WLOX-TV has been The Station for South Mississippi since signing on the air for the first time in the fall of 1962. Our area was sure a lot different back then. If you were hungry you could visit the Friendship House on the beach in Biloxi and order a T-bone steak for a $1.75. After dinner, you might cruise down to the Gulf Coast Drive-In and see Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella. If you didn’t have a car, you could register to win one at the Bayview Plaza Delchamps on Pass Road in Biloxi. Bayview Plaza is now Popps Ferry West Plaza – the shopping center where Office Depot is. Delchamps was giving away a shiny 1963 Ford Fairlane 500 sedan for its grand opening in October, 1962.
Mississippi Power declared October to be “Dryer Month.” Ads from the time urged you to “take the worry out of wash day” with a dependable washer-dryer which you could conveniently buy at your nearest Mississippi Power Company.
October, 1962 was also the time WLOX became affiliated with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). If you watched WLOX the first week we started carrying ABC programming you would have seen the debut of ABC’ s new wartime action series COMBAT! You would have also entered the world of gangland crime and drama with The Untouchables. And you would have seen Father Knows Best make its debut on ABC after switching from CBS.
Of course, if you wanted to watch those shows on WLOX you needed a television set. There were plenty of new models available in October, 1962. You could go to a Firestone tire store on 35th Avenue in Gulfport at the time and buy a “Miss America” model Philco “Vivid Vision” TV set for three dollars a week on the installment plan. Advertisements from the time proclaim it had exclusive “beam booster” circuitry! That meant you could see WLOX in “startling lifelike realism” with “no more premature gray pictures.” Ah, the glory days of black and white! A few years later WLOX started beaming color signals into your home.
When WLOX began broadcasting in the fall of 1962, our studios were located in the Buena Vista Hotel on the beach in Biloxi. The hotel is no longer there, but it stood to the east of the I-110 loop across from where the mammoth Beau Rivage Casino and hotel stand now.
Anyway, we broadcast local news and entertainment programs there until August, 1969. The previous month, Neil Armstrong had walked on the moon and the country was becoming more and more polarized on the Vietnam issue. The day the Woodstock Music Festival in New York was coming to an end, people here in South Mississippi were bracing for the worst storm to hit our area in recorded history: Hurricane Camille. It pretty much blew away everything and flooded everything else including our Buena Vista studios. But WLOX stayed on the air as long as we could to warn people of the coming danger.
After Camille we moved to the Werlein Building on Jackson Street in downtown Biloxi. The building is still there to this day. In April, 1971 WLOX moved to its present location on DeBuys road in Biloxi. DeBuys road is the dividing line between Biloxi and Gulfport.
From the very first days of WLOX, local news and weather has been important to us. In the 1970’s and ’80’s we built our news gathering organization and converted from shooting stories on film to video tape. Now WLOX News is the largest TV news organization in Mississippi. Our reporters, producers, and photojournalists use the latest computer technology to write stories and digitally edit them for you to see every day in glorious High Definition video and audio. We have a satellite truck, remote truck and we use LiveU backpack video broadcasting systems so we can bring you breaking news live from anywhere is South Mississippi.
Remember the days when TV weather people would draw the weather systems on a map with a marker? These days our staff of meteorologists use Doppler Radar, the most advanced technology available, to make sure you know exactly what’s happening with local weather.
WLOX is the largest television station in the state and produces more than 33 hours of local programming a week. And thanks to you, WLOX is often the nation’s number one ABC affiliate based on the share of viewers who watch us.
There have been several famous faces to come from the ranks of WLOX-TV. One of WLOX News’ first anchors was Chuck Scarborough. He’s now with NBC in New York. You insomniacs may be familiar with Mark Mullen. He was with WLOX News in the 80’s. After that he anchored ABC’s often wacky overnight news show World News Now. These days he’s an anchor with KRON in San Francisco, California. And former WLOX News sports anchor Robin Roberts is the heart and soul of ABC’s Good Morning America.
From its inception until 1995, WLOX was owned locally by the Love family. The leadership of the Love Family made WLOX the broadcasting machine it is today. In March of that year the family sold WLOX to the Liberty Corporation. In 2005 WLOX became part of Raycom Media, Inc. One of the nation’s largest privately-owned broadcasters servicing 44 markets in 22 states.
It’s been an exciting journey for WLOX, and we still strive to be The Station for South Mississippi just as we did in the early days when we were starting out at the Buena Vista Hotel. You can see our latest efforts the next time you turn on WLOX-TV. We do it for you and your family!