The station first subscribed on the air on April 1, 1955, becoming the third television station in Tampa Bay (after WSUN-TV - channel 38, the frequency of which is currently occupied by WTTA, and WFLA-TV, channel 8), it is also currently the second oldest surviving station on the market (after the WFLA). Operating as a CBS affiliate, WTVT was originally owned by Tampa Bay veteran Walter Tyson and his Tampa broadcaster. The Federal Communications Commission first granted permission to build a station on Channel 13 of the now defunct Tampa Times, which owned the WDAE radio station (then, at 1250, now at 620). However, the FCC reversed its decision and transferred the license to the Tison group, which intended to open a studio in neighboring St. Petersburg. The Times appealed the FCC decision, but lost. Although it seems that TeleVision Tampa is indicated in the telephone letters, they actually mean the initials of Walter Tyson and his wife Virginia. Like many other stations located on channel 13, WTVT used the black cat as a talisman for several years.
In 1956, the television company Tampa merged with the publishing company Oklahoma City. The subsidiary OPUBCO WKY Radiophone Company will later be known as the Gaylord Broadcasting, named after the family that owned the company (Gaylord also owned the modern CBS O & O KTVT in Fort Worth, but the base call sign “TVT” was just a coincidence).
The station’s remote broadcast media were selected to cover the network pool by spilling Mercury capsules by Alan Shepard and John Glenn (in 1961 and 1962). The mobile unit recorded the restoration on video tapes that were delivered to the mainland.
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