The station signed on the air on August 15, 1949 as WLAV-TV, originally broadcasting on VHF channel 7; it was the fourth television station in Michigan and the first located outside of Detroit.
The first CBS color broadcast on June 25, 1951, featured Ed Sullivan and other stars of the network.
All of the Bitner Group's stations were then sold, for a then-record-breaking $16 million, to Time-Life, Inc. in 1957.
Due to a now-repealed FCC rule in place at the time (which prohibited TV and radio stations in the same market but under different ownership from sharing the same callsign), the station's call letters were changed to WOTV on July 1, 1972 when WOOD radio was sold.
High Definition Television (HDTV) was developed by the Japanese Broadcast Corporation and first demonstrated in 1982.
Time-Life also sold most of its television stations to McGraw-Hill that year (initially intending to include WOTV in the deal, though it was retained), but held on to WOTV until 1983 when it was sold to LIN Broadcasting.
On March 21, 2014, it was announced that Media General would acquire LIN. The deal closed on December 19, bringing WOOD, along with WOTV and WXSP-CD, under common ownership with CBS affiliate WLNS-TV in Lansing.
On January 27, 2016, Media General announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Nexstar Broadcasting Group.
The acquisition was completed on January 17, 2017.
On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Tribune Media (owners of Fox affiliate WXMI) for $6.4 billion in cash and debt.
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WOOD TV8 may also be known as or be related to WOOD TV8, WOOD Television, Wood Television LLC and Wood Tv8.