About WHTM ABC27WTPA television station first signed on the air on June 19, 1953 as an NBC affiliate. It was founded by the Newhouse family, whose media holdings later became Advance Publications, and was operated in conjunction with Harrisburg's two major newspapers, The Patriot and The Evening News (which have since merged as The Patriot-News). The following year, the station switched its affiliation to ABC.
WTPA originally operated on UHF channel 71, but later moved to channel 27 in 1957 after WCMB-TV, the station originally occupying that channel, ceased operations. During its first year on the air, WTPA broadcast from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. on weekdays and from noon to midnight on weekends. The station's early local programming lineup included Daily Devotions, a midday religious program; Mac's Matinee, a music and comedy-focused variety show; Harrisburg Hostess, a daytime talk show; Look What's Cooking, a cooking show; and Susquehanna Trail. These programs helped to establish WTPA as an important source of entertainment and information for the Harrisburg community.