A Look Back At Bermudian TV 50 Years Ago

August 12, 2015

50 years ago last week, the former Capital Broadcasting Company launched the second commercial television station in Bermuda, ZFB on VHF channel 8.

The fledgling company’s foray into television came just three years after opening ZFB Radio 910 on the AM dial. The station would later move to 960 AM. The company was founded and headed by Montague Sheppard, a Bermudian radio engineer who received his professional training in Canada.


In 1965, ZFB, like its then-rival ZBM, broadcast in black and white, however unlike its competition the station was the first in Bermuda to introduce the first sound on film camera, which allowed the audience to see, as well as to hear televised interviews.

ZFB also introduced a variety of technical innovations that lead to the overall improvement in Bermuda’s television industry through competition. The station also introduced colour television to Bermuda in the fall of 1970. The personalities, technicians, and engineers that worked there at one time or another added to the rich fabric and history of broadcasting in Bermuda.

ZFB eventually merged with ZBM in 1983 and Capital Broadcasting came to an end. The video clip above is the original 1965 station ID slide with the opening music for the evening news.

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Category: All, History, technology

Comments (10)

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    Ah yes, those were the days. It was not unusual for programming to run over a half hour late. Dead air would go on & on. US network news was broadcast on a one WEEK delay basis. Everyone either had a large TV antenna on the house roof or ‘rabbit ears’ with bits of foil squeezed onto them to get a signal. You waited minutes for the tubes in your TV to warm up before the thing would work at all. When the TV broke, often, there were actually technicians who could actually fix the thing, for a little while. It usually came back with something else wrong.

    Oh & in todays money a TV set cost a fortune, multiple weeks average pay for a 19″ B&W screen that you had to get out of your seat to change the channels.

  2. UmJustSaying says:

    Down by the Sea ZFB, where I worked and was taught everything I need to know before I attended RCA institute. Up d Hill, ZBM where I worked and used what I had learned. I still have working 9″ B/W named hurricane…

  3. Paget says:

    Hasn’t changed much…..still the same equipment

  4. John Ferguson says:

    The good old days. I used to be one of the Broadcast Journalists who would read the 10pm ZBM TV news(1968-1979) when Wilf Davidson was on vacation or wanted a day off. There were many times the 10pm news would eventually come on at 10:15 or even later.

  5. Forethebest says:

    That was in the days when Wilf or John used to give the same weather forecast each night “Sunny to partly cloudy with isolated rain showers in the vicinity.” What’s left?

  6. Eugene Rayner says:

    I remember the good old days as if it where last week when I sat at the Master Control switching programs. Then we had no computers to help us and where at the mercy of the equiptment. Manning the controls when we went on the air is a very special time in my life. Thanks for the memory. Al Seymour was our first newscaster with Ira Philip as news director.

  7. frank says:

    I worked there during my high school years after high school was taken on full time was trained in every department except for accounts.eventually I settled in radio and was given my own show Monday to Friday
    8-12 pm and Sunday. 6-12pm
    I must say that I was fought by some of the best
    Stupid Griffin,George Smith. Late coucin juicy, late ed ible ,Sidney Robertson late Archie brown
    Just to name a few.
    Zfb was a great place to work.

    • frank says:

      I was trained by the best Sturgis griffin George smith late coucin juicy late ed ible Sidney Robertson late archie brown just to name a few. zfb was a great place to work and monty was a great guy with vision

  8. cousin says:

    I was just a little tot and didn’t know that ZFB was new because I found it here of course. But I vividly remember Ira Philip and Ann Daniels(with her big afro) reading the news. If I could only go back to that age! Those were the days! What happended to Ann Daniels?

  9. George Smith says:

    I read the comments of the 50 years ago start of ZFB. Glad to say I was there for the start of TV just 3 years later. I was taken up to the station on Berkley Road by my brother-in-law who knew Sturgis. I was in awe watching from the news room Shorty Jr as he was hnown then, go through the motions of reading a commercial, looking for another in the book, while reaching behind him for a taped commercial and cueing up the next soul song to play next all at the same time. I was blown away. We had a chance to chat during the music breaks at which time he said I need someone to take over my show because I’m going into TV. I said I will do it. He said come up next week and I will train you. Well I didn’t get back for 2 weeks and was blasted by him because he said we don’t have much time and you are not ready.I thought he was joking. From that point I got serious, started the training and the rest is history.
    Hats off to the pioneer Monty Sheppard, Ira Phillip, Everard Davis, Delano Ingham, Marlene B. Landy, Al Seymour, Sturgis Griffin, Bill Burchall, Cy Hall, Kelly Zuill, Lee Harvey, Percy Paynter, Archie Brown, Derreck Symonds, Sydney Robertson, Michael Davis and soo many more. It is where I learned the work ethic and making time. I’m very greatful to all of you I had a chance to work with soo many years ago. We should get together and have some sort of celebration for The Man Monty. Any more of you agree with that? Contact me.