North Carolina-First TV Station-October 3

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-October 3

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Last week I wrote about North Carolina’s first newspaper today I want to profile North Carolina’s first TV station.

WBTV out of Charlotte, NC aired its first program on July 15, 1949, but the Greensboro-based WFMY-TV soon followed with its first broadcast in the months to come. Despite the competition between the two stations they both were owned by Jefferson Pilot which at the time was called Jefferson Standard.


WBTV was the first television station to videotape episodes, to mount and operate a live camera in a NASCAR race car, and the first to use closed captioning during evening news programs.


A full two weeks before sign-on, WBTV ran a test pattern from 12 noon to 7 p.m. daily. People crowded around the central figure of the test pattern — an Indian head — for hours. Occasionally, technical interference would cause the pattern to jiggle, and people would exclaim: “It moved! I saw it move!”

The first statement aired by WBTV was by an announcer who finished a short broadcast with: “Now we present test pattern and tone for set adjustment.”

WBTV aired its first live program on September 30, 1950. The program was a football game between Notre Dame and UNC Chapel Hill form South Bend. IN.

On October 14, 1951, WBTV, along with WFMY-TV of Greensboro, broadcast the state’s first national football game between the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns. Despite poor television quality, North Carolinians across the state tuned in to watch the game. That broadcast and many others are a reason why many North Carolinians today still are Washington fans when it comes to NFL Games.


Nice blog post from 1982 on WBTV at link below:






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