Greenville, SC

 UPDATED 2/11/2018



MP3 Audio Clips

Billy Powell Promotional Spot Sample from the Early 80s

1974 Inserted Spot

Actual 30 sec. inserted spot for a Greenville show by Billy Powell. Billy is promoting an 11/4/74 card in Greenville featuring a fence match between former partners Swede Hanson and Rip Hawk. Notice how Powell puts a great local touch to his promos, reminding people of the turn-away crowd at the last show and to get their tickets early for the show on Monday night. Powell sold lots of tickets over the years for Jim Crockett Promotions.


(Audio Clip courtesy Kent Smith.

Newspaper clipping from Mark Eastridge)

Promoter Paul Winkhaus

Winkhaus was the promoter in Greenville and surrounding area for Jim Crockett Sr. in the 1950s and 1960s.


Billy Powel with Dick Shannon in the ring in Greenville SC, 1973.


GMA_Promo_Photo.jpg (17642 bytes)

The main venue promoted by Greenville television was the Greenville Memorial Auditorium.

Visit this special section on that great old building.


WFBC channel 4 (now WYFF) in Greenville, SC, was first home to locally produced and televised professional wrestling in the mid-1950s. In fact, it was apparently the first home of TV wrestling ever for Jim Crockett Promotions out of Charlotte.

Research by Carroll Hall at the "All Star Championship Wrestling Blog" has unearthed newspaper evidence of live studio wrestling broadcasts as early as June 1956 at WFBC-4, a full 18 months earlier than the previously thought first TV productions in Charlotte at WBTV-3. These early televised events took place for three months, ending in early September of that same year. The name of the show was, appropriately enough, "Carolina Wrestling" and the host was WFBC personality Claude Freeman.  (See newspaper ad and photo of Claude Freeman.)

Live studio wrestling would return to WFBC-4 on March 26, 1960 with channel 4 personality Bob Poole calling the action on a broadcast taped during mid-week and airing that following weekend. Documentation for this includes a small mention in the "TV Highlights" section of the Greenville News on 3/26/60 that read
"Debuting at 5:00 PM, Championship Wrestling with Bob Poole as host."


Poole hosted from 3/26/60 until WFBC-TV sports director Bill Krieger took over as host in February of 1961. Billy Powell served as color commentator during some of this time with Krieger. Powell continued doing local Greenville area promotional spots after WFBC-4 started carrying the Raleigh-produced "All Star Wrestling" / "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" tape for the next 25 years.


No photos of the ring set up in the WFBC studio are known to exist, but both Krieger and Billy Powell report in separate interviews with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway that it was a very small studio with two small bleachers on two sides of the ring, accommodating roughly 50-60 people.


"Wally Dusek would bring the ring each week and set it up," Krieger told the Gateway. "Some of the big names at that time that I remember wrestling at channel 4 were George Becker, Mike Piadousis, Gorgeous George, Ivan the Terrible, and others. Jim Crockett (Sr.) would come by regularly as we got started, but wouldn't stay for the whole taping."


Bill Malendoski was the director for the studio wrestling show," Billy Powell told the Gateway. "The small studio also hosted cooking shows and the weather broadcast, which was in a different studio than the news broadcast."


Billy Powell, who was an institution for wrestling fans on WFBC TV and radio, was also the long time ring announcer for Jim Crockett Promotions at the weekly Monday night cards at the BillyGreenville Memorial Auditorium and also was ring announcer at the old Textile Hall which was home to many Greenville cards. Powell also did two 1-minute local promotional spots during "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" from 1975-1985 that were in addition to the two 2:20 promotional spots that were taped each week in Raleigh. The Raleigh-produced spots featured the wrestlers, but the two WFBC spots simply featured Billy Powell's friendly, welcoming voice on top of a very old-school wrestling graphic (seen above left.) Billy would remind fans of what happened last Monday night at the Auditorium and would invite you down for this coming week's event. Promoter Paul Winkhaus called Billy "the golden voice of channel 4."


For fans in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, Billy Powell's voice was as much a part of the experience as the voices of TV hosts Bob Caudle and David Crockett. His was the voice that those fans trusted the most. When his local promos were discontinued in the mid-80s, wrestling on WFBC lost that personal touch that Powell had given it. Several years later they tore down the Memorial Auditorium and "local" wrestling was gone forever in Greenville.

*This article was updated in 2018 to reflect the first studio wrestling tapings in 1956.   


Call Letters: WFBC
Channel Number: 4
Network Affiliate: NBC
First Period: 06/02/56  -  09/08/56
Second Period:
03/26/60  -  Dec. 1961
Play-by-play hosts: Claude Freeman, Bob Poole, Bill Krieger
Color Commentators: Billy Powell
Ring Announcers: Host
Night Taped: Saturday (1956), Tuesday, Wednesday (1960-1961)



TV Guide ad for the "Six O'clock news" from 1966 featuring WFBC sports director Bill Kreiger. Krieger hosted the WFBC studio wrestling show at WFBC in the late 50s. (Clipping from collection of Carroll Hall.)


Despite what the caption indicates, promoter Paul Winkhaus is on the LEFT,

Billy Powell is on the right.

Special thanks to Billy Powell and Bill Kreiger for speaking with the Gateway for this feature. Thanks also to Don Holbrook, Carroll Hall, Kent Smith, Greg Price, Mark Eastridge and Steve Bomar (Business Manager at WYFF) for their assistance with this feature.



The station went on the air on December 31, 1953, as WFBC-TV, South Carolina's fifth television station. It was owned by the Peace family, publishers of the Greenville News and Greenville Piedmont, along with WFBC-AM-FM. For its first two years of operation, its studios were located on Paris Mountain before moving to its current location on 505 Rutherford Street in 1955. Norvin Duncan was the station's first news anchor, moving from the radio side.

During the 1960s, personalities from channel 4 included Dave Partridge and Jim Phillips, better known as the radio voice of the Clemson Tigers (who died in 2003). Locally televised color programming also began in February 1967. In 1968, the Peace family media holdings were reorganized as Multimedia, Inc., with WFBC-AM-FM-TV as the flagship.

In the mid 1970s the famous Arrow 4 logo was introduced and was used in one form or another for many years. Later, in 1979, the famous 'Your Friend Four' slogan was introduced.

In 1983, Pulitzer Publishing bought WFBC-TV from Multimedia and changed the call letters to WYFF-TV (We're Your Friend Four). The station's logo also changed in 1983.

NewsCenter 4 became simply known as News 4 in the 1990s. The "arrow 4" logo was dropped by 1991.

In 1999 Hearst-Argyle bought Pulitzer's entire television division, including WYFF-TV.