WTVT's Tampa Studio/Tower

WTVT's original building in 1956.

A former Greek restaurant was hastily converted into Channel 13's first studio facility in early 1955.  Offices were placed in what was formerly a kitchen, and the dining room became the station's one and only studio.  WTVT began broadcasting on April 1, 1955, and became an overnight success in the burgeoning Tampa Bay television market.

From April, 1955, until July, 1957, WTVT operated with only one studio and two RCA cameras. 

WTVT's single studio in 1956.

The Newsroom set is located towards the right of the photo and adjacent to the control room.  On the left is the weather board acquired from WKY-TV.  This busy studio also served for cooking programs, "Romper Room," and live commercials.

Engineer Larry Eskridge in master control (1957)

Master control was reached through a doorway on the studio's east wall.  The console contained control units for the live cameras and film chain.  The engineer would roll commercials during live programs and station breaks using a daily log prepared by the station's traffic department.

The projection room (photo below) was adjacent master control and required its own operator to load slides and 16mm film. 

A closeup view of the film/slide chain


The station's original transmitter was located on a forty-acre lot five miles southeast of Tampa's city limit at 5417 Providence Road in Brandon. This location served the station until construction began on a new tower in Riverview around 1964.