WNBC-TV originally signed on as WNBT-TV Channel 1 on July 1, 1941. WNBT was officially the first TV station in the United States, although they and WCBW (now WCBS-TV) were supposed to sign on at the same time. WCBW was delayed by one hour by technical issues. The WNBT call letters meant NBC Televison.
In 1946, WNBT was reassigned to Channel 4.
On May 12, 1951, WNBT launched a new design.
In 1954 WNBT became WRCA-TV. The call letters WRCA stood for Radio Corporation of America, NBC's parent company at the time.
On May 22, 1960, RCA transferred the WNBC-TV callsign from a fellow NBC station serving New Britain, Connecticut (which subsequently became WHNB; it is now WVIT) to its New York City flagship station (though the call letters meant New Britain, Connecticut, not National Broadcasting Company).
These logos were shared with sister stations KNBC in Los Angeles and WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
Briefly during 1980, this logo was preceded by an "Octagon 4" and a "zig-zag" 4 that looked somewhat like a cross between the 4 seen here and the logo used by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ABC affiliate WTAE-TV (with the vertical line ending at the top part of the '4').
While the same 1980 "4" logo was kept by WNBC, NBC updated its peacock on May 12, 1986.
This logo's "4" has been used by the station itself and WRC-TV ever since. The same "4" was used on sister stations WTVJ in Miami–Fort Lauderdale, NBC's West Coast flagship station KNBC in Los Angeles and former NBC-owned station KCNC-TV in Denver; the two stations ceased using it in 1995 (when WTVJ switched its channel position with WCIX (now known as WFOR-TV), 1998 and 2003, respectively.
The "-TV" suffix was omitted after NBC sold its AM radio station of the same callsign (now WFAN) in 1988. The template was used by the rest of NBC O&O stations up until 1995.
This logo also served as a template and was used for some of NBC's owned and operated television stations and for MSNBC.
The West Coast sister station KNBC in Los Angeles used it a year earlier.
A combined version with the previous logo, used on "We're 4 New York" promo.