6 On The Move: KOTV's Historical High Points

Tuesday, January 15th 2013, 9:48 pm
By: News On 6

As News On 6 makes the move to the new Griffin Communications Media Center in the Brady Arts District, we look back at our history - 63 years of reporting news to the people of Oklahoma.

Joshua Brakhage, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Channel 6 has been on top of Green Country for 64 years.

The new high water mark in KOTV history is our move to the Griffin Communications Media Center.

Until then, we're taking a look back at our pinnacle achievements in technology by retracing the high points of our past.

When KOTV's first test pattern went over the air, TVs were still few and far between in Oklahoma.

But starting in the fall of 1949, Green Country could turn on Channel 6. There was no reason to turn the channel for four years. KOTV was the first - and only - station in town.

1/14/2013 Related Story: 6 On The Move: 'Helen Of Tulsa,' First Female Chief Executive In TV

To send our signal as far as possible, we looked to the top of Tulsa's tallest skyscraper.

In 1949, that was the National Bank of Tulsa building. Today, it's the 320 South Boston building. The upper cupola is called the "bell tower" now, but it was built as an airport, a place to dock zeppelins and airships.

But it had just the height to lift our signal to homes across Green Country.

Iron-willed engineers scaled the tower to assemble KOTV's first antenna. While crews hung on for dear life, people on the ground were in danger, too. Downtown Tulsa in 1949 was a shopping hotspot, and when a worker accidentally dropped his wrench, it fell from the tower, killing an out-of-town shopper on a bustling downtown sidewalk.

When KOTV powered up that antenna, programs from our studios at 3rd and Frankfort arrived instantly in Bristow, Muskogee and Pawhuska.

Watch Videos From The KOTV Vault

Folks from as far away as Enid and Eufaula in Oklahoma and Monett, Missouri and Fayetteville, Arkansas said their reception came in loud and clear.

But the downtown skyline was changing, and we looked for an even taller spot and headed west to Sand Springs.

When that 1,328 ft. broadcast tower went up in 1954, it was the fifth-tallest structure on Planet Earth.

The structure, comprised of 361,000 tons of steel dwarfed almost all of the world's most famous structures, making the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument look up.

When our new tower went up in the ‘80s, viewers had to turn their antennas from pointing toward Sand Springs to Coweta.

"We just need to turn it around, basically in the opposite direction. Again, we cheated and I already loosened that nut. It's just a matter of taking the antenna and turning it towards Coweta. There. I re-aimed my antenna, simple as that," said Joe Taylor.

Now all eyes are on the Brady District. The first piece of our new downtown headquarters to go up was our tower.

"It absolutely is a milestone," said project manager Marvin Shirley.

The power in the tower is what's bringing you this broadcast and ones for years to come from our new home at the Griffin Communications Media Center.

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