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KDKA, one of the largest stations in Pittsburgh, is the result of a merger between the Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph and Pittsburgh Gazette Telegraph in 1922. This merger created the world's first modern-day Top 40 radio station. There are many famous KDKA radio host, such as John DeHaven and Pete Van Valkenburgh.
It was the 51st television station in the U.S., the third and last DuMont-owned station to sign on the air (behind WABD (now WNYW) in New York City and WTTG in Washington, D.C.), and the first owned-and-operated station in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To mark the occasion, a live television special aired that day from 8:30 to 11 p.m. on WDTV, which began with a one-hour local program broadcast from Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh. The remainder of the show featured live segments from DuMont, CBS, NBC, and ABC with Arthur Godfrey, Milton Berle, DuMont host Ted Steele, and many other celebrities. (Source: WDTV aired all DuMont network shows live and "cherry-picked" the best shows from the other networks, airing them on kinescope on an every-other-week basis. WDTV's sign-on was also significant because it was now possible to feed live programs from the East to the Midwest and vice versa. In fact, its second broadcast was the activation of the coaxial cable linking New York City and Chicago. It would be another two years before the West Coast received live programming, but this was the beginning of the modern era of network television
As KDKA radio had long been an affiliate of the NBC Blue Network (Westinghouse was a co-founder of RCA, NBC's then-parent company), it was expected that KDKA-TV would eventually become a primary affiliate of the NBC television network. But the network was seeking to purchase Westinghouse's Philadelphia stations, KYW radio and WPTZ (now KYW-TV). When Westinghouse balked, NBC threatened to pull its programming from WPTZ and Boston's WBZ-TV unless Westinghouse agreed to trade its Philadelphia properties for NBC's radio and television properties in Cleveland. (Related to the trade, Westinghouse received a cross-station waiver from the FCC to own the Cleveland properties due to overlapping signals with KDKA radio and channel 2.) The decision would lead to an acrimonious relationship between Westinghouse and NBC in later years. In 1994, Westinghouse was looking to make a group-wide affiliation deal for its stations as part of a larger plan to transform itself into a major media conglomerate after WJZ-TV lost its ABC affiliation to Scripps-owned WMAR-TV in an affiliation deal spurred by Fox's affiliation deal with New World Communications. Westinghouse negotiated with NBC and CBS for a deal. Had Westinghouse signed with NBC, KDKA-TV would affiliate itself with NBC 40 years after passing up the network, with the CBS affiliation going to WPXI, who had originally intended to affiliate itself with CBS until the NBC-Westinghouse feud started as well as channel 11's own sign-on problems in the 1950s.