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70 memorable moments in WKYC history

Look back at 70 memorable moments from our first 70 years on the air

CLEVELAND -- Oct. 31, 1948.

It was the night we introduced ourselves to Northeast Ohio.

Back then we were known as WNBK.

Throughout the next 70 years, we've evolved into the WKYC you know today. It has been a stretch of seven decades filled with incredible memories and unforgettable stories.

Below we have compiled a list of 70 of our most memorable moments.

Oct. 31, 1948: Our legacy begins. When we celebrated our 35th anniversary in 1983, Judd Hambrick took a look back at the birth of our station as WNBK.

August 24, 1951: Beverly Potts disappearance. The 10-year-old went missing on Cleveland's west side, touching off a 67-year unsolved mystery.

July 4, 1954: Marilyn Sheppard was found bludgeoned to death in the Sheppard's Bay Village home. Her husband Sam Sheppard was tried and found guilty in a trial that brought Cleveland international attention. The case would help inspire the popular television show and movie, The Fugitive.

1954: We became Channel 3 after years spent as Channel 4. WNBK put up the most powerful television antennae in the Midwest so we were moved down to Channel 3 to avoid interfering with other stations in the area. This meant people in our outlying areas could watch the Cleveland Indians win 111 games and the American League pennant, their last for 41 years.

1956: Our call letters change from WNBK-TV to KYW-TV following a trade by Westinghouse.

Sept. 2, 1956: Barnaby, premiers. The program for kids becomes Cleveland's highest-rated, locally produced television show ever.

Dec. 11, 1961: The Mike Douglas Show debuts. The show would go national by 1963.

1961: Channel 3 News expands to "Eyewitness News" and becomes one of the first half-hour newscasts in the country. The team consisted of anchors Carl Stern and Bud Dancy, meteorologist Dick Goddard and sports talent Jim Graner. Yes, we had Goddard first.

November 22, 1963: In a decade of turbulent times, perhaps no event is remembered more or was covered more than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Dan Hrvatin was a producer-director at Channel 3 during those emotional hours and wrote the following:

KYW Producer/Director remembers JFK Assassination by WKYC.com on Scribd

1964: It was a year of championships in Cleveland. First, the AHL's Cleveland Barons won the Calder Cup on the ice. In December, the Browns shocked everyone in the NFL by shutting out the Baltimore Colts at Municipal Stadium, 27-0. It would be Cleveland's last pro sports championship for more than a half-century.

September 15, 1964: The Beatles invade Cleveland. The Fab Four performed at Public Hall, but not without some difficulty. At one point, the crowd overwhelmed the more than 100 police officers guarding the stage, forcing the group to stop playing. According to BeatlesBible, In their dressing room backstage, John Lennon told KYW's Art Schreiber: "This has never happened to us before. We have never had a show stopped. These policemen are a bunch of amateurs."

See the Beatles' Cleveland press conference, plus interviews with press officer Derek Taylor and manager Brian Epstein in the player below:

June 1965: Our call letters become WKYC.

Sept. 13, 1965: WKYC becomes Cleveland's first all-color TV station.

1966-1970: A time of social change and a time of sadness in Northeast Ohio. While we rejoiced at the election of Carl Stokes as the first African-American mayor of a major city in the U.S., we also experienced the Hough Riots, the Glenville shooting, and the Kent State riot and shooting.

June 22, 1969: An oil slick near Republic Steel on the Cuyahoga River catches fire. While the 'burning river' is still often used by outsiders to chide our city, the fire resulted in the Clean Water Act, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Five years earlier, KYW did a special report on the health of the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie:

1972: We're just TV now! NBC sells off its WKYC-AM & FM radio stations (1100 AM & 105.7 FM) to Ohio Communications.

1973: Our news product brands as "Action 3 News" until March 19, 1984.

December 12, 1973: The fight to desegregate Cleveland's schools went to the courtroom as the NAACP filed suit against the Cleveland Board of Education, claiming that the public schools were at least partly at fault for Cleveland's housing segregation into ethnic neighborhoods. It would take several years, but by 1979, Cleveland schools began the first phase of court-ordered busing as the desegregation process began.

October 1976: In one of the most talked-about moments in WKYC's history, Del Donahoo was attacked by a lion at Elyria's Midway Mall. Thankfully, Del wasn't seriously hurt, but did need 48 stitches. Years later, the incident was parodied in the popular comedy, Anchorman.

October 6, 1977: Danny Greene, leader of the Irish-American mob, "The Celtic Club," was assassinated by a car bomb in the parking lot of a Lyndhurst dentist. The Celtic Club was embroiled in a gang war for control of Cleveland's criminal operations. At one point in 1976, 36 bombs exploded around the Cleveland area, which was soon given the moniker "Bomb City, U.S.A." The event was chronicled in a 2011 movie, Kill The Irishman.

January 25, 1978: Northeast Ohio was paralyzed for several days in what became the legendary "Blizzard of '78." The blizzard dumped extensive amounts of snow across the region, drifting 20 feet or higher in some spots.

The storm shut down the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region for two days, forcing 45 National Guard helicopters to execute 2,700 missions across the state as thousands of people became stranded. Fifty-one people were killed during the storm, according to the National Weather Service.

1978: Al Roker comes to Cleveland! Before he became a fixture on NBC's TODAY Show, Al was a popular young weather forecaster for WKYC for five years.

December 15, 1978: On the night that Cleveland became the first city in the U.S. since the Great Depression to default on its financial obligations, WKYC hosts a debate between Mayor Dennis Kucinich and Councilman Basil Russo.

1980: The Cleveland Browns, known as the "Kardiac Kids" for their late-game miraculous finishes, win the AFC's Central Division and compile a record of 11-5. Since NBC has the AFC package of NFL games, most of those fantastic finishes could be seen on Channel 3. The season came to a heartbreaking finish on January 4, 1981, when the Oakland Raiders edged the Browns, 14-12, in bitter cold conditions at Cleveland Stadium.

January 8, 1981: WKYC is there for a live, multi-camera broadcast of the installation of Anthony Pilla as Cleveland's bishop.

1981: Hickory Hideout, a popular TV show for kids, debuts on WKYC.

1981: WKYC pairs Del Donahoo and Tom Haley for "Today in Cleveland" weekdays at 6:30 a.m. The show runs for 16 years until Tom Haley retires in 1997 and an expanded local news replaces the broadcast.

October 1982: Out with the old, in with the new as Cleveland's downtown began to re-shape in the 1980s. One of the first major changes was the demolition of the Williamson and Cuyahoga buildings which made way for what became the Sohio Building (Now 200 Public Square)

1985: Jim Donovan comes to Cleveland. The Boston native had served as a radio sports director in Minnesota and had done television anchoring, along with basketball and hockey play-by-play in Vermont before arriving at WKYC in 1985 as weekend sports anchor. He has been our lead sports anchor since 1986.

January 28, 1986: Akron native Judy Resnik is one of seven astronauts killed when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after it was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Among the crew was Christa McAuliffe, who had been selected for the mission as part of NASA's Teacher in Space program.

1986: Channel 3 becomes Cleveland's first VHF station to broadcast in stereo.

January 3, 1987: The Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets in the "Marathon by the Lake" AFC Divisional Playoff that went into double overtime.

Credit: Getty Images

The period between 1985-89 was a special time for Browns fans as the team advanced to the AFC playoffs in five straight seasons, including trips to the AFC Championship in 1986, 87, and 89. But the team just couldn't get past John Elway and the Denver Broncos, losing an overtime heartbreaker at home in "The Drive," then suffering through "The Fumble" one year later.

April 4, 1989: The movie Major League holds its Cleveland premiere at Playhouse Square. Although most of it was shot in Milwaukee, the film, starring Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger, showed a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians overcoming many obstacles to make it to the playoffs.

October 27, 1989: 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic disappeared from a Bay Village shopping plaza. Her body was found in a field in Ashland County in February 1990. Her murder remains unsolved.

1990: WKYC introduces closed captioning -- the first local television newscast to do so.

Feb. 1992: Our first 6 a.m. newscast debuts.

March 1992: We introduce "Doppler 3" -- Northeast Ohio's only television-owned and operated radar system.

May 1992: Channel 3 News at Noon hits the air.

1994: Gateway opens sports facilities for Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers. In one of the most exciting periods in the city's recent history, the former Central Market site gave way to the new homes of the Tribe and Cavs. On April 4, 1994, Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field) opened as the Indians defeated the Mariners in extra innings. President Bill Clinton threw out the first pitch.

Billy Joel officially opened Gund Arena on October 17, 1994. The Cavaliers played their first regular-season game in the arena a few weeks later, losing to the Houston Rockets on November 8, 1994.

Jan. 1995: WKYC enters the computer world with an AOL e-mail address, giving viewers a new way to send comments to Channel 3. More than 350 messages were logged in the first few months.

September 2, 1995: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opens in Cleveland.

Credit: Getty Images

The city had lobbied hard for the museum to be built here, citing that disc jockey Alan Freed both coined the term "rock and roll" and that Cleveland was the location of Freed's Moondog Coronation Ball, the first major rock and roll concert. Although Cleveland was awarded the hall in 1986, it would take 9 years for the dream to become a reality.

Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Iggy Pop, John Fogerty, John Mellencamp helped celebrate the opening of the Rock Hall with an all-star concert at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

September 8, 1995: In a game that could be seen on Channel 3, the Cleveland Indians clinched their first postseason appearance since 1954 as they wrapped up the American League Central Division title by beating Baltimore, 3-2. The win was followed by an emotional celebration at Progressive Field.

Credit: Getty Images

The Indians would go on to win the American League Championship before losing the World Series to the Atlanta Braves in six games.

November 6, 1995: Stating that "I had no choice," Browns owner Art Modell announces his plans to move the team to Baltimore. The move stunned the city and the football world. The city of Cleveland reacted by suing Modell and ultimately settled upon an agreement by which an expansion Browns franchise would return in 1999.

1998: WKYC celebrates its 50th anniversary of bringing northeast Ohio quality local news, information and entertainment. We produced an hour long special called "Channel 3's Golden Years." During the show, Judd Hambrick looked back at some of the biggest stories we covered in our first 50 years:

August-September 1998: As the Browns prepare to make their return to the NFL the following year, WKYC is named the "official local television of the Cleveland Browns" with pre-season games, pre and post game shows, a Sunday night show and a revolutionary children's show called "Browns Blitz."

This was a promotional commercial we made following the announcement:

Shortly after WKYC became the television home of the Browns, our own Jim Donovan was named the radio play-by-play "Voice of the Browns," a position he holds to this day.

Nov. 27, 1998: A swearing Santa Claus drops the f-bomb during the annual Christmas lighting ceremony on Public Square. Watch:

June 1999: WKYC becomes the first local station to broadcast an all-digital signal on RF channel 2.

August 1999: We're online as the station launches WKYC.com.

September 1999: Our morning show expands again with an earlier start time at 5 a.m.

December 31, 1999: WKYC is the official station of the new millennium in Cleveland as we helped to put on a huge concert party at Public Square to welcome in the year 2000. Thankfully the Y2K bug stayed away that night!

June 2000: WKYC news at 6 p.m. returns to a half hour, "Nightly News" moves back to 6:30 p.m. and Channel 3 News at 7 p.m. debuts to accommodate viewers' changing lifestyles with anchors Romona Robinson and Tim White. Today, the 7 p.m. news show is called Donovan Live.

January 2001: WKYC moves from its old location at E. 6th Street into our current home on Lakeside Avenue.

September 11, 2001: We all watched together as the horror of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and in Pennsylvania, devastated the nation. But we also remember that as a time when our nation and our community came together.

Watch Tim White and Romona Robinson anchor our 9/11 coverage below:

August 14, 2003: The lights went out for millions of people in eight states and part of Canada. Cleveland was hit hard because its water system used electrical pumps that shut down for part of the blackout. The primary cause was a software bug in the alarm system at FirstEnergy in Akron.

May 22, 2006: WKYC becomes the first Cleveland-area station to broadcast local news in high-definition.

July 2008: Agents from the FBI begin raiding the offices of Cuyahoga County Commissioners and leaders from a wide range of other county communities. The federal investigation found an extensive pattern of bribery and corruption across the area and led to the arrest of county commissioner Jimmy Dimora, county auditor Frank Russo, and many others. In 2012, Dimora was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison.

Jan. 23, 2011: WKYC expands its morning show with a 4:30 a.m. newscast.

Sept. 2011: Jim Donovan returns to calling Browns games after undergoing a bone marrow transplant.

Jan. 2012: Russ Mitchell, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, joins the WKYC anchor team.

February 27, 2012: Gunfire rang out inside the Chardon High School cafeteria. Three students died: Danny Parmertor, 16; Demetrius Hewlin, 16; and Russell King Jr. 17. Two others -- Joy Rickers and Nick Walczak -- were injured. The shooter, Thomas "T.J." Lane, 17, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault involving the shootings.

Feb. 28, 2013: WKYC makes national headlines for choosing to air a 20-year-old Matlock feature, pre-empting NBC's primetime lineup.

May 6, 2013: WKYC delivers unbelievable breaking news: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were found alive. It was a moment quickly dubbed: The Miracle in Cleveland.

Jan. 8, 2014: Robin Swoboda goes viral for her rendition of "Ice Ice Baby" as we debuted the Channel 3 ice desk.

October 27, 2014: Three months after LeBron James makes his triumphant return to the Cavaliers, WKYC announces our partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation.

That partnership continues to flourish with the opening of the I PROMISE school in July of this year.

June 19, 2016: CHAMPIONS!

It actually happened. The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to rally and beat the Golden State Warriors, 93-89, in Game 7. Kyrie Irving sank the game-winning three-pointer, while LeBron James posted a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to go along with three blocked shots and two steals. One of the blocks was an epic chasedown of the Warriors' Andre Igoudala in the fourth quarter.

Three days later, more than a million people were on the streets of Cleveland to celebrate the city's first sports championship in 52 years in an epic parade.

July 18-21, 2016: Quicken Loans Arena was transformed in a matter of weeks from NBA arena to political convention site as Cleveland hosted the 2016 Republican National Convention. On his way to a shocking victory in the presidential election over Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump took center stage and accepted his party's nomination.

Here was our list of the most-read stories from that week.

November 2, 2016: The eyes of the baseball world were focused on Cleveland as the Indians and Chicago Cubs squared off for Game 7 of the World Series. The Indians surprised everyone with their march to the Fall Classic, winning 7 out of 8 games to easily dispose of the Red Sox and Blue Jays in the American League playoffs. The Tribe won three of the first four games of the Series, only to watch the Cubs rally to force the deciding game.

After a miraculous home run by Rajai Davis tied Game 7 in the 8th inning, the game went into a rain delay and Chicago would go on to prevail in extra innings for their first World Series crown since 1908.

Nov. 15, 2016: Senior political correspondent, Tom Beres, retires after 37 years at WKYC.

April 16, 2017: 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. was shot and killed while walking on Easter Sunday Cleveland's Glenville neighborhood. The suspect, 37-year-old Steve Stephens, posted a cellphone video of the shooting on his Facebook account. Stephens fatally shot himself two days later in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Oct. 31, 2018: We celebrate our 70th birthday!