North Texas Turns on the Radio
By 1924, radio set ownership in America had soared to 3 million from just 5000 at the beginning of the decade, and Texas consumers were buying them in droves. WFAA-AM had the distinction of being one of the first radio stations in the country to be owned and operated by a newspaper. The station’s original on-air personalities and news reporters were made up of columnists and editors from the newspaper. For Texans, WFAA became the model for the hundreds of radio and television stations that would soon follow.
On October 1, 1925, the station relocated to the 17th floor of one of the area's finest inns, the Baker Hotel. 'Those mornings you cannot be with us in person, let us perch on your radio dial' read an advertisement for the most popular program of the day, The Early Birds, a musical variety show that premiered on March 31, 1930. WFAA constructed new facilities atop the Santa Fe Building and by 1941 was broadcasting The Early Birds, and other local programming from its fabled 'penthouse studio.' Favorite Early Bird 'canaries' included Lynn Hoyt, Katy Prince, Frances Beasley, Terry Lea and Louise Mackey. There was also a pretty young Uvalde native, Dale Evans, featured on the show. She went on to perform in Hollywood as a duo with her husband, Roy Rogers.
Working for All Alike
Broadcasting ‘live’ at all times with bulky studio cameras and primitive sound and lighting equipment, WFAA immediately captured North Texans’ attention. Television broadcasts covered everything from New Year’s Day Cotton Bowl college football, to local news and a variety of entertainment programming. Two of WFAA’s most popular local programs during the late 1950’s included The Julie Bennell Show, a newspaper food editor, and Dallas Bandstand, hosted by Jerry Haynes.
Technology and More
WFAA acquired the first videotape recorder in Dallas in 1958. With the advent of this new technology, more and more programming was pre-recorded; live programs concentrated on news, sports and special events.
In early 1961, WFAA relocated from the original facility near downtown Dallas on Harry Hines Boulevard to what was then called ‘Communications Center,’ a brand new studio complex located at Young and Record streets. This state-of-the-art facility was the site of 3 television studios, 2 radio stations and a complete sound recording studio. This new, downtown studio complex soon became home to such long-running local shows as Let Me Speak to the Manager, and The Adventures of Mr. Peppermint.
Television News Center Stage
Into the Future
On December 23, 2013, Gannett Company, Inc acquired WFAA, Dallas-Fort Worth’s ABC affiliate. And in 2015, Gannett spun its publishing properties from its broadcast and digital properties, making WFAA part of TEGNA Media, one of the largest most geographically diverse broadcasters in the country. The station’s legacy of dedication to viewers through investigative journalism, daily news coverage through broadcast and digital platforms and a commitment to local programming continues as the primary hallmark of WFAA. To learn more about TEGNA and its subsidiary brands, visit www.tegna.com.
Click here to license our content:
2 hour ago 11:38 p.m.
Euless Trinity transgender wrestler wins state title
1 hour ago 12:29 a.m.
28 injured after drunk driver slams into crowd watching Endymion parade
2 hour ago 11:35 p.m.
Cowtown marathon runner on a mission to honor TCU 'superhero' Micah Ahern
2 hour ago 11:36 p.m.
Rain chances return Sunday
12 hour ago 2:00 p.m.
What time do the Oscars start? A cheat sheet to the 2017 Academy Awards
8 hour ago 5:49 p.m.
President Trump says he will skip the White House Correspondents' Dinner
16 hour ago 10:18 a.m.
Wife of officer returns to memorial weekly with new mission
32 hour ago 5:53 p.m.
Two years after Hillsboro man vanishes, probe ramps back up
14 hour ago 11:49 a.m.
Bush daughter headlines Planned Parenthood fundraiser in North Texas
10 hour ago 3:32 p.m.
Beyonce out of Coachella; will perform in 2018
11 hour ago 3:16 p.m.
Louisiana Mardi Gras parade surprises shoppers in Walmart
28 hour ago 10:23 p.m.
Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank wants to be Canada's Donald Trump
28 hour ago 10:20 p.m.
Verify Feedback: Do we need a death penalty?
31 hour ago 6:41 p.m.
Uncut: The wrong side of right
38 hour ago 11:44 a.m.
WATCH LIVE: Giraffe cam at Animal Adventure Park
13 hour ago 12:42 p.m.
Texas government connected on Twitter
14 hour ago 12:02 p.m.
Tax breaks you can get for taking care of aging relatives