TV History Profile: WAAY

The following history is taken from the very nice and very extensive WAAY-TV history pages. Please give them a visit! There's in-depth history for a lot of radio and telelvision in Alabama and Huntsville as well as pictures.
This station started broadcasting on August 1, 1959, using a 240 kW transmitter, broadcast from a 125 tower. The calls were WAFG and the station was ABC affiliated. The owners of this station decided to get out of telelvision when faced with new competition in the form of channels 19 and 25, neither of which had been actually built at the time. In 1963, WAAY radio (owned by Smith Broadcasting) bought channel 31 and changed the calls to WAAY-TV.
The FCC approved the sale of channel 31 in November of 1963. Also in November, channel 19 comes on the air. WAAY becomes an ABC affiliate. During the first few years on air, WAAY-TV is supported by the WAAY radio station, which was doing quite well in the market.
In 1965 the station aquired an airplane for shooting footage. Later that month, they shoot tornado damage from the plane.
January 1968 sees WAAY changing to NBC affiliation after erecting a 400 foot tower and increasing power to 1.24 million watts. WAAY begins the first live microwave remotes in the TVA when it signs a contract with Jackson Way Baptist church in February. In April of this year, WAAY also becomes the first station in the valley to broadcast in color, with color video tape  (they bought their video processing chain from WTOP-TV in DC!) and color studio cameras.
By 1970 the station was broadcasting color film during their newscasts, using Kodak film.
February 1975 has WAAY getting the first color radar in the state of Alabama. During 1977, WAAY goes to ABC affiliation (Florence had it's own NBC station, cutting into the ratings of WAAY), and has just completed work on a 1,000 foot tower.
The station gets its first helicopter for shooting news from above after going through several airplanes. This was in March of 1981.
An interesting milestone:
June 8 1992: Station begins closed captioning of all newscasts, the first in the valley to do so.
In 1999, Smith Broadcasting sold channel 31 to Grapevine Communications. Smith Broadcasting cited the expense of upgrading to HDTV as one of the reasons for selling the station. Grapevine Communications still uses the WAAY-TV calls.
Channel 31's studios are still located at 1000 Monte Sano Boulevard, the site of the original WAFG station.