About WJRT ABC12WJRT-TV was founded in 1958 by Goodwill Stations, the owner of WJR in Detroit at the time. That company won out over two other companies seeking to operate channel 12, the Trebit Corp. (which owned WFDF) and W.S. Butterfield Theatres, Inc. Channel 12 initially wanted to place its transmitter in Independence Township, Michigan. When it was learned that Independence Township was located in Oakland County, part of the Detroit television market, Goodwill settled on placing the tower in St. Charles Township in southwestern Saginaw County; the transmitter remains there today.
WJRT-TV went on the air on October 12, 1958, at 5 p.m., as an ABC network affiliate. As part of the winning bid for the license, the station had to produce original local programming several hours a day for 10 years. At the time the station had to fill 55 hours of programming outside of the network shows. this led to original shows like Mr. Magic and Folkswingers.
Goodwill Stations took over the former WTAC-TV studios and offices after that station folded in 1954; WJRT remains there today.