WIRTH WATCHING: Reflecting New Years’ past


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In a few days, we will finally say goodbye to 2020 under new conditions contrasting years past. For many, the countdown to 2021 will be a virtual experience, tuning in on the big screen.

Around Utah – TV has welcomed the new year for over 70 years. Utah and Channel 4, being one of the first to attempt televising the new year, in 1948.

“On December 31, 1948, Utahns found a new tradition never done here before,” shares our very own Craig Wirth. “It was spending New Year’s Eve watching television shows about New Year’s Eve!”

During the 1940s it was up to Channel 4 to put forth the very first New Years TV show in Utah.

“Oh, back then Channel 4 pulled out the stops for New Year’s…In fact, there was a live New Year’s Eve party from the studio for the end of 1948,” Wirth adds.

The televised countdown took place in Channel 4’s former studio, located in what is now City Creek, above the Old Post Office on Regent Street.

The news team then welcomed the new year, capturing over 100% of the town’s audience.

“They did get the New Year of 1949 welcomed in grand style,” he adds.

As ABC4 welcomed the New Year of 1949 on-air, it then became a tradition, allowing other stations in the town to follow suit.

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