The station traces its history to 1938, when television set and equipment manufacturer Allen B. DuMont founded experimental station W2XVT in Passaic, New Jersey (whose callsign was later changed to W2XWV when it moved to Manhattan in 1940). On May 2, 1944, the station received its commercial license – the third in New York City – on VHF channel 4 as WABD, its callsign named after DuMont's initials. It was one of the few television stations that continued to broadcast during World War II, making it the fourth-oldest continuously broadcasting commercial station in the United States. The station originally broadcast from the DuMont Building at 515 Madison Avenue with a transmission tower atop the building (the original tower, long abandoned by the station, still remains). On December 17, 1945, WABD moved to channel 5. WNBT took over Channel 4, moving from Channel 1, which the FCC was deallocating from the VHF TV broadcast band.