WGBC NBC 30
By Preston Cooper
Story Created: May 29, 2008
Story Updated: Jun 2, 2008
Channel 30 was broadcast first in 1953 as WCOC Television (owned by the Crystal Oil Company hence COC in the call). WCOC was on the air only a few months due to the fact that WTOK Television was awarded the CBS affiliation on channel 11. The owners of WCOC thought they would surely get the affiliation since they owned WCOC Radio, which was the local CBS Radio affiliate. CBS chose to go with the VHF station and Mr. Gavin, owner of channel 30 at the time, went back to radio only.
The groundbreaking ceremony for WLBM TV channel 30 was June 2, 1982. The station was built as a low power satellite station of WLBT in Jackson, MS and was on the air by early the next year. WLBT was the NBC affiliate for Jackson so, as a satellite, WLBM was the NBC affiliate for Meridian. The station operated as a low power facility for about eight years until a fire in the building took it off the air in 1990.
A group of investors headed by Mississippi State Representative Charles Young bought the property and had it re-licensed for WGBC TV in early 1991. The corporate name was Global Broadcasting Corporation hence GBC in the call. The facility was re-built as a full power UHF station and went on the air in the third quarter of 1991. The first program aired was the Miss America Pageant.
The station operated under Global Broadcasting until 1995 when an LMA deal was struck with Frank Spain and WMDN Television. After two 5-year LMA terms with Mr. Spain, the station was sold to Robert M. Ledbetter in July of 2005. The actual change of license took several months to complete. Ledbetter et. al. ran the company until February 2008 when the current ownership took over.
Channel 30 has been an NBC affiliate since 1982.