PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 11, 1949, a one-hour program launched Pittsburgh’s first television station, WDTV.
That station was part of the DuMont Television Network.
It eventually became known as KDKA, and Friday marks our 70th anniversary on the air.
In the early days, WDTV aired several variety shows and programs aimed at the 1950s housewife.
It didn’t take long for DuMont to recognize the need for 24-hour programming, and in March 1952, WDTV became the first television station in the country to broadcast 24 hours a day.
In 1954, DuMont sold the station to Westinghouse, which moved the station to Gateway Center in Downtown Pittsburgh and changed the call letters from WDTV to KDKA, aligning the television station with America’s first radio station and cementing its commitment to local programming.
WATCH: Remembering KDKA’s Newscasters On Our 70th Anniversary —
From 1953 to 1989, Bill Burns was the face of KDKA-TV.
Some of KDKA’s other early news pioneers included Dave Murray, Al McDowell, Paul Long and Don Riggs.
In the 1960s, KDKA lead the way in breaking barriers, becoming one of the first television stations to hire African-American reporters and give more prominent roles to female journalists, including trailblazing journalist Marie Torre.
The 1970s brought two people to KDKA who would become broadcasting legends – Patti Burns and Ray Tannehill.
Patti was the daughter of Bill Burns, and soon they would be paired as co-anchors of the noon news, making them the first father-daughter news anchor team in America.
Some other longtime KDKA newscasters over the year have included Bob Kudzma, Bill Currie, Wayne Van Dine, Al Julius, Patrice King Brown, Lynne Hayes-Freeland, Harold Hayes, Mary Robb Jackson, Ralph Iannotti, Bob Pompeani, Jon Burnett, Stacy Smith, Paul Martino, Brenda Waters and John Shumway, just to name a few.
WATCH: KDKA’s Stacy Smith Remembers His Groundbreaking Interview With Transplant Doctor Thomas Starzl —
KDKA has covered it all in Pittsburgh – from breaking news, to stories of heartbreak and hope, to weather disasters, to groundbreaking medical research, to hard-hitting investigations, to consumer news and politics.
We’ve also traveled around the world on assignment, visiting places like Russia, Vietnam, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and The Vatican.
And we’ve been here for three of the Pirates’ five World Series championships, all five of the Penguins Stanley Cup championships and all six of the Steelers Super Bowl championships.
WATCH: Reflecting On KDKA’s Biggest News Stories Over The Past 70 Years —
Over the years, KDKA has had many shows geared toward children and teenagers, as well as both afternoon and morning talk shows, evening entertainment shows and countless sports shows.
We’ve also been committed to giving back to the community with long-standing projects like the KD Turkey Fund and the Children’s Hospital Free Care Friends Benefit Show.
And while the faces that bring you the news on KDKA have changed over the years, one thing has remained the same.
We remain committed to fair and honest reporting, covering the issues that are important to you and serving the community that has welcomed us into their homes for the past 70 years.
And in the words of the late Bill Burns, “Good night, good luck and good news tomorrow.”