WTVM 60th Anniversary: Transforming the technology - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

WTVM 60th Anniversary: Transforming the technology

(WTVM) -

All this week, we've been looking back at the legacy of WTVM, as we celebrate 60 years of being in your homes every night.

We wrap up our anniversary coverage with a look at how far WTVM has come from a small crew using film for a 15 minute newscast to high-tech tools allowing us to deliver numerous newscasts in high-definition to your smart-phones and social media.

For years, we've had satellite and live trucks to bring you news from numerous places. Now, WTVM has this Live-U backpack that you simply strap on, press a few buttons, and you can be live from places we've not been able to go before.

Recently retired WTVM general manager Lee Brantley helped bring those tools here. Rewind 60 years... technology has come a long way since the start of our TV station in 1963.

"Back in those days, we were shooting slides, shooting film, editing film, and I think the only evening newscast we did was for 15 minutes from 6-6:15 p.m.," said Brantley.

Leroy Paul, former Aflac Broadcast Group president and part of the Aflac group that owned WTVM, can now watch 6 hours of news any weekday on News Leader 9 and our sister station FOX 54, all from the same, revamped studio.

"Went from a 30 minute newscast to an hour and a half, and it was successful," Paul said.

Chris Robinson, our news operations manager and 14-year veteran of WTVM, gives you a tour.

"We went from large tapes to smaller tapes to no tapes at all to small cards," Robinson said.

Cheryl Myers, who went by the last name Morgan as an anchor and reporter here, is amazed at how WTVM has kept up with the cutting-edge technology.

"You have cameras that weigh just what the battery used to weigh," Myers said.  

One huge difference since last year is high definition newscasts, prompting a total rebuild of the production control room, where our crew makes it all happen.

"The changes started with the switch to digital," said Brantley. "That was several million dollars for every TV station to do that."  

"We went from letter box to wide screen," said Robinson. "That's the one that people at home would know most."

"I just can't believe the wonderful quality of pictures you send to homes today, it's amazing!" said Paul.

WTVM.com has become more popular than ever. Lately, there's been a lot more emphasis on our website and News Leader 9's presence on social media, with around 25,000 fans on our Facebook page, plus numerous daily tweets.

"Now you guys have to put stuff on Twitter and on Facebook," said Myers. "It's a constant feed of information."

"All media is having to go digital to survive these days, because that's where the younger generation gets their news," said Brantley.  

"Those are what we like to call our first line of defense for us - Facebook, Twitter, our website, mobile..." said Robinson. "I could not work for a better company, Raycom Media, who owns us, is great."

Raycom Media, Incorporated has owned WTVM since 1997 and is now one of the nation's largest broadcasters, owning or providing services for 53 TV stations across 18 states, with almost 4,000 employees. The technology is one thing, but it's all about the people, and News Leader 9 still has some of the best in the business.

"It's a great family at WTVM, almost 100 employees," said Brantley.  

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