Flagship ABC station marks 75 years

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ABC’s flagship-owned station WABC marked 75 years on the air Aug. 10, 2023.

The station hit the air Aug. 10, 1948 using the calls WJZ, which now belong to CBS’s station in Baltimore, Maryland.

To mark the occasion, the station is airing a series of retrospective and tribute packages and also arranged for the Empire State Building to be lit in “WABC blue.”

The Empire State Building also serves as the station’s transmitter site, along with multiple other NYC area broadcasters.

WABC is also using large yellow “75th” logo set with halftone shadow effects along with the words “WABC-TV” and “Anniversary” set in a geometric sans serif with a distinctive customized “W” and “A” modified to share an angle and inspired by an earlier logo. The “A” is also used at the start of “Anniversary” but no in the second time the letter makes an appearance in the word.

The station’s premiere broadcast was a vaudeville show broadcast from the RKO Palace Theatre in Manhattan.

Over the years WABC would eventually adopt the “Eyewitness News” format developed by Al Primo at KYW in Philadelphia. 

WABC currently has its main operations at a building branded as “7 Lincoln Square” in the Upper West Side neighborhood that shares a name with a nearby performing arts venue.

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However, network parent Disney sold the property in 2018 when it announced plans to move to a purpose-built facility in Hudson Square. It currently occupies the space under a leaseback arrangement while it awaits for the new building to be finished in 2024.

Plans call for WABC and its news studio and operations as well as the world headquarters for ABC News to move to the new location. The studios for “The View,” “Tamron Hall” and “Live with Kelly and Mark” will also move to the new building.

There are notably no plans for a streetside studio such as the one WABC currently uses.

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