June 15 Connecticut’s First Television Station


The pre-signon image used by WNCH-TV. Before 24/7 television, television stations were only on the air for a portion of each day. (WTNH-TV)

Today in 1948, Connecticut’s first television station WNHC-TV, Channel 6 (now WTNH Channel 8) began broadcasting in New Haven. The introduction of this new media to Connecticut was the brainchild of Aldo DeDomenicis, an Italian pasta-wholesaler who had previously found success buying radio time on Italian programs and selling that time as radio ads to grocers along with his pasta.

Intrigued by the potential of television, DeDomenicis partnered with New Haven’s postmaster Patrick J. Goode and engineer Garo Ray to apply for a broadcasting license. He convinced the Dumont Network – a television network pioneer that was also in the business of manufacturing and selling television sets – to virtually give them the equipment to start a station, on the promise that DeDomenicis would generate strong sales for Dumont television sets.

Gayle Carol was one of the pioneering female weather reporters in American television (WTNH)

Though Connecticut newspapers and radio stations barely took notice of its appearance, WHNC-TV did capture the eye of area residents, and as promised, television sets in Connecticut started to sell. Part of the station’s appeal came from the fact that as Connecticut’s only television outlet, all three fledgling TV networks – Dumont, NBC, and CBS – competed to get their programs on the station. By the time the Dumont network folded and WNCH Channel 6 morphed into WTNH Channel 8 in the mid-1950s the station was a success and went on to establish a tradition of innovative programming.

Mike Warren as Mr. Goober, hosted a children’s program “Friends of Mr. Goober” that is still legendary among Connecticut baby boomers

WTNH became the first station in the country to use videotape for local broadcasts and was one of the first American stations to broadcast in color. It also was one of the first stations to have women report the weather. WTNH-produced programs, such as the children’s show “The Friends of Mr, Goober” starring Mike Warren, drew huge audiences and remain Connecticut television legends, while the footage of field photographer Jack Young – who covered stories ranging from celebrity interviews,to the Great Flood of 1955, to the execution of the killer Joseph “Mad Dog” Taburski in 1960 – are important primary sources of Connecticut’s 20th century history.

Television – the medium that transforms American life and culture in ever-evolving ways, first signed on in the Nutmeg State, Today in Connecticut History

Further Reading

WNHC TV: Patrick J Goode and Aldo DeDominicis, Walk New Haven Cultural Heritage Tours

WTNH News Celebrates 70 Years” WTNH Special Report

WTNH History,” New England 1