Call Sign Trivia

I found this youtube video about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania radio stations:

That’s cool and all that, but it brings up the question about the K/W calls which were misplaced during the early days of broadcasting.  Originally, call letters were assigned to ships and coastal radio stations in the following way:

Three letter call signs were for coastal (land) stations.  K letter calls were for shore stations in the west and W letter calls were for shore stations east.  Ships were assigned four letter calls, W calls signs issued to ships homeported on the west coast and K calls for ships homeported on the east coast.  There was a period of time that a few K call letters were issued to east coast broadcasting stations, no one is quite sure why.  Prior to 1923, the K/W boundary was not the Mississippi River, but the eastern border of the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.  Thus, there are many more misplaced W call signs than K call signs.

Of course, KDKA and KQV come to mind. Philadelphia has KYW. What other misplaced call signs are there, e.g. W’s west of the Mississippi and K’s to the east?  Of course, one can google it and get an answer, however there is one that is pretty obscure.

4 thoughts on “Call Sign Trivia”

  1. Reading thru the collection of articles covering the history and accounts of WCC, KPH, WSC, KFS,and several others brought back refreshing memories, having been a shipboard operator from 1960 to 1990…and naturally having worked all of the above stations from all over the world. Of course, we all know WCC was the top signal kingpin…! The real purpose of this note is curiosity of why there is not a single mention of one small RCA station in NYC – WNY. WNY was just a tiny station near the top floor, with a midget-sized radio-room, whose signal could barely be heard one day out of NY harbor. WNY operated 500kcs/482kcs and 6mc point to point with WCC. I could not find a single article concerning WNY anywhere, conducting many online searches…! I worked for a short time at WNY in 1955. Where might there be anything on WNY past history…??

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