YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Friday, after a rededication ceremony to rename a center in Youngstown after the grandson of the man who founded WKBN, a busload of his family toured WKBN’s studio to learn more about our long and storied history in the Mahoning Valley.
Warren P. Williamson, Jr., who everyone on Friday’s tour fondly referred to as “The Boss,” founded WKBN in 1926 as a radio station. The WKBN building that still houses our operations today was built in 1952. TV went on the air in 1953.
Thirty members and four generations of the Williamson-Stewart family came for the tour.
Warren’s granddaughter, Lynn Williamson, explained the mural in the lobby that traces the history of communications. It has been around since the building was constructed, but not everything was the same.
“I sold television advertising. I only sold one station, not three, so it’s very different,” Lynn said.
J.D. Williamson is Warren’s son. He was surprised to find his uncle’s old storage trunk among our memorabilia. J.D. too once worked at WKBN. He now lives in California.
“Well, I’m so proud of my dad and my brother and the family legacy here — the business school at YSU and the Mahoning Valley Historical Society with the new Stewart Media archives,” J.D. said.
During the tour of the studio, Warren’s great-great-grandson did the weather while his great-grandkids tried being the anchors.
Quin Swartz lives in Kansas City.
“It’s just so fascinating to me now about my family history. I didn’t realize how big of a deal it is but this trip has really helped me, and visiting here obviously is. They’ve come a long way and it’s really cool to see and know that you’re indirectly a part of it,” Swartz said.
Julia Williamson lives in Seattle.
“It was really cool. I’ve heard so much about it in passing. I’ve never even been to Youngstown before so seeing it firsthand and seeing the stories kind of connect up in person with, like, an image is really cool,” Julia said.
The tour lasted about an hour and a half. Most of the family members seemed to find it interesting. It was a chance for the older generation to reminisce while the teenagers could put images to the business that’s so much a part of their family’s, and Youngstown’s, history.