Monday, May 11, 2009

Update:WJAN Pictures

George Cavender aka "The Cool Ghoul" Hosted Saturday Night 10PM movies, and occasionally subbed for Milton The Milkman. Also helped with the Jerry Lewis Telethon..courtesy Ed Thomas

Membership card to something called "The Early Bird Club" with Carl Day-Even I handnt heard of this..

Janson Industries' WJAN Logo used from 1967-1977

Picture originally featured in the April 18, 2009 blog post..The anonymous poster below refers to it..
About 3 weeks ago, Cleveland Classic Media reader Ed Thomas shared several vintage 1970's WJAN-TV Pictures on the occasion of The shutdown of Channel 17's analog transmitter April 17, 2009. There has been a lot of good comments about the pictures along with memories of old Channel 17..Local TV at it's "finest"..As we've said before, Janson Industries deserves credit for trying to make a go of it, but it ultimately wasnt meant to be for WJAN..

I'd like to share some particularly interesting comments from an anonymous poster from May 9, 2009..Gives a lot of Insight about how channel 17 and even WAKR-23 was run at that time..

Link to original April 18 post:

Anonymous said...
"The guy on the far left in the first telethon photo with Milton the Milkman is none other than Max Heywood.

The PC-70's came from RME productions in Columbus when they went belly up. WAKR-23 bought one, WJAN-17 bought two. They were used on the USS Hornet when the Apollo 11 astronauts returned home. Milions of people watched video from these cameras before WJAN bought them.

In the 1972 MDA Telethon photos, the guy who looks like David Crosby was Tim Davidson (can you say Contemporary-Q?). Guy next to him is Max.

Transmitter photo is circa late 70's. Townsend model TA-15, upgraded to a TA-30. 4KM100LA external cavity klystrons in the PA cabinets. This transmitter signed WJAN on in 1967 and was in use when analog was terminated, albeit with an updated exciter. Pretty reliable, WJAN was first commercial station in Ohio to adopt a 24/7 air schedule.

Old style TV camera was a TK-41C. WJAN bought a truckload of these from NBC NY about 1974 when NBC upgraded. Three image orthicons for pickup, about a million knobs, took a long time to set up.

Comments about programming are mostly spot on. In that era, there were hundreds of struggling independent UHF stations on the air. IMO, all were cut from the same cloth. If you could thrive in that environment, you were ready for anything. Call it "TV boot camp". Many people passed through these small market stations on their way to greatness. I remember Carl Monday when he was a shiny faced KSU intern doing the 10 PM news. "

I've invited the poster of these comments to make himself known, so we can give proper credit..Go to my profile.There is a link to my email address.Great comments..

Other interesting comments:
Anonymous said...
From what I can remember about WJAN the broadcast equipment had to be far from top drawer. Everything seemed so bargain basement, even compared to WTRF channel 7 and WSTV channel 9.

BD said...
Thanks for the WJAN entries. I just read all of them. WJAN was the worst TV station I ever watched, but I loved it. I watched it al the time. It was so much fun. Like watching Cleveland TV in the late 1940s.

Here's some things I remember. They ran a lot of industrial fillers. I actually sat through a film about Kikuman (sp.) soy sauce once. I have a high tolerance for boredom.

Another favorite was a local evangelist with the last name of Mayle. (Isn't half of Canton named that?) He was kind of a greasy guy with a mushtasche, a bit overweight. Why a Pentecostal had a supply of light-up Virgin Mary portraits I don't know, but if you called in and pledged X amount of money you could get one.

My fav, though, was the Greek show where some old Greek guy with an easel and a bunch of pictures would play music and flip over the pictures.

I also remember Larry Flynt came up and did an interview with Chuck Healy (I think) abbout the old Hustler Club in Columbus.

Another time, singer David Alan Coe showed up and declared that he knew for a fact that Burt Reynolds was going to be charged with murder in the death of Sylvia Mile's boyfriend. I'm still waiting.

Finally, the Canton Area Peace Movement got a lot of play.

wd8kct said...
Yea thanks anomymous for all the great fill information... I had heard the story about TV23's studio camera covering the spashdown but didn't realize TV17's PC-70s were related... I think 23's cameras were donated to a college in Pennsylvania when they upgraded to LDK-25s...
Yep, Max Heywood a.k.a. Dick Smith formerly a Rock Jock at WCUE-AM 1150...
Remember Carl Day who used to do news and "The Early Bird Club" when they signed on at 4 in the afternoon... think he moved on to the Dayton market...
They used to call the TK-41C "the Ray Gun" like something out of a sci-fi movie...
The good old days of local TV...

Ed Thomas has some more channel 17 photos here:

I remember reading some newspaper columnists saying that some columns write themselves...well this is a good example..My memories of 17 are of the early 1970's..When I would get a charge of seeing TV commercials for any company based in Canton..Was very rare then..The Cool Ghoul..Milton The Milkman who would show very bad cartoon prints..When a movie from 1960 or beyond was a big deal for them.. When Color shows and even early 70's network reruns were a big deal..People like Sherry Lee,Ben Werk, Carl Monday, Jerry Healey, Randall Gerber and Allen Davis, who after a long and varied career in Cleveland Radio/TV and working for the Cleveland Indians, became a Pastor in the Canton area..Steve Bozeka, who moonlighted from his Sears Carpet sales job to be the spotter for Monday Night Football on ABC..worked High School games..Ronnee Furman, Radio voice of the old WOIO-1060 and WHBC, was an interviewer (and easy to look at) .The kind of station Channel 17 was is long gone..And while its easy to make fun of them doing things on the cheap..Part of me wishes that kind of local TV was still seems more human..


  1. Good use of comments Tim. I agree with you about this type of tellevision being more human.

    That type of television could only be replicated on youtube. I don't think you could get that on public access now.

  2. A bit startling to see ANOTHER "Cool Ghoul", hailing from Canton in the 1970's!

    Cincinnati's Dick Von Hoene originated his "Cool Ghoul" on local radio here around 1961, moving to TV by the late 1960's on WXIX-19. Even Wikipedia seems to attribute "Cool Ghoul" to him alone -- does anyone know if George Cavender's "Ghoul" has any relationship, direct or otherwise, to any other incarnation around the country?

  3. emery_r

    Cavender might have been inspired by the fellow in Cincinnati, but its hard to tell for sure..

  4. It's really interesting to see bits and pieces of defunct stations like WJAN and WKBF appear on the net. What we wouldn't give to have stations like the quirky WJAN around today.

  5. Looking at the pictures on that one link I clicked, I can't help but suspect that Every piece of equipment that WJAN ever owned must have been used. Come to think of it, there's alot that I miss miss that used to be in northeastern Ohio TV. I miss the good old days of WOAC as a regular station. i also miss the good old days of WCLQ (the second incarnation of channel 61). I even miss the good old days of channel 19 in both it's Fox and pre-Fox days. And don't forget the good old days when channel 55 didn't have a network. Man, what I wouldn't give to have those days back!!!

  6. I can remember a comment made by a Canton Repository sports columnist about Allen Davis after he left for Cleveland. He said that Davis worked at WJAN before he went into television!

  7. There was a low power TV station in Columbus for several years, Channel 8. I don't remember the call letters. It was operated by, as far as I could tell, a female fundamentalist preacher and her family out of their garage. They ran great stuff. One hour you'd have a very off-key bluegrass family singing hymns, and the next you'd have Captain Gallant or Robin Hood (with the original commercials), or Reefer Madness or old Roger Corman films. Once they ran Goddard's Alphaville! The reception was terrible at my house, but I always checked in.

    BTW, thanks for re-posting my thoughts on WJAN. Obviously, I didn't spellcheck!

  8. "BD", it looks like that Columbus low power station you recall on channel 8 is WGCT-CA, and if Wikipedia is correct, it's still on the air as an analog-only station. Check out Wikipedia's entry for this station and see if it's the same one you recall.

    With a little more Internet sleuthing, the minimal info available on this station indicates it's now owned by the Central Ohio Association of Christian Broadcasters, and operates with a more powerful 1000 watt signal, not the older 83 watts still listed by Wikipedia.

  9. Ed is correct. The first TK41C to arrive was not from the NBC garage in Fairview NJ, but a used TV equipment dealer whose name eludes me. A couple years later, the truckload of old NBC stuff arrived. Nobody liked the first TK41 because the pictures weren't as good as the PC-70's. Ray Janson bought it, so the term "Ray Gun" was perhaps a bit of a dig on Raymond. BTW, his brother Richard (majority owner of the original station) passed last year. Comments on his obit may still be on the Repository's web site. Yes, the Janson brothers were slightly ahead of their time. Who would have thought Canton Ohio needed a television station?

  10. I know not much, if anything is going on in the old WJAN studios anymore but occasionally I happened to drive by and see varying numbers of vehicles parked there and have been wondering since just what was going on inside. I've often wondered why the present owners moved the studios out of there.

  11. Hey,

    I just stumbled across your blog while searching for "The Cool Ghoul" in Cleveland.

    It just so happens that George, AKA The Cool Ghoul has a website.

    He's in the process of bringing the show back on the internet.

    Thought you'd be interested.