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WCBS was first licensed on August 19, 1926 as a portable broadcasting station assigned to Harold L. Dewing and Charles Messter, of Providence, Rhode Island.

Portable stations could be transported from place-to-place on movable platforms such as trucks. They were commonly hired out for a few weeks at a time to theaters located in small towns that didn't have their own radio stations, to be used for special programs broadcast to the local community.

Regulating "moving targets" proved difficult, so in May 1928 the Federal Radio Commission announced it was ending the licensing of portable facilities. This was the second portable station licensed to Messter, joining WCBR, first licensed in 1924. WCBS career as a portable was brief. After finding limited prospects in New England, Harold Dewing set out for the midwest. He moved the station to Springfield, Illinois in late 1926, where it gave a debut broadcast from the Lyric Theater on December 10, and Springfield, became the station's permanent home. 1



Providence Journal
August 21, 1926


Providence Journal
August 23, 1926


In 1928, the license for WCBS, now in Springfield, Illinois is renewed.

Providence Journal September 2, 1928


Harold Dewing, center, and Charles Messter, right,
talk with Carlin Baker in 1959. Baker, WCBSs first employee.
Curtesy of Radio beginnings in Springfield