The year was 1948, the price of a stamp was 3 cents, a subway ride was 10 cents, and a gallon of gas was a whopping 16 cents when WPIX hit the air on June 15th as New York City’s first independent television station.
For 70 years, the award-winning PIX11, Tribune Broadcasting’s flagship television station, has been New York’s home for groundbreaking television. To celebrate the milestone, PIX11 will air PIX11 Celebrating 70 Years, a 60-minute retrospective special on June 16 at 4pm and 11pm ET.
PIX11 will also broadcast live from Levittown, NY (also celebrating 70 years) and air a classic programming block. Interstitials will run throughout the week of June 11, and will feature classic PIX11 footage, PIX11 program trivia and fun facts.
PIX11 Celebrating 70 Years will look back at PIX11 from 1948 through today and relive some of the station’s most memorable broadcast moments. From the NY Giants to the Yankees to the Mets…from Cap’n Jack McCarthy to Officer Joe Bolton to Bozo the Clown…from Dawson to Buffy to Supergirl… From the PIX PIX PIX game to the Yule Log, PIX11 Celebrating 70 Years will track the station’s growth from a small independent station to the powerhouse it is today.
• PIX11’s first live broadcast began at 7:30pm on June 15, 1948 and ran 5 hours, 41 minutes. It was a star-studded inaugural with such entertainers as Gloria Swanson, Ed Sullivan and Arthur Godfrey stopping by the broadcast.
• In 1948, PIX11 broadcast the first television coverage of both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions from Philadelphia.
• With its motto “First on the Scene, First on the Screen,” WPIX is a pioneer in establishing conventions of television news coverage, and uses airplanes to cover news years before the dawn of the news copter.
• In 1954, the New York Times praised WPIX anchor John Tillman for the innovation of reporting news from the scene, rather than the studio.
• PIX11 aired the very first instant replay on July 17, 1959, a ninth-inning single against the Chicago White Sox had spoiled Ralph Terry’s no-hitter for the Yankees. WPIX sportscaster Mel Allen asked the director, Jack Murphy, to see the hit replayed on videotape.
• In 1965 (that) the station aired another first, this time the first colorcast of Yankees baseball.
• PIX11 created the first “music video” when it began airing The Yule Log in 1966, with footage of the fireplace in Gracie Mansion set to classic Christmas car¬ols.
• In June 1980, WPIX launched its pioneering INN news broadcast. The Independent Network News brought network-quality news programs to independent stations around the nation. Long in planning, INN was launched just days after CNN, and 16 years before FOX News and MSNBC.