Monday, September 17, 2007
WKBF-TV Channel 61-RIP 1968-75
WKBF-TV broadcast the NBA Cincinnati Royals TV Games in at least the 1967-68 season' Notice the full channel 61 logo notating, "Kaiser Broadcasting"
October 1973 Friday Night "Drive-In Movie" Ad for a Vincent Price Double Feature..Very Campy Stuff Indeed..
Few would know that Channel 61 was actually licensed to Akron in the 1950's (Incidentally, there was WERE-TV 65 Cleveland that never made it to the air as well as a WHK-TV 19 but I digress...)
However, the Story of Cleveland's first independent station goes back to 1958, whe the Henry J. Kaiser Corporation bought KULA-TV 4 in Honolulu, Hawaii..After changing the call letters to KHVH, Kaiser sold the Honolulu Station in 1965 to finance expansion in the US Mainland through construction permits for several UHF stations..
The first of these stations to hit the air was WKBD-TV 50 Detroit in January 1965 (Now CW 50) followed by WKBS-TV 48 Burlington NJ/Philadelphia in October '65 (Now WGTW-TBN under a different license)
In December 1966, Kaiser partnered with the Boston Globe in buying long dormant Channel 56 (WKBG) in Cambridge, Mass.(Boston) (Now CW 56).
In January 1968, Kaiser built WKBF-61 Cleveland (Now WQHS-Univision) and KBHK-44 San Francisco..(Now CW 44)
In 1971 Kaiser bought KMTW-52 in Los Angeles (Renamed KBSC)..For some reason this station was never developed as well as the others..52 is now a Spanish Language outlet (KVEA)
Channel 61's sign-on date was January 19, 1968 after delays due to winter storms. Kaiser stations were the first UHF Indys in most of their markets, so Channel 61 had a head start in Cleveland which should have been an advantage..61 was the typical Kaiser station with some original programming (Lou Gordon from Detroit, Philadelphia DJ Hy Lit)..They also had "Captain Cleveland" with a puppet buddy named Clem to show Cartoons..Double and Triple Feature Movies. Some featuring the "Ghoul" (Ron Sweed)
WKBF-TV also had a lot of Syndicated product that other Cleveland Stations either didnt want or had no room for..Such as..Les Crane, Donald O'Connor, Woody Woodbury, Alan Burke, Joe Pyne, David Susskind, etc...They also had I Love Lucy, Star Trek (Uncut-Original rinning order), Mr. Ed, Dennis The Menace and many other off-network shows
The station had some sports such as Cincinnati Royals NBA Basketball and the World Football League (1974) They also had the area's first 10:00 PM News under News Director Alan DePetro with the late John Herrington, arriving from Kansas City. Herrington then would spend 23 years at WKYC-TV 3..
Kaiser was unique, too in that it had the same "look" for all their station logos..Block white letters inside a black TV screen..
With WUAB-43 showing up in Sept. 1968, things becsme difficult financially for both as Cleveland supposedly couldnt support 2 full power independent stations..WUAB came out with more sports and local programming from the start..Kaiser bought a share of WUAB-TV from United Artists in 1975..By April 1975, WKBF was shut down and its programming was merged into WUAB-43, under United Artists Control..
The Kaiser stations were eventually merged into Field Communications of Chicago, owners of WFLD-32..
Channel 61 was a great idea for its time..I wish it could have held on..Was nice to have more than one Independent to choose from..
Channel 61 Schedule Saturday February 10, 1968-C=Color
(First week listed in TV Guide)
10:30 Movie-The Lost Tribe 1949 Tarzan
Noon Roller Derby
2PM Dennis The Menace
3:30 One Step Beyond
4PM Twilight Zone
5PM Movie-Count Of Monte Cristo 1934
8:30 Woody Woodbury-C Guests JoAnne Worley,Leonard Barr
10PM Alan Douglas-DEBUT
11:30 Alan Burke
Sunday, February 11, 1968
10:30 Hy Lit-C Guests:Marvin Gaye,Arthur Prysock, John Fred and the Playboys, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Soul Survivors
Noon Movie-Journey to the Lost City 1960
2PM Midwestern Hayride
3PM Movie-Blondie's Lucky Day
4:30 Dennis The Menace
5PM McHale's Navy
5:30 Perry Mason
6:30 Movie Court Martial (English) 1955
8:30 David Susskind
10:30 Joe Pyne-C
Monday February 12, 1968
10AM Jack La Lanne-C
10:30 Carlton Fredricks
11AM Virginia Graham-C
11:30 Gypsy Rose Lee-C
Noon Cartoons-C (Capt. Cleveland probably)
1PM Movie-A Night To Remember 1943
3PM Mr. Ed
3:30 Cartoons-C (Capt. Cleveland)
5:30 Eighth Man
6:30 McHale's Navy
7PM Twilight Zone
7:30 I Love Lucy
8:30 Alfred Hitchcock
9PM Movie-Seduced and Abandoned French/Italian 1964
11PM Les Crane-C-DEBUT-Guests inclde Timothy Leary
Informaton from various Wikipedia articles..Schedules and Ads from TV Guide Cleveland Edition..