The new "plant" was a dream come true to those who had worked in the cramped Wilder Building quarters.

History | Dedication of Stations' New Home

Mecklenburg Times, April 14, 1955

New Broadcasting Station Home Opened To Visitors

The new $1,250,000 home of WBT Radio and WBTV Television is being dedicated in week­long ceremonies here this week. Also being observed is the 33rd anniversary of WBT Radio.

Erected on a six-acre plot of land on Jefferson Place, the new building is the first in the United States to be designed specifically for telecasting color.
A host of nationally-known celebrities visited the new broadcasting facilities during the week.

The new building contains 51,000 square feet of floor space and is designed around an "operational block." The edifice houses three spacious radio studios, two television studios, one measuring 40 feet by 60 feet and the other 40 feet by 40 feet, an employees' dining room and the usual executive and departmental office facilities.

Each television studio has its own producers' control room and clients' booth, located on the second floor of the building. The two clients' booths have theater-type seats from which the "live" television shows taking place on the floor under them may be viewed. The booths are encased in specially manufactured "dust glass" which allows a viewer to look directly into a 1,000 watt light bulb on the floor below without having to squint.

A paved, 100-car capacity parking lot adjoins the new building, with the main entrance to the building itself located on the West Morehead Street side. A spacious reception room and lobby greets each visitor, with a feature of this room being a luxurious hand-hooked rug, made in the shape of the state of North Carolina. The building contains 127 rooms and has an electrical capacity of 1,080,000 watts—enough to supply light and power for more that 175 averaged-sized homes. The air conditioning system, which required 95,000 pounds of sheet metal for the ducts alone, actually is made up of seven systems with a total capacity of 175 tons—equal to melting more than one-third of a million pounds of ice every 24 hours. The air conditioning system is so manufactured that each office has its own thermostat and the temperature can be regulated for each individual office.

WBT Radio is the third oldest licensed commercial radio station in the United States and WBTV was the first television station to begin operations in the Carolinas. The two stations, along with WBTW Television in Florence, S. C., are owned by the Jefferson Standard Broadcasting  Company and the new Charlotte building will serve as the home office for the company. Joseph M. Bryan is president of the Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Company, and Charles H. Crutchfield is executive vice president and general manager.

"Jefferson Standard Fulfillment Week" is the name given the week-long period of ceremony, with a special series of radio and television simulcasts planned for the occasion.

After April 16, each Wednesday and Saturday will be "Visitors' Day" with guided tours available to all who wish to visit WBT and WBTV.

"The Station"

Photo courtesy Jim Scancarelli

The Charlotte Observer, Monday, April 11, 1955

WBT and WBT To Begin Week-Long Ceremonies Today

Week-long ceremonies dedicating the $1,250,000 home of WBT and WBTV begin today in the new building on Jefferson Place.

The 33rd anniversary of WBT is also being marked this week.

Highlights of the observance comes Wednesday when a mammoth radio and television simulcast begins at 8 PM. Serving as master of ceremonies of the show will be Warren Hull, who presides over the "Strike It Rich" program.


Actual dedication of the the new structure will take place Wednesday. Among the dignitaries present for this event will be Joseph M. Bryan, president of the Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Co., owner of the two stations: Dr. Frank Stanton, president of the Columbia Broadcasting System; Governor Luther Hodges, Sol Taishoff, publisher of Broadcasting Telecasting magazine, and Mayor Phil Van Every.

A music program will occupy a good portion of the program. Featured will be Soprano Mimi Benzell and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. James Christian Pfohl, conducting.

Contained in the new building—designed around an "operational block"— are three sizeable radio studios, two television studios, ample dining facilities and quarters for executive and departmental offices.

WBTV is one of the first television stations in the nation having dual color film and slide projectors. Channel Three was the first in the Southeast to originate and transmit a color test pattern.

WBT is the third oldest licensed commercial radio station in the United States and WBTV was the first television station to begin operations in the Carolinas. Along with WBTW in florence, SC, the two stations are owned by Jefferson Standard and the new plant is serving as home office for the company.

"Jefferson Standard Fulfillment Week" is the name given to the week's programs. At 9:30 pm today, "Jefferson Spotlight" will acquaint listeners and viewers with the personalities seen and heard on the two stations. Tuesday at 10 pm the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte will give a portion of Haydn's "The Creation," with a 25-piece orchestra. Earl Berg will conduct.

Approximately 3,000 specially invited guests will visit the building before Saturday. Today is "Club Leaders Day," Tuesday will be "Public Leaders Day," Thursday has been designated "Women Leaders Day." On Friday, "Religious Leaders Day" will be observed, and Saturday is called "Youth Leaders Day."

After Saturday, each Wednesday and Saturday will be "Visitors Day," with guided tours available.