NewsChannel 5 Leads The Way With Firsts - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Leads The Way With Firsts


Technology is just one of the many reasons NewsChannel 5 is Middle Tennessee's news and information leader.

Over the years, NewsChannel 5 has led the way in technological innovations.

This week, NewsChannel 5 became the first television station in Tennessee to broadcast local news in high definition.

The transition to HD is just the latest in a long line of NewsChannel 5 firsts.

In the 1950's high-tech didn't look the same as today.

In 1959 NewsChannel 5 was the first station in Nashville to use live radar to report the weather. That radar image doesn't look like much now, but it was amazing technology at the time.

"Back in 1959, that was really a breakthrough... radar showing the storms moving through - that was really innovative," Chris Clark said.

Not only was NewsChannel 5 the first to have live radar, it was the first to use color radar.  

"This really showed the severity of a storm through various colors & gave our meteorologists another tool to explain to our viewers how the storms are moving through and how severe they are," Clark said.

Probably one of the biggest technological breakthroughs came in 1974 when the station became the second in the country to use live electronic news gathering.

"The first station was owned by the CBS television network so they had a little bit of an edge on us. We were the second one to do it and that really changed the way every station in the country and in the world for that matter covers news - still using that technology today.

In 1985, the station experienced a huge breakthrough with the first live satellite truck, which allowed the station to go anywhere in the continental United States and broadcast live.

"Really what it meant was in some areas of Middle Tennessee where we couldn't get a live signal out from a direct line of sight that we could now bounce it off a satellite and be live anywhere from Middle Tennessee.  We were the first station to do that - a major tool for gathering news for our viewers," Clarks said.

NewsChannel 5's technological firsts have not always been over the air. In fact, NewsChannel 5 was one of the first television stations in the country to launch a website.  Now about a half a million people visit every month.

"I had an email recently from a businessman who was in China,just saying how cool it was that he could, in China, look at and get the local news from home. It just kind of blew my mind - I knew it was all over the world, but people are actually using it that way," Clark said.

NewsChannel 5 took news gathering to new heights in 1995 when the station introduced Skycam.  The remote-controlled camera gave us a spectacular view of downtown Nashville from high atop the tallest building in Tennessee.

That view got even better last year, when the station launched Sky 5, Tennessee's first and only live news helicopter.

"Just think of the travel time - something happens in Clarksville, Lawrenceburg, any town in our coverage area - we can be there faster than any one else," Clark said.

The biggest technological advance ever is the all-new, state of-the-art, high definition news studio.

"This really brings us into the 21st century - the first station to broadcast its news in high definition and it's from a studio specifically designed to do just that.  Once again - the benefit to the viewer - bigger, brighter pictures and a more realistic experience of involving themselves in the news of the day and it gives us another tool to do our jobs better," Clark said.

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