Celebrating 65 Years: WTOC reflects on time at downtown station

Celebrating 65 Years: WTOC reflects on time at downtown station

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC has been at 11 The News Place just off Chatham Parkway since 1995, but our original home was in downtown Savannah.

“It had character, there’s no doubt about it. It had a lot of character. Living downtown, walking to work, walking into an old historic building," WTOC Anchor Ken Griner said.

The historic building on the corner of Huntington and Abercorn has quite a past.

“Our studio was where they used to keep the horse stables. I am pretty sure it was a fire station, pre-automobile, trucks, and they kept the horses down there," Griner said.

Many people walked through the halls of that building. Some, perhaps, longer than others.

“The way the story was told to me, the place was haunted," Griner said. “There were actually two people that quit. One, a receptionist after the first day because she saw “the colonel.” Now, the reason the colonel was hanging around, we were told, is because he really thought he was a general, and everybody kept referring to him as a colonel, and he was really ticked off about it. There are people that swear that old building is haunted."

Griner never saw the colonel, but he did experience other moments in history inside the old studio.

“I remember a lot of things I watched in that building. I mean, we totally just watched the Soviet Union fall apart from that building. I will always remember that," he said.

In the early 90s, WTOC continued its growth within the community, which also meant outgrowing our downtown home.

“With technology and everything, we totally outgrew that building; whether it be the parking outside, a very small parking lot," Griner said. “The vehicle bay was crazy, seeing us jam vehicles in there. We really had just outgrown it.”

The original plan was to move to Thunderbolt, but in 1995, WTOC made the move to Chatham Parkway.

“It’s nice already being on this side of town when you have to go that way, instead of having to go back into downtown, weave through the squares and circles to try and get back, and get your story done on time. This is a great location," Griner said.

The original studio building is now occupied by SCAD, but the memories live on for those that worked there.

“There are seven of us. We are not special, but we think we are special, you know, because we were ‘Abercorners.’ We were part of that legacy that carried over from Abercorn to here," Griner said. "I don’t know, I kind of feel proud to be part of that group.”

If you would like to take a look back at the history of our station, click here.

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