WILX-TV10, Around Since 1959
WILX Channel 10 first entered our homes on March 15, 1959.
It was owned by Jackson Telecasters, who in turn was partially owned by Lansing Broadcasting, who also oversaw WILS-AM radio. The TV channel used WILS’ first three call letters and replaced the “S” with an “X” (the “X” standing for the Roman numeral “ten”). At the time, WILX shared it’s frequency with Michigan State Broadcasting (WMSB).
Onondaga held the license for WILX with broadcast studios in Jackson, held in a room of the downtown Hotel Hayes.
Local programs (news, etc.) were produced live in the Hotel Hayes studio, and some in the Jackson library. A children’s show, “Tam’s Fun Time”, had a studio audience of kids and was produced in the basement of the library. Tam’s big talent was riding his unicycle through the audience, much to the delight of the kids.
Another kid favorite was “Popeye Theater” which came on every afternoon at 5pm, with your host Captain Barnacle. The captain unintentionally freaked out the at-home kids by looking straight into the camera, saying “I can see you, Bobby and Carol and Susie and Billy….” etc.
Without cable in those days, we were excited to get Channel 10, as it came in much clearer than Detroit’s WXYZ, CKLW, WJBK, and WWJ. Our best TV frequencies were now WILX Channel 10 and WJIM Channel 6.
In 1972 WILX became its own sole entity when WMSB signed off. By now the studios had moved just north of Jackson, along 127 at Springport Road. I remember going there in 1972 and auditioning for the news.....I blew it.
It was only a matter of time when they finally moved to Lansing where they are currently located at 500 American Road.
WILX was sold in 1978, 1983, 1991, 1996, and 2002. You can find more info HERE. Check out a few old TV ads below!