Wednesday, September 19, 2007

DuMont Television Network in Ohio..and the Pittsburgh Connection.

1953 WDTV-Channel 2 Logo-Courtesy Clarke Ingram..He has an outstanding DuMont history website..Linked at the right.

The DuMont (pronounced Dooh-Mont) TV Network ID's in the previous post serve as an introduction to today's topic. Allen B. DuMont founded DuMont Laboratories in 1931. Although involved in many areas of electronics, his company was best known as a manufacturer of TV sets. DuMont began the first US television network in 1946, with WABD-5 in New York and WTTG-5 in Washington, DC. DuMont added a third station, WDTV-3 in Pittsburgh on January 11, 1949. It was at that date that the East-Midwest Coaxial Cable was completed, allowing live broadcasting as far west as Chicago to be seen in the East and Vice-Versa.

By the time DuMont arrived in Pittsburgh, NBC and CBS were established as the main TV network players in the US..ABC was just starting and effectively was the "forrth network" in the early 1950'a. DuMont had a decent shot to be a viable network early on..

WDTV was the first and only VHF TV station in Pittsburgh for over 8 years, Only competition being 2 UHF's (16, 53 both on the air-and off the air quickly) and Educational WQED-TV 13. till WIIC-11 came along (NBC) in 1957 and WTAE-4 (ABC) in 1958. This created a unique situation for DuMont in Pittsburgh, The 7th largest US Market at the time. Closest VHF-TV to Pittsburgh were channels 7 and 9 from Steubenville/Wheeling and Johnstown's Channel 6.

WDTV cleared many of the DuMont Network shows in pattern but were able to cherry pick the other networks' best shows, running them at all hours of the day and night. DuMont used its leverage in Pittsburgh to gain affiliates in other parts of the country. Westinghouse paid a premium to get Studio One live clearance in Pittsburgh over WDTV. These arrangements helped keep DuMont in Business..After ABC merged with United Paramount Theaters in 1953, the ready infusion of cash helped ABC to upgrade its programming.

DuMont, which had always run the network on a shoestring anyway as far as program production and talent was concerned, was in worse shape. Desperate for cash, DuMont by 1955 had sold WDTV (now Channel 2)to Westinghouse, which promptly changed the call letters to KDKA-TV after it's pioneer radio station. Prrimary Network was now CBS. The money helped for a while, but the writing was on the wall..DuMont was out of the network business by the end of 1956. They couldnt acquire more stations to help with program clearance and with ABC doing more filmed shows in Hollywood...DuMont as a tv network was pretty well done. WABD and WTTG were sold to Metromedia and eventually in 1986 became the cornerstone for the FOX Network..

In Ohio, as in most other areas, DuMont TV, if it was seen at all, was part time of course..sharing affiliation with another network. WXEL/WJW channel 9/8 Cleveland was considered one of the strongest DuMont affiliates..showing primarily DuMont Shows from 1949-early 1955, when WEWS-5 took over..About the only DuMont Show Channel 5 showed regularly was "Captain Video". Other Ohio affiliates include:

Cincinnati WCPO-9(ABC)
Columbus WTVN-6 (ABC)
Dayton WHIO-7 (CBS)
Lima WLIO 73/35 (NBC)
Toledo WSPD-13 (NBC)
Youngstown WKBN-27 (CBS)
Zanesville WHIZ-18 (NBC)
Erie, Pa. WICU-12 (NBC/ABC)

Typical Schedule of WDTV-2 February 28-March 6 1953
From TV Digest of Pittsburgh-Only carried channel 2, WJAC 6 and WKBN 27 Youngstown. Three stations in a radius of 223 miles.


Saturday, Feb. 28, 1953 8PM-Sign-Off

8PM Burns And Allen-CBS (Monday 8PM)

8:30 Schlitz Playhouse Of Stars-CBS (Friday 9PM)

9PM Your Show Of Shows-NBC-Caesar/Coca

10PM Boston Blackie-Syn.

10:30 Your Hit Parade-NBC

11PM Ford Theater-NBC (Thursday 9:30 PM)

11:30 News

11:35 Four Star Playhouse-CBS
(Thursday 8:30)

12:05 Sports Final-Nick Perry

12:10 Hollywood Opening Night-NBC (Monday 9PM)

12:40 Movie-Swing Shift Theater (double feature)
I Met My Love Again
Ship's Reporter

Sunday March 1, 1953 8PM-Sign-Off

8PM Colgate Comedy Hour-NBC
Bob Hope, George Jessel

9PM Rocky King, Inside Detective-DuMont
Said to be DuMont's most popular Drama show

9:30 Plainclothesman-DuMont

10PM Arthur Murray-DuMont

10:30 Youth On The March-DuMont

11PM News-Dave Murray

11:15 Double Play-Leo Durocher and wife Laraine Day-Interview-Syn.

11:30 Sports Roundup-Hank Stahl

11:35 Movie-Dock Of New York-East Side Kids

Monday, March 2, 1953 8-11PM

8PM Lux Video Theater-CBS (Thursday 9PM)

8:30 Voice Of Firestone-NBC

9PM China Smith-Dan Duryea Syndicated

9:30 Big Story-Syndicated

10PM Studio One-CBS
Sponsored by Westinghouse, Which happened to be headquartered in Pittsburgh. It was said that the company paid a premium to buy the Monday 10PM time from DuMont.

Tuesday, March 3, 1953 8-11PM

8PM Life Is Worth Living-DuMont (Fulton J. Sheen)

8:30 Keep Posted-Discussion-DuMont
Martha Rountree Moderator-Guest was Sen. John Kennedy

9PM Where Was I? John Reed King-Game Show-DuMont

9:30 Wisdom Of The Ages-DuMont
Hosted by Jack Barry

10PM March Of Time-Syn.

10:30 This Is Your Life-NBC (Wednesday 10PM)

Wednesday, March 4, 1953 8-11PM

8PM Arthur Godfrey And Friends-CBS
6 in Johnstown and 27 Youngstown aired this at the same time-The Only show on all 3 channels at once.

9PM Red Buttons-CBS ( Monday 9:30 PM)

9:30 Guest To Ghost-Local Game show/Bill Burns

10PM Boxing -CBS

10:45 Sports Spot-Mel Allen-CBS

Thursday, March 5, 1953 8PM-11PM

8PM Counterpoint Syndicated

8:30 I'm The Law George Raft-DuMont (Monday 8:30)

9PM Curtain Time-Drama-Syndicated

9:30 Foreign Intrigue-Syndicated

10PM Favorite Story-Adolphe Menjou-Syndicated

10:30 I've Got A Secret-CBS

Friday, March 6, 1953

8PM Mama-Peggy Wood-CBS

8:30 Life Of Riley-NBC

9PM Files Of Jeffery Jones-Syndicated

9:30 Encore Theater-Movie
Almost A Bride-Shirley Temple, David Niven

10:45 World Tonight-Dave Murray/Ray Scott
(Early News because of Golden Gloves Tourney at 11PM)

Saturday, March 28 1953 6AM-8PM
6AM Test Pattern
7AM Morning Varieties
8AM Rootie Kazootie-Puppets-ABC
9:30 Space Patrol-ABC
10AM Smilin' Ed McConnell-ABC
10:30 Happy's Party-DuMont (orig. in Pittsburgh)
11:30 Kids And Company-DuMont -Hosted by Johnny Olsen Would later gain greater fame as a premier TV announcer,,
Noon The Big Top-CBS
1PM Meet Me at the Zoo-CBS
1:30 Lash LaRue-Western
1:45 Roller Derby
2PM Saturday Theater
3PM Big Picture
3:30 Life With The Erwins (Stu Erwin Show)-ABC
4PM The Name's The Same-ABC-Robert Q. Lewis
4:30 Fireside Theater-NBC
5PM Superman
5:30 Hopalong Cassidy
6PM Polka Party-Nick Perry
6:30 TeleSports Digest-Sports
6:45 Vimco Varieties-Musical
Sponsor-Probably Pasta Manufacturer
7PM Lone Ranger-ABC
7:30 Yesterday's Newsreel-Syndicated-Ziv TV
7:45 Time Out-Slim Bryant/Wildcats (Country Music)
WDTV had different programs 6 nights a week under the "Time Out" Banner-all Sponsored by Duquense/Silver Top Beer

Sunday March 1, 1953 10:15 AM-8PM
10:15 Test Pattern
11AM Frontiers of Faith-NBC
11:30 Magic Clown-NBC-Sponsor:Bonomo Turkish Taffy
Noon Tootsie Hippodrome-ABC Sponsor:Tootsie Roll
12:30 Mitzi's Kiddie Castle-Local kids show
1PM Pittsbirgh Story-Public Affirs/Discussion
1:30 Quiz Kids-Joe Kelly-CBS
2PM Music And Meditation
2:15 Film
2:30 Professor Yes `n` No-Bill Cullen-Syndicated
2:45 Earl Wheeler Show
3PM Robert Montgomery Presents-NBC
4PM You Asked For It-ABC
4:30 What's My Name-ABC
5PM Super Circus-ABC
5:30 Terry And The Pirates-Syn.
6PM Amateur Hour-Ted Mack-NBC
7PM You Bet Your Life-NBC
7:30 I Love Lucy-CBS

Monday-Friday March 2-6, 1953 Daytime/Late Night

7AM Today-NBC
9AM Ding Dong School-NBC
9:40 Morning Chapel-DuMont
9:45 Garry Moore-CBS
10AM Home Edution-Local Women's
10:30 Arthur Godfrey-CBS
11AM Buzz and Bill-Local Variety
11:15 Bride And Groom-CBS-John Nelson
11:30 M/W/F Strike It Rich-CBS
Tues.Pittsburgh Public Schools
Thurs. Film

11:45 Thurs. Welcome Travelers-Tommy Bartlett-NBC
Noon News At Noon-Dave Murray, Nick Perry

12:15 Love Of Life-CBS

12:30 Search For Tomorrow-CBS
12:45 Guiding Light-CBS
1PM Ladies' Date-Local
1:30 Kay's Kitchen-Local
2PM MWF Bob Caldwell Music Shop
Tues. Thurs. Let's Visit

2:15 Stars On Parade-Film
2:30 Meet Your Neighbor-Local Interview
3PM Mon., Wed. Fri. Big Payoff-CBS
Tues. Thurs. Double Or Nothing-Bert Parks CBS

3:30 Mon, Fri.Bill Brant Show-Variety (Local)
Tues. Thurs. Ask The Girls-Local Women's
Wed. Paul Dixon-DuMont

4PM Kate Smith Hour-NBC
4:15 Mon. Film
4:30 Mon. Kate Smith Hour (conclusion)
(They put a film in the middle of the Kate Smith Hour On Monday Only)

5PM EZ C Ranch Gang-Country Western
5:30 Mon. Wild Bill Hickok-Syn.
Tues.-Thurs. Howdy Doody-NBC
Fri. Cisco Kid-Syn.

6PM Video Adventures-Western
6:30 Chevrolet News-Ed Wood
6:45 Pitt Parade-Happenings In Pittsburgh
6:55 Viz Quiz-Phone Quiz
7PM Captain Video-DuMont
DuMont's Longest running Non-Sports Program-from 1949-55

7:30 Monday-Herman Hickman-Sports-CBS
Tuesday, Thursday Room With A View-Bob Caldwell, Johnny Costa Local Variety
Wednesday-Drew Pearson News-DuMont
Friday-Town And Country-Interviews

7:45 Time Out-Sponsored by Duquense/Silver Top Beer
Thursday-Duquense Basketball

11PM Mon.-Thur. World Tonight-News Dave Murray, Ray Scott
Friday-Golden Gloves Boxing (News 10:45 This Friday Only)



11:15 Monday Century Theater-Movie
Mississippi Rhythm
12:30 Monday Sports Roundup-George Eisenhauer
12:35 Swing Shift Theater-Movie
Star Reporter


11:15 Pulse Of The City-Drama
11:30 Dragnet NBC (Network Showing Thursday 9PM)
Midnight Sports Scholar
12:15 Sports Show Final-Nick Perry
12:20 Swing Shift Theater-Movie


11:15 Feature Playhouse-Movie
Daughter Of The West
12:30 Sports Show Final-Nick Perry
12:35 Swing Shift Theater
Heading For Heaven


11:15 Feature Theater
Crimson Key
12:30 Sports Show Final-Nick Perry
12:35 Swing Shift Theater
Tomorrow's Youth


11PM Golden Gloves Boxing
Midnight Sports Show Final-Nick Perry
12:05 Martin Kane, Private Eye-NBC (Network Thursday 10PM)
12:35 Swing Shift Theater
Case of The Babysitter

WXEL-8 Cleveland
Monday, December 21, 1953
TV Guide, Lake Erie Edition

9AM Movie-Kiss Of Araby
10:30 Charming Children
11AM Alice Weston
11:30 Movie-Warren Case
12:30 Rena and Bob-Shopping (Garage sale on TV)
1PM Movie-Scarlet Clue
2:40 You are What You Eat
2:45 All For You-Alice Weston
3PM Maggie Wulff
3:30 Paul Dixon-DuMont
4PM Turn To A Friend-Dennis James-ABC
4:30 King Jack's Toy Box-Kids
5PM Santa Claus-According to a Cleveland Press photo I saw, Max Ellis was Santa..he would go on to become the first "Mr. Jingeling" for WEWS-TV 5 from 1956-64
5:15 Comedy Carnival
5:30 Desert Deputy
6:10 Bob Rowley News
6:20 Al Rosen Sports
6:30 TV Weatherman-Dr. Annear
6:40 Les Paul/Mary Ford
6:45 Home With the Grahams (Browns QB Otto Graham and Family)
7PM Captain Video-DuMont
7:15 News Parade-Bob Lang/Jimmy Dudley
7:30 Jamie-ABC
8PM Twenty Questions-DuMont
8:30 The Big Issue-ABC Hubert Humphrey, Dmocratic Senator from Minnesota and Representative Noah Mason (Rep. Illinois) discuss a National Sales Taz.
9PM Lingo-Local Game Show
9:30 This Is The Life-ABC
10PM Boxing-DuMont
10:45 Ringside Interviews
11PM Warren Guthrie-News
11:10 Ted Malone-Today's Top Story
11:15 John Fitzgerald Sports
11:20 Movie-Fear

Some Information courtesy Wikipedia and Clarke Ingram


  1. One interesting fact about the Pittsburgh situation: Around 1953, Frank Stanton endeavored to purchase WTOV-9-Steubenville and move it to Pittsburgh and make it the city's CBS affiliate. This was during the time when it mattered when the FCC got involved with license renewals, and this particular hearing torpedoed Stanton's plan.

  2. About the DuMont/Metromedia connection: after the TV assets were spun off to Jack Kluge, he sought a different image for the company, as "DuMont" was now associated with failure.

    By 1958, the company was renamed Metropolitian Broadcasting, and already bought WHK AM/FM from the Plain Dealer's owners, Forest City Publishing (via United Broadcasting). The next year, Metropolitian's name was simplified to Metromedia.

    The former DuMont Tele-Centre in New York, which housed WABD-TV (rechristened WNEW-TV after the AM/FM combo was also put into the companies' portfolio) became the MetroMedia TeleCenter. Today, it's the Fox Broadcasting Center, housing the now-WNYW, FBC (aka FOX), the Fox News Channel and the soon-to-be Fox Buisness Network.

    Oh, and don't forget the call sign meaning for WMMS (MetroMedia-Stereo) - which obviously outlived MetroMedia's tenure in Cleveland, as they sold both WMMS and WHK to Malrite in 1972...

    - Nathan Obral

  3. Hi Nate:
    I appreciate the thorough history of the end of DuMont/Metromedia..I know about a lot of it. My focus was more on WDTV/KDKA..Others have been a lot more thorough on the DuMont Legacy/Histoy..I dont look to repeat a lot others have already done..Thanks a lot..