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News 8 Archives: The early days of Rochester’s first TV station

News 8 Archives

History was made in June 1949 when Rochester’s first television station signed on the air.
Only 1200 TV sets in the Rochester area received the first signal of WHAM-TV-6 (later WROC), but in the following year almost 58,000 TVs were purchased.  In 1954 WHAM-TV moved to Channel 5 and in 1955, the station was renamed WROC, now broadcasting on Channel 8.

Audiences became captivated  by new and innovative programming, much of which originated from the Humboldt Street studios: Home Cooking with Trudy McNall aired for 8 years, Open House had large audiences tuning in week after week, and Ken Powell entertained the kids with the Skipper Sam Show?

Early commercials were live and often unpredictable 

And then there was local TV news.  For the first time, people could see the good and the bad right in their own living rooms, featuring TV anchormen Homer Bliss and Tom Decker, who worked the 6 and 11pm news for 16 years.  Along with Decker, reporter Tom Ryan defined what television news was all about, Ann Keefe became known as the first lady of Rochester TV news, and Bob Mills entertained people with his offbeat weather casts.  By the end of the 1960’s, WROC had made its mark as a legacy station and it’s still going strong all these decades later.

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