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Taft Broadcasting: Wikis


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The Taft Broadcasting Company, also known as Taft Television and Radio Company, Incorporated, was a media conglomerate based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The company is rooted in the family of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States. William Howard's half-brother, Charles Phelps Taft, purchased the Cincinnati Times-Star newspaper in 1879; its later publishers included Charles' son Hulbert Taft, Sr., and grandson Hulbert Taft, Jr.

The Taft family's involvement in broadcasting began in 1939.

The company is notable for having been the owner of such major media and entertainment properties as Hanna-Barbera, Worldvision Enterprises, Ruby-Spears Productions, KECO Entertainment and many television and radio stations.

It also owned 50% of CIC Video's Australian operations, CIC-Taft Home Video.

The company's last headquarters building, in the Mount Auburn neighborhood, today houses studios for Cincinnati's NBC affiliate WLWT.



  • 1939 - The Cincinnati Times-Star purchases WKRC radio from founding owner Kodel Radio Company.
  • 1949 - WKRC-TV in Cincinnati begins broadcasting.
  • 1969 - Taft purchases WIBF-TV in Philadelphia and changes its calls to WTAF-TV. The FCC initially grants Taft a waiver to keep both WTAF and WNEP, but later reverses itself and forces Taft to sell WNEP-TV as a result due to FCC regulations at the time prohibiting one company from owning two television stations with overlapping coverage areas.
  • 1972 - Taft opens its first theme park, Kings Island, outside of Cincinnati. Taft would own five other theme parks through is KECO Entertainment division. WBRC radio and WBRC-FM in Birmingham are sold to Mooney Broadcasting.
  • 1982 - KQV is sold to General Manager Robert W. Dickey and other investors under the "Calvary, Inc." banner.
  • 1983 - Taft exchanges WGR-TV to General Cinema Corporation's Coral Television subsidiary in return for WCIX in Miami.
  • 1987 - Taft sells its independent stations (WDCA-TV, KTXA, and KTXH) and Fox affiliates (WCIX and WTAF-TV) to the TVX Broadcast Group. Taft also sells WGR radio and WGR-FM in Buffalo to Rich Communications.
Later in 1987, Taft Broadcasting becomes Great American Broadcasting (also known as Great American Communications) following a major restructuring of its operations. Cincinnati-based billionaire Carl Lindner, Jr., becomes Taft's majority stockholder and renames the company after his Great American Insurance Company. Great American spins-off WTVN-TV to Anchor Media, a new firm comprised of former Taft Broadcasting board members. A new company, led by former Taft Broadcasting president Dudley S. Taft Jr., retains WGHP and later purchases another Philadelphia station, WPHL-TV.
  • 1991 - Hanna-Barbera, along with much of the original Ruby-Spears library, is acquired by Turner Broadcasting, which becomes part of Time Warner in 1996
  • 1992 - KECO Entertainment, Great American's theme park division, is sold to Paramount and became Paramount Parks, later to be acquired by Viacom. (These parks were sold to Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. by CBS in 2006.) Great American also reacquires WGHP from Dudley Taft.
  • 1996 - Citicasters, by then the owner of WKRC-TV and WTSP and several radio stations, including WKRQ (the former WKRC-FM) in Cincinnati and WDAF in Kansas City, merges with Jacor. Three months after the merger is completed, Jacor exchanges WTSP to Gannett in return for Gannett's radio stations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Tampa. In 1997, as a condition of the Citicasters-Jacor merger, Jacor sells WKRQ and the original WDAF-FM (by then KYYS, now KCKC) to American Radio Systems (ARS), which would become acquired by Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio) in 1998. Also in 1997, Jacor sells WDAF-AM (now KCSP) to Entercom Communications.
  • 1997 - The Worldvision properties that had previously been under Taft and Great American (with the exception of the Hanna-Barbera and most of the Ruby-Spears material) are incorporated into Republic Pictures (today part of Paramount Pictures).

Stations formerly owned by Taft/Great American/Citicasters


Television stations

  • Does not include ownership by the second Taft Broadcasting, a company formed in the wake of the Great American takeover of the original Taft Broadcasting.
Current DMA# Market Station Years Owned Current Affiliation/Owner
4. Philadelphia WTAF-TV 29
(now WTXF-TV)
1969-87 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
5. Fort Worth-Dallas KTXA 21 1984-87 Independent owned by CBS Corporation
9. Washington, D.C. WDCA-TV 20 1979-87 My Network TV affiliate owned by Fox
10. Houston KTXH 20 1984-87 My Network TV affiliate owned by Fox
12. Phoenix KTSP-TV 10
(now KSAZ-TV)
1984-94 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
14. St. Petersburg-Tampa WTSP 10 1984-96 CBS affiliate owned by Gannett Company
17. Miami-Fort Lauderdale WCIX 6
(now WFOR-TV 4)
1983-87 CBS owned-and-operated (O&O)
32. Kansas City, Missouri WDAF-TV 4 1964-94 Fox affiliate owned by Local TV
33. Cincinnati WKRC-TV 11/12 1949-96 CBS affiliate owned by Newport Television
34. Columbus, Ohio WTVN-TV 6
(now WSYX)
1953-87 ABC affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
40. Birmingham, Alabama WBRC-TV 6 1957-95 Fox affiliate owned by Raycom Media
46. High Point - Greensboro -
WGHP 8 1984-87
Fox affiliate owned by Local TV
52. Buffalo, New York WGR-TV 2
(now WGRZ)
1964-83 NBC affiliate owned by Gannett Company
54. Scranton - Wilkes-Barre, PA WNEP-TV 16 1964-69 ABC affiliate owned by Local TV
62. Lexington, Kentucky WKYT-TV 27 1958-67 CBS affiliate owned by Gray Television
  • WKRC-TV was the only television or radio station built and signed-on by Taft.

Radio stations

(a partial listing)

AM Stations FM Stations
DMA# Market Station Current owner
24. Pittsburgh KQV-1410 Calvary, Inc.
WDVE-102.5 Clear Channel Communications
29. Cincinnati WKRC-550 Clear Channel Communications
(now WKRQ)
Bonneville International
32. Kansas City, Missouri WDAF-610
(now KCSP)
Entercom Communications
(now KCKC)
Wilks Broadcasting
37. Columbus, Ohio WTVN-610 Clear Channel Communications
(now WLVQ)
Wilks Broadcasting
52. Buffalo, New York WGR-550 Entercom Communications
(now WGRF)
Citadel Broadcasting
57. Birmingham, Alabama WBRC-960
(now WERC)
Clear Channel Communications
(now WBPT)
Cox Radio


  1. ^ "TV station is purchased." The New York Times, Jan. 13, 1953, pg. 32.
  2. ^ "Radio-TV concern to sell stations." The New York Times, Aug. 3, 1963, pg. 21.

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