WRDW-TV signed on the air February 14, 1954, with Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" which was seen during the early days at noon. From 1954 to 1965, WRDW-TV telecast totally in black & white out of what was then considered to be one of the Southeast's largest studios.
In March 1965, the station made the necessary revisions in equipment and personnel to provide area viewers with a full color concept in local television with the purchase of color cameras, color videotape and film equipment. The new equipment, coupled with the new transmitter facilities installed at a new transmitter site in nearby Beech Island, South Carolina, earlier in 1963, provided viewers a much broader scope of entertainment than ever before. In 1965, WRDW-TV was cited by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters for its promotional efforts announcing the full color changes and was awarded the 1965-66 "GAB Promotion of the Year Award."
Because of the station's extensive involvement in the arts and with local cultural groups, such as The Augusta Ballet Company, WRDW-TV was awarded the Esquire Magazine/Business Committee for the Arts "Business in the Arts" award in 1968 and again in 1969.
In the face of nationally publicized May 11, 1970 racial riots in Augusta, and because of its efforts toward providing a realistic medium for the easing of racial tensions in Augusta, WRDW-TV received a host of awards in 1970. Among them were: The San Francisco State College "Broadcast Media Award," the "Georgia Conference on Social Welfare Award" and the "Georgia Association of Broadcasters Award of Excellence" for "Georgia Television Station of the Year."