It signed-on as WJPB-TV on March 17, 1954 as the second television station in the market licensed to Fairmont. WJPB was a primary NBC affiliate but maintained secondary relations with ABC and CBS. WTAP-TV in Parkersburg was technically the area's first outlet having launched October 8, 1953. That station cleared programming from NBC, CBS, and ABC but was intended to be a primary NBC outlet. Originally, there were plans calling for WJPB to join WTAP (located seventy miles to the west) and turn North-Central West Virginia into one large market. However, the latter's analog signal on UHF channel 15 was not strong enough to reach across the very rugged dissected plateau to provide Fairmont, Clarksburg, and Weston with adequate reception. Likewise, WJPB's analog signal on UHF channel 35 did not reach Parkersburg.