KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — WATE celebrated its 70th anniversary on October 1, 2023. In honor of that achievement, here are 7 facts about the news station, one for each decade.
WATE started on October 1, 1953 – years before the station moved into Greystone Mansion.
It’s hard to imagine WATE News without picturing Greystone Mansion, but WATE actually started as WROL-TV on October 1, 1953. It was Knoxville’s first television station and featured shows like Mary Starr’s Homemaker Show and TV Classroom Quiz.
WATE didn’t purchase Greystone Mansion until 1962, as the station was outgrowing its facilities.
WATE’s Website dates back to 1996, and you can still see what it looked like then.
WATE was also the first TV station in Knoxville to use the internet to share breaking news, weather information, and in-depth coverage of high school sports.
The first capture of WATE’s Website on the Wayback Machine dates all the way back to December 29, 1996, just 13 years after the internet began.
The front page of the website took visitors to a home page, where they could “go through” Greystone’s front doors to get their news.
WATE’s website is well documented on the Wayback Machine, which archives pages on the internet. While every story may not be documented, flipping through different entries shows how the website has evolved through the years, and some pages even include older photos of WATE talent you can still see on the news today.
Technically, the current studio isn’t the only one in the building.
Newer viewers may only be familiar with the newest studio in the building, but years ago, the studio was located in Greystone’s basement. The old studio has since been converted and serves other purposes, but the space remains.
Viewers may have also noticed some interviews take place in a room that looks much more like a home than a studio, and they would be right. One of Greystone’s front rooms, which used to be a parlor, is now used to film special interviews, such as Tearsa Smith’s Voices of the Valley segments.
Greystone Mansion may be home to some individuals much older than the WATE.
Before Greystone Mansion was home to WATE, it was, as the name suggests, a mansion. Major Eldad Cicero Camp, a Union officer in the Civil War, and Knoxville lawyer and entrepreneur, built the home in the late 1800s. The stones that make up the walls came from Camp’s quarry near Lake City.
Some employees who work overnight at WATE have mentioned feeling like they weren’t alone when they were the only living person in the room, and it’s possible they weren’t.
In 2022, paranormal investigators with the North American Paranormal Research Team spent a night in Greystone Mansion to see if the mansion was haunted, and they were able to connect with a number of spirits, including one who was presumed to be Camp’s mother.
WATE published a cookbook in the 1970s
Starr Recipes From Greystone features recipes from Mary Starr, the star of Mary Starr’s Homemaker Show. Starr also served as Women’s Director for WATE Radio and Television. The cookbook gave people the chance to try out recipes featured on Starr’s show.
The WATE 6 Storm Team has been named Most Accurate in Knoxville for the last 6 years
For six years in a row, the Storm Team has been awarded “Most Accurate in Knoxville” by Weather Rate, the only independent television weather forecast verification company.
You don’t need cable or streaming services to watch WATE.
For many, streaming services or cable subscriptions may be the way they watch WATE news, but the station still broadcasts a signal that can be picked up with a traditional antenna. For those who are a little more tech-savvy, WATE also provides news clips on our website and YouTube channel.