NBC Studios At Merchandise Mart

222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza Chicago

City of Writers/NBC Studios At Merchandise Mart
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​NBC produced their shows from the 19th floor of the Merchandise Mart, where many shows and stages hosted their broadcast during the 1940's and '50's (Studs Terkel and other performers from "Stud's Place" worked here). Aired nationally, these shows represented the "Chicago School of Television," an informal, spontaneous approach to entertainment. NBC Tower is now located at 455 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611.

NBC Studios had its eyes set on a location within the Merchandise Mart before the establishment had even been built. Once it opened, on October 20th, 1930, the nineteenth floor was host to a variety of live broadcasts throughout its 65,000 square feet, providing even enough room for live orchestras. By 1935, the office space expanded, adding another 11,500 square feet from what was an unoccupied tower, creating room for an organ chamber, a couple of echo rooms, and a new total of 11 studios. Between the 300-person staff, nearly 1,700 programs were produced on a monthly basis. One of NBC’s stations, WNBQ, debuted​ its television broadcast of two hours of programming a day on Chicago's channel 5, beginning on January 7th, 1949.

When NBC Tower completed construction of its building in 1989, many stations and offices moved to that new location, 454 N Columbus Drive, also listed as 455 Cityfront Plaza, just at the north end of Chicago’s downtown Magnificent Mile. Now, the nineteenth floor of the Merchandise Mart is mostly office space, though some of the original studios are maintained to this day. 

City of Writers

NBC Studios At Merchandise Mart

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