Station Information

WJHL Celebrates 60+ years

WJHL-TV aired its first television broadcast on October 26, 1953. Hanes Lancaster, Jr. and Sr. and Jay Birdwell founded the station.

Eventually, the Lancasters bought Birdwell's interest in the station and operated it from a location in downtown Johnson City that is now demolished.

The early days of television were exciting and packed with unexpected surprises. Since television was in its infancy, the station crew had to feel its way along, often improvising and making adjustments to deal with the situation. 

One situation that developed even before the station went on the air was the devastating fall of the tower on Tannery Knob.

Literally, just a few weeks were left to sign on when the guy lines which held the tower snapped, causing the tower to lose its support and come crashing down. Now in the early days, this sort of accident was catastrophic because television was new and unknown.

Bankers and lenders were skeptical; so most television pioneers had to seek investment sources that were willing to back risky, unproven ventures.

The Lancasters scrambled and had the station on the air by its due date even though they had to mount the antenna on a telephone pole! As the years progressed, WJHL-TV's association CBS with CBS helped make it one of the strongest stations in the area.

WJHL-TV was blessed with employees who came aboard in the 1950s and worked into the 1990s. Hanes Lancaster, Jr. managed the station from 1953 until April 30th, 1989. On May 1, 1989, Jack Dempsey was named General Manager. 

 WJHL-TV,  which includes,  News Channel 11 and ABC Tri-Cities, is owned by Nexstar Media Group. 

 Mailing Address:
338 East Main Street,
Johnson City, Tenn. 37601

Main Office:
423-926-2151


More Stories

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Local Headlines

  • ABC orders ‘Roseanne' spinoff for fall, minus Roseanne Barr
    Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    ABC orders ‘Roseanne' spinoff for fall, minus Roseanne Barr New

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC, which canceled its "Roseanne" revival over its star's racist tweet, says it will air a Conner family sitcom minus Roseanne Barr this fall.

    Read More »
  • Johnson City woman charged with aggravated assault
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    Updated Johnson City woman charged with aggravated assault

    JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -- A Johnson City woman has been charged with aggravated assault following an incident Wednesday night on Lakeview Drive. Officers responded to the home and made contact with a male victim who was discovered with an abrasion near his right elbow. Further investigation revealed the victim, Mary Craig, 19, swung a knife at the victim during an argument. Craig was located and placed under arrest for aggravated domestic assault.  She was transported to the Washington...

    Read More »
  • Tails and Paws for Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Tails and Paws for Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Tails and Paws highlights some of the animals up for adoption at the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter.

    Read More »
  • Kingsport's 'Fun Fest' implementing new clear bag policy for concerts

    Kingsport's 'Fun Fest' implementing new clear bag policy for concerts

    Kingsport's Fun Fest is rolling out a brand new policy this year, requiring that people attending the festival's concerts carry their belongings in a clear bag.

    Read More »
  • Lee County, VA leaders talk arming teachers

    Lee County, VA leaders talk arming teachers

    LEE COUNTY, VA (WJHL)- After identifying they didn't have the funding to support a school resource officer in every school, leaders in Lee County, Virginia have come up with an alternative solution to protect students, and staff.

    Read More »
  • Breezeway in downtown Johnson City remains closed, poses potential danger to public

    Breezeway in downtown Johnson City remains closed, poses potential danger to public

    For months now a popular pedestrian breezeway in downtown Johnson city has been closed. city leaders are now saying it could be dangerous. The breezeway connects the downtown square parking lot to East Main street. About a year ago, work to renovate the pedestrian walkway began with the removal of concrete slabs.

    Read More »

Latest Videos