WJMR-TV signed on in 1953 as New Orleans’ second television station, behind WDSU-TV. It was a primary CBS affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation.
It originally broadcast on Channel 61 and moved to Channel 20 in 1955. Given the technical difficulties of receiving UHF signals in TV’s early days, the station was eager to move to a VHF frequency. For a couple of years, it simulcast its signal on a low-power broadcast over Channel 12.
WWL-TV, Channel 4, took the CBS affiliation when it signed on in 1957, leaving WJMR with ABC.
The station finally moved to a VHF channel in 1959, when it began broadcasting over Channel 13. The owners renamed it WVUE-TV. It interfered with nearby Biloxi station WLOX-TV and had to move to Channel 12 in 1962. WJTV in Jackson, Miss., also broadcast over Channel 12. To avoid interference, WVUE could not broadcast at its full capacity.
Screen Gems purchased WVUE in 1965. The station made another channel swap in 1970 when it switched channel positions with public TV station WYES. WVUE moved to Channel 8, avoiding interference with nearby stations and allowing it to increase its broadcast coverage area.
WVUE ranked a distant third in the ratings behind WWL and WDSU. One reason was the station’s frequent pre-emption of ABC network programming, which sent viewers to ABC stations in Baton Rouge and Biloxi, which could be seen easily in parts of the New Orleans TV market.
WVUE joined Fox in 1994, but its news ratings remained in third place. Fox had just won the rights to broadcast the NFL’s NFC games at the time. WVUE enjoyed a boost from the broadcasts of New Orleans Saints games.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 badly damaged WVUE’s studios. Then-owner Emmis Communications had to rebuild the station’s facilities in 2006. WVUE produced a 15-minute streaming newscast produced from the studios of sister station WALA in Mobile, Alabama.
Emmis sold the WVUE to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and his newly formed Louisiana Media Company. In 2013, Raycom Media announced it would operate WVUE under a shared services agreement.
Over the past 10 years, WVUE’s news ratings have improved, usually ranking No. 2 or No. 3 in the news race.
Here is a late 1970s promo fro WVUE’s “Newscene 8”:
This is a clip from WVUE’s July 9, 1982, 5 p.m. newscast, the day Pan Am 759 crashed into a Kenner, La., neighborhood:
This is a complete 6 p.m.newscast from April 3, 1992:
Source: Wikipedia (WVUE-TV)