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 1954 WNBT became WRCA-TV. The call letters WRCA meant Radio Corporation of America.
Briefly in 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.
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 ever since. The same "4" was used on sister stations WTVJ in Miami, 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 has been 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