WSB-TV Celebrates 70 Years


Atlanta’s WSB-TV celebrated 70 years on the air Sept. 29 with special web content and an hour-long program highlighting the station’s groundbreaking history as the first television news operation in the South. WSB-70th-anniversary-D1.png

The program, which aired Sept. 30, looked back at the early days of Atlanta television and how WSB-TV continues to innovate, even as technology changes the way viewers consume news.  It featured old station promos, former anchors (and their hairdos), and clips from the station’s most memorable coverage, including the Civil Rights movement and the 1996 Olympics.

“This has been a pure work of love,” said Tracey Christensen, Director of Local and Digital Programming for WSB-TV. “We could have produced many more hours with the rich resources of history WSB-TV has preserved. And, frankly, there are so many veterans of Channel 2 who spent their careers here, we’re at no shortage of first-hand knowledge of most of the 70-year history.”

The station launched on Sept. 29, 1948, with announcer John Cone proclaiming, “WSB-TV is on the air.” Viewers watched the Baptist Hour Choir, saw a national news film and got a preview of local news coverage.

Its earliest staffers broke racial barriers, including Lo Jelks, the first black television reporter in Atlanta; Jocelyn Dorsey, the first black woman to anchor a show; and Monica Kaufman-Pearson, the first black woman and minority to anchor the main 6 p.m. newscast.

The station is also a long reigning ratings powerhouse — according to Nielsen Media Research, the channel consistently wins 21 of 24 hours of the total broadcast day or 88 percent of daily programming.

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