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Celebrating WKBW's history: 60 years serving WNY

Posted: 1:40 PM, Nov 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-14 14:00:46-05

Sixty years ago on November 30th, WKBW-TV became a reality. Signing on from 1420 Main Street, Rick Azar announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, WKBW-TV is on the air!" Kicking off so many great programs was the first telecast with Jimmy Cagney in the classic film, "Yankee Doodle Dandy". 

The call letters WKBW, or Well Known Bible Witness, came from the fact the original broadcast facility was the Churchhill Tabernacle Church owned by the late Dr. Clinton Churchill.  

In 1961, Capital Cities Broadcasting took over operations, iconic programming like "Rocketship 7," "The Commander Tom Show" and "Dialing for Dollars" were hits in the Western New York community, making Channel 7 the place to be.

Rick Azar was the first voice on-air in 1958, but the "Irv, Rick and Tom" era didn't begin until 1965. The trio would become the longest continuously running anchor team in television history! Most viewers of Eyewitness News at 11 p.m. remember the phrase "It's 11'clock, do you know where your children are?" Everyone thought it was Irv's voice behind that opening line, but it actually was Tom Jolls.

Capital Cities sold the station to J. Bruce Llewelyn's Queen City Broadcasting in 1986. In 1993, Granite Broadcasting bought a 45% stake of the station and a year and a half later purchased the remaining stock to change full ownership to Granite.  

The E.W. Scripps Company acquired WKBW in 2014 and is the current owner of the station.  

Through the years many faces have graced the airwaves of WKBW and ABC with some wonderful memories shared with our Western New York viewers.  As an ABC affiliate, WKBW has aired such great shows as "The Munsters," "The Mod Squad," "Dynasty," "General Hospital," "Monday Night Football," "Wide World of Sports" and the "Mike Douglas Show" in the earlier years. Today, we continue that tradition with "Grey's Anatomy," "The Good Doctor," "Dancing with the Stars," "Modern Family" and more!

Locally produced shows like AM Buffalo, The Now and of course 7 Eyewitness News entertain and inform our viewers on all platforms today.