VIDEO: WGGB-TV marks 65 years of broadcasting - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

VIDEO: WGGB-TV marks 65 years of broadcasting

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Western Mass News is celebrating a big anniversary this weekend.

On Saturday, April 14, WGGB-TV will be on the air 65 years.

It's a great opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, through the archives at Channel 40...and what a trip it's been.

We went on the air as WHYN-TV Channel 55 on April 14, 1953.

Charlie Derose was the original owner of the station.

Back then, the television operation did not stand alone.  It also included WHYN-AM and FM radio in the same building.

[CHECK IT OUT: Video - A look back at 65 years from the Channel 40 archives]

Radio personalities like Phil Dee hosted a local show for teens called "Dance Party."

There were plenty of other locally produced programs like "The Admiral and Swabby Show," "Bozo the Clown," and "The Polka Show" - just to name a few - and "The Barbara Bernard Show."

Bernard is a pioneer in western Massachusetts broadcasting, being the first woman on the air with her own show.

"I never thought of myself as breaking a glass ceiling, but I guess I did," Bernard said.

Bernard recently sat down with us to reminisce about the old days of broadcasting.

Bernard started her television career in 1955, just two years after the station went on the air.

"When I was there, it was so new we didn't have videotape machines.  Everything was done live, including commercials," Bernard explained.

Bernard thrived in that live broadcasting setting.  

"When I first started, it was an opportunity for people at home to see things in their own living room.  They got to meet great people," Bernard said.

Bernard was also on the air live on November 22, 1963.

"All of a sudden, my program was interrupted and I knew from experience, because on occasion, this would happen that this was a tragedy," Bernard added.

ABC News broke into the program with word that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

WHYN radio and television also had an award-winning news department.

Durham Caldwell, who started working at the station in 1961, was news director.  He also will never forget that fateful day in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot.

"That was a very sad, dramatic day.  I'll never forget.  Patty Pepper, who was one of the old timers on the police force who was on the Main Street beat that day, saying when they took a shot at that man, I thought they took a shot at the whole country or something like that," Caldwell explained.

Over the years, the station has undergone ownership changes.

In 1979, the station changed its call letters to WGGB for its former owner, Guy Gannett Broadcasting.

Sinclair Broadcast Group bought the station in 1998 and in 2007, Sinclair sold the station to Gormally Broadcasting. 

A year later, WGGB launched FOX 6 as Springfield's first-in-the-market FOX affiliate.

On June 18, 2014, current owner, Meredith Corporation acquired WGGB creating a duopoly with CBS affiliate WSHM.

With a combined ABC, CBS, and FOX affiliation, Western Mass News was born .

Today, our studio is state-of-the-art with high-definition cameras, a new news set, and a weather center with the latest technology, 

We've come a long way since day one back on April 14, 1953 and thank you - our loyal viewers - for allowing us into your homes for these 65 years.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved

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