THROWBACK THURSDAY: A Look Back at WTRF's Roots - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville


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This installment of "Throwback Thursday," hits close to home; it's about the history of WTRF-TV.     

It was a pioneer of its time, being the first television station in Wheeling, then later the first to broadcast fully in color.

In the beginning, There were two newspapers--the Martins Ferry Times and the Bellaire Leader. The Dix Brothers, the owners, merged their media, creating the Times-Leader, and then about 1947, they decided they'd better get into the broadcast business. WTRF Radio was born.

A young man named Frank Curtis, fresh out of WVU, was their program director. There were two stations, an AM and an FM. And the WTRF, incidentally, stands for "two radio frequencies."

The forward-looking Dix brothers then saw the next thing on the horizon - television. Back home, they planned their TV station, to be called "Channel 7."

Longtime Anchor Steve Mazure recalls the days before technology. "Our prompter system at that time was like a conveyor belt. They put the script on the belt and when it got to the end of the belt, it just fell off!"

Wheeling's first TV station grew and prospered, and turned out some well-known broadcasters. Faith Daniels was one of the first ones. And equally memorable, were those who chose to spend their careers...on the air on WTRF in Wheeling. Mazure continued, "Frank Curtis, obviously. And also Mark Davis, John Domenick, Pat Gaughan, Pat Clutter, Bob Finnegan, Jennings Martin, oh, goodness gracious."

Sixty years have brought many changes, But the TV station that brought sound and pictures to Ohio Valley living rooms is still going strong.

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