WSUN-TV, St. Petersburg

WSUN-TV signed on the air on channel 38 on May 31, 1953, as the first television station in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. At this time Tampa-St. Petersburg was the largest marked in the United States without a VHF television station.

The station began as an independent, but in later in 1953 it carried programs from all three major networks. Once WFLA-TV and WTVT signed on in 1955, however, WSUN-TV became an ABC affiliate.

The 1961-62 Broadcasting Yearbook entry for WSUN-TV follows:

WSUN-TV (May 31, 1953) ch. 38; power - 200 kw visual, 107 kw aural; antenna height - 460 feet above average terrain, 492 feet above ground. Address: Municipal Pier, zone 1, St. Petersburg. Phone 5-4121. TWX 8-082. Licensee: City of St. Petersburg (original owner). Ownership: Municipal corporation. Network: ABC-TV (primary). Rep: Venard, Rintoul & McConnell; James S. Ayers (Southeastern).; Highest hour rate: $400. Executives: Fred P. Shawn, gen mgr; Earl Welde, coml mgr; Harry Wagner, prog dir; Carl Fuchs, prom mgr; Irwin Brown, news dir; William J. Codding, chief engr. Washington atty: Loucks & Jansky. Radio affiliate: WSUN.

In September 1965 WSUN-TV became an independent again, after the ABC affiliation was given to WLCY-TV.

The 1969 Broadcasting Yearbook entry for WSUN-TV follows:

WSUN-TV ch 38. May 31, 1953. 200 kw vis, 39.8 kw aur; ante 460t/492g (CP 832 kw vis, 85 kw aur). 2d St. & 2nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg (33701). 894-0191. Licensee: WSUN inc, Own: WCAR Inc., which is owned by H. Y. Levinson, 52.6%; Celia D. Levinson, 23.58% & others. WCAR Inc. owns WCAR Detroit. Rep: Avery-Knodel. Rate: $400. Color: Slides, film. Stokes Gresham Jr., gen mgr. Wash atty: Scharfeld, Bechhoefer & Baron, WSUN affil. On 11 CATV's.

In February 1970 WSUN-TV signed off the air.

The WSUN-TV test pattern and newsroom. Photos courtesy of Bob Sheilds

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