The original owner/GM of WBJA was Alfred E Anscombe of Buffalo, New York. The call letters were the initials of his wife, Beth J Anscombe.
AL ANSCOMBE is a groundbreaking triple-pioneer in radio, television and cable. Starting his career as a junior sports announcer in the late 1930s at the old Buffalo Broadcasting Corp., he became a major player in that company, eventually rising to vice president and station manager of WKBW Radio. In that post, he presided over such widely diverse talent as Bill Mazer, Foster Brooks, Stan Jasinski, Jack Mahl and George "Hound Dog" Lorenz. He later was prominent in the management team that transformed KB into one of America's great rock radio stations. Anscombe's commercial and political efforts were paramount in securing the FCC license for WKBW-TV (Channel 7) in 1958. He was a prime factor in UHF-TV in the 1960s, then shifted into cable in the '70s as owner of Amherst Cablevision. He continues to own and consult broadcast operations throughout the country and in 1996 became the founding chairman of the Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers.
WBJA was planning to be channel 56 in Binghamton, but the merger of two UHF stations in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania: WILK-TV channel 34 Wilkes-Barre and WARM-TV channel 16 in Scranton to form WNEP-TV channel 16 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre left channel 34 open and available for this new southern New York state TV station.
WBJA TV channel 34 in Binghamton, New York, was scheduled to sign on Nov 1, 1962. But there were construction delays and sign on was not until Nov 25, 1962. An ABC affiliate, it broadcast with 200,000 watts video, 2,200 feet above sea level, 900 feet above average terrain. The 1st local movie ever shown was Bells of St Marys staring Bing Crosby.
The signal was always weak and in black & white into the 1970's. WBJA had at least one translator, but I've been unable remember or find out what channel it was on.
Lowell Nelson was WBJA's Chief Engineer and WBJA's original RCA transmitter was nicknamed "Gertrude". The story goes that Gertrude would only work properly for Lowell. Someone snapped a Polaroid of Lowell for use when he wasn't around, and the joke was that when Gertrude acted up and Lowell was nowhere nearby, you held the picture of Lowell up in front of the transmitter and she would then cooperate.
Gertrudes replacement was named "Philomena" after Phil Marella who was the owner when the second transmitter was installed.
Lowell Nelson was known for his transmitter site garden. Legend has it that he was often found on the roof with a loaded 22, waiting for the woodchuck that was always eating his plants. The joke was that Lowell held the only FCC first ticket with a "Gardening" endorsement.
Stan Hayes was the news director and anchor on WBJA in the seventies, a veteran of the Triple Cities market, Stan was the first voice heard when WINR-TV Channel 40, now WICZ Binghamton, when it signed on in 1957. Hayes, died Friday Jan. 31 2003.
For 30+ years WBJA was channel 4 on local cable tv systems and for 30+ years WBJA was the lowest rated tv station in the Binghamton market.
Until at least 1977 Channel 34's business offices were on the Vestal Parkway in the Colonial Motor Inn (approximately where Chuck E. Cheese is today). It was and still is the only Binghamton TV station with studios at the transmitter site on Ingraham Hill.
In 1978, WBJA was sold and became WMGC-TV, "Magic 34"
Ackerley Broadcasting, bought the station in 1997 and in 1998 the call letters were changed to: WIVT. Ackerley sank some cash into the station's news operation. At the time Ackerley also owned WIXT Channel 9 in Syracuse New York now known as News Channel 9.
Sunday, May 31, 1998, tornado force winds hit Ingraham Hill, demolishing the stations tower and causing major damage to the office/studio/transmitter building. WIVT would not transmit an over the air signal several months. But in the next few days feeds to local cable systems were established, studios were leased from WSKG-TV, network programming resumed within several days and local programming a few days after that. It was fall before the new tower was up and channel 34 was broadcasting from the Ingraham Hill site. Read more about WIVT's tower troubles at fybush.com.
WIVT operates WBGH-CA a low-powered, NBC network affiliate licenced to Binghamton NY. In 1995 WBGH-CA signed on as VHF channel 8. WBGH's analog signal moved to UHF channel 20 in 1998 to make way for WICZ's digital signal on channel 8. WBGH-CA broadcasts a digital signal on WIVT-DT 4.2 a subchannel of WIVT-DT.
WIVT-DT's digital signal is broadcast on VHF channel 4.
This is the logo that is used for WBGH. Note the NBC peacock, WBGH simulcasts WIVT's local newscasts.
In October 2001, Clear Channel announced it would buy the Ackerley Group. Clear Channel is at giant media company with many critics. You can also read more about "Radio's big bully" (Clear Channel) at Salon.com.
On April 20, 2007, Clear Channel entered into an agreement to sell its entire television stations group to Providence Equity Partners.
WBJA.com BinghamtonRadio.com Transmitter Site of the Week New Clear Studios
©2007 WBJA.com - Webmaster Tools & Services, Handsonline.net