About WTAPThe station signed-on on Veterans Day 1953. WTAP aired an analog signal on UHF channel 15 and, early in its life, aired programming from all four major networks of the time—NBC, ABC, CBS and DuMont. Then as now it was a primary NBC affiliate. WJPB-TV in Fairmont (channel 35, now sister station WDTV on channel 5) launched four months later and took on exactly the same affiliation. Original plans called for WTAP to join WJPB and turn the Parkersburg and Clarksburg areas into one giant television market. However, the area is a very rugged dissected plateau and neither station's signal was strong enough to carry across the terrain. Additionally, Parkersburg and Fairmont are 70 miles (113 km) apart, and UHF stations do not carry very well across long distances.
As a result, WTAP currently remains the only full-power commercial station based in Parkersburg. The only other outlets licensed to the city are the aforementioned low-power Fox and CBS affiliates, and outlying translators of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. By the mid-1950s, it was obvious that Clarksburg–Weston–Fairmont and Parkersburg–Marietta were going to be separate markets. However, WTAP retained secondary affiliations with ABC and CBS until 1970, when it became a sole NBC affiliate.