Jacksonville Broadcasters Association

Preserving the rich history of Northeast Florida's radio and television industries

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Due the precautions related to the Coronavirus,
our current schedule of meetings has been postponed.

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wjxt wtlv news deptsThe primary field of competition between the two powerhouse TV stations was local news reporting. Rising out of that competition were two national awarding-winning news departments both offering editorial opinions at the end of their nightly broadcasts. Top - WJXT news operation was lead by news director and anchor Bill Grove. Bottom - WTLV's news director and evening anchor was Harold Baker.


Television arrived in Jacksonville in 1949, 28 years after Philo Farnsworth invented the first TV.  WMBR-TV signed on channel 4 from a post-war Quonset hut building at the southern end of Main Street Bridge (Alsop Bridge). It was a CBS and DuMont network affiliate. It was also the state's second TV station. In 1958 the station changed its call letters to WJXT.

A second Jacksonville TV station, WJHP-TV,  followed in 1953 on UHF channel 36 with NBC and ABC affiliations.  It was owned by the Jacksonville Journal, the city's afternoon newspaper. The station went dark four years later unable to overcome the difficulties of UHF technology.

In 1957 WFGA-TV launched channel 12 as an NBC network affiliate and became known as the first TV station in the U.S. to be built from the ground-up as a color broadcasting station. In 1974 new owners changed the call letters to WTLV. At one point it swapped networks to ABC and then back to NBC.

A community-owned TV station signed on WJCT-TV, channel 7, in 1958. It began as an educational station with N.E.T. as its primary network. Later it transitioned into a public station member of PBS.

An ABC Network station, WJKS,  began transmitting on channel 17 in 1966. Today it is a CW Network affiliate under the call letters WCWJ.

From monochrome to color, VHF to UHF, analogue to digital, Jacksonville TV stations gained national recognition for proactive community involvement leading to social and political change.

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TELEVISION: Early Days In those early days of local television, when school was over and children lucky enough to come home to a black and white TV, Bozo the Clown was ready to tell them silly jokes and to lead equally silly songs.

On WFGA-TV 12, Skipper Ed McCullers and his pals played studio games and shouted out in unison to roll that Popeye cartoon.

Over at WMBR-TV 4, Ranger Hal Baranek, a fictional U.S. Forest Service Ranger, stepped down from his forest fire tower to introduce his young audiences to the wildlife as well as life in the forest.

On set every weekday morning was Miss Penny (Hull) and her Romper Room Do Bees. She served milk and cookies, and things to learn to her TV-12 kindergarten class each morning while their mothers looked on in nervousness and pride from a viewers' room.
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RADIO: Remembered Sunday morning on WJAX, the city's first radio station, a strange Donald Duck-sounding character read the morning newspaper's comics along with Tommy Tucker from their studio in the Signal Bureau building.

These were the halcyon days of radio bringing us the news from the battle fields of war and pre-television entertainment of radio drama...Lone Ranger, The Shadow...Stella Dallas.

Local radio introduced us to deejays spinning their music at 78 rpm. And, personalities such as Johnny Shaw, the Devil's Son-in-Law and riding the Night Train of Ken Knight...forerunners of Top 40 and the raucous airwaves of The Greaseman.
       At other stops on the dial was Marshall Rowland's country music and Ed Bell's calming editorials.

Radio was in search of its place in broadcasting.


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