WSAZ - Station History


WSAZ Television celebrated 60 years of broadcasting to West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio in 2009. The station went on the air October 14, 1949.

This online history of the region's longest-serving TV station will hopefully jog your memory and take you back to the early days of television. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you, our viewers, for so long.

History Information | Main Menu

WSAZ History - Story of WSAZ WSAZ History - The Decades
WSAZ History - 60 Moments in History WSAZ History - Where Are They Now?
WSAZ History - Station Relics


Brief Station History

Our story began October 1949 in Huntington, WV, when radio was king and television was the new kid on the block. WSAZ broadcasted its first programming, a test pattern and signal tone, to about 14 set distributors and a few individual owners. Television had hit the river city.

Originally found on Channel 5, WSAZ's first lineup was all local programming, including song and dance acts from local residents. Shows like Kukla, Fran and Ollie and Godfrey and Friends were later added. In 1950, the station applied for network feeds from Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, to give set owners live programming. The number of local television set owners grew beyond 4,000.

The world's largest and most powerful transmitter license was granted to WSAZ in 1952. The station had to be more powerful in order to reach viewers living in the hills and hollows throughout the region. The power boost moved the signal to Channel 3, where it has remained up until the digital conversion in February 2009. There were reports that the station's signal could be received in Cuba and Canada.

The station began broadcasting news as programming in 1951. For the first time, the station was no longer all entertainment, but was also informing the viewers of local and national news. Then, WSAZ pioneered the concept of a two-city newscast -- with one anchor in Huntington and the other in Charleston. The director would cut back between each feed. This is still used today, but to a greater capacity with a custom newscast only for Kanawha Valley viewers.

Since the station first signed-on, WSAZ has dominated the Huntington-Charleston television market. The news department has been long credited with its regional approach to covering all of the region -- in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

Today, WSAZ is still the most powerful broadcaster in the region, broadcasting a digital signal on channel 23 and providing high definition programming to local viewers from NBC. Our dedication to the Kanawha Valley is seen with our one-of-a-kind split news broadcasting in Charleston. This hyper-local newscast is available over the air on channel 16 and to Suddenlink Cable system subscribers.

More Station History

Share your memories of WSAZ with us
See the original feature we posted of "Where Are They Now?"

Other History Links

Follow Marshall University Libraries' "50 Years Ago Today" Video Feature
The State of WV's Collection of WSAZ archives
Complete history of broadcasting in West Virginia
WSAZ News Opens & Clips
Behind the Scenes Photos from Former Employee, Tim Miller

WSAZ.com Sponsor Sections & Links

Find the Tri-State’s CW on your cable system.
Download the WSAZ First Warning Weather App to your iOS or Android devices. It's FREE, sponsored by St Mary's Medical Center.
West Virginia Lottery nightly @ 6:59pm on WSAZ click here for numbers and drawings
Check out the WV Lottery HD Weather Cameras here. Watch the Lottery Live Monday - Saturday @ 6:59pm on WSAZ NewsChannel 3.
Ohio Lottery
Watch the Ohio Lottery Drawings weeknights @ 7:29pm and Cash Explosion Saturday @ 7:30pm on WSAZ NewsChannel 3.
SOMC-Very good things are happening here
Click here to view the LIVE Ashland Kentucky or Portsmouth Ohio weather cameras sponsored by SOMC
Making Moms LIfe Easier
Tips, tricks and stories about making Moms Life Easier from local sources and across the country.
WSAZ Children's Charitable Foundation
WSAZ Children's Charities. Click here for more information and to donate. Thank you.
Sign up to receive occasional e-mails from WSAZ Trusted Partners.
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
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