law and a director of M.B.T., "but our group thinks it can be done."
DiMaggio too, says that an improved television channel is needed in the city. "I am thoroughly convinced that TV in Boston now is very backward," he stated last night.
The educational program of Channel Five, which will probably be WMBT-TV if Massachusetts Bay Telecasters gets control of it, will include daily-half-hour programs in a "Tele-College" series. These programs would be classroom courses designed for both high school students and persons working toward university extension degrees.
Other shareholders in the telecasting corporation who are closely associated with Harvard are Arthur K. Solomon, assistant professor of Physiological Chemistry, and Mrs. Felicia L. Kaplan, wife of Benjamin Kaplan '26, professor of Law. Phillip H. Rhinelander '29, lecturer on Philosophy and General Education, was also a member of the group, but dropped out because of ill health.
The University came a step closer to television participation in another direction when Channel Two, the non-commercial educational TV station which will go on the air next autumn, acquired space for its studies.
The new channel, which will operate under the call letters WGBH-TV, is the television affiliate of WGBH, the educational radio station partly supported by the University. The station's new studios will be in a building on the M.I.T. campus