Turner Communications Group

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Turner Communications Group is the previous name of Turner Broadcasting System. The name was used from 1970 to 1979, when the company changed its name to Turner Broadcasting System. It was the parent company of WTCG which became WTBS (TBS Superstation) with the Turner name change in 1979.

In 1970, R. E. Turner, Ted Turner then head of a successful Atlanta-based outdoor advertising firm, purchased WJRJ Atlanta, Channel 17, a small, struggling UHF station, and renamed it WTCG, for parent company Turner Communications Group. Through careful programming acquisitions, Turner guided the station to success.

On December 17, 1976 at 1:00PM, WTCG Channel 17's signal was beamed via satellite to its four cable systems in Grand Island, Nebraska; Newport News, Virginia; Troy, Alabama; and Newton, Kansas. All four cable systems started receiving the sleepy 1948 Dana Andrews - Cesar Romero film Deep Waters already in progress. The movie had started 30 minutes earlier. WTCG went from being a little television station no one was watching to a major TV network that every one of the 24,000 households outside of the 675,000 in Atlanta was receiving coast-to-coast. WTCG became a so-called Superstation and created a precedent of today's basic cable television.

HBO had gone to satellite transmissions to distribute its signal nationally in 1975, but that was a service cable subscribers were made to pay extra to receive. Ted Turner's innovation signaled the start of the basic cable revolution.

WTCG was re-launched in 1979 as WTBS. The new call letters were purchased by equipment donation from the MIT student radio station, now WMBR.