WRDW-TV commenced operations in February 8, 1954; it is the second-oldest television station in Augusta. 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.
The station was originally owned by Radio Augusta, the parent company of the original WRDW radio (1480 AM). WRDW-TV has been Augusta's CBS affiliate for its entire history, owing to its radio sister's long affiliation with the CBS Radio Network. In 1956 Radio Augusta was sold to the Morris family and their company, Southeastern Newspapers, publishers of the Augusta Chronicle.
In 1960 the Morrises exited Augusta broadcasting, with channel 12 being sold to what would eventually become Rust Craft Broadcasting. (Channel 12 and 1480 AM continued to share the WRDW call letters until the early 1980s, when the radio station was sold by entertainer and Augusta native James Brown; it is now WCHZ). Magazine publisher Ziff-Davis purchased Rust Craft in 1979. Channel 12 was sold along with then sister stations in Saginaw, Michigan, Rochester, New York, Chattanooga, Tennessee and Steubenville, Ohio to Television Station Partners in 1983. Television Station Partners sold off all of its stations in early January 1996, with WRDW going to Gray Communications Systems (now Gray Television).
WRDW has been recognized numerous times for its journalism, particularly in the areas of investigative, documentary, and breaking news. Over the past 16 years, WRDW has received 15 Regional Murrow Awards, 2 National Murrow Awards, a National Sigma Delta Chi Award, and dozens of honors from the Georgia Associated Press and Georgia Association of Broadcasters.
On January 24, 2011, WRDW launched local newscasts in high definition with the midday newscast. It is the first station in the area to do so. With the launch came a brand new logo and brand new high definition graphics, similar in style to the previous 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen graphics that debuted just 4 months before, but fully animated.
WRDW-TV had the longest-running news anchor team in the market with Richard Rogers and Laurie Ott seen weeknights at 6 and 11. The two were together on-air from the mid-1990s until September 2007 when Laurie Ott left to pursue other career opportunities. Unlike most CBS affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, WRDW does not offer news weeknights at 5:30 but instead has carried Inside Edition which generally wins the time period.
• 12 Country News (1970s)
• Action News (1974–1982)
• Channel 12 Eyewitness News (1982–1992)
• 12 News (1992–1998)
• News 12 (1998–present)
• "Channel 12, the Color Station" (early 1970s)
• "Action News: Where the Action Is" (mid-1970s)
• "The Best is Here on Channel 12" (late 1970s)
• "Keep Your Eye on Eyewitness News" (early 1980s)
• "We've Got the Touch, You and Channel 12 (1983-1985; local version of CBS campaign)
• The Look is Channel 12 (1990-1991; local version of CBS campaign)
• Where the News Comes First"/"Your 24-Hour News Source" (1992–1998)
• "Your News Station" (1998–2002)
• "On Your Side" (2002–present) Channel 12, the Color Station (early 1970s)