Chronology of WBTV - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Chronology of WBTV

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WBTV Chronology

FEBRUARY 1947

Jefferson Standard Broadcasting buys land on top of Spencer Mountain in Gaston County to serve as the transmitter site for WBT-FM radio.  WBT General Manager Charles H. Crutchfield also eyes Spencer Mountain as the site for a possible television transmitter he is persuading company President Joseph M. Bryan to look into.

DECEMBER 2, 1947

Jefferson Standard files an application with the FCC for a television station to be called WBT-TV.

FEBRUARY 2, 1948

General Manager Charles H. Crutchfield was notified that the FCC had granted WBT a permit to construct a television station.  (Construction of WBT-TV was delayed quite a few months due to the flurry of TV stations going on-the-air in larger U.S. cities.  The equipment manufactures gave priority to the bigger cities.)  At this time, there were only 12 television stations on the air in the United States, four of the being in New York City.

APRIL 20, 1949

The Charlotte News headlines its editorial page with the title, "And Now Television."  The article tells Charlotteans television would be on the air before August.

MAY 20, 1949

The FCC informs WBT-TV's Chief Engineer M.J. Minor, that permission is granted to WBT to change the name of its telestation from WBT-TV to WBTV.

JUNE 6, 1949

Jefferson Standard announces WBTV will begin carrying scheduled programs on July 15, 1949.

JULY 1, 1949

WBTV begins consistently running test patterns from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm.  Reception reports were received from cities as far away as 150 miles.  The test pattern is occasionally interrupted by the latest telenews and weather reports.

JULY 14, 1949

WBTV, the Charlotte Radio Appliance Association, the Charlotte News and The Charlotte Observer host a TV preview gathering at the Charlotte Armory for anyone interested in seeing the new thing called "television".  Thousands of potential viewers pack into the Armory, "from the pin-striped to the barefooted", to see demonstrations of various TV sets.  (The event lasts three days.)

JULY 15, 1949

At high noon, viewers saw the picture of the American flag on the screen and heard the "Star Spangled Banner."  Moments later viewers heard the first voice on television in the Carolinas', that of Jim Patterson signing on to WBTV and announcing the evenings programming.

WBTV's first programs aired that night.  After WBTV Telenews at 7:00 pm, the network program "The Cliff Edwards Show" was on at 7:15 pm, at 7:30 pm Robert Ripley's "Believe it or Not" was broadcast, featuring the Charlotte Rotary Boys Choir.  At 8:00 pm the "54th Street Review" was broadcast.  Then at 9:00 pm a motion picture titled, "A Star is Born", was broadcast.  It starred Frederic March and Janet Gaynor.

JULY 1949 - SEPTEMBER 1950

During the first year of operation, WBTV ran a test pattern with news and weather announcements from 12:00 noon to 6:30 pm.  Filmed programs ran from 6:30 pm to sign-off.  Programming included "Kukla, Fran and Ollie", "The Arthur Godfrey Show", "Perry Como"," Fred Waring", and "Hopalong Cassidy".

When WBTV signed on the air there were an estimated 1,000 television sets in the area.  By August 1, 1949, there are already 2,000 sets in Carolina households.  And by the end of 1949 the number had risen to 8,500 television sets.

JUNE 26 & 28, 1950

Telegrams arrive from CBS and NBC informing WBTV would soon be getting LIVE programs via a coaxial cable coming from Washington DC.

AUGUST 7, 1950

There are now 19,210 television sets in the WBTV viewing area.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1950

After the installation of a coaxial cable from AT & T, WBTV carries its first Live network program.  It is the North Carolina - Notre Dame football game from South Bend, Indiana.  Notre Dame won 14 to 7.

FEBRUARY 2, 1951

WBTV carried the Live telecast via coaxial cable of General Eisenhower's report in the state of the Atlantic Pact nation's defenses.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1951

Transcontinental television was inaugurated with President Truman's address to the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1951

WBTV begins local live television programming from a converted radio studio in the Wilder Building.  The first show is emceed by Jim Patterson and includes the President of Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Company, Mr. Joseph M. Bryan, Charlotte mayor Victor Shaw, and Dr. George Heaton of Myers Park Baptist Church.  Viewers also saw for the first time on Carolina television the personalities they had heard so often, and for so long, on WBT Radio.

NOVEMER 9, 1951

The first Carolinas edition of "TV Guide" appears at newsstands.  Also this month, WBTV and area TV set dealers hold a contest for the 100,000th television set purchased in the coverage area.

DECEMBER 6, 1951

WBTV's parent company begins "The Jefferson Standard Foundation" to add financial support to many area community organizations.

MARCH 18, 1952

WBTV premieres the station's new $75,000 mobile television truck at the N.C. Republican convention, held in Charlotte.  The truck carries three cameras, monitor and replay equipment, cables, lighting and spare parts.  The signal is bounced to the top of the Wilder Building, then to the transmitter tower on Spencer Mountain.

MAY 20, 1952

A special demonstration of WBTV's mobile television truck is conducted in Greenville. SC.  It marks the first live demonstration of TV in Greenville and in the state of South Carolina.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1951

Charlotte is ranked as the seventh largest single-station market in the United States.

SEPTEMBER 1952

Doug Mayes begins WBTV's first regularly scheduled news programs as "The Esso Reporter" a ten minute newscast airing at 6:30 pm Monday - Friday.  (He was one of the main news anchors on WBTV till he stepped down from the anchor desk in late 1974.  He then continued filing stories.)

DECEMBER 3, 1952

WBTV conducts a Southeastern television conference for TV industry people to learn how to create and manage a television station.  The conference will last two days.

MARCH 3, 1953

WBTV increases power to 50,000 watts.

JUNE 5, 1953

WBTV increases power to the maximum allowed for channel 3 on the VHF dial - 100,000 watts.  WBTV is only the second television station in the United States to have the antenna setup required for this increase.

JANUARY 25, 1954

Jefferson Standard Broadcasting breaks ground at a site located west of downtown Charlotte to build a new broadcast home for WBTV and WBT.  The stations will move from the Wilder Building to a hilltop on West Morehead Street.

APRIL 16, 1954

WBTV announces that it will begin transmissions of color test patterns in May of this year.

MAY 10, 1954

WBTV begins transmitting color test patterns, the first television station in the southeastern United States to do so.

May 18, 1954

WBTV carries President Eisenhower's address from Freedom Park in Charlotte commemorating the 179th anniversary of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  (Three cameras were used for the telecast.  It was fed to other TV stations on the air in the Carolinas region.)

AUGUST 22, 1954

WBTV begins airing color slides for the first time.

AUGUST 25, 1954

WBTV airs the first Live network Color program.  Also this month, "Boy Scout Ben" premiers as a voice of conservation of natural resources in a major WBTV/WBT public service campaign.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1954

Television sets in the WBTV viewing area now stand at 415,313.

OCTOBER 18, 1954

WBTW in Florence, SC signs on as a sister station to WBTV.

DECEMBER 19, 1954

WBTV launches the first "telethon" in the Carolinas.  It is for The United Appeal fund.

APRIL 13, 1955

WBTV's new building is dedicated on the birthday of Thomas Jefferson.  It is the first building in the USA specifically built for color telecasting.  This is the highlight of "Fulfillment Week", a week-long celebration if the move to a new building for WBTV.  Tours of the new building also begin this week.

DECEMBER 21, 1955

WBTV presents the first local Live Color program.  Dr. George Heaton of Myers Park Baptist Church has the program.

MAY 1, 1956

WBTV begins televising its first regularly scheduled local live color program.  It is called "Spectrum" and hosted by Jim Patterson and Barbara Bender.

JUNE 25, 1956

WBTV is allowed by the FCC - the first time ever - to film and then televise FCC court proceedings on the application for a license for another charlotte television station to start on Channel 9.  Phil Agresta, Nelson Benton and Earl Wells are in charge of the broadcast.

MARCH 3, 1958

WBTV does it first remote telecast from the Charlotte Coliseum, (now Bojangles' Coliseum) for the NCAA Eastern Regional basketball game.

SEPTEMBER 5, 1958

WBTV becomes the first television station in the World to record and rebroadcast programs on color video tape.  The first program, "The Betty Feezor Show."

SEPTEMBER 21, 1958

WBTV originates the broadcasts of "The Billy Graham Crusade" from the Charlotte Coliseum (now Bojangles' Coliseum).  Charles Crutchfield is credited with giving the idea to Billy Graham to "televise" his crusades to reach a wider audience.

JANUARY 5, 1959

WBTV begins a reading program to aid Carolinians who cannot read or write.

FEBRUARY 3, 1959

WBTV originates Edward R. Murrow's interview with Charlottean Harry Golden for the CBS Network program, "Person to Person."

MARCH 3, 1959

WBTV originates for ABC TV Network the "Circus Spectacular" featuring Ernie Kovacs and the entire Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus from the Charlotte Coliseum (now Bojangles' Coliseum).

WBTV also originates another CBS "Person to Person" program with Edward R. Murrow and former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes.

APRIL 1959

WBTV announces a microwave system joining WBTV to sister station WBTW in Florence, SC had been completed.

MAY 13, 1959

WBTV acquires a second and more advanced video tape recorder.  It is the first production model of this newer recorder.  It was completely installed and ready for on-air use in just 2 hours and 56 minutes.

JANUARY 27, 1960

WBTV forms "Spearhead", a local television series consisting of ideological and philosophical programs.  The first program features open heart surgery.  The first time television cameras were allowed in operating rooms.  It aired on February 4, 1960.

Also in the early 1960s

WBTV News in a partnership with First Union Bank becomes the first television station in the United States to develop computerized election returns projections.  (The First Union computer was one of the first giant computers in Charlotte.)

1961

WBTV begins first use, on a regular basis, of helicopter-supported news coverage.

MARCH 18, 1963

WBTV begins daily editorials.

APRIL 27, 1963

WBTV televises a "Star Salute" from the NC Trade Fair honoring North Carolinians who have gained national prominence.  Among those present are Andy Griffith, Edward R. Murrow, Shepherd Strudwock, John Scott Trotter, Norman Cordon, Anne Jeffreys, David Brinkley, Sydney Blackmer and Governor Terry Sanford.

JULY 1, 1963

WBTV begins news at noon with "The Noon Report" hosted by Don Robertson and Pat Lee.

JULY 4, 1963

WBTV announces the formation of Jefferson Productions, a division of the Broadcasting Company to specialize in commercial production and program syndication.  (Jefferson Production was later renamed Jefferson-Pilot Teleproductions and in 1990 names Jefferson Pilot Sports and Entertainment.)

AUGUST 3, 1963

By a freak atmosphere accident WBTV is received on Channel 3 in a town named Arthur, located in...North Dakota.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1963

WBTV expands "the Early Report" at 6:00 pm to a full 30 minutes.  Followed by "The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" at 6:30pm.

JANUARY 1964

An addition to the WBTV studio and building is completed adding 7,500 square feet to the building.  The added space houses Jefferson Productions and expands the WBTV, WBT offices.

Final Nielsen ratings for the year of 1963 show WBTV programming winning a majority of viewers in 18 of 20 times slots.  Ranked in order from number one are the shows:  "The Beverly Hillbillies", "The Arthur Smith Show", "Petticoat Junction", "Rawhide", and "Perry Mason".

JULY 10, 1964

At this time of this year there are 1,004,400 television sets in the Charlotte market.  Mathematically speaking, from December 1949 to July 1964 there have been 188 homes a DAY getting a television set.  Mecklenburg County alone has 76,100 TV sets.

DECEMBER 12, 1964

WBTV's owner Jefferson Standard begins the underwriting of a series of lectures for area high school students to inspire them to higher achievements.  The Jefferson Standard Convocation program brings nationally known speakers to Charlotte.

FEBRUARY 9, 1965

WBTV begins an undated series based on the original "Spearhead" show.  It is called "The Spearhead Group" and is hosted by Alan Newcomb.

MARCH 1965

Ratings come out for various local programs on WBTV.  "The Betty Feezor Show" each weekday afternoon at 1:00pm is the third watched woman's show in the United States.  Only women's shows in Chicago and Cincinnati have more viewers.  In the 7:00am hour weekday mornings,  Arthur Smith's "Carolina Calling" program tops all shows in viewers airing at that time in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Washington, Seattle, Baltimore and others.  When children's programs aren't considered, "Carolina Calling" is the 9th rated show in the USA for that time period.  In the evening, WBTV's 6:00pm "Early News" attracts more audience than 53 of the 81 local early evening news programs aired in the top 25 markets.  The Charlotte television market is ranked 22nd in the United States.

SEPTEMBER 1965

Company President Charles Crutchfield is named Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on "American Values".  A project which he founded with the purpose to create and support a positive program among broadcasters to overcome the increasing spiritual and moral decay in the country.  The N A B adopts "American Values" as a nationwide project.

DECEMBER 15, 1965

WBTV underwrites the cost of the trip for the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte to sing at the National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House, at the invitation of President Johnson.

FEBRUARY 2, 1966

WBTV welcomes CBS newsman Eric Sevareid to Charlotte as guest on "The Spearhead Group".

JUNE 6, 1966

WBTV announces development of a sister company, Jefferson-Carolina Corporation, a major community antenna television company.  It will bring "cable" television to the Carolinas.

NOVEMBER 1966

A two million dollar expansion program to the WBTV/WBT building is completed.

Also in 1966

WBTV News makes the switch to color news film.

JANUARY 16, 1967

By this time all local live programs are presented in color on WBTV.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1967

WBTV forms its "Creative Services Group" to operate as part of the Programming Department in cooperation with the Sales Department.

OCTOBER 17, 1967

WBTW in Florence, SC is sold.  The FCC prohibits the stations' "Grade B" signals to overlap. WBTV/WBTW could have been "grandfathered" into the FCC law but would be restricted in improving the signal coverage of either station because of the overlap.

NOVEMBER 27, 1968

WBTV's parents company buys WRVA-TV in Richmond, VA.  It is renamed WWBT on November 28, 1968.  (WRVA-TV signed on April 29, 1956.)

JULY 15, 1969

Charlotte Mayor John Belk proclaims this day as "WBTV Day" in honor of twenty years of community service to the people of Charlotte.

DECEMBER 1969

WBTV's parent company forms Jefferson Data Systems.  It will provide computerized business services to radio and television stations.  It will also later develop the first totally computerized newsroom in the World for WBTV.

JANUARY 1970

WBTV and WBT Radio host the inaugural "Blood Give-In" at the stations' studios at One Julian Price Place.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1970

WBTV News in the evening expands to an hour long program from 5:30 to 6:30om.  The first television station in the Carolinas, and among the first few in the southeastern United States to do so.  Moving to 6 to 7pm a year later.

"The Carolina Camera" premieres on WBTV News.  It is hosted by C.J. Underwood.

NOVEMBER 6, 1970

WBTV begins a letter writing campaign to help free American prisoners-of-war in North Vietnam the project is called "Write Hanoi".  During the month of the letter writing campaign WBTV received 372,000 letters from viewers in the Carolinas.

AUGUST 3, 1973

The FCC denies a request by WBTV to increase the antenna height and move its transmitter to a site near Denver, NC.

AUGUST 1971

WBTV begins the all-day "Boys Town Auction".  WBTV and WBT personalities auction thousands of dollars of donated merchandise to Carolina viewers.  Boys Town of NC is a child care institution open to boys ages eight to sixteen.

JULY 3, 1973

WBTV presents a patriotic musical "Our Country Tis of Thee" with Ty Boyd, Pat Lee and Clara Lowry.

FEBRUARY 20, 1974

WBTV begins the popular feature called "On The Square".  Hosted by Doug Mayes, viewers would meet Doug and tell him their opinion on various issues for later broadcast on the nightly news.

MAY 27, 1974

WBTV begins a monumental public service campaign focusing on Deafness.  Locally originated programming this week is "signed" for the deaf.  Many are devoted to examining the lives of hearing-impaired Carolinians.

MAY 20, 1975

The band shell at Freedom Park in Charlotte is dedicated to former WBTV/WBT personality and public affairs director, Alan Newcomb.  It is called "The Alan Newcomb Memorial Park Shell."

1975

WBTV inaugurates regular LIVE field news coverage with a fully portable microwave and relay point on the NCNB tower in downtown Charlotte.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1976

WBTV begins a new midmorning local live program called "Together."

MARCH 14, 1977

WBTV premieres "Top O' the Day" hosted by Clyde McLean with segments by Vivian Harris, Ty Boyd, C.J. Underwood, Mike McKay, Lou Heckler, Clara Lowry, Dick Taylor and Jim Patterson.  "Top O' The Day" is the idea of Executive Producer Pat Lee.  Carol Wonsavage was the inaugural producer for the show.

MAY 8, 1977

WBTV reunited members of WBT Radio's "Briarhoppers" for a television reunion show.  Charles Crutchfield ‘invented' "The Briarhoppers" for WBT Radio in 1934.

JANUARY 10, 1978

WBTV, in cooperation with Duke Power begins displaying an electric light bulb symbol in the corner of the TV screen to alert Carolina viewers of an energy crisis situation.  Viewers are encouraged to turn off all power to unnecessary lights and appliances when the symbol is used.

FEBRUARY 23, 1978

WBTV premieres a locally produced newsmagazine called "Special Edition."

MARCH 23, 1978

WBTV's "This Morning" premieres with host Jim Patterson and features segments by Dick Taylor.

MAY 28, 1978

WBTV is the first TV station in the World to use a LIVE camera and microwave equipment mounted in a race car.  This happened at the World 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

MARCH 5, 1979

WBTV introduces to Charlotte and the Carolinas the most advanced weather radar system available.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1979

WBTV premieres "PM Magazine" with hosts Bob Lacey and Moira Quinn.

SEPTEMBER 19, 1979

WBTV is the first television station in Charlotte to broadcast Live from a helicopter in flight.

JANUARY 1, 1980

WBTV opens the "Western Bureau" in Morganton with reporters Steve Ohnesorge and Cecile Bost.

APRIL 12, 1980

WBTV begins a high school student quiz show called "High Q."  The program's original host is Lester Strong.  "High Q" is later hosted by Jim Patterson and Mike McKay.

Also in 1980

WBTV becomes the first television station in the World with a fully computerized news operation.  C.J. Underwood introduces "Consumer Corner."  And the WBTV Raleigh Bureau is expanded.

JANUARY 24, 1981

WBTV broadcasts the first "Lou Rawls Parade of Stars for UNCF".

MARCH 1981

WBTV begins local sponsorship of "The Jefferson Awards."  An awards program to honor the highest ideals and achievements in the field of public services in the United States.

JUNE 1981

WBTV installs a satellite Earth Station enabling instant television coverage from anywhere in the world.

JULY 16, 1981

WBTV joins CBS Inc. in support of its application to the FCC for development of "High Definition Television" and an HDTV satellite delivery system.

OCTOBER 1981

WBTV is the first television station in Charlotte to open a "Washington DC Bureau."

APRIL 23, 1982

WBTV broadcasts from Charlotte's first "Springfest."  WBTV-WBT-WBCY help to originate "Springfest".

APRIL 26, 1982

WBTV's Barbara Stutts begins hosting a daily information and entertainment program called "Barbara".

SEPTEMBER 6, 1982

WBTV and CBS News begin broadcasting "all-night" news and information programming.

OCTOBER 10, 1982

WBTV begins a public service project called "WBTV On the Job".  It will help thousands of Carolinians find jobs with special programming and "job fairs" located in the viewing region's shopping malls.

JUNE 4, 1983

WBTV broadcasts a telethon for Char-Wheels.  The money will be used for the Char-Wheels group to participate in the National Wheelchair Games in Hawaii.

JULY 30, 1983

WBTV premieres its own locally produced pop-music videos program.  Hosted by Alan Ryan.

1983

WBTV begins construction on a new 2,000 foot tower in Dallas, NC a few miles north of Spencer Mountain.

SEPTEMBER 19, 1983

WBTV's Mike McKay begins hosting a local news magazine program weekdays at 5:30pm.  The program is called "Mike McKay's Newscope."

NOVEMBER 9, 1983

WBTV's helicopter, "Ranger 3" gets a new name, "Sky 3".  The name "Sky 3" was chosen in a contest among viewers.

JANUARY 28, 1984

"WBTV's Story Lady" premieres with Jackie Torrence.

APRIL 4, 1984

WBTV is first in the United States to broadcast "Extravision."  A teletext news and information service.  "Extravision" was received with set-top decoder boxes.  The signal was broadcast on a sub-channel on the VHF 3.

MAY 1, 1984

WBTV introduces "Radar Plus" the most advanced weather radar system in the television industry.

JUNE 2, 1984

WBTV's first "Children's Miracle Network Telethon" is broadcast.  Twenty-one hours of programming dedicates to the telethon's two day run.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1984

The updated "WBTV Morning Report" premieres with anchors Lori Ogilvie and Jim Patterson.

NOVEMBER 2, 1984

WBTV is first in Charlotte and among the first television stations in the United States to use a satellite news gathering truck.  It is called "Newstar 3".

NOVEMBER 3, 1984

WBTV's new 2,000 foot tall tower begins transmitting at 5:53pm. 

JANUARY 7, 1985

WBTV begins a major public service campaign on Diabetes awareness.

JANUARY  1985

WBTV begins a public services fund raising drive called "Water for Africa".  This project is the idea of Loonis McGlohon.  WBTV viewers raised money for African communities hit hard by the worst drought of the 20th century.  Over $86,000 was raised to buy well drilling equipment and install water systems in several African villages.  (A series of reports aired in July of 1985 showing the results of the fund raising project.)

FEBRUARY 16, 1985

WBTV is the first television station in the Carolinas to broadcast in stereo sound.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1985

WBTV becomes the home of the CBS News Southeast Regional Bureau.

SEPTEMBER 29, 1985

WBTV and Charlotte Memorial Hospital team up for the first "Health Matters" medical show.

SEPTEMBER 1986

WBTV is Charlotte's first TV station to use mounted cameras on towers throughout the city for LIVE sky views of highway traffic, skyline shots and weather scenes.

OCTOBER 16, 1986

WBTV's Lori Thomas and WBT Radio's Mike Collins begin a TV Radio morning show partnership and simulcast.

NOVEMBER 27, 1986

WBTV begins sponsorship of the Salvation Army/Eastland Mall "Angel Tree."  It is a Christmas tree with tags of the name, sizes and age of needy boys and girls.

JANUARY 5, 1987

WBTV begins a year-long focus "For Kids Sake".  Special programming and area events are created to raise awareness of opportunities and issues facing children and parents in the Carolinas.  

JUNE 5, 1987

WBTV begins sponsorship of "Project Graduation".  A drug-free party for high school seniors in the WBTV viewing area.  The event is held at the Carowinds theme park and is the largest celebration of high school seniors in the United States.

JULY 27, 1987

WBTV hosts a "Habitat for Humanity" telethon to raise money and awareness for the group. 

DECEMBER 31, 1987

The WBTV Studios are dedicated to three of the station's most beloved personalities.  TV-1 is now renamed The Feezor Studio in memory of Betty Feezor.  This studio is the home of the cooking set.  TV-2 is now renamed The McLean Studio in memory of Clyde McLean.  This studio is the home of the news set.  And TV-3 is renamed The Patterson Studio in memory of Jim Patterson.  This studio is the home of commercial productions and special live programming.

JULY 11, 1988

WBTV is the first television station in the Carolinas to simulcast its audio of the 6:00pm news on a radio station, WBT Radio.  WBTV later forms a "network" of radio station for the simulcast.

MARCH 4, 1989

WBTV and WBT Radio present a "Salute to Our Heroes" telethon to raise money and awareness for the Mecklenburg county Vietnam Memorial.

MAY 23, 1989

WBTV is the first TV station in Charlotte to begin a rebroadcast of its 6:00pm newscast at 10:00pm on Cablevision of Charlotte's Channel 15.

JULY 21, 1989

"The CBS Evening News" with Dan Rather is broadcast from the Patterson Studio to celebrate WBTV's 40th Anniversary the previous week.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1989

Hurricane Hugo strikes the Carolina coastline and moves inland while retaining its Hurricane force winds to batter Charlotte and the Western Piedmont of NC and the Upstate section of SC.  WBTV keeps viewers who have battery powered TV's informed with life saving advice and news.  (Most electrical lines were knocked down due to the Hurricane.)

OCTOBER 19, 1989

WBTV is first in the Carolinas to begin Closed Captioning for the hearing impaired in its newscasts.

JANUARY 15, 1990

WBTV launches a year-long conservation project for the Carolinas called "Planet Earth".  All local programming on WBTCV in 1990 will focus on Recycling garbage, preserving water resources and minimizing air pollution.  (This is also the start of our building's recycling program.)

SEPTEMBER 13, 1990

WBTV is the first television station in the Carolinas to begin HOURLY news updates, day and night as "The Carolinians 24 Hour News Source".

NOVEMBER 5, 1990

WBTV is the first station in Charlotte to expand news coverage to 5:00pm.  The show is hosted by John Kilgo and Lisa Cooley and is called "Live at Five".

MARCH 2, 1992

After "Top O' The Day" ends its run the "WBTV News at Noon" begins on this day.

NOVEMBER 2, 1993

Jefferson pilot Communications buys WCSC-TV 5 in Charleston, SC.  (WCSC is the first television station on the air in the state of South Carolina, signing on in 1953.)

NOVEMBER 14, 1993

WBTV broadcasts the first locally produced NFL/Carolina Panther program.  (The teams formation was announced on October 26, 1993 at an NFL owners meeting in Chicago.)

May 30, 1994

WBTV is the first TV Station in Charlotte to premiere a 10p, newscast on another TV station.  It is WJZY-TV.

JUNE 24, 1994

WBTV is awarded the rights as "Official Television Station" of the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

JUNE 26, 1995

WBTV is the first station in the United Stated to produce a weeknight newscast for a local PBS station, WTVI-TV.

February, 1997

WBTV is the first station in Charlotte to feature Traffic reports in morning news programs including live "Sky 3" helicopter traffic reports.

APRIL 10, 1997

WBTV's older brother, WBT Radio celebrates its 75th Anniversary of receiving those call letters.  That station actually dates back to a ham radio station that started in late 1920.

October 7, 1997

The FCC grants WBTV the first commercial permit in the United States to construct a Digital Television Station.  The H-D-T-V station will be called WBTV-DT and be on channel 23.

APRIL 20, 1998

WBTV News returns to the 6:30pm time slot with the first local 6:30pm news in Charlotte for that time period in a "stand-alone" format.  This makes WBTV the first TV station in Charlotte to have a two hour news block in the evening.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1998

WBTV's digital TV station, WBTV-DT Channel 23 is the first digital television station in the United States to broadcast at the fill power of one million watts.

OCTOBER 28, 1998

WBTV-DT broadcasts the first nationally televised HDTV program, the launch of the Space Shuttle with John Glenn returning to space.  There are still only about 30 HDTV stations on the air in the United States.

JUNE 23, 1999

WBTV's C.J. Underwood retires.  A special "Toast and Roast" is held in the Patterson studio.  Many longtime friends and colleagues of C.J. are in the standing-room only attendance.  A special journalism scholarship is also announced in C.J.'s name for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

JULY 6, 1999

"WBTV News This Morning" begins at a new time, 5:00am.

JULY 15, 1999

WBTV celebrates its 50th Anniversary.  A Live program, "WBTV: The First 50 Years," is anchored by Paul Cameron and Denise Dory, with special guest Loonis McGlohon.  At the end of the program, a winner of a new HD - TV is chosen from contest entries.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1999

In response to the devastating floods due to Hurricane Floyd in Eastern North Carolina, WBTV/WBT/107.9 The Link announced a joint project called "Flood Relief - Baby Aid."  Partners in this massive community service effort are CVS Pharmacies and the Salvation Army.  CVS Pharmacies accepted donations at all 120 locations in the viewing and listening area, and the Salvation Army delivered the donated items. WBTV/WBT/107.9 The Link broadcast LIVE from various CVS locations in the viewing and listening area over the next two weeks.  ("Baby Aid" concluded with over one million dollars raised and six tractor-trailer loads of baby supplies donated.)

NOVEMBER 25, 1999

"WBTV" is the Grand Marshall of "The 52nd Annual Carolinas' Carrousel Parade."  C. J. Underwood represents the station as honorary Grand Marshall as part of WBTV's 50th Anniversary series of celebrations in 1999.

DECEMBER 31, 1999/JANUARY 1, 2000

WBTV's late-night newscast is expanded to cover the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000.  Celebrations around Charlotte and the World are covered on the news.  Most all of the staff is on duty in the entire JPC chain of TV and Radio stations. (Worldwide fears of "Y2K" related problems never materialized.)

JANUARY 12, 2000  

WBTV inaugurates a new Internet business venture, called "ClickCarolina.com."  The enterprise website will focus on employment opportunities and recruitment.

MARCH 6, 2000

WBTV's helicopter, "Sky 3," crashes near Dallas, NC while covering a house fire.  Pilot Marshall Scott and photographer David Little are only slightly injured.  Marshall Scott's piloting skills are given credit for both men to be able to "walk away" from the crash.  The helicopter lost tail rotor control about 500 feet above farm land and Scott initiated an autorotation to bring the helicopter down in a controlled crash.  Amazingly, a LIVE feed from the photographer's camera was being sent back to the station during the entire crash and the aftermath.  The helicopter is a total loss.

September 11, 2001

WBTV airs the continuous coverage from CBS News of the terrorist Attacks on America.   Updates of evacuations and changes in security to buildings in Uptown Charlotte are broadcast in addition to the CBS News coverage from around the world.  

2002

WBTV News reporters are sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to cover local National Guard troops on deployment in the War On Terror.  This is the first of a number of visits by WBTV News reporters to the active war zone.  

February 2003

WBTV's brand new "Sky 3" helicopter returns to daily operation.  The Bell Jet Ranger replaced substitute news gathering helicopters.

October 1, 2003

WBTV and WJZY return to a partnership for "WBTV News at 10 on WJZY."  This newscast places weather coverage at the start of the program, and continues with rapid paced stories, and new viral video segments sent in by viewers.

February 1, 2004

WBTV and CBS broadcast "Super Bowl XXVIII," as the Carolina Panthers take on the New England Patriots.  This is the Panthers first visit to the Super Bowl.   Many of WBTV's evening newscasts and sports specials originate from the site of the Super Bowl in Houston, Texas.

January, 2006

WBTV airs a number of special Carolina Panthers programs saluting the run to the playoffs for the second time in five years.

July 1, 2006

WBTV begins the operation and broadcasting of the local "WeatherNet" information.  Weather instruments and LIVE cameras are placed at schools and businesses around the WBTV viewing area displaying weather conditions.  The WeatherNet network is available worldwide on TV stations and the Internet.

November 12, 2007

WBTV and WBT Radio were sold to different companies, ending one of the longest running radio and television station ownership groups in the nation.  WBTV was purchased by Montgomery, Alabama based Raycom Media Inc.  While WBT, and sister station WLNK were purchased by Braintree, Massachusetts based Greater Media Inc.  The deals closed in early 2008.  WBTV, WBT, and WLNK continue to stay based in the same building at One Julian Price Place, as they have been since 1955.

June 10, 2008

WBTV returns to broadcasting local Editorials.  The editorials are written by a ten member station panel.

October 17, 2008

CBS News anchorwoman Katie Couric hosts The CBS Evening News from Charlotte.   After visiting the station and speaking with the staff, the newscast was broadcast from the top of the Charlotte School of Law building located next to the WBTV studios.

June 9, 2009

WBTV begins operation of a more energy efficient "Sky 3."  It is a Robinson R44 Raven II.  The helicopter uses aviation fuel, rather than jet fuel.

June 12, 2009

WBTV turns off the analog channel "3" signal, and begins broadcasting only on over-the-air digital channel 23.   The permanent switchover occurred at 5:55am on June 12, 2009.

July 13, 2009

WBTV will host a LIVE primetime program saluting the 60th Anniversary of the station.    Hosts Paul Cameron and Maureen O'Boyle will take a look at the growth of the station over the past 60 years.

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