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WGAL

Background

1950's

1960's & 70's

1980's

1990's

2000-Present

Background

The WGAL television tradition started around March 18th, 1949 broadcasting from a studio at 24 S. Queen Street in Lancaster.  Originally operating from channel 4. On December 31st 1952 they were forced to move from channel 4 to channel 8 on the broadcast dial because of an increase in power and due to FCC regulations. WGAL has been supporting the Susquehanna valley region of PA on channel 8 for some time now.  Serving cities such as Lancaster, Harrisburg, and York county area affiliated with NBC television.

In 1963 Nielsen Media Research decided to take York, Harrisburg and Lancaster and combine them into one area making them the only VHF station in the market. Today WGAL is one of top stations in the country. WGAL has also been closely affiliated with NBC and has had the opportunity to carry other programs from different stations such as ABC and CBS in its beginning days.


WGLA started as one of the four stations that pioneered the Pennsylvania area and one of the first to develop outside of the Philadelphia area. The station was owned by they Steinman family who also owned WGAL 1490AM radio station and two of the main local newspapers in the Lancaster area.  Lancaster emerged as one of the smallest cities in Pennsylvania with a television station.  Television has since and prior been through many of changes throughout time and WGAL has had its moment in time where it has had a chance to make a headline in history. 

WGAL began a 47-year tradition on May 5, of 1949, by presenting the area's first local newscast. The 15-minute newscast started live from the WGAL studios and included a sports commentary. 

What started as an experiment in electronic communications by Steinman Stations, Inc. created the groundwork for what is now one of largest television markets in the country.

WGAL-TV originated in 1949 as an innovation in broadcast communications and that commitment to bring constantly improved service to its viewers continues today.

 

Important Dates in WGAL

 1950's

 

1951 -- WGAL-TV began its daily sign-on before 12 noon each day.

1952 -- WGAL's broadcast day was extended to a 7 a.m. sign-on premiering NBC's "Today" show.

1954 -- On January 1, WGAL presented Channel 8 viewers with the station's first television show to be broadcast in color, "The Tournament of Roses Parade."

1956 -- On Christmas Day, 1956, Channel 8 began broadcasting from the new WGAL telecenter located at 1300 Columbia Avenue, Lancaster Pennsylvania

 

1957 -- "Romper Room," "Sports Desk" and "The Weatherman" were a couple of the first live color shows to air from the Channel 8 telecenter.

 

1960's and 70's

1962 -- The first local videotape color recording was made and aired over WGAL-TV.

1974 -- WGAL started construction on a new tower and antenna.

1979 -- to five half-hour programs weekdays.

1980's

1981 -- WGAL was the first television station in the market to expand and open a of a second newsroom in downtown Harrisburg which helped accommodate its news gathering.

-- WGAL was the first television station in the Susquehanna Valley to take viewers to news events via a LIVE mobile news truck.

 

-- The station invested in the area's first satellite dish to more efficiently receive national commercials and locally transmitted syndicated programming.

1984 -- During the first 35 years of operation, the WGAL staff had grown from less than 10 people to 127 full-time employees.

-WGAL's news operation had grown from producing two 30-minute newscasts daily in 1979 to five half-hour programs weekdays and two newscasts each on Saturday and Sunday.

1985 -- WGAL is the first television station in the state to begin transmitting audio on stereo.

 

1990's

1990 -- The station expanded to 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week operation on February 6.

-- WGAL premiered the "LIVE" show, the market's only daily, live talk show. The show was renamed "12:30 LIVE" and ran until March 2001. During that time it was one of the few locally produced daily live talk shows in the country.

1991 -- WGAL was the first station in the market to broadcast local news from 5:30 -- 6 p.m. weekdays, with the premiere of "News 8's First News."

1992 -- News 8 added a computerized communication system that allows instant communication between the York, Harrisburg and Lancaster newsrooms and provides closed-captioning capabilities for the deaf and hard of hearing.

-- News 8 introduced its Harrisburg SkyCam, a remote-controlled camera mounted on top of 333 Market Street in downtown, which still provides viewers with unique views of Pennsylvania's capital city.

1994 -- The demand for even more local news was met by WGAL when it was the first station in the market to add another two and one-half hours of local news weekly with "News 8 at 5."

-- In response to viewer suggestions, WGAL invested in "SchoolWatch," a sophisticated computer system which allows the station to broadcast a record number of area school closings and delays without interrupting regular programming.

1995 -- WGAL introduced LIVESTAR, the market's first Satellite News Gathering truck. The station built this truck to be specially equipped as a fully operational mobile newsroom. LIVESTAR, which allows News 8 to broadcast events live from anywhere in North America, served as a state-of-the-art prototype for stations around the country.

-News 8 was the first to provide local news and information weekend mornings. The station premiered the "News 8 Morning Report" in September by providing thirty minutes of local news and weather Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m.

1997 -- On July 14, News 8 continued to expand its information with the premiere of "News Today at 5:30 p.m." WGAL 8 now broadcasts 90 minutes of local news and weather, every weekday morning.

1999 -- WGAL Celebrates 50 years of broadcast service to the Susquehanna Valley.

-- On the date of WGAL's anniversary, March 18, 1999, Pulitzer Broadcasting finalized the sale of WGAL to Hearst Argyle Television.

 

2000- Present

2001 -- TheWGALChannel.com launches, allowing Web users everywhere to follow the latest local, national and international news, including breaking news, at any time. The site allows users to be e-mailed with news updates throughout the day.

- Also in 2001, WGAL activated WGAL-DT 58, the broadcaster's digital television channel for continuous operation. The March sign-on made WGAL the first commercial station in the Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York Television Market to broadcast a digital signal.

2006-- On Christmas day WGAL will be celebrating its 50th year anniversary at their new location.