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   NewsChannel 5 signed on the air as WLAC-TV in 1954---Nashville's second television station.  In 1975, the call letters were changed to WTVF-TV.  August 6, 2004 marked 50 years of excellence for the NewsChannel 5 Network.  Here are just a few of the highlights and milestones through the years:

August 6, 1954

  • The station went on air with call letters WLAC-TV from its studios at 159 4th Avenue North in downtown Nashville .
  • The original owners were T.B. Baker, Jr., Alvin G. Beaman, Jr., and Life and Casualty Insurance Co.
  • The station signed on with the first full-height tower in Tennessee .

August 22, 1954

  • WLAC-TV aired its first color telecast when CBS aired The Ed Sullivan Show on closed circuit.
  • The only color telecast from CBS for many years was the "The Red Skelton Show".


  • WLAC-TV hired the first female weather person in Nashville , Jean Hughes.


  • On September 9th, WLAC-TV was the first Nashville television station to use radar in its weather presentation. This was 14 years before any other station.

The Mid 60's

  • The Rhythm and Blues Show "Night Train" was produced at WLAC-TV. It was a popular entertainment show, showcasing famous artists that included Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding.


  • WLAC-TV was the first television station to provide statewide live election coverage during a state election.


  • WLAC-TV broadcast the first local news story using color film.


  • On September 28th, WLAC-TV moved to its present location at 474 James Robertson Parkway in downtown Nashville.
  • They broadcast news from their first "news set" at the new location.
  • The first locally produced network television program, "The Boots Randolph Show" on ABC, was videotaped at Channel 5 studios.


  • On June 15th, CBS Television bought "Hee Haw", a summer replacement show for CBS. It was taped at Channel 5 until 1980. The show became a network hit and was a highly successful syndicated program.


  • WLAC-TV hired the first African American sportscaster, Bill Perkins, on Nashville television.

1969 - 1970

  • WLAC-TV originated the concept of Snow Watch for reporting school closings during inclement winter.


  • WLAC-TV hired the first female feature reporter in the Nashville area, Ruth Ann Leach.


  • WLAC-TV hired the first female news co-anchor in the Nashville area, Oprah Winfrey.

[Information and history from]

John Lashlee was a popular sports anchor at Channel 5.


Oprah Winfrey at Channel 5 after working at WVOL Radio

   Oprah Winfrey, after she worked as a fledgling news reporter at WVOL, worked in the news department at WTVF, Channel 5, Nashville's CBS affiliate.

Oprah Winfrey

Chris Clark was one of Nashville's most popular, most-respected and longest-tenured news anchors for many years before he finally retired.

Chris Clark

Ruth Ann Leach was a talk show host on WLAC radio as well as a news reporter and news anchor at Channel 5.

Ruth Ann Leach was Channel 5's first female features reporter