Yesterday at lunch, the question of Channel One came up. That is, why is there no TV channel 1 in the US? I thought it was because anyone running a channel 1 would have an unfair marketing advantage over other channels. I also thought that was why FM stations in the US always have an odd tenths digit (101.7, etc), so that no station would be 101.0, for example.
I was wrong: Snopes’ What Happened To Channel 1? not only explains it was a simple matter of reallocating bandwidth that cost TV its channel 1, but explicitly discusses my answer as a canard tossed around by people who don’t know what they are talking about! Please subscribe me to Jackass Magazine.
The FM allocation theory also seems to be wrong, though not explicitly refuted. The FM station allocation plan spaces them 200 kHz apart, with nominal frequencies placed in the center of the range, leading to station frequencies of 101.1, 101.3, and so on.
Another untruth about FM: I had long thought that FM was developed as an alternative to AM in a contest open to the public, and that an amateur had come up with the breakthrough. Not true: Edwin Armstrong was far from an amateur, and unfortunately, the development of FM radio was one of those tragic stories ending in the despairing death of its inventor.
So I had been harboring misconceptions about channels and stations all of these years, confident that they were the right answers. What else am I lugging around that’s false?
BTW: The switchover to all-digital TV will happen in the US next February, and I guess will release all of that TV bandwidth back into the pool.