WOAY-TV Channel 50 (now virtual Channel 4),
Oak Hill/Beckley/Bluefield, West Virginia
SSB and Sign-off recorded 21 May 2016 (widescreen)

Page updated and modified Tuesday, 11 August 2020

From southern West Virginia's first TV station comes this nice sign-off. The SSB video that precedes it displays a computer-generated waving U.S. flag with a photo montage of familiar Washington D.C. landmarks superimposed within it. WOAY-TV is southern West Virginia's ABC network outlet. Until the very end of 2017 WOAY-TV was one of very few U.S. TV entering the 21st century that continued to sign off every night, usually around 2:30 AM local time.

The station came to life on VHF Channel 4 in December 1954 as the video sibling of WOAY-AM 860 and WOAY-FM 94.1 (now WAXS). The stations were licensed to local businessman Robert R. Thomas Jr.. The Thomas family still owns WOAY-TV today; the radio operations were sold off in 1990. WOAY-TV has been a full-time ABC network station since its founding, except from 1959 to 1967 when it was primary CBS and secondary ABC. On 30 September 1977, WOAY's facilities for both radio and TV operations were utterly destroyed in a fire, forcing the stations to relocate to a local arena adjacent to the original building, where WOAY-TV still resides at the present. With the demise of U.S. analog TV broadcasting in June 2009, WOAY-TV chose no longer to brand itself as "TV 4" and began using "TV 50", after its digital channel. In October 2019, WOAY-TV, with blessings from the FCC, moved from channel 50 to digital channel 31 and reclaimed its virtual Channel 4 allocation, billing itself as "TV 4" again.

RELATED VIDEO CLIPS From YouTube user Jay Q:
The devastating fire of 30 September 1977 knocked WOAY-TV off the air for two weeks. When Channel 4 returned to the air, they were only able to air ABC programming and a local pre-recorded station ID at first. Local productions came not long thereafter.
WOAY-TV's return to the air after the fire
Montage of clips from WOAY-TV's first post-fire newscasts

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