The NBC Chimes Museum
A Celebration Of Old–Time Radio’s Most Famous Signature

correspondence regarding the fourth chime

All spellings, line breaks, and formatting are reproduced as closely as possible to match those of the original paper documents.
Links to PDF scans of photocopies from the Library of Congress NBC Chimes files are now available after each letter.

To: Mr John R Carey and Mr Patrick Kelly
From: Wm Burke Miller
Date:April 7 1933
Subject: Emergency Call System

In anticipation of the Spring and Summer months, when many in key
positions will not always be available at home telephones, the
following Emergency Call System will go into effect on Monday
morning, April 16th:

1. Whenever a fourth tone is heard on the network chimes rung at
fifteen-minute intervals, it will indicate that someone on the at-
tached list is wanted.

2. Upon hearing the fourth chime, all on the Emergency List will
please communicate with the PBX by telephone to ascertain whether
or not the Emergency Call is for them.

3. The four chimes will be continued at fifteen-minute intervals,
on WEAF and WJZ, until the person desired has communicated with
the PBX.

4. The request for Emergency Chimes always will originate with
the PBX operator, who will call the office of the Studio Manager
(Mr Kelly in the daytime - Mr Jewett at night). The PBX operator
will notify the ofice of the Studio Manager to sound the Emergency
Chimes only after having failed to reach the person desired through
regular telephone channels.

5. As soon as the person wanted has communicated with the PBX, it
is the duty of the operator to notify the Studio Manager to dis-
continue the Emergency Chimes.

6. To avoid confusion: - regular chimes consist of three tones.
The Emergency Chimes will consist of four tones.

7. List of executives and staff personnel to whom Emergency Chimes
will be directed as of April 16th is attached.

                              (signed) Wm Burke Miller



		John F Royal
		John W Elwood
		Frank Mason
		J de Jara Almonte

		O B Hanson
		George McElrath
		George Milne
		M Jacobson
		W R Brown
		W A R Brown

		G W Johnstone
		Wayne Randall
		Herbert Devins
		Richard Anderson

		Phillips Carlin
		Bertha Brainard
		Curt Peterson
		Frank Black
		Walter Preston
		Wm Burke Miller

		R W Holmes
		Marley R Sherris

		John R Carey

Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

CANADIAN MARCONI COMPANY (LIMITED LIABILITY) MONTREAL September 2nd, 1938. Mr. Keith Kiggins, Manager, Station Relations, National Broadcasting Co., Radio City, New York, N.Y. Dear Keith:- In a recent issue of "Motion Picture Daily" there is a news item to the effect that when four chimes, instead of the customary three, are rung on the networks, that this is a prearranged signal to all NBC crews that something of much importance has happened, necessitating their contacting Headquarters immediately. Will you please advise us if there is any truth in this statement. Yours very truly Canadian MARCONI Company, (sig.) V. F. Nielsen MANAGER, STATION "CFCF" and Short-Wave "CFCX" VFN dd
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

September 8, 1938 Mr. V. F. Nielsen, Station CFCF, Montreal, Canada Dear Mr. Nielsen, In reply to your letter of September 2, referring to the fourth chime note as a prearranged signal, this procedure was used some years ago. At that time, we used manual chimes and the announcer would be instructed to repeat the low note after he had rung his regular first three notes. Before ringing this fourth note, the announcer cut his network channel so that the fourth note was only heard over WEAF or WJZ here in New York. Since that time, however, every department of the company is covered for almost complete twenty-four hours a day, and I do not recall any necessity for using this signal during the past four years, though no order eliminating its use has ever been issued. Yours sincerely, Patrick J. Kelly, Supervisor of Announcers
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter