June 5, 2014

KWQC – a Major Voice of the Hilltop Campus Village

The year was 1949, the date October 31, and WOC-TV signed on for the first official telecast day. The “magic lantern” was transmitted into the 400 homes that had televisions here in the Davenport area. Just 18 months before, pioneers in the radio industry, the Palmer family announced plans for the proposed plans of the television station. What better place to house their new interests than 805 Brady Street. They purchased the Ed Ryan residence and set up studios for both WOC radio and television.

In July of 1950, some of the NBC network programs were added. A relay system between Chicago and Des Moines was made up of 12 microwave towers, each about 30 miles apart. NBC programming was pulled from one of the towers located near Princeton, Iowa and routed via the telephone exchange to the station. By September 30, 1950, a more robust NBC schedule that included the World Series was carried live on television. In 1956, NBC added color to its programming. All locally originated programming was still black and white.

In 1962, ground was broken on the north side of the property for new studios. All was completed by September 1963, and the original Ryan building was leveled. Both the television and radio remained on the cutting edge of the broadcast industry. In 1964, film programs that were available in color were broadcast in color, and two inch video tape machines were part of broadcast plant. By 1967, all locally originated programming was in full color. That was not true for many parts of the country. In 1982, a new 1,400 ft. tower and antenna was erected to replace the 1,000 ft stick. By 1985, the studio and transmitter were revamped to add stereo audio.

The Palmer family split their Quad-Cities radio and television holdings in 1986. WOC-TV became KWQC-TV6. Broadstreet Television purchased KWQC-TV6 from the Palmers in 1989. Then in 1996, Young Broadcasting, Inc. purchased the station from Broadstreet. Even with these ownership changes, KWQC-TV6, still at 805 Brady Street, has remained cutting edge with the ever-changing technology.

Some of the ongoing updates and expansions include: a web page built and posted to interact with the viewers in 1995; live streaming newscasts in 1999; the first digital signal transmission in 2003; 2009, becoming fully digital along with the companion 24/7 weather channel; becoming interactive with the viewers via facebook and other social media in 2009. In November of 2010, KWQC became the first station in the Quad-Cities to broadcast its local newscasts in high-definition. Additions are moving at a faster pace each year. In 2012, KWQC introduced a News App for top stories, traffic conditions and weather for mobile devices. 2013 saw more innovations with the introduction of the QCweather App, TV6 Text and COZI-TV added to the family on 6-3.

Besides always being a leader in the communications industry and with their local news, they have been an integral part of the Hilltop Campus Village. They serve as a good neighbor to the community and the Hilltop Business association. Some of the employees of KWQC have volunteered their time and talents to the boards and committees of the Hilltop Business Association and Hilltop Campus Village

Filed Under: History