WBIR History

WBIR-TV signed on the air on August 12, 1956 as a CBS television affiliate. The station's call letters come from Jesse W. 'Jay' Birdwell, who founded WBIR radio in 1941. Initially, all programming was broadcast from the basement of the transmitter building on Sharps Ridge. In May of 1957, the WBIR studios were completed and the station moved to its present location on Bill Williams Avenue. On September 10, 1988, WBIR became an NBC television affiliate. In December of 1995, WBIR was purchased by Gannett, Co. Inc. and to this day, WBIR remains part of the Gannett Broadcast family. To learn more about Gannett and its subsidiary brands, visit

The Straight From the Heart Tradition

Straight from the Heart is an ideology that is exemplified in both WBIR’s product and its culture. In all that we do, we strive to do it ethically with sincerity, honesty, integrity and compassion. In 2013, WBIR celebrated 30 years of our Straight From The Heart culture. We look forward to many more years of serving our viewers and our East Tennessee community.

Our Mission and Purpose

WBIR is committed to serving the greater good of our community by being the local content provider across all media platforms, reaching our viewers anytime and anywhere. We strive to be good citizens, to do what is right, and to be fair and honest. We care. What we do comes ‘Straight From The Heart.