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                     History of WSM-TV


   WSMV-TV first signed on the air as WSM-TV on September 30, 1950, and was Nashville's first television station. It was owned by National Life and Accident Insurance Company and WSM, Inc, and was the second television station in Tennessee (WMCT-TV in Memphis was the first). WSM Television was an NBC affiliate from the very beginning, although it also aired some programs from CBS, DuMont and ABC networks. Its relationship with CBS ended in 1953 when WSIX-TV (now WKRN) went on the air as CBS's primary affiliate. WSM-TV continued to broadcast some ABC programs, as did WSIX. Then, when WLAC-TV went on the air a year later and acquired CBS progams, WSM was left with only NBC and WSIX became the only outlet for ABC.

   WSM's studios were originally located at 15th Avenue South and Compton Avenues, just a few blocks from Belmont College. In 1957, WSM-TV began erecting the tallest television antenna in the Southeast, just off of 37th Avenue North near Charlotte Pike. During the construction of the tower, some guy wires snapped and the tower collapsed, taking the lives of three workers. A short time later, the station began building its tower, and new studios, on Knob Road in the Belle Meade area, just off White Bridge Road.

During its last few years in the studios at 15th and Compton, WSM allowed public television station WDCN (now WNPT), then Channel 2 but now Channel 8, to use its studios. When WSM left to relocate on Knob Road, WDCN remained and took over all of the studio space for its educational programs.

   Early WSM-Channel 4 personalities included Ralph Emery, the longtime WSM radio personality; Pat Sajak, weatherman at Channel 4 and now host of "Wheel of Fortune"; Robin Roberts, later to go on to ESPN and "Good Morning, America"; John Tesh; Dan Miller; Huell Howser, and many others.

   Dan Miller was co-anchor of the 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts for many years. Bill Hall was a popular, long-time weather man; Larry Munson was the station's sports director and the voice of the Vanderbilt Commodores football and basketball broadcasts, and was followed in that position by Paul Eels. Munson went on to Atlanta where he was the voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, and Eels moved on to Little Rock, Arkansas and became the voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks for 28 years. Other well-known Channel 4 personalities included Jud Collins, Nashville's first television news anchor; Dave Overton, host of the Waking Crew and 5 O'Clock Hop; and Teddy Bart, host of the Noon Show and several other programs.