Early in the 1950’s a group of local Green Bay business men met to form Valley Telecasting Company. Upon approval from the Federal Communications Commission, WNAM-TV went on the air April 25, 1955 from Neenah with test patterns. Shortly there after the call letters were changed to WFRV which stands for Fox River Valley, and the license was moved to Green Bay.
With 100,000 watts of power, Channel 5 began broadcast programming at 6:45pm on June 1, as an ABC and Dumont Network affiliate. That evening began with a special dedication program followed by a full night of network shows. Television viewers from as far south as Beaver Dam, north to Marquette Michigan, and from as far west at Wisconsin Rapids to Port Washington on the western shore of Lake Michigan could pick up Channel 5. Overnight WFRV-TV5 became an integral part of the community.
From sign-on to sign-off the finest in television programming was presented to viewers of WFRV-TV5 including such favorites as: “The Adventures Of Rin Tin Tin”; “Ozark Jubilee”, a fast paced country music variety show featuring Red Foley; the award winning show “Kukla, Fran And Ollie”; “Break The Bank”, an all cash quiz show; “Make Room For Daddy”; and America’s best known rider, “The Lone Ranger”.
In 1959, WFRV-TV5 switched network affiliation from ABC to NBC, and became part of the “Proud as a Peacock” family. Up to this point television was still viewed in black and white, then in 1965, WFRV-TV5 became the first station in the area to broadcast in living color.
WFRV-TV5 viewers saw change once again in April of 1983 when the station switched affiliations from NBC back to ABC.
In 1992, CBS Inc. obtained WFRV-TV and its sister station WJMN-TV in Escanaba, Michigan, thus making Green Bay the smallest television market owned and operated by the broadcast network. At that time, CBS Inc. owned and operated 14 television stations, and its programs are seen on an additional 200 affiliates across the United States.
On February 16, 2001, WFRV-TV was the first station in the Green Bay market to go digital on the assigned channel of 56. To improve the signal and antenna strength, on September 30, 2005 WFRV-TV switched digital channels from 56 to 39.
WFRV-TV became a part of a world class company, Liberty Media Corporation on April 16, 2007. Liberty also owned stakes in the cable channels Court TV, QVC, Starz Entertainment and even the Atlanta Braves. WFRV was the first broadcast station that they ever owned.
And on July 1, 2011, WFRV and WJMN joined the broadcast family of Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. Which today operates 197 television stations across the U. S.
Throughout its history, WFRV-TV 5 has always held a strong commitment to the communities it serves, and today it is committed more than ever to being involved, including servicing the viewers with the best possible local news, weather, sports, and entertainment programming.