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Television History

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   As this website continues to develop, a history of Nashville's television stations will occupy this page. Soon you'll be able to read about the area's first station, WSM-TV, Channel 4, and its early programs
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An early test pattern was all viewers saw in the beginning

  


   When viewers turned on their first television sets in Nashville, tuning in the Channel 4, all they saw in the very beginning was a "Test Pattern." Cameras in the studio were focused on a tripod holding a cardboard posterboard with this visual. Later, after 'real' programs began airing during the day, the "test pattern" was still the first thing one saw when the station signed on in the morning, and the last thing when it signed off each night.



   Jud Colllins anchored the local news on WSM-TV, Channel 4, in its early years. He was aruguably one of Nashville's most popular television personalities, also hosting other station programs including the "Noon" Show. He later moved to Nashville's ABC affiliate, WNGE-TV, Channel 2, and anchored the nightly local news there.

Photo courtesy WSMV
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Jud Collins at Channel 4 in 1950

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Jud Collins at a WSM-TV reunion

   Nashville television had two popular clowns over the years. Bozo the Clown was on Channel 8 (now Channel 2), and Happy A. Clown was a fixture on Channel 4. Both enjoyed success and starred on their own shows, aimed primarily, of course, at children.





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TV Program Guide from 1965

   Jud Collins started at WSM radio, and when National Life put Nashville's first television station on the air in September, 1950, also began working at Channel 4. He anchored the news, hosted the 'Noon Show' and was easily WSM-TV's most recognizable personality for many years. In the 1970's, he moved over to Channel 2, WNGE-TV, the local ABC affiliate, anchoring their nightly newscasts for several years. Nevertheless, he is still remembered primarily as the face of WSM television for the better part of three decades.

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   Nashville's television stations combined their own local programs with network shows. As you can see in the newspaper TV guide listings to the left, network game shows, soap operas and the World Series teamed up with Romper Room and other home-grown programs to entertain us.

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The Channel 5 News Team in the 1970's