Midlands ITV Station ready for Friday’s opening
THE GUARDIAN, FEBRUARY 14th 1956
The new Independent Television Authority Midlands station, which was officially show to the press to-day, turns out to be as discreet and tasteful as anything that the B.B.C has ever constructed for use.
The station building is plain, modern, and workaday, and although the tower is 450ft high and can be seen for miles around it is not ornamented by pictures of either Liberace or Val Parnell, and even the adverts for soap powder have been resisted. It has all been built at a cost of about £300.000 in seven hurried months.
All through this first open day there was but a single flourish of vanity – or perhaps it was advertising technique. This was the pedestal in the middle of the room and from it the I.T.A officials, with the enthusiasm of Hyde Park curators or very polite statues, told us how well the work had been done or how powerful “More powerful than anything the B.B.C has” – their new transmitting station was.
General D.A.L. Wade, Superintendent Engineer, general services, stood on this elevation first to tell us ‘what the form was’ and to apologise for the absence of ‘coat hangers and a proper car park’. He omitted to tell us that some of the paint was not quite dry, then Mr P.A.T Bevan, the Chief Engineer, gave us a few facts and figures, and told how exciting life on this bleak farmland was with only four days to go before the Midland programmes are switched on.
He said that at the present test signals at approx 60kw were being transmitted, but in a few months time the higher-power version and sound transmitters ‘would be brought into operation’. These would give an effective radiated power of up to 200kw, and would make it the highest-powered television transmission station in the country.
“It will also be one of the highest powered Band III stations in the world.” Power was not the only thing that Mr Bevan gloried in. He was very proud of the new building itself. It ‘graced the hilltop’ so he said, and less than seven months before ‘the rather elegant court floor’ on which he stood had been a mass of rubble.
In spite of the power of the new transmitter there will be very little overlap with other I.T.A regions in the ‘fringe areas’. “We do not want that anyway” Mr Bevan commented, “Reports of reception 200 miles away are all right as stories for the newspapers, but they are rather a nuisance to us in this country where we have to share channels.”
The Guardian, special correspondent Staffordshire, 1956