Within the walls of a 19th-century landmark, 21st-century technology is used to inform and entertain East Tennesseans.
WATE 6 On Your Side is Knoxville’s first television station. For more than 60 years, it’s been an innovator, leader and trusted source for quality programming and community service. Under the ownership of Nexstar Media Group that commitment continues today.
WATE began as WROL-TV with its first telecast on October 1, 1953. From the beginning, the station pioneered local programs that served the community, including Mary Starr’s Homemaker Show and TV Classroom Quiz.
Quickly outgrowing their facilities, the station purchased Greystone in 1962. The mansion was built for Major Eldad Cicero Camp, a Union officer in the Civil War, as well as a Knoxville lawyer and entrepreneur.
The building is said to be an exact duplicate of President James A. Garfield’s home in Washington, D.C. Today, Greystone is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to more than 100 employees of WATE. Additions to the building provide room for a state-of-the-art newsroom, a large production studio and high-tech equipment such as satellite uplinks, all necessary to keep WATE on the air 24-hours a day.
WATE was also the first TV station in Knoxville to embrace the internet as a way to communicate information to the public. The station’s web site, WATE.com, was also the first in Knoxville to provide locally reported news whenever it breaks; complete weather information; and thorough, in-depth coverage of high school sports.
As broadcast television moved from analog to digital technology, WATE continued to lead the way. Years before a new tower was constructed and a digital transmitter was installed, the station had already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in digital equipment for news-gathering and broadcast.
It was the first area TV station to equip a truck with a digital satellite uplink dish to bring news coverage to East Tennessee from anywhere in the country.
In recent years, WATE has been honored with several prestigious awards. The Society of Professional Journalists, Radio Television News Directors Association, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Associated Press Broadcasters have all presented the station with awards for excellence in journalism. In addition to awards from its broadcasting peers, WATE has been honored by many national and local public service agencies, community groups and charitable organizations.
WATE makes a special effort to cover community issues and needs in its newscasts, programming and public service announcements. WATE broadcasts Tennessee This Week, a weekly half-hour program of information and viewpoints of local interest.
In addition WATE helps in public education and awareness throughout the year by airing telethons, public service campaigns and special programs.