KAUZ-TV is celebrating a special birthday this year. 2013 marks our 60th anniversary.
On March 1, 1953, engineers flipped the switch, and what you know as Newschannel 6 hit the air. Back then we were KWFT television. KWFT was the city's top radio station on AM 620 at the time, and it wanted to break into the television market.
We would continue to broadcast as KWFT until 1963. In July of that year, we officially switched to KAUZ.
Our station has been a CBS affiliate since its inception.
KAUZ has been aggressive with tracking the weather all throughout our 60 year history. In fact, we were one of the first in the nation to air a tornado live on television. In 1964, Meteorologist Ted Shaw and an assistant dragged a heavy camera outside the studio and captured the horror of a large twister making its way across the north part of Wichita Falls and Sheppard Air Force Base. The tornado killed 7 people, hurt more than 100 and caused $15 million in damage.
Newschannel 6 has that same camera displayed in the lobby of our station.
Many people also turned to Newschannel 6 on April 10th, 1979 when several large tornadoes devastated Texoma. That day is forever known as Terrible Tuesday. Residents in Wichita Falls listened to Meteorologist Rich Segal during the 6 p.m. news as he warned them to take cover. Five minutes into the newscast, the storms knocked us off the air.
The two-mile wide tornado that struck Wichita Falls was on the ground for 45 miles. This one struck the southwest corner of the city. In Wichita Falls alone, 42 people died, more than 1,700 were injured and damage estimates topped $400 million.
KAUZ has always strived to be ahead of technology. We were the first in this market to broadcast in color, the first to broadcast digitally and the first to broadcast in high definition.
KAUZ continues today to be at the forefront of innovation. "We're very excited about the future of KAUZ and Newschannel 6," said KAUZ General Manager Mike Taylor. "We're very heavy into social media, which we think is a big part of the service that we're going to provide in the future. I realize that television is still the major communication source in this country, but I am also smart enough to realize that Twitter and Facebook, and a lot of those social media things, are going to be a part of it in the future."
Social media does play a big role at KAUZ. Newschannel 6 currently has a Twitter page, Facebook page and Pinterest page.
"We want to be part of it," said Mr. Taylor. "We think that's just going to help our news operation. It's going to help our communication with our viewers, and so we're excited about that."