The Strange Saga of Channel 37

Back in the days of analog television, channel 44 existed. In the San Francisco Bay Are that channel showed Robotech in syndication, so it was essential. And channel 54 broadcast a public television station from San Jose that showed new episodes of classic Doctor Who at 11:15 pm on Saturday nights, and channel 36 broadcast Chinese movies and soap operas all day and all night. But there was no channel 37. Mostly because of extra-terrestrial signals beamed from the center of the Milky Way. Here’s more from MOTHERBOARD:

The University of Illinois, wanting to protect its radio telescope investment, went to the FCC basically immediately after the ITU meeting. In 1960, it asked that channel 37 be allocated to radio telescopes exclusively.

As McVittie recalled, fellow scientists considered the push to block out an entire television channel a big ask:

Most of our radio astronomy friends said, “Look here, you two, Swenson and McVittie, you are just crazy. Do you mean to say you are asking the American public to give up one television channel for science? Who ever heard of anything so absurd?” So we said, “Well, the channel isn’t being used.” “Yes, that’s true, it’s not being used very much but it is being used in the neighborhood of New York, and places like that.” So I said, “We’re not in the neighborhood of New York.” Anyway, we got laughed at.

See and learn more!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

1 Comment

  1. In the early 1980s NY suburbia we had WNEW Channel 5 that had all the interesting independent shows. They were then bought by Murdoch in 1986 and became Fox affiliate WNYW. We also had Connecticut Public TV station WEDW Channel 49 out of Bridgeport, CT that carried Dr. Who and other good geek fare.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.