Television first came to Vermont on Sept. 26, 1954, when WCAX-TV became the first television station to begin airing local programs from its studio located on Barrett Street in Burlington. Actually, WCAX began broadcasting its test pattern on Sept. 7 of that year and received over 200 letters from excited and anxious viewers telling us how happy they were that Vermont was going to have a station of its own. A station that was, and still is, locally owned and operated by one family.
WCAX-TV began as WCAX Radio at the University of Vermont's College of Agriculture. It was used to distribute information to farmers from its outreach program, the Extension Service. Hence the CAX (College of Agriculture eXtension) call letters.
By the time it became WCAX Television, however, it had been purchased by Mr. C.P. Hasbrook, who also owned a local newspaper, the Burlington Daily News. Realizing that his newspaper was losing ground against the larger Burlington Free Press, he began exploring ways to expand WCAX Radio.
WCAX-TV's tower is located atop Mount Mansfield, the tallest peak in Vermont and the ideal site for a television tower. Construction of the tower on this site also meant construction of everything else, including the road! But, two hurricanes not withstanding, WCAX's transmitter was built and the station began transmitting on September 11, 1954.
Two of the original programs that we broadcast back in 1954 are still on the air today. "You Can Quote Me," a local news program which airs Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and "Across the Fence," a local farm and home program that airs Monday through Friday at 12:10 p.m.
WCAX-TV's main studio is located at 30 Joy Drive in South Burlington. We operate four news bureaus, Montpelier (established in 1964), Rutland (1967), Plattsburgh, N.Y. (1973) and our Upper Valley bureau in West Lebanon, N.H. (2002). With our state-of-the-art satellite truck and electronic news-gathering truck, and with our owned and operated microwave system, WCAX-TV brings news from the remote areas of our viewing area.
WCAX-TV takes pride in our ability to keep pace with the increasingly complex technological advances being made in television today. From the early days of black and white to our full-color conversion in 1969, WCAX-TV has been the leader in the local marketplace for utilizing current technology to serve our viewers.
WCAX-TV continues to lead the way in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire. Today, WCAX-TV is available in widescreen high definition and standard definition, and we also offer 24-hour weather information on our secondary digital channel, Weather 3.2.
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