Reaching for the TV remote is such a habit now, it’s hard to imagine Atlanta viewers were once thrilled to have two TV stations to watch. In late 1948, WSB-TV was it. It was six months before you could change channels. Then, on this day in 1949, WAGA went on the air.
On a set like the Muntz – which cost a pretty late-1940s penny – a comparatively small audience watched Channel 5’s three hours of evening programming, from CBS, the Dumont Network, and occasionally ABC. Between 1948 and 1956, Georgia had only 14 commercial stations. TV stations cost a lot to start up. WAGA started in a house, then moved into its larger studios at 1018 West Peachtree. The tower was literally in the back yard. The mascot – the janitor’s pet --was a black Yorkshire terrier named Wagga. Before long, they were offering Atlanta Cracker baseball, and a country music show hosted by John Farmer.
The channel-changing ritual started with WAGA’s premiere on March 8, 1949, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.