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Does your station building have an interesting history or quirk?


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WBAYTVMidwestRadioGreenBayWisconsinStudiosMay2007.thumb.jpg.f989238f820c43b4b58ffbb099ffc753.jpg

The TV studios for WBAY-TV 2 in downtown Green Bay, Wisconsin are located inside a former Knights of Columbus clubhouse that was later converted to a Roman-Catholic high school.

 

The building's gymnasium has been converted to an auditorium (WBAY-TV 2 holds their Cerebral Palsy Telethon down there every year).

 

A bar and bowling alley, The Bay Bowl, used to be located in the basement during the building's early days as a TV studio.

 

WBAY-TV 2 (a CBS affiliate from 1953-1992 and an ABC affiliate from 1992 to present day) started their first broadcast from the building on March 17, 1953.

 

WBAY-TV's former sister radio stations, 101.1 WBAY-FM (now 101.1 WIXX-FM) and 1360 WBAY-AM (later 1360 WGEE-AM, now 1360 WTAQ-AM) operated from the building's upper floors until they moved out in the late 2000s.

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WATE in Knoxville operates out of the historic Greystone Mansion.  It was built in the late 1800s and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Some offices are in the mansion portion while most of the operations are in an addition behind the mansion.

 

They shared ownership with WBAY by way of Nationwide Communications, all the way until Media General.  Nexstar opted to keep WFRV and WBAY was divested to Gray while WATE contiunes as a Nexstar station.

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46 minutes ago, tyrannical bastard said:

WATE in Knoxville operates out of the historic Greystone Mansion.  It was built in the late 1800s and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Some offices are in the mansion portion while most of the operations are in an addition behind the mansion.

 

They shared ownership with WBAY by way of Nationwide Communications, all the way until Media General.  Nexstar opted to keep WFRV and WBAY was divested to Gray while WATE contiunes as a Nexstar station.


It's good that you mentioned this, because the Greystone Mansion one of the best historical places I've ever seen. As a matter of fact, I came there for a tour a few short years ago and I even got to check out their news set that they had at the time. 

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Don't know if this counts, but KIMA's studio at 2801 Terrace Heights Dr. in Yakima is original to when they were still a radio station on 1460 (now KUTI). It was there when the TV station fired up in 1953. It was there when Uncle Jimmy (Nolan) began his Clubhouse show for children on TV, and likewise when he did the weather for their newscasts. So much history in that building.

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Besides KOKI/KMYT and KLRT/KASN, did Clear Channel ever operate any other "Metroplex" facilities where they had all of their Radio & TV stations, along with convention/event space?

(usually in a re-purposed big-box store like a former Sam's Club)

 

KOKI/KMYT still operates in the space, although after the sales to Newport and Cox, the Cox radio stations eventually moved in while the IHeartMedia stations moved out a decade after the ClearChannel breakup.

KLRT/KASN was absorbed into KARK/KARZ's facility after Newport sold the stations to Mission and turned the operations over to Nexstar, making the first quad-opoly under one roof.

iHeart still has their radio stations there.

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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9 hours ago, tyrannical bastard said:

Besides KOKI/KMYT and KLRT/KASN, did Clear Channel ever operate any other "Metroplex" facilities where they had all of their Radio & TV stations, along with convention/event space?

(usually in a re-purposed big-box store like a former Sam's Club)

 

KOKI/KMYT still operates in the space, although after the sales to Newport and Cox, the Cox radio stations eventually moved in while the IHeartMedia stations moved out a decade after the ClearChannel breakup.

KLRT/KASN was absorbed into KARK/KARZ's facility after Newport sold the stations to Mission and turned the operations over to Nexstar, making the first quad-opoly under one roof.

iHeart still has their radio stations there.

KOKI used to be a Burlington Coat Factory store before becoming a event center then the tv and radio stations.  And KOTV’s old building at 3rd and Frankfort used to be International Harvester building they transformed it into the first television station in Tulsa they remained there until 2013 when they moved north to the Current building that also houses their radio stations they own.

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The old KNSD studios on Engineer Rd had some locked up rooms with old pen factory stuff before they vacated to Downtown San Diego, it was torn then down and became Mercedes Benz of San Diego 

 

After XETV shut down, it’s now an event center and the news studio holds dance party’s. The outline of the set was saved and the DJ Booth is behind the backdrop.

 

the old KRON studios on Van Ness housed Hilary Clinton headquarters when she was running for president. It was then later torn down and will house Senior living.

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WTMJ in Milwaukee broadcasts from what is referred to as "Radio City." It's a building that was one of the first purpose-built facilities for broadcasting both radio and television, and features some pretty cool vintage art deco design in the lobby.  The center of the building used to hold a 350-seat auditorium, which was primarily used for live radio shows back in the day. The auditorium was split into multiple other rooms back in the 80s. (I think, but I'm not 100%, that one of the last shows to be broadcast from there on WTMJ-TV was a comedy variety show, hosted by WKTI-FM's morning show hosts "Reitman and Mueller.")

 

Urban Spelunking: WTMJ's Radio City (onmilwaukee.com)

 

Here are some photos of the building from back in the day:

The Radio Historian's WTMJ Photos

Edited by LoadStar
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Cleveland's TV stations have had interesting histories.

 

I don't know if WNBK started in the former East Ohio Gas Building (it was home to when it was sold to Westinghouse and became KYW, and re-sold back to NBC as WKYC).  It was it's longtime home until Gannett built their digital broadcast center in 2000-01.

 

WEWS originated in the Women's Club of Cleveland before getting their current home at 3001 Euclid Avenue in 1956.

 

WXEL/WJW originated in Parma at a small facility at their transmitter, before Storer moved them to the former Esquire Theater in Downtown Cleveland.  When they moved to their current facility on S. Marginal (Dick Goddard Way) in the 70s, it was unlike the other Storer stations since it was in a modern style, unlike the architecture of their other stations.

Their Akron Bureau was inside Summit Mall from 2000-2012 (in a former "This End Up" store) before moving to the University of Akron.

 

WOIO began in Shaker Heights in a former storefront, before moving in with WUAB in the basement of the Reserve Square complex.  There's plenty of discussion on why they should move elsewhere in this forum.

 

WAKC's studio was in a former movie theater on Copley Road in Akron, and they later moved out to Warrensville Heights after Paxson bought them and renamed them WVPX.

 

WVIZ began in the Max Hayes Trade School in Cleveland, before moving to a former tractor factory on Brookpark Road.  They later moved to Downtown Cleveland when they merged with NPR station WCPN to form ideaStream.

 

WUAB began in part of a bowling alley at the Parmatown Shopping Center.  The announcer booth was located next to the restroom, so it had a sign that instructed people not to flush while the announcer was on air!

They later moved across the street to a purpose-built studio and later moved in with WOIO when they entered into the LMA with them.

 

WBNX's facility in Cuyahoga Falls was originally a discount store called Shopper's Fair.  Rex Humbard built his Cathedral of Tomorrow next door and eventually bought the former store to renovate and expand into a TV facility and Cathedral Buffet restaurant.  The plans also included a tower for a TV station he wanted to launch.  The tower stalled at 400-some feet and has remained that way since. Humbard packed up and moved to Florida setting the stage for WBNX and Ernest Angley.  They used the TV space to sign on WBNX, and his ministry eventually bought the Cathedral next door for his "ministry".

 

 

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WALA-TV (prior to 2002 when they moved to their current facility near Hank Aaron Stadium in West Mobile) had operated from a 2-story building downtown on Government Street (across from Mobile Government Plaza) for several decades. It has since been renovated into office space for an engineering firm; however, a historical marker was placed on the Joachim Street side a few years ago recognizing the station's history at that location.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.6895551,-88.0432453,3a,15y,52.77h,86.64t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sgziGPCblN-WW8YwKwN__GA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

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In 2015, KETV moved into the grand former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad station of Omaha.

https://www.ketv.com/article/take-an-interactive-tour-of-the-burlington-station/7658202

 

As far as a quirk, KSTP's building and original transmitting tower were deliberately built atop the border of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

https://www.fybush.com/sites/2011/site-110211.html

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KLTV started out (and somehow remained there for many years) in an old (and rat-infested, per previous station employees) airplane hangar.

 

KLMG (pre-KFXK) started out in a building that was previously an elementary school.

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/WLUK-WCWF-studios.jpg

The studios shared by WLUK-TV 11 (NBC/WMBV-TV 11 from 1954-1959, ABC from 1959-1983, NBC again from 1983 to 1995, the station is currently affiliated with Fox) and WCWF 14  of Green Bay, Wisconsin on located on 787 Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay, Wisconsin, almost a block east of Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, winner of four Superbowls (I, II, XXXI and XLV). WLUK-TV 11 first operated out of the studios in 1966 when they were still an ABC affiliate (and when Lombardi Avenue was still Highland Avenue). The studio expanded in the mid-2000s with a single-story news and content center. The original 1966 building is right behind it. The original front entrance was converted to an atrium, and an Oneida Nation Walk of Legends statue honoring Green Bay Packers player #64 Jerry Kramer sits on the front lawn. This is a view of the studios looking south. The Resch Center sports arena is located behind the studio, the new Resch Expo Center is located to the west (it replaced the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, which was demolished only a few years ago) and Lambeau Field is located across the street, to west of the Fox 11/CW 14 studios on 1265 Lombardi Avenue. One of the station's quirks is their tower cam/sky cam's name is "Lambeau Cam," which is almost always pointed at Lambeau Field and is prominently featured during their Good Day Wisconsin morning shows and during their evening and nighttime newscasts as well.

 

WCWF 14 was originally WSCO-TV 14 from 1984 until it went dark in 1987 and again from when it went back on the air in 1993 until 1997, the station was a repeater of WVCY-TV 4's religious programming "VCY America" from Milwaukee, before becoming WPXG 14, an affiliate of inTV and later Pax TV in 1998, then The WB affiliate WIWB 14 "WB 14" on June 2nd 1999 (it still aired Pax TV programming overnight, and before The WB had its own channel, The WB's programs were originally cherry-picked by local UPN affiliate WACY-TV 32, including Kids' WB and the syndicated first season of the popular Pokemon anime for their Wacky 32 all-day-weekday and Saturday morning childrens' block schedule since WACY-TV began programming again in 1995 as a UPN affiliate (they are now  affiliated with MyNetworkTV). This all happened three years after bankruptcy forced the original channel 32, WXGZ-TV Fox 32 "Super 32", went off the air in February 1992, and the Fox affiliation moved to WGBA-TV 26, formerly an independent station, now currently an NBC station. WIWB 14 became part of The CW in 2006, and was purchased by LIN TV who made them a sister station to WLUK-TV 11 and moved them out of their old location in the Parkview Plaza strip mall, changed their call sign from WIWB to WCWF (WICW wasn't available to use) and into the WLUK-TV 11 studios on Lombardi Avenue in 2010, creating the first legal television duopoly in Northeast Wisconsin. Since 2016, WCWF 14 was granted a secondary affiliation with ABC to air two NBA on ABC games from the first weekend in March in lieu of WBAY-TV 2, since WBAY-TV 2 airs their local cerebral palsy telethon in its place...

 

Ion Television, the successor to Pax TV and "i" Independent Television, returned to Green Bay, Wisconsin as a subchannel of WBAY-TV 2.

Edited by Justin Hill
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On 6/2/2021 at 9:46 PM, TennTV1983 said:

WALA-TV (prior to 2002 when they moved to their current facility near Hank Aaron Stadium in West Mobile) had operated from a 2-story building downtown on Government Street (across from Mobile Government Plaza) for several decades. It has since been renovated into office space for an engineering firm; however, a historical marker was placed on the Joachim Street side a few years ago recognizing the station's history at that location.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.6895551,-88.0432453,3a,15y,52.77h,86.64t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sgziGPCblN-WW8YwKwN__GA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Parts of that particular building predate WALA-TV, going all the way back to the early 20th Century.   After WALA moved out to a purpose-built building near the I-10/I-65 junction in 2002, the building remained largely vacant until Springhill Medical Center opened a clinic in part of it.  Hargrove Engineering purchased the building to move part of their operations to, and added a balcony to the portion facing Government Street. 

 

Ironically, WPMI-TV used the balcony to broadcast Mardi Gras parades from during Carnival Season, much like WALA was able to do when it was their station!  This forced WALA to set up shop across the street at the Admiral Semmes Hotel.

 

As for the rest of the market:

 

WEAR has always been on Mobile Highway (US-90) in Pensacola.  They built their current building in 1994 behind their original one on the property and later demolished their original station.  WFGX later moved in with them from Fort Walton Beach, and now, the station also hosts the master control operations for both WPMI and WJTC over in Mobile.  They also do weather forecasts for WTWC in Tallahassee, since they are another KDNL-like station with no news at all.

 

WKRG has their station at the intersection of Broadcast Drive and Television Avenue near the Bel Air Mall, which WKRG owner Kenneth R. Giddens had a part in developing as well.  Broadcast Drive was re-named in honor of Mel Showers, the longtime anchor who retired in 2019 after 50 years at the station.  It opened in 1982 with the TV station on the first floor and the WKRG radio stations on the upper levels, all owned by the Giddens family.  Their original station was on St. Louis Street in Downtown Mobile and was demolished years ago.

After Kenneth Giddens' death in 1993, the radio stations were sold off, eventually ending up under Clear Channel, who owned WPMI and managed WJTC at the time.  Spartan ended up buying WKRG-TV, and Media General bought them soon after.  They gained WFNA in the LIN/Media General merger, after WALA was sold off to Meredith.

 

WPMI began in 1982 as the very first independent station in the state of Alabama, and later was a charter affiliate of FOX.  Their original facility (which still stands) is in Robertsdale, Alabama on a county road roughly halfway between Mobile and Pensacola.  They later moved their facilities to an apartment building complex in downtown Mobile.  Clear Channel bought WPMI in 1989, their very first television station.  They then acquired the non-license assets of WJTC based in Pensacola, and moved their operations in with WPMI.  Prior to their switch to NBC, they moved their operations to Azalea Road (their current home) which was a former racquetball facility.  One of the courts is their main news studio.  Still, the radio stations that Clear Channel would buy later remained over at WKRG's building, and remain there to this day under iHeartMedia.   WPMI/WJTC would later sell out to Newport Television, and then Deerfield Media (Sinclair).

 

Interesting sidenote with the WKRG radio stations:

 

Both WKRG AM  (710) and FM (99.9) shed the WKRG call letters after being sold by Giddens.  The FM became WKRD for a short while before settling in with WMXC, which is still in use today.

WKRG-AM became WNTM, and between 2004-07 became WPMI-AM because of their shared ownership with Clear Channel.  After the TV sale (and ensuing partnership between Clear Channel and WKRG-TV), AM 710 became WNTM again.  The partnership lasted a decade before Sinclair entered into another with iHeartMedia, essentially reuniting WPMI with their former radio stations, all while they are still based in WKRG's building!  On the flipside was the Cumulus stations, which WPMI gained a partnership with, and later WKRG after the ClearChannel/iHeart agreement ended.

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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  • 1 month later...

WFSB's building in Rocky Hill, CT was originally designed to fit on a city block within Hartford that had a curved side street. When the station decided to move to Rocky Hill the building design was never adjusted resulting in an oddly-shaped building at the crest of a prominent hill.

ch_3_hq.jpg

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On 6/4/2021 at 6:56 AM, east-tx-tv said:

KLTV started out (and somehow remained there for many years) in an old (and rat-infested, per previous station employees) airplane hangar.

 

KLMG (pre-KFXK) started out in a building that was previously an elementary school.

 

Others I forgot... 

The current studios/offices for KETK (as well as KFXK and KTPN) are located in a former men's clothing store.

 

KYTX's studios/offices are located in a previous 4-screen movie theater.

 

KLTV's current studio/office site used to be offices and downtown main branch of a former savings & loan.

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The former WOAI-TV building downtown at 1031 Navarro (now vacant with homeless sleeping outside of it as of the last time I bothered to drive downtown last summer) has a unique history. It was originally constructed in 1905 as a car dealership. The company that owned the dealership, Southland Industries, later started WOAI radio from the building, which took up just a fraction of the space. The rest of the space (due to the building being so large) was later leased out for other purposes until the 1949 launch of WOAI-TV. The WOAI radio and television stations eventually took over the entire building and remained together until about 1974 or so. WOAI radio moved to new building near Wonderland Mall just inside Balcones Heights with the newly rechristened KMOL keeping the downtown building for their use. The two studios there were MASSIVE. In fact, the last set there was built in the middle of the studio with a large amount of space not being used because of it. Bexar County Property Records give it a construction date of "1972" but that's clearly incorrect. That was likely the last time it had been re-facaded, which it had been many times over its century of existence. Inside, it was a hodgepodge of eras and a maze to navigate. The lobby had been updated in the mid-2000s and actually looked modern. The bathrooms looked like they hadn't been touched since the 60s. Old radio studios were still there and clearly hadn't seen the light of day since 1974. The newsroom hadn't been updated (aside from paint and modern TVs on the wall) since the 1980s. It was a dump, to say politely. 

Sinclair originally intended to consolidate KABB and KMYS here with WOAI as well, simply because it was much larger (with the San Antonio Living studio slated to become the new home for KABB, complete with a new second production control room since WOAI only had one at the time). That plan quickly went south once a fire struck on the second floor in the early morning hours in mid-2013. That's how KABB's (much-smaller) facilities ended up being chosen to house both stations, because it's Sinclair and god forbid they spend the money on a new, larger building from the ground up or gut an existing building elsewhere in town (like they did with KDBC and KFOX). 

WOAI did a nice send-off when they closed the building for good in 2014 (the set you see here was eventually relocated to their Beaumont sister station, KFDM, in 2017):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDcqa6JBQnM

KLRN is also in a former car dealership, but they added on a new studio addition when they moved there in 1994 (the former dealer building is used for their offices and production suites). The exterior of that addition still has their longtime "Alamo/star" emblem that survived on-air until 2000 when the current Arial Black wordmark was adopted; it's engraved into the concrete.

KENS' building is not much to write home about. They moved there in 1982 from their longtime downtown location at the Express-News building. After the TV station moved to the Medical Center area, their old space was promptly gutted and the Express-News' printing presses were installed in the shell of the former KENS studios. These presses were used until December 2020, when like most metropolitan papers these days, the E-N's printing was moved out of the area (to sister paper the Houston Chronicle). One interesting thing to note about the KENS studio is Harte-Hanks' old logo (not easily found online) and the "5" logo KENS was using at the time are permanently etched into the concrete wall in their lobby. The "5" remained visible for all but they tried to hide the Harte-Hanks logo by placing a large fake tree in front of it 😂. Now, this was during the end of the Belo era, and I have no clue if that's still the case now, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. The KENS building only has one studio, and during most of the Belo era, it was divided in half with a small news set on one end, and a decently sized lifestyle show set on the other. To their credit, they made the news set look bigger than it was on-air. The entire studio is now used by TEGNA's set-in-a-box they got in 2018.

KSAT's current building(s) have zero of interest. The newest portion was completed in 2015 but the actual on-air studio is still in a portion of their original 1957 building that wasn't demoed. I figure this was cheaper than building an entirely new building with new air studios like their sister station KPRC got around the same time frame. The actual property does have some history to it as a transmitter site of KONO-AM beginning in 1938, before they moved to a site near Splashtown on the east side in 1950. The STL tower out back was the original channel 12 tower before they built a new tower adjacent to the combined KENS/WOAI tower site (the "Texas Tall Tower") in Elmendorf in 1960. It was also the longtime 92.9 FM (the original KONO-FM; later KITY) transmitter site until they too bolted for Elmendorf in the 1980s. Today, this tower is the only fully licensed auxiliary transmitter site from a San Antonio TV station, with a backup DTV transmitter if the main tower in Elmendorf needs to come off-line. 

Fybush did a decent write-up of both the KSAT and KLRN buildings and you can see them here, along with an inside tour of KLRN: https://www.fybush.com/site-20200807/

 

KWEX's original building on Durango (Cesar Chavez) Blvd was not remarkable by any means (and was pretty compact), but is commonly considered the birthplace of Spanish-language television in the United States. For this reason alone, a few preservationists tried to stop demolition work from happening on it when Univision sold it to developers in 2014 after leaving for an office park in Northwest San Antonio. The preservationists were unsuccessful. However, as a compromise, the original KWEX tower remained (at least that's how it was spun to the public; Univision sold the tower years earlier to a tower company and is used by broadcast and cellular tenants) and a small plaque on its exterior walls declaring that "Television History Was Made Here" near where the original KWEX entrance would have been.   

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm bumping this because I posted this on Discord last night but felt I would share this here after remembering this thread. It looks like the old WOAI-TV building downtown, not in use since 2014, has been sold at long last and the developer plans on demolishing most of the existing structure, but retaining the north and west outer walls and incorporating it into a new 30-story hotel/condo high-rise:
https://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2021/07/20/30-story-eyed-on-site-of-broadcast-studio.html

I discovered this last night when I was in the downtown area last night and noticed something that had piqued my interest. The metal and tile facade that has graced the building's exterior since the 70s (metal)/90s (tile) is coming down revealing this:
IMG_0298.thumb.jpg.a61f56f083ce88a0710cdbec49bc0077.jpg
(yes, the lighter brickwork to the left is an obvious sign that was an addition to the building -- I believe that was the studio addition when they began broadcasting television in 1949, and was the likely impetus for covering up the actual brick exterior to disguise that this was really two separate buildings, but it was obvious on the inside with the uneven flooring and random walls in the middle of the hallway)

 

My jaw dropped when I saw that the original 1905 facade was revealed after all these years (and never knowing it was still there underneath that ugly metal siding). The brickwork and window frames look very similar to this historic photo:

IMG_0307.JPG.0e3db115047e576068f1b6b249366b42.JPG

I'm really looking forward to seeing this project progress further and I am loving that they are looking to incorporate the old facade into their new project (honestly the interior of the building was not very functional as a modern broadcast facility, I've been inside there before, and it could stand to be demolished, while keeping the exterior walls for historic purposes). A lot better compared to when I drove by last year when there were abandoned KABB vans in the parking lot and homeless sleeping outside in the old entrance).

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