Celebrating 70 Years The NBC 5/KXAS Television News Archive

Grey rectangle with a film reel graphic seen in the background. In big, black letters is the exhibit title, NBC 5/KXAS Celebrating 70 Years, at the bottom part of the middle of the page are the words First Television in a yellow rectangle. In each corner of the banner, different media graphics are seen with yellow circles behind each.

In 1946 publisher Amon G. Carter filed permits with the Federal Communications Commission for construction of a television station in Fort Worth, Texas. Carter, already a legend in the publishing world, had been successfully operating the Fort-Worth Star Telegram newspaper since 1909 and a major NBC affiliated radio station, WBAP, since 1922. His new television station, WBAP-TV, also NBC affiliated, aired its first broadcast on September 27, 1948. WBAP was the first television station in Texas and the only television station in the entire southwest region of the country.

For over 65 years the news station (renamed NBC 5/KXAS in 1974 following its sale to LIN broadcasting) continued to broadcast programming from their original location on “Broadcast Hill” in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2012 the station began construction of a new $16 million facility centrally located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and in early 2014 the station began broadcasting from their new location. News programming at NBC 5/KXAS has grown over the years from a daily 15 minute news reel in the 1950’s to multiple daily news broadcasts by the 1970’s. The station continued to be a leader in local television news by becoming the first station in Texas to feature all-color news film in 1966, and was the first station in the country to produce a monthly “news magazine” featuring in-depth, documentary style reporting.

The real innovation of NBC 5/KXAS was in the high quality content of their news reporting. During the 1950’s and 1960’s most local affiliate stations focused on live entertainment programming featuring dancers or musical performers which did not require the expense of investment in costly film technology. Furthermore many local affiliates believed that they would only be duplicating the efforts of radio and newspaper journalists in creating news programming, so they simply relied on summaries of wire reports to provide viewers with the news. In contrast, WBAP featured news reporting from across the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area ranging from crime, politics and current events to public interest even novelty reporting. News film from WBAP was broadcast nightly as early as 1951 (and perhaps earlier, although no footage from the years 1948-1950 was retained) in a 15 minute program called, “The Texas News.”

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