BY CARLIE KOLLATH
TUPELO – WTVA on Friday unveiled a temporary museum in The Mall at Barnes Crossing to commemorate its 50th anniversary this month. The unveiling came in conjunction with the WTVA-sponsored First Friday event put on by the Community Development Foundation.
The museum is located in the former Afterthoughts location, near the main indoor entrance of Parisian. The space is meant to simulate the station's progression from its start in 1957 to its current status in 2007, with different generations of TVs, microphones, television cameras and station photos punctuating the differences.
In addition, one wall is a tribute to Frank K. Spain, the founder of the station who died last year.
“We want everybody to have an opportunity to celebrate with us,” Kristie Blaes, director of community relations and promotions. “We want people to learn about our past and see where we are going.”
And WTVA has big plans for its future. In his presentation to attendees at the First Friday event, Terry Smith, director of program development and distribution, outlined the station's plans for moving to HDTV by February 2009, in addition to other nontraditional news delivery methods. Most notably, the station has signed a contract with a popular cell phone software provider to enable WTVA to deliver live radar to subscribers' cell phones.
And, WTVA has signed an agreement with a local fuel distributor to install flat-screen TVs at gas stations around the area in order to provide news broadcasts at the pumps. In addition, WTVA will be outfitting its Website with more video content and soon will offer podcasts via its Website.