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WJW-TV (Channel 8)

WJW-TV (Channel 8) became the last of Cleveland's 3 VHF television stations when it signed on over Channel 9 as WXEL on 17 Dec. 1949. Built by the Empire Coil Co. of New Rochelle, NY, it originally occupied quarters at Pleasant Valley and State roads in PARMA. Franklin Snyder was its first general manager and Russell Speirs was program director. The station switched network affiliation from ABC to CBS and simultaneously moved to Channel 8 in 1955, following its purchase by the Storer Broadcasting Co. of Miami, FL, which occupied a seat on the CBS board. Its call letters were changed to WJW in 1956, after the purchase by Storer of the local radio station of the same designation. Both radio and television studios moved into remodeled Georgian headquarters in the old Lake Theater at E. 17th and Euclid Ave. in the same year. One of WJW's early programming successes was the "Sohio Reporter" news program, which featured WARREN GUTHRIE from 1951-63. In order to market Channel 8's library of old horror films, staff announcer Ernie Anderson created his "Ghoulardi" personality in the mid-1950s. News programming in the 1970s came under the direction of Virgil Dominic, who also served as news director for the entire Storer operation. Following Storer's sale of the radio station, the television station was given the call letters WJKW to emphasize its separate identity. It moved into a new facility at 5800 S. Marginal Rd. in 1975 and reclaimed its old call letters in 1985, when WJW Radio became WRMR. A decade of uncertainty followed the sale of WJW by Storer in 1984. It was purchased in 1987 by the Gillett Group, which sold it 6 years later to New World Communications, Inc. In May 1994 WJW was part of an epochal deal in which New World switched 12 of its VHF television stations to the fledgling Fox network. CBS in Cleveland moved to WOIO-TV (Channel 19).