WKOW-TV, Madison, was the 1947 brainchild of a group of businessmen from Monona who put the station on the air in 1953, making it Madison’s first broadcast television station. Here’s how the station marked its big milestone.
WHA-TV Madison, went on the air in 1954 and today is part of a 12-station statewide network known as Wisconsin Public Television. WPT celebrated its 50th year on the air in 2004 with a series of events, including “Yours for 50 Years.”
On September 4, 1950, WEXT Radio became WOKY and hit the Milwaukee airwaves at 920 on the AM dial. In 2000, legendary disc jockey Bob Barry helped the station celebrate “50 Years in 50 Days” with this recording.
WRJN Radio, Racine, was put on the air by two businessmen from Oak Park, Illinois. They also served as the station’s first announcer and engineer. WRJN was founded in partnership with the Racine Journal News, hence the station’s call letters.
WMVS-TV, Milwaukee, became the state’s second public television station when it went on the air in 1957 and was later joined by sister station WMVT-TV. Together, the two stations comprise Milwaukee Public Television.
WSAW-TV was the first television station in Wausau when it began broadcasting in 1954 as WSAU-TV. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, WSAW-TV – a CBS affiliate from the beginning – produced the stories and video here.
WKBT-TV in LaCrosse was the city’s first station and an affiliate of CBS and ABC for nearly 25 years after it went on the air in 1954. In 1970, the station became a CBS affiliate. And, in 2004, WKBT-TV celebrated its golden anniversary.
From the day they began signing onto the airwaves more than half a century ago – and in some cases, more than 75 years ago, Wisconsin radio and televisions stations shaped the history of every corner of the state. They brought the world to homes from Waukesha to Watertown to Washburn. They broadcast news, sports and entertainment, and they both informed and reflected the lives of their local viewers.
Many stations have now celebrated their golden anniversaries on the air. The Wisconsin Museum of Broadcasting is proud to present these reports, created by the stations themselves as they looked back on their contribution to Wisconsin’s broadcasting history.