Remember When, Chattanooga? Channel 9 moved to Golden Gateway Shopping Center

Photo from EPB archives courtesy of ChattanoogaHistory.com. This photo, taken in 1966, coincides with the opening of the WTVC Channel 9 television studios in Golden Gateway. The station was anchored there until 2000, when it moved into its current broadcast facility on Highway 153 near Highway 58. The men in the photo are Jack Sausman, sales manager of WTVC, left, and Rome Benedict, sales manger of WAPO.
Photo from EPB archives courtesy of ChattanoogaHistory.com. This photo, taken in 1966, coincides with the opening of the WTVC Channel 9 television studios in Golden Gateway. The station was anchored there until 2000, when it moved into its current broadcast facility on Highway 153 near Highway 58. The men in the photo are Jack Sausman, sales manager of WTVC, left, and Rome Benedict, sales manger of WAPO.

In 1966, WTVC Channel 9 moved its operations to the Golden Gateway Shopping Center, near downtown, where it remained for more than 30 years.

The EPB archive photograph accompanying this article shows station officials in front of the new facility in March 1966, a date that coincides with the move.

According to a Chattanooga News-Free Press article that month, the move combined "the business offices of WTVC, formerly in the Hotel Patten, and the studio and production departments, formerly located atop Signal Mountain." Radio station WAPO — which later became WGOW — was also part of the move.

The photo includes a Ford Mustang emblazoned with the stations' call letters. The popular Ford model had debuted just two years earlier and was a marketing sensation. In 1966, Ford sold more than 600,000 copies of the car.

According the David Carroll, longtime WRCB-TV anchor and local broadcast media historian, the two men in the photo are Jack Sausman, then-sales manager of WTVC, and Rome Benedict, then-sales manger of WAPO.

Carroll, who has written two books on the history of Chattanooga broadcasting and entertainment, said WAPO (which stands for William A. Patterson Oil) dates to 1936 and was Chattanooga's second radio station.

"For most of its existence, (WAPO) was located in the Read House, but relocated to the Golden Gateway with WTVC in 1966," Carroll wrote in an email exchange. "Both stations were owned by Martin Theaters at the time. WTVC had broadcast from its Signal Mountain transmitter building from 1958 until that move."

In 1969, WAPO became WGOW and changed formats from "easy listening" to "top 40," Carroll said.

Today WTVC News Channel 9, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, is affiliated with ABC, according to the station's website.

Read more articles in this series at ChattanoogaHistory.com, and follow the "Remember When, Chattanooga" public group on Facebook.

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