KOTV brought television to Tulsa in 1949. The station was owned by oilman George Cameron and Maria Helen Alvarez became the first woman General Manager. They converted the old International Harvester Dealership into one of the largest TV studios in the country.
Bob Hower was KOTV's first news anchor. He would deliver a 15-minute broadcast four times a week. Cy Tuma would become the station's first news director.
"Whether we are your new friends or old acquaintances, we bid you a hearty welcome as always and invite you to watch as we create for you a picture of a pioneer," Tuma reported.
By 1951, the station would boast the first mobile unit. It was a refurbished bread truck that was basically a TV station on wheels. The first breaking news would take place in 1952 when KOTV reportedly rolled a TV camera onto the roof and broadcast the Tulsa Coliseum fire live.
As the station began its 6th year of broadcasting, KOTV would expand its reach with a new tower. The signal could reach four states with a clearer picture.
"Sun Up," KOTV's first-morning show started in 1957. Clayton Vaughn joined Channel 6 in 1964. He would help KOTV be the first Tulsa station to cover the civil rights movement. Women would be added to the newsroom along the way. Judy Pryor anchored on "Sun Up" and Georgia Jones on the Noon news.
Dale Hogg was KOTV's first African American anchor and reporter. Dale recently visited our current newsroom. He reminisced about his time at KOTV and met current reporter, Joseph Holloway.
"Knowing so much about the history and where we came from and where we are now, and to see the man, who in my opinion set the tone for people like me to be in this newsroom, I mean it means a lot to me," Holloway says.
"I was a very fortunate individual to be at the right place at the right time," says Hogg. "Obviously in today's world, it would never have happened that way but I was so so very happy that it did. Even if it were not me, it would have been and could have been someone else."
"It made TV much more representative of what the population really was and also gave us an opportunity to show off some really brilliant people," remembers Clayton Vaughn.
KOTV would be the first in Oklahoma to revolutionize videotape recording with cutting edge equipment that's changed significantly through the years. Channel 6 would be the first station with a helicopter, an important newsgathering tool we still use today. KOTV has always be a leader in weather coverage, pioneering Pathfinder, a storm tracking system to help save lives.
"We were watching Channel 6 Doppler Pathfinder Radar and we feel like that's what saved our lives," said a tornado survivor in the 90's.
Keeping our viewers safe, informed and entertained has been KOTV's mission for the past 70 years. It was our promise then and will continue to be into the future.