WIS History - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

WIS History

WIS Television: The Midlands' first choice since 1953

On November 7, 1953, the first live broadcast on WIS was a University of South Carolina football game. In the decades that followed, the station has been committed to aggressive coverage of local news and special events. The call letters WIS stand for "Wonderful Iodine State". They were adopted because of the great abundance of iodine in the South Carolina soil, which, before the use of iodized salt, led to a low incidence of goiters in the state's population. For many years WIS Television shared call letters, and a building, with WIS Radio. The radio station has since been sold.

Some milestones in WIS History:

July 10, 1930

WIS Radio signs onto the airwaves under President G. Richard Shafto.

November 19, 1949

The construction of the Bull St. studios is completed. The building is a two-story structure constructed of hand-made Colonial brick with white columns. The entire building is completely fireproof and air conditioned. The rectangular wood-paneled lobby is one of the few areas of the interior that remains unchanged today.

January 29, 1953

WIS-TV Corp. is founded after the S.C. Secretary of State approves the charter, and a few weeks later the FCC authorizes the construction of WIS-TV.

May 12, 1953

Construction of the WIS-TV tower located at the Bull Street building begins. The total cost of the tower is $10,218.

November 7, 1953

The WIS inaugural broadcast is a live telecast of the football game between the University of South Carolina and the University of North Carolina. The Gamecocks defeat the Tarheels 18-0.

November 1953

Some of WIS-TV's first on-air personalities were weatherman Specs Munzell, Mackie Quave as Cactus Quave on the show "Bar Q Ranch", Sports Director Jim Jackson, home economist Emily Smith, and announcers Farrell Smith and Pete Collins.

January 30, 1954

WIS-TV carries its first telethon, "Dime-A-Thon", which lasts fifteen hours. The telethon raises about $16,000 for the South Carolina March of Dimes.

January 1955

WIS-TV carries the inauguration of Governor George Bell Timmerman along with his speech to the General Assembly. This is a tradition that is still carried on today.

September 12, 1955

Debut of color television with the NBC special "Skin of Our Teeth" on WIS. WIS went to full studio color in 1965.

January 31, 1959

WIS begins broadcasting from its tall tower located in Kershaw County, at that time the highest man-made structure east of the Mississippi. On this date, WIS becomes a state-wide station, increasing its coverage from 29 to 41 counties. The tower was constructed by one of Columbia's own, Kline Iron and Steel.

May 1961

WIS-TV airs a live telecast of the running of the Carolina Cup Races from Camden, SC.

May 27, 1963

Joe Pinner joins WIS-TV to host his own children's show and "Mr. Knozit" is born along with the great help and ideas of Program Director Dixon Lovvorn.

September 1963

WIS adds the "7 O'clock Report" to the schedule. The debut coincides with the expansion of NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report (at 6:30 p.m.) from 15 to 30 minutes. Today, the 7:00 Report is one of WIS's premier newscasts.

May 1965

The Broadcasting Company of the South, the owner of WIS-TV becomes Cosmos Broadcasting Corporation with the acquisition of a third property, WTOL-TV in Toledo, Ohio.

April 1967

"Mr. Knozit" wins the 1967 George Foster Peabody award for "distinguished achievement and meritorious public service in the category of children's programs."

May 30, 1969

Long time CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee G. Richard Shafto retires. Mr. Shafto has been at WIS since the inception of WIS-Radio in 1930.

May 15, 1978

Susan Audé joins the WIS News team as weekend weather anchor.

June 23, 1987

David Stanton joins WIS and can still be seen on WIS anchoring "WIS News 10 Midday" and the "7 O'clock Report".

September 21, 1989

WIS Storm Team forecast that Hurricane Hugo will hit Charleston bears true. WIS News begins around-the- clock coverage as the storm drives up through Charlotte, and continues with extensive coverage through the months of recovery.

January 1991

WIS adds the "News at 6" after war breaks out in the Persian Gulf.

August 1991

WIS is named "TV Station of the Year" by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association.

August 1995

Kara Gormley arrives at WIS as David Stanton's co-anchor on WIS's "News at Sunrise" Kara Gormley later anchored "Live at 5" and currently anchors the weekend evening newscast.

September 11, 1995

"WIS News at Five" debuts and it is hosted by Susan Audé and Dawn Mercer.

December 4, 1995

Judi Gatson arrives at WIS Radio News. She soon finds a spot on the television news team. Judi is currently the WIS News 10 Troubleshooter. She also anchors the "Midday" and "Live at Five" newscasts.

February 10, 1996

WIS broadcasts live coverage, start to finish, of the U.S. Olympic Women's Marathon Trials from the streets of Columbia, kicking off on-going coverage of the Olympics in Atlanta, the torch run and other events leading up to the games.

November 11, 1996

Doppler Radar arrives at WIS. The station has the capability of highlighting in vivid detail the weather in a particular area as it is happening.

November 1996

Rick Henry is promoted to WIS Sports Director from weekend sports anchor.

November 1996

WIS adds a 10 p.m. Monday-Friday newscast to its production schedule. The newscast airs on rival WACH-TV.

January 1, 1997

General Manager Ron Loewen leaves WIS. Loewen doubled the amount of news on the station.

September 1997

WIS enters the Internet era by launching WIStv.com, the first area web site featuring local news from a television station.

January 7, 2000

WIS and MSNBC produce live coverage of the South Carolina Republican Presidential debate. The program is moderated by Brian Williams of NBC News and WIS anchor David Stanton.

February 19, 2000

George W. Bush wins South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary. WIS airs first interview with Bush after his victory.

July 1, 2000

WIS provides live coverage of the ceremony removing the Confederate Flag from the Statehouse dome.

September 2001

WIS raises $326,000 for "South Carolina Cares." The money goes to the American Red Cross to aid victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

November 2002

WIS News 10 receives "A" grade in a nationwide study of television newscasts conducted by The Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research organization based at Columbia University.

January 30, 2003

WIS starts broadcasting digital television. WIS-DT airs WIS and NBC programs on digital channel 41, including many hours weekly in High Definition (HD).

May 15, 2003

Susan Audé celebrates her 25th anniversary at WIS. Columbia Mayor Bob Coble presents her the "Key to the City".

November 2003

WIS Celebrates 50 years on the air. As part of the anniversary celebration the station holds an open house block party at the studios on Bull Street. More than 5000 people attend.

January 2005

WIS News 10's anchor David Stanton is honored with SCBA's Masters Award for lifetime achievement in broadcasting.

June 2005

WIS News 10 receives the Southeast Region Emmy Award for the "Best Newscast" from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

August 2005

The South Carolina Broadcasters Association (SCBA) names WIS its Television Station of the Year for the third consecutive year.

January 2006

The parent company of WIS, Liberty Corporation, is acquired by Raycom Media, Inc. Raycom is one of the nation's largest broadcasters and owns and/or operates 46 television stations in 36 markets and 18 states. http://www.raycommedia.com/

April 2010    

WIS launches THIS TV, a new entertainment channel for the Midlands, on digital multicast channel 10.2.

November 2010   

WIS and the Palmetto Project celebrate our 20th anniversary partnering for
Families Helping Families, a project which identifies needy families throughout the Midlands who might otherwise not receive experience a merry Christmas.

November 2010

WIS debuts the area's first local newscast produced entirely in high-definition 2010 (HDTV).

 

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