NBC 5/KXAS Highlights Tech Firsts in 75TH Anniversary Celebration

KXAS launched as WBAP-TV on Sept. 27, 1948 as Texas’ first TV station and as the first facility in the nation to be specifically designed for television production and broadcasting.
KXAS launched as WBAP-TV on Sept. 27, 1948 as the first TV station in Texas and the Southwest. (Image credit: NBC 5/KXAS)

FORT WORTH/DALLAS, Texas—In the run-up to NBC 5/KXAS’s 75th anniversary celebration on Sept. 27, the station has released a long list of broadcasting and tech firsts that the station has been involved in since its launch on Sept. 27, 1948. 

Those firsts include being the first television station to go on the air in the state of Texas and the entire Southwest. In addition the new station was the first facility in the nation specifically designed for television production and broadcasting, the station reported. 

A detailed history of the station’s 75 years can be found at NBCDFW.com.

The station’s first broadcast featured a visit by President Harry S. Truman, who was campaigning in Fort Worth. Since that first broadcast, the station reported that NBC 5 has played a significant role in the development and evolution of television and local news coverage in North Texas. Notable firsts and milestones include:

  • First television station to go on the air in the State of Texas and the Southwest
  • First facility in the nation to be specifically designed for television production and broadcasting
  • First live local news report in 1948
  • First live local sports in 1948
  • First local station weather center in the United States in 1949
  • First color broadcast in Texas in 1954
  • First color tape recorder in Texas in 1959
  • First all-color news film in 1966
  • First 30-minute local TV news magazine program “Texas ‘70s” in 1970
  • First live intercontinental satellite report in 1977
  • First Texas station to debut closed-captioning newscast for deaf and hearing-impaired viewers in 1989
  • First commercial TV station to offer full online computer access in 1995
  • First Southwest station to offer viewers news delivered via email in 1997
  • First Texas station to air a live sporting event via High-Definition Television (HDTV) in 1997
  • First TV station in Texas to have its own S-Band radar in 2016
  • First TV station in Texas to use geographic overlay technology with the news helicopter in 2018

“NBC 5 continues to empower our audience using the highest journalistic ethics and standards,” said Tony Canales, president and GM of NBC 5 and Telemundo 39. “The station remains a broadcasting leader in delivering to our viewers the very best in programming and local, national and international news coverage, highlighted by an unwavering commitment to community service.”

Every Friday this month, NBC 5 News at 4 pm will air stories looking back at different aspects of the station’s history, including the evolution of news, news technology, weather forecasting, investigative journalism, community impact efforts, and a conversation with the first female general talk show host in the Southwest, Bobbie Wygant. These stories can also be found on the station’s streaming platforms. 

KXAS is now co-located in NBCUniversal Local’s state-of-the-art facility in Fort Worth alongside its sister station Telemundo 39/KXTX. As a leading multiplatform news provider for North Texans, KXAS and KXTX make up the largest dual-language television newsroom in DFW market, informing audiences in English and Spanish, the stations said. 

Together, the stations produce more hours of local daily news than any other station on the market. 

Both stations are owned by NBCUniversal. 

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.