Tuesday, October 5, 2021

This Day in TV History: WOR debuts in New York

I talk often on the podcast (and here) about my beloved New York TV stations I watched during my youth. WPIX 11 was my favorite--I mean, come on, Honeymooners!--but a close second was WOR 9, which was less hip, less energetic, and somehow more New Jersey than PIX, but it had one big advantage over WNEW 5: It had WWF wrestling!

On this day in 1949, WOR-TV started broadcasting with Game 1 of the Yankees-Dodgers World Series. Its official debut with regular programming started the following week, but I want to celebrate the channel's birthday today because I am in the mood to think about old NY television. To be fair, I always am!

WOR started its decline in 1987 when it added a W and corporate owner MCA made it "Universal 9." It outright jumped the shark when it became a UPN station in 1995. It had a great run for about 40 years, though.

Some of my favorite programs on Channel 9 back in the day include: 
*Romper Room
*Joe Franklin
*Tic-Tac Dough
(I watched a lot of the game shows on there)
*New York Mets baseball and Kiner's Korner
*The Morton Downey Jr. Show (It was a natural transition from Romper Room)
*The Howard Stern Show

Most notable: It was the station that got me hooked on pro wrestling with All-Star Wrestling Saturday mornings, Championship Wrestling Saturday evenings, and shows like Wrestling Spotlight sprinkled in as well. I grew to love NWA on TBS much more, but it all started with the WWF on Saturdays.

WPIX had more of my favorite shows, and WNEW had more cartoons, but Channel 9 had the wrestling. WPIX soon added some of its own to get into the game, but as far as I knew, WOR was there first, ensuring that decades later I would still remember it with fondness.

Happy birthday, WOR!

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