When WESH-TV signed on as an independent in 1956, it broadcast only in the evenings. Old movies were a staple of the station’s schedule.

WESH-Channel 2 wasn’t always proud as a peacock. In fact, when the station went on the air at 5 p.m. on June 11, 1956, NBC shows weren’t even an option. Daytona Beach-based Channel 2 started with a small tower, low power and a signal that barely reached outside of Volusia County.

Fortunately, the station was able to survive its first year as an independent, move its transmitter to a taller tower and increase its signal strength — all actions that led to gaining affiliation with NBC on Oct. 27, 1957. A connection to the network’s coaxial cable allowed live NBC shows such as “Today” to appear on WESH on Dec. 30, 1957. And the rest is history, as they say.

But … interesting how events might have been different. In the 1955 issue of the Broadcasting Yearbook, an ad was placed announcing the upcoming debut of “WMFJ-Channel 2” — the planned sister station of Daytona Beach ABC radio affiliate WMFJ-AM. If not for a last-minute change in ownership, there might not have been a WESH-TV, and Orlando’s ABC affiliate might be on a different channel.

1 Comment

  1. We live in The Villages, populaton 80,000 plus. You cannot believe the viewers you are losing by not having the Villages on ALL of your weather maps. At this time, only channel 9 shows the Villages. We are bigger then Leesburg and Ocala and still we get no respect. As you probably know we have hundreds of clubs throughout the area and the weather is discussed very often and everyone points out that Channel 9 is the only one showing The Villages. I like Channel 2 and I hope that you can find someway to correct this situation. Promise it will increase your viewers.

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