JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On September 15, 1949 Channel 4, then known as WMBR, signed on as the second television station in the state of Florida and the first station in Jacksonville.
Young singer, Virginia Atter, along with future sportscaster Dick Stratton was hired to do commercials and host talk shows on Jacksonville television. They experienced celebrity guests such as Andy Griffin, Joe DiMaggio and Rev. Billy Graham.
Years later; daily news was introduced and anchored by Bill Grove, who set the precedent for local news to be honest and accurate. Chief Meteorologist George Winterling was the first to accurately predict the path of Hurricane Dora in 1962 and the first snowy Christmas in 1989.
Since then, Channel 4 has presented countless images we will never forget for more and stories that stay in the minds and hearts of Jacksonville viewers. In its 60 years, The Local Station has accomplished many things.
After 19 years together, Deborah Gianoulis, Tom Willis, Sam Kouvaris and George Winterling were the longest running news team in the nation..
In 2002 the station split from partner CBS after unresolved affiliation agreements between station-owner Post Newseek and the network.Becoming an independednt network in Jacksonville was a long road but the lineup of syndicated series and the Oprah Winfrey Show proved favorable among viewers.WJXT made the switch from broadcasting signals in analog to High Definition in 2009 and has not looked back since.
In 2017, the WJXT still has the top rated newscasts in Jacksonville, and often has the most viewers in other dayparts, as well.
The station has received numerous awards over theyears, including Emmys, Radio and Television News Directors Association Murrow awards, Associated Press awards and three Golden Batons from the Columbia School of Journalism.
While many people have made their careers at this television station, some WJXT alumni have gone on to big jobs at the networks, such as 60 minutes' Steve Kroft, CBS veterans Randall Pinkston and Bruce Hall and ABC's Karla Davis.