Thursday, August 23, 2007

NBC Returns to Cleveland-James Flanagan

The changing of the guard..The removal of the KYW sign at WKYC-TV's Studios at 1403 E. 6th St., Downtown Cleveland (Courtesy Cleveland Press)

A TV Guide Ad from November 1967 picturing(Top)Chet Huntley and David Brinkey (Bottom) Virgil Dominic, Wally Kinnan and Jim Graner, TV 3's main news team from I believe late 1965-1974 (There was a news note saying Dominic would replace Bud Dancy in November 1965)The first post-Westinghouse logo is featured prominently..I never cared much for the "artisitc clown" in this logo..

The next installment in what has become a series focuses on the "New" WKYC-TV 3 in Cleveland. Cleveland Plain Dealer TV writer James Flanagan talks to New General Manager Arthur Watson as NBC is about to take over the Cleveland TV/Radio facilites. Watson discloses hopes and plans for the new NBC Owned and Operated Station.

It's WKYC Now


By James Flanagan
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Friday, June 18, 1965

Sixteen men from Philadelphia arrived here yesterday to change KYW to WKYC. Their leader said he is not about to rock the KYW image here.

It is Arthur Watson, general manager of the former Philadelphia WRCV, which the FCC ordered the National Broadcasting Co. to swap for Westinghouse Broadcasting's KYW. Watson is g.m. of WKYC now.

"Our new call letters seek to preserve KYW's image in that they mean KY Cleveland." Watson told the Plain Dealer. "We want all KYW personnel to stay on here, including Jimmy Runyon."

Runyon is the "mom-slot" (10AM-2PM) deejay on the 1100kc spot. Almost a year ago a Chicago station (WCFL) wooed Jim with much money and he has been trying to break his contract here to go there.

KYW had the biggest broadcast news operation here, employing 33 in its combined Radio/TV operation, in contrast to WEWS and WJW's less than 20 each.

"News is my primary interest." said Watson. "we employed about 30 full-time newsmen in Philadelphia and I expect to continue a big news operation here. Our news ratings in Philadelphia doubled the combined ratings of the competition and it pays off."

Watson said the rock'n'roll music policy of KYW would be continued with its Beatle countdowns and all. "We are the only NBC station to offer such a program." He said "but that is what Cleveland wants from us and that is what we will continue to give. We also intend to expand the public service offerings on both radio and TV."

"The Mike Douglas Show" will continue to air from Cleveland, though it is a Westinghouse property, at least through August. "it will take some time for studios to be built for Mike in Philadelphia" Watson said, "so NBC will permit Mike to continue in his excellent facility here. We Carried Mike in Philadelphia and we will continue to carry it here."

KYW had first refusal on NBC shows here and generally carried that network's shows. But it did decline Johnny Carson's "Tonight" and NBC radio network news and weekend Monitor programs. WEWS grabbed the former and WGAR has the latter. Watson said WKYC will air the "Tonight Show" in about three months, since NBC has already notified WEWS that WKYC wants the show. It will take six months before WGAR must relinquish its rights to NBC Radio network.

"I understand WGAR is now using some American Broadcasting Co. news shows." said Watson, "so we may get NBC net radio shows even sooner, if WGAR waives the rights to them"

Watson said he hoped all Westinghouse people now employed here and not invited to Philadelphia by KYW would stay on. Dick Goddard and Tom Snyder are going to Philadelphia along with TV news director Al Primo and radio's Bob Hagen.

Weatherman Wally Kinnan comes here from Philadelphia in Goddard's slot. Watson said he would use Bud Dancy for the time being to fill Snyder's 11PM news spot. Bud already works the early evening news so he is slated for double duty until a replacement can be found.

Irvin Margolis will replace Primo as TV news director. Margolis was TV news director in Philadelphia. Robert Martin is the new radio station manager, replacing Perry Bascom, whom Westinghouse shuffled to Boston

Clark Reed is the new radio program manager and Neal Van Ells will be the TV program manager.

All in all, Watson brings good news to the personnel which had been pulsating with rumors that a cutback would be effected shortly after NBC took over..

End of article

Jim Runyon finally made it to WCFL Chicago not long after this..He would return to WKYC/WWWE about 1970-73 before his untimely passing. He was the mellow announcer voice ("Wellll...") on the ChickenMan skits

Dick Goddard became homesick after several months in Philly. After fielding offers from all three Cleveland TV stations, he settled in with WJW-TV 8 because "They had the Browns"..He is still there 41 years later.

Al Primo created the "Eyewitness News" format used all over the country by the early 1970's, though the title "Eyewitness News" was used by KYW-TV as early as April 1959.
WEWS-5 used "Eyewitness News" in the 1970's and 80's.

Tom Snyder made a name for himself in Philly doing the news and hosting local talk shows. He would eventually gain national fame as the host of NBC's "Tomorrow" Show and his own national radio show..He passed away just recently.

Neal Van Ells-Began at NBC as Program Director of WRCV in 1962 and stayed at WRCV/WKYC till 1968, when he moved to KNBC Los Angeles as station manager before returning to WKYC as VP/General Manager from 1969-83. He died in 2004.

Interesting note:Mike Douglas last co-host on KYW Cleveland (June 14-18, 1965) was comedian/bad boy Henry Morgan..He made some disparaging remarks about Dorothy Fuldheim after seeing her news commentary program during the week..Caused a real ruckus among the viewers and critics that week..


  1. Thanks for sharing. This post sure makes me feel old. I remember "Wally Kinnan the weatherman" from when I was a kid.

  2. This is great info to know.