On October 18, 1954, the station went on the air on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter at its original studios on TV Road (WBTW still maintains studios at same location) in the Back Swamp region north of Quinby (with a Florence address). Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company owned it (later becoming Jefferson-Pilot, now part of Lincoln Financial Group). It was Jefferson Standard's second television station, following Charlotte's WBTV. WBTW's call letters are formed from the letter "W," which follows "V" in the alphabet. Although the two stations were operated independently, they shared a microwave equipment established in 1959. It switched to VHF channel 13 on September 17, 1962, and its prior channel was reassigned to High Point. North Carolina as WGHP.