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13 Tidbits You May Not Remember About 13WMAZ | News

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13 Tidbits You May Not Remember About 13WMAZ

Today, September 27, 2013, as 13WMAZ celebrates its 60-year anniversary, we take a look back at where we started.

1. WMAZ began as a radio station at Mercer University in Macon in 1922.

2. The first program director and chief announcer, Carey Pickard, came up with the slogan: Watch Mercer Attain Zenith.

Pickard was a 1930 Mercer graduate and at one point later served 10 years as an FBI agent, according to his memoir "A Charmed Life." 

3. When he was in college, he worked part-time for WMAZ. He says the station was built by the Mercer Physics department dean at the time.

4. In Pickard's memoir, he says he created WMAZ's slogan in a poem he wrote for Mercer's student paper, The Cluster, probably around 1925.

5. Mercer's physics department first put up an antenna in 1910 and then in 1922 WMAZ-AM was licensed for broadcast at 50 watts, according to WMAZ's own archival timeline.

6. The radio studios moved three times before signing on as an FM station in 1947. (Mercer, Macon Gas Building, the Grand top floor, then to Bankers Insurance Building.)

7. WMAZ-TV actually was licensed on Friday, the 13th. (That was March 13, 1953).

8. The Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, visited the station in 1988 to help celebrate WMAZ's 35th anniversary. 

9. The station purchased three Polaroid cameras from Coke's Camera Shop in downtown Macon in 1958. That shop is still in business today as well.

10.  The TV station started on the Cochran Short Route and didn't move to its current Gray Highway location until 1975. 

11. On a tight budget, the first TV cameras came from a U.S. Army Signal Corps surplus. They had used the cameras in close-circuit feeds of nuclear testing in the West in the 1940s.

12. When the station first sought to staff the TV station, they tried to find people who were in relatable fields. Since no film companies existed in Macon, they went to the next best solution: Georgia Theater Company. When the station signed on, only one person had any TV experience, Billy Sowell, according to a radio engineer quoted in an archival document.

13. WMAZ has always been "haunted, but not daunted" by the number 13! A document shows the company filed the application to broadcast with the FCC on May 13, 1948.

March 13, 1953: Construction permit granted by the FCC.
August 13, 1953: antenna hoisted atop the tower.
September 13, 1953: scheduled test patterns began.


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