About WJRT ABC12WJRT-TV was established in 1958 by Goodwill Stations, the parent company of WJR in Detroit at the time. That corporation beat out two other bidders for channel 12, Trebit Corp. (which owned WFDF) and W.S. Butterfield Theatres, Inc. Initially, Channel 12 planned to locate its transmitter in Independence Township, Michigan. When it was discovered that Independence Township was in Oakland County, which was part of the Detroit television market, Goodwill decided to place the tower in St. Charles Township in southern Saginaw County, where it still is today.
WJRT-TV debuted as an ABC network station on October 12, 1958, at 5 p.m. The winning bid for the license required the station to create original local programming many hours per day for ten years. Outside of network shows, the station had to provide 55 hours of programming at the time. This resulted in innovative programs such as Mr. Magic and Folkswingers.
After WTAC-TV went out of business in 1954, Goodwill Stations took over the studios and offices, which are still in use by WJRT today.