WKYC-DT Station History

A brief look at the history of WKYC-TV Channel 3

Broadcasting from Cleveland, Ohio since October 31, 1948.

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  • WNBK Sign On
    WNBK Sign On
    1948: 1948: WNBK-TV, an NBC owned and operated station begins broadcasting and goes on the air as Cleveland's second television station on October 31, 1948. WNBK was the fourth of NBC's five original stations. Between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., viewers could tune to WNBK programming on Channel 4. Tom Haley, who later cohosted "Today in Cleveland," worked for WTAM/1100 AM - the NBC radio arm of WNBK that signed on in 1930.
  • 1948: Two days after sign on, WNBK transmits its coverage of the Truman/Dewey election results to the NBC Midwest Network. By 1949, the station carries NBC New York's live programming via a cable connection to Philadelphia.
  • 1952: "Today" premieres on January 14, 1952, making WNBK-TV the first television station in Cleveland with an early sign-on time.
  • 1954: WNBK-TV erects the most powerful television antenna in the Midwest and the tallest in the country. With this new and improved signal and the issuance of the FCC's "Sixth Report & Order", WNBK moves to its new location at Channel 3, while WLWC (now WCMH-TV) moves to Channel 4 to alleviate interference. The station remains on this dial position until the digital switch of 2009.
  • 1956: NBC trades stations with Westinghouse. WNBK-TV and WTAM-AM/FM go to Westinghouse in return for KYW-AM Radio and WPTZ-TV/Philadelphia. Westinghouse changes the call letters of the Cleveland stations to KYW-TV and KYW-AM/FM on February 13, 1956. At the same time, NBC moves much of its Cleveland staff to Philadelphia.
  • 1956: Westinghouse drops the "The Tonight Show with Steve Allen" on the NBC network following its 11 p.m. newscast and runs movies. NBC quickly finds a new home for "The Tonight Show" on WEWS.
  • 1956: "Big" Wilson joins KYW Radio as morning show host. Plus, Wilson hosts movies and music shows on the tv side.
  • Linn Sheldon
    Linn Sheldon as "Barnaby"
    1956: KYW begins producing a live children's program with host Linn Sheldon as an elf with pointy ears. "Barnaby" premieres on September 2, 1956, and is Cleveland's highest-rated, locally produced show ever. "Barnaby" is all ad-libbed and defines true "live" television.
  • 1959: Westinghouse gets serious about local news. The station starts using the moniker "Eyewitness" for the 1st time with 75 minutes of news from Pete French, Hugh Danaceau (and others)and the 15 minute "Huntley-Brinkley Report."
  • 1961: Channel 3 expands to "Eyewitness News" and becomes one of the first half-hour newscasts in the country. The news team consisted of anchors Carl Stern and Bud Dancy, weathercaster Dick Goddard and sports talent Jim Graner.
  • 1961: "The Mike Douglas" Show premieres on December 11, 1961, as competition for the "One O'Clock Club" on WEWS. The show is hosted by Mike Doud, a lounge singer who changes his on-air name to "Mike Douglas." The show is an instant hit and the rest is history. The show's format calls for one guest to co-host every week. The show becomes the springboard for many celebrities including a 20-year-old singer from New York who was paid $1,000 to co-host five 90 minute shows -- Barbra Streisand. KYW Radio Director, Tom Conway, does comedy skits. Tom goes on to do his own comedy under the name "Tim Conway."
  • 1963: KYW-TV begins syndicating "The Mike Douglas Show" to its other stations. Also, the "Group W" logo appears for the first time in station material.
  • 1965: The FCC and Supreme Court rule the Westinghouse/NBC trade null and void after Westinghouse complained to the FCC that NBC extorted it into agreeing to the original deal. Westinghouse faced losing NBC affiliation for WPTZ in Philadelphia and WBZ in Boston which the group owned. NBC was not allowed to realize any profit from the deal and KYW moves back to Philadelphia, taking along with it "The Mike Douglas Show". The call letters for Channel 3 become WKYC on June 19, 1965. Weatherman Wally Kinnan returns to Cleveland and displaces Dick Goddard who joined the station in 1961. Goddard moves to KYW in Philly for a short period of time before joining WJW. Also, the hugely successful documentary program "Montage," produced and directed by Dennis Goulden, jumps to Cleveland where it focuses on issues and lifestyles of Clevelanders during the 1960s and 70s. The program airs a total of 250 episodes.
  • 1965: Television transitions from black and white to color, and WKYC-TV 3 becomes Cleveland's first all color television station on September 13, 1965. Credit for this goes to the technical advancements made by NBC's parent company, RCA.
  • 1966: "The Tonight Show" now hosted by Johnny Carson moves back to WKYC in September 1965 from WEWS where it aired since Westinghouse drops the program.
  • 1967: Two long tenured personalities join WKYC, Del Donahoo from WOW-AM radio in Omaha and Joe Mosbrook (who retired in 2002).
  • 1967: "3 On The Town" debuts as a half hour show on September 27 with Bud Dancy, Jay Miltner and Linda Hunt as co-hosts. The show evolves into "Our Man Mark" featuring Mark Russell until being canceled August 9, 1968.
  • 1969: "Newsday 90" hits the airwaves with anchors Virgil Dominic, weatherman Wally Kinnan and Jim Graner on sports. This was the first attempt at a full 90 minute newscast with "Huntley Brinkley" airing at 6:30 p.m.
  • 1972: NBC sells off its WKYC-AM & FM radio stations (1100 AM & 105.7 FM) to Ohio Communications.
  • 1973: The news product brands as "Action 3 News" until March 19, 1984.
  • 1981: WWKYC pairs Del Donahoo and Tom Haley for "Today in Cleveland" weekdays at 6:30 a.m. The show runs for 16 years until Tom Haley retires in 1997 and an expanded local news replaces the broadcast.
  • WKYC Peacock Logo
    WKYC Peacock Logo
    1986: Channel 3 becomes Cleveland's first VHF station to broadcast in stereo.
  • 1990: WKYC-TV introduces closed captioning as northeast Ohio's first local television newscast to do so for the hearing-impaired.
  • 1990: After years of sagging ratings and being the weakest of NBC's stations, the network sells 51 percent of WKYC to Multimedia Broadcasting, Inc. of Greenville, South Carolina. The station begins to air "The Jerry Springer Show," "Sally Jesse Raphael" and "Donahue" that are produced by Multimedia Entertainment. WKYC is the only major station in Cleveland to have never changed its primary affiliation.
  • January 1991: Dick Feagler wins a Silver Baton in the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards competition for his outstanding commentaries. In April, Dick Feagler receives broadcast journalism's highest honor, a George Foster Peabody Award, for broadcast excellence.
  • 1992: A 6 a.m. newscast premieres on Channel 3 in February. In March, WKYC introduces "Doppler 3" - northeast Ohio's only television owned and operated radar system. In May, "Channel 3 News at Noon" hits the air. Also, Reporter Leon Bibb is inducted to the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In July, a Saturday morning newscast is added at 9 a.m. In September, a 9 a.m. newscast is added on Sunday morning. By October, the station also adds a noon news on Saturday and Sunday.
  • 1993: The station drops the highly recognized NBC Peacock from the primary station logo and takes a red, white and blue color scheme.
  • March 1993: The weekday news at noon expands to one hour. And, "Talkback 3" is introduced in August as a way for viewers to call in their suggestions and comments. Over 18,000 calls are logged within the first year.
  • March 1994: WKYC changes from "Action News" to "Channel 3 News".
  • April 1994: The station again expands its morning news with a weekday 5:30 a.m. newscast. In August, WKYC presents a new weather forecasting product called "Stormtracker 3" that pinpoints the location and direction of severe weather right down to specific neighborhoods.
  • January 1995: WKYC enters the computer world with an e-mail address on America On-line. This gives viewers another way to send comments to Channel 3 via their computers. Over 350 messages are logged within the first few months.
  • October 1995: The Saturday morning news expands to 90 minutes from 9 until 10:30 a.m., while Channel 3 News finishes first in Nielsen overnight ratings for its 11 p.m. news.
  • November 1995: WKYC-TV joins the Gannett Broadcasting's television station group. Gannett is a nationwide news and information company that publishes hundreds of daily newspapers, including USA TODAY.
  • March 1996: The Sunday morning newscasts expand to 90 minutes from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
  • March 1997: Romona Robinson, long-time Cleveland television anchor, joins the station from WUAB-TV. Also, "Talkback 3" with then VP/GM Bill Scaffide goes on the road and visits viewers in their communities, responding to their feedback.
  • June 1997: "Today in Cleveland" ends its run at 6:30 a.m. after 16 years with co-hosts Del Donahoo and Tom Haley who retires. Channel 3 News adds another half hour of news at 6:30 a.m. and gives viewers news from 5:30 a.m until 7 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • October 1997: Brooke Spectorsky is named WKYC President and General Manager replacing interim GM Paul Trelstad.
  • November 1997: WKYC posts its best ratings ever for the 6 and 11 p.m. news in a November rating book.
  • January 1998: WKYC begins to celebrate its 50th anniversary of bringing northeast Ohio quality local news, information and entertainment. The station produces an hour long special called "Channel 3's Golden Years."
  • February 1998: WKYC is rated #1 in news ratings at 5:30 a.m., Noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. for the first time.
  • March 1998: WKYC launches an annual community service campaign called "3 Cares" and adopts John W. Raper Elementary School as part of the program.
  • May 1998: Channel 3 News again ranks #1 at 5:30 a.m., Noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • August 1998: WKYC is named the "official local television of the Cleveland Browns" with pre-season games, pre and post game shows, a Sunday night show and a revolutionary children's show called "Browns Blitz."
  • 1999: Gannett acquires NBC's remaining 49% share in WKYC to become the station's sole owner.
  • June 1999: WKYC becomes the first local television station in northeast Ohio to broadcast an all digital signal on RF Channel 2.
    August 1999: WThe station joins forces with Cleveland Live (now cleveland.com) and launches our station’s web site: www.wkyc.com
  • September 1999: Channel 3 News expands its morning news to start at 5 a.m. At the same time, Channel 3 News at 6 p.m. expands to one hour. And for the first time, NBC "Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" airs at 7 p.m.
  • WKYC's Digital Broadcast Center
    WKYC's Digital Broadcast Center
    October 1999: WKYC and Gannett Broadcasting break ground on a new state-of-the-art television facility that is completed in December 2000.
  • March 2000: Popular news anchor Romona Robinson, the first African-American female evening news anchor in Cleveland, renews her contract for four more years.
  • April 2000: Local television veteran Fred Griffith joins the station as host of "Fifteen Minutes with Fred," a mini-talk show during the noon hour. The show is later expanded in 2004 to become "Studio 3."
  • June 2000: WKYC news at 6 p.m. returns to a half hour, "Nightly News" moves back to 6:30 p.m. and Channel 3 News at 7 p.m. debuts to accommodate viewers' changing lifestyles with anchors Romona Robinson and Tim White.
  • August 2000: A venture into reality television, WKYC premieres "Room[mates]," a segment that follows six local college students for six weeks before they leave for school. It's the first reality programming.
  • December 2000: Channel 3 News at 11 p.m. ranks #1 in the household Nielsen ratings.
  • January 2001: WKYC moves from its old location at E. 6th Street into the new, all digital broadcast at E. 13th & Lakeside Avenue. The 80,000 square foot facility positions the station for the future of local television and high definition programming.
  • Pax 23 News
    Pax 23 News Debuts
    June 2001: WKYC and Paxson Communications bring back local news to Akron as Pax23 News at 6:30 pm. Monday through Friday on WVPX/TV 23. The show is anchored by Eric Mansfield live from new studios in downtown Akron. WKYC also adds a new voice for Akron news online with akron23.com
  • October 2002: The station celebrates its 10th anniversary of the weekend morning news.
  • January 2003: Pax23 News at 9 p.m. debuts. The show would later move to 10 p.m. on Time Warner Cable.
  • September 2003: Channel 3 News at Noon moves to 11 AM as "The Midday Report" with "Studio 3" airing at 11:30 a.m. with Fred Griffith and morning meteorologist Hollie Strano.
  • September 2005: "Good Company" debuts at 10 a.m. with original hosts Eileen McShea, Michael Cardamone, Fred Griffith and Andrea Vecchio.
  • December 2005: WKYC and the Cleveland Indians form a new company called "Fastball Productions" to produce and broadcast Indians games for at least 10 years. The initial partnership with Time Warner Cable to air the new network is set to launch during spring training of 2006.
  • May 22, 2006: High Definition newscasts are introduced by Channel 3 News, with WKYC becoming the 2nd station in the Cleveland television market to do all their news in the new all digital format.
  • May 31, 2008: Tough economic conditions forces WKYC to end production of the "Akron Canton News" that follows the news being moved to Time Warner Cable when Paxson ends their partnership with Gannett
  • Metromix
    June 2008: WKYC launches Metromix.com (cleveland.metromix.com) a hip, new website for socially active taste-makers and young professionals looking to be one-step ahead of Cleveland's latest trends and hotspots. The website is ended on December 31, 2011.
  • October 15, 2008: Gannett Broadcasting shuts down all its local television station graphic departments and launches a new graphics hub called "G3" (Gannett Graphics Group) out of Denver, Colorado. Local stations now use a system call "Axis" to order and receive graphics online for their newscasts.
  • December 15, 2008: WKYC Anchor Romona Robinson becomes Cleveland's first African American to solo anchor the 6 & 11 P.M. newscasts following the departure of co-anchor Tim White, while Carole Sullivan and Eric Mansfield take over as anchors of Channel 3 News at 7 P.M.
  • June 12, 2009: The station moves full time to its "digital only" signal on Channel 17 at 10 a.m. following the completion of a brand new tower and transmitter facility. The station was broadcasting on Digital Channel 2 since 1999, but requested a new channel because of poor signal reception.
  • June 26, 2009: Channel 3 shuts off its analog transmitter after continuing as the "night light" station in Cleveland, broadcasting only transition information for those viewers surprised by the change.
  • April 2010: Channel 3 Weather introduces a brand new "high definition" weather computer system and interactive on-line radar that gives viewers the control of tracking storms right down to street level.
  • April 2010: The station lowers its analog and original digital antennas to the ground, bringing a close to a piece of WKYC history. The old tower comes down in July of 2010.
  • January 3, 2011: Channel 3 News expands to an earlier start time of 4:30 a.m.to accomodate viewers early wakeup schedule.
  • March 21, 2011: Robin Swoboda joins WKYC as co-anchor of Channel 3 News @7 with Chris Tye. The newscast features more focus on our communities and interviews with the day's newsmakers.
  • November 1, 2011: WKYC names weeknight weather forecast Betsy Kling as the station's Chief Meteorologist.
  • December 16, 2011: Romona Robinson signs off at WKYC after 15 years as evening anchor.
  • January 16, 2012: CBS Weekend Anchor Russ Mitchell begins his new role on Channel 3 News as Managing Editor and lead anchor of Channel 3 News at 6 & 11 PM. Chris Tye moves to Channel 3 News Today from 4:30 to 7 a.m. along with new co-anchor Erin Kennedy following Mark Nolan's departure at the end of his contract. At the same time, Jim Donovan joins Robin Swoboda as co-host of Channel 3 News @7 along with his regular 6 & 11 p.m. sports anchoring duties.
  • April 2, 2012: Kris Pickel officially joins the Channel 3 News team as weeknight 6 & 11 PM co-anchor with Russ Mitchell.
  • April 21, 2012: Lynna Lai joins the station as weekend evening co-anchor and weekday reporter on Channel 3 News.
  • May 21, 2012: Longtime Akron/Canton reporter and Channel 3 News anchor Eric Mansfield signs off from the station to take a new position with Kent State University.
  • July 5, 2012: Market veteran Virgil Dominic is named WKYC interim News Director of Channel 3 News. Virgil previously worked at Channel 3 as an anchor of the "Eleventh Hour Report" and "Newsday 90" with weatherman Wally Kinnan and Jim Graner on sports.
  • August 13, 2012:
    Live on Lakeside
    Following the 2012 Summer Olympics coverage, WKYC launches the new "Live on Lakeside" with hosts Hollie Strano and Michael Cardamone. The show replaces "Good Company" and Channel 3 News at Noon and occupies and 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. time slot. The 4th hour of NBC's "Today" show moves to 10 a.m.
  • October 27, 2012: Former WKYC morning anchor John Anderson returns to Channel 3 News as co-host of the weekend 6 & 11 PM news with Lynna Lai. In addition, John also handles weekend evening sports anchoring duties. John returns after a stint at the FOX station in Philadelphia.
  • December 21, 2012: WKYC Managing Editor Brennan Donnellan is promoted to WKYC News Director, replacing interim News Director Virgil Dominic who returns to a consulting role with the station.
  • January 22, 2013: WKYC launches a new graphics look based on the USA Today color coding system for news stories and a new music package “This is Home.”
  • February 8, 2013: Longtime WKYC reporter and managing editor Dick Russ leaves the station.
  • June 13, 2013: WKYC owner, Gannett, announces it will purchase Belo for $2.2 billion dollars, increasing the Gannett television profile from 23 stations to 43 stations.