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What year did Wilmington have it first TV station and who were some of the TV personnel?

Mike Voorheis

WECT's new studio, which debuted in 2011, looks far different from the way its studio looked in 1954, when the station's forerunner went on the air. Photo By Mike Spencer/STAR-NEWS

On April 19, 1954, WMFD (later WECT) became Wilmington’s first television station.

Most of the information here is culled from the book, “WMFD-TV WECT-TV The Evolution of Radio…With Pictures,” which covers the station’s existence from 1954-1974.

Clint Long assembled most of the TV staff, most of whom were radio talent.

Long provided the weather report. Clay McBride anchored the news, Bob Caudle reported sports news and Johnny Thomas hosted Western Theatre.

Al Compton hosted a show called “Over at Al’s.” Caudle also did the “Bob and Hester” show with a puppet voiced by Stan Rehder.

Bob West joined the staff, starting with a nightly News Capsule.

Don Foreman and Wayne Jackson joined the station later that year. Jackson hosted the interview show “Relax with Jax,” which aired from 4:30 to 6 p.m.


Whatever happened to WECT personality Wayne Jackson?

What is the history of the Sun Drop children’s TV show from the 1960s?  

User-contributed question by:
Manfred Taylor

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3 Responses to “ What year did Wilmington have it first TV station and who were some of the TV personnel?”

  1. On June 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm Ken wrote:

    As I remember it, there was a fellow by the name of Ben McDonald that did most of the ‘news’ show during the erly days of WMFD /WECT… am I missing something here, or am I just having a ‘memory’ moment?

  2. On June 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm Bob McKeithan wrote:

    The comment from Ken about Ben McDonald was correct. He provided news and comment for a number of years, although he may not have been the first newscaster. Mr. McDonald was a very learned, articulate fellow with plenty of opinions to share, as I recall. Radio WMFD personality and DJ Bill Weathers who hosted the MILJO show from a remote tower at the popular drive in restaurant on Oleander Dr. hosted a childrens show for TV-WMFD in the late afternoon called The Barnacle Bill Show. The kids could appear on the show and were on a set much like the old Howdy Doody Show.

  3. On January 20, 2016 at 4:44 pm Archie Cumbee wrote:

    Bob Caudle later did weather for WRAL-TV and emceed Wednesday night wrestling for years in 70s and 80s. He was also office manager for Sen. Helms’ office in Raleigh.

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