SOURCE: The Info List.com
WNJU-TV signed on the air on May 16, 1965 as the first commercial UHF station in the New York City/New Jersey television market. The station originally broadcast from the Mosque Theater (now Symphony Hall), located at 1020 Broad Street in Newark, in the former studios of WATV (channel 13; later WNTA, now WNET ).
The station was owned by Henry Becton (son of Maxwell Becton, co-founder of Becton Dickinson ) and Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. (son of Fairleigh S. Dickinson Sr. the founder of Fairleigh Dickinson University and also the co-founder of Becton Dickinson . The general manager during WNJU's early years was pioneering UHF broadcaster Edwin Cooperstein. The station's initial schedule featured a mix of English, Asian, Spanish and Italian shows.
During the mid-1960s, the station broadcast a live and locally produced teenage dance show called Disc-O-Teen , hosted by John Zacherle ; and a folk music program, Rainbow Quest , hosted by Pete Seeger . WNJU was involved in some controversy when it aired bullfights, which some critics believed were too violent. The station was not profitable due to the lack of awareness of UHF stations in the New York metropolitan area. The market had seven VHF stations, six of which were commercial, at a time when most cities had an average of three commercial stations. WNJU already had two strikes against it, and served minority audiences with mostly brokered programming.
WNJU was sold in the fall of 1970 for $8 million (a fairly high price for a UHF station back in 1970) to Screen Gems Broadcasting , a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. It was thought that WNJU would now become competitive because Screen Gems had deep pockets, but the brokered ethnic format would ultimately continue. It maintained an English-speaking audience a few hours a week during the 1970s when it was the only New York broadcast outlet for the World Wide Wrestling Federation. The station used a logo with WAPA-TV 's "Open 4", as it was WAPA-TV's sister station at the time.
By the late 1970s, WNJU had evolved into mostly Spanish programming, along with some ethnic brokered programs that aired on weekends. During the week, WNJU ran English-speaking religious programming until Noon. From 12:00 p.m. onward, the station ran Spanish programming. On Sundays, the station also aired English-language religious programs in the morning. WNJU was sold in 1979 to a consortium led by Jerry Perenchio , Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear. By the early 1980s, much of the other brokered foreign language programming disappeared, with WNJU airing English language religious programming in the morning and Spanish programming the rest of the day. Some brokered programs, including Greek (and Italian in the early-mid 1970s), aired on Sunday afternoons into the early 1990s.
In 1984, WNJU joined with two Spanish language television stations that were not affiliated with the Spanish International Network (now Univision ) and formed NetSpan, the United States' second Spanish-language television network. NetSpan's original group of affiliates included WNJU, KSTS in San Jose, California , and WBBS in Chicago, Illinois (which aired its programming in the evenings and late nights only); the latter two stations were locally owned. In 1985, KVEA in Corona, California, WSCV in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (both of which were owned by Blair Broadcasting), and locally owned WCIU-TV in Chicago (which aired NetSpan programming after 5 p.m. only) joined NetSpan. The network acquired WNJU and the other stations, except for WCIU, outright in 1986. The former logo of WNJU as Telemundo 47.