NBC4 Los Angeles Celebrates 60 Years Of Broadcasting

On the eve of the television industry’s historic change-over to digital television, NBC4 Los Angeles will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Friday, January 16th.   A one-hour special taking viewers back to the past and into the future.   “NBC4’s 60th Anniversary,” airing January 16 at 7PM, spotlights the station’s involvement with the community by reflecting on some of the most significant news stories that have taken place in Southern California since 1949.  Past and present NBC4 journalists, veteran employees and public figures from the community will add their perspective on the events that shaped the history of both the station and the Southland.  The special receive an additional airing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st from 9PM-10PM, directly following “Fred Roggin’s Hall of Shame” (8:30PM - 9PM).

Paul Moyer and Colleen Williams are the hosts of “NBC4’s 60th Anniversary.”  NBC4 alumni Tom Brokaw, Pat Sajak, Bryant Gumbel, Nick Clooney, Furnell Chatman, Kelly Lange, Linda Alvarez and Jess Marlow will reflect on their time at the station and provide insight on some of the major stories that took place during their tenures.  The special will also remember John Shubeck and Tom Snyder, as well as a look at the well-known incident where a gun-wielding man took NBC4 Consumer Advocate David Horowitz hostage live on the air in 1987.

Current NBC4 on-air talent, including Paul Moyer, Colleen Williams, Fritz Coleman, Fred Roggin, Vikki Vargas, Beverly White, Gordon Tokumatsu and more, will share memories of the station’s history.  Veteran employees, such as Dino Castro who captured the exclusive footage of Richard Ramirez’s arrest, Robert Long, the station’s veteran News Director, and, Wendy Harris, the longest serving NBC4 news producer, will be among those recalling memories of what goes on behind-the-scenes in the field and at the station when there is major breaking news.  NBC4 insiders will also talk about the future of local television news.

The public figures included in the special are: Dodger great Tommy Lasorda, Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis, Farm Worker Advocate Dolores Huerta, Charles Manson Trial  Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, Tom Bradley’s aide Victoria Pipkin Lane, and Marino Angulo, NBC4’s first “Beating the Odds” high school student.  These local notables will share their perspective on the events that moved the community and offer their impressions of what role NBC4’s coverage may have had at the time.  

Vintage news footage from NBC4’s archives will have a rare screening.  Pivotal Southern California events that became major National news stories, such as the O.J. Simpson Trial, the Los Angeles Riots, the prosecution of Charles Manson, The Night Stalker, the 1984 Olympics, Laker Victory Celebrations and the Kirk Gibson Home Run, will live again.

“NBC4’s 60th Anniversary” will also talk to some of the journalists who broke through race and gender barriers to become local reporters and anchors and examine what impact this had on the community and news coverage. On the lighter side, the special will feature some of the most touching news stories seen on Channel 4, feature classic “Fritz & Fred” moments and a timeless blooper reel.
NBC4 began broadcasting as KNBH on January 16, 1948.  It was the last of five original stations built from the ground up by the National Broadcasting Company. The station debuted with three hours and forty minutes of programming, which followed a fifteen-minute test pattern-and-music session. Inauguration night launched with an eighteen-minute newsreel, “Review of 1948,” the market’s first variety program “On With the Show,” and station’s first live program “The Pickard Family,” featuring Dad and Mom Pickard and their four children singing familiar American songs.  By October 1949, KNBH had extended its operating schedule from five to seven days a week, with approximately twenty-six hours of television programming each week.  

When the station began broadcasting, there were approximately 80,000 television sets in the Los Angeles Designated Television Market Area (DMA) and Los Angeles was the fourth largest city in the country.  Today, NBC4 broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and reaches more than five million households. Now located in the second largest television market in the country, NBC4 also maintains two digital channels (4.4 & 4.2), produces programming for out-of-home outlets such as gas pumps, buses, grocery stores and stadiums, and was one of the first stations in the market to launch a website.

From the time the station carried out its first news remote when it broadcast the Los Angeles Primary results live from City Hall on April 5, 1949, it has continued to make a number of advances in technology and programming.  It was the first station to broadcast a commercial telecast of sports event via Los Angeles/San Francisco inner city microwave relay with a Rams game in 1950 and broadcast the first telecast originating on the East Coast to be seen by viewers on the West Coast on the same day with Douglas MaArthur’s farewell Congressional address in 1951, among many others.

In 1954, KNBH was re-designated KRCA.  It was changed again to KNBC in 1962, which is the same year the station moved from its original Sunset and Vine location in Hollywood to the less populated suburb of Burbank - it’s current home.

“NBC4’s 60th Anniversary” is a NBC4 Los Angeles Production.  Rebecca Nieto is the Executive Producer.  Dave Fernandez, Hernan Vasquez and Dennis Lahti served as photographers.  James Hourani and Craig Swanson were the editors, while Dino Castro was the Post Editor and Lindsey Jackson was the Special Effects Editor.  The Design Director was Bob Mepham.

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