Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cleveland Christmas Memories

Cover for "Cleveland Christmas Memories" by Gail Ghetia Bellamy..Publishers:Gray and Company.
Christmas Tree at Higbees, Terminal Tower-1968
Nela Park Christmas Lights, 1955
Cover of Halles "Wish Book" of featuring Mr. Jingeling-1965

     Hello: Most of you know that have read the Blog for any length of time know that I am a native of The Canton/Stark County area..My own Christmas Memories include the toys, food, family gatherings,Church Pageants and Christmas on TV/radio in the 60's and 70's..WVIZ produced a TV special a few years ago called "The Way We Shopped" that revolved around the Classic Department Stores in Cleveland and Akron, with a large segment dedicated to Christmas Shopping..Here is a book that would make a great companion to that WVIZ Special..

     Gail Ghetia Bellamy crystallizes the memories of Christmas In Cleveland in her new book, CLEVELAND CHRISTMAS MEMORIES, and she does an amazing job..The pictures alone are worth the price ($17.95 officially, cheaper at, etc)..The stories, culled from interviews with notable Clevelanders..Some that had charge of making memories, others just sharing their own holiday memories, mostly fun,some happy, some sad..The narrative is weaved around certain topics..Toys, food, ethnic traditions,Nativity scenes, Santa, lights, and even a whole chapter on Mr. Jingeling.. Being that I am not originally from Cleveland, you tend to forget/not realize how Ethnically rich and diverse The Cleveland area is..That is amazing in itself..Also, on the side margins of most pages are Christmas facts and trivia..If you are from Cleveland, this book will be an exciting trip down Memory Lane..I highly, highly recommend it..

Gray and Company link to the book:

I'd like to dedicate this blog post to Mrs. Nadine Keyes..Wife of the late Earl Keyes..She was "Mrs. Jingeling" to generations of Northeast Ohio kids..Mrs. Keyes passed away recently..

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Great Cleveland Radio Stories-From Adam Jones

I've always felt kind of bad that I havent written nearly as much about Radio as TV..Not as much to write about many times, and harder to come up with real content. I've appreciated vets like Joe Mosbrook, Eric Braun and Jerry Immel for sharing some outstanding airchecks and photos in recent weeks on our various Facebook Pages.. Today I want to introduce you to Adam Ocopek (aka Adam Jones)..Akron radio listeners know him as half of "Adam and Bob"(Allen) from 1978-1995 on WAKR-1590..One of the last of the great local radio teams in Northeast Ohio..I barely knew of Adam, never listened often, but the show certainly must have been a hit to last 17 years..What I, or perhaps others didnt realize is that Adam had a very long career in Radio before WAKR.  As many DJ's did, he broadcast under many different names..

Adam's website, full of great radio stories..

1947 WSRS Ad with Christmas greetings

First job at WSRS-1954-58

Describing Adam's first on air job  (Bob Franklin) at WSRS-Great insight of how the station was run at that time
Adam Jones/Ocopek as WSRS "Bob Franklin"

July 4, 1958  Cleveland Press Radio Guide.."Bob Franklin" was on afternoons..

Here's the second story from WSRS-This would be about the time of the sale to the WJMO owners..WJMO would become 1490 while WSRS would be no more, replaced by WABQ at 1540 kc..
These days WJMO is at 1300, WERE is at 1490 and WWGK is at 1540-At least this week-LOL

Engineer Ron Powell, apparently during a remote..

Adam Jones/Ocopek/"Bob Franklin" at the WSRS controls

WSRS station ID from about 1956..Originally from the Jerry Immel collection..

I want to thank personally Adam Jones for allowing me to share much of his memories of his first radio job..There is very little on the web about WSRS, because probably to be honest it was just a small "graveyard" AM without a lot of history to be found, but stories like his are a big reason I do the blog, etc..Now what I'd love to hear is an aircheck or two from WSRS..

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hawkins Falls-A Television Novel:TV's first successful Soap Opera

Hawkins Falls Star Bernardine Flynn, with guest MacDonald Carey (Later of Days Of Our Lives Fame) and director Frank Pacelli..
Slide shown when an NBC show was filmed or Kinescoped for later airing..
Beginning slide of Hawkins Falls-A Television Novel
Short blurb announcing the premiere of Hawkins Falls as an afternoon Soap Opera on WNBK-TV 4 weekdays at 5 beginning April 2, 1951, after spending the summer of 1950 as a Prime time hour drama..

     Today we'll take a look at soap opera "Hawkins Falls"..The NBC soap is considered by most as the first tv soap opera that lasted very long.(it was the longest running Soap at the tile of it's cancellation).

      The show actually premiered June 17, 1950 as prime time drama and lasted in prime time till October 12, 1950.. The show returned April 2, 1951 as a 5-a week daytime drama, produced live at NBC Chicago..From the episodes I've seen, it seems to be a very low key drama, which veered into gentle comedy on occasion, as witnessed by this October 21, 1953 episode:
Hawkins Falls October 21, 1953-NBC by TLones1480
Hugh Downs was the Announcer at this point, later replaced by "Wed" Howard..

     The show starred Bernardine Flynn as heroine Lona Drewer..Flynn was a veteran of Chicago based radio..Others in the cast were Jim Bannon, Maurice Copeland and Arthur Peterson..comedian Tom Poston appeared in the cast during 1953..Other known actors were Hope Summers and Art Van Harvey..Van Harvey and Flynn were radio's "Vic and Sade."

     The official title is "Hawkins Falls, A Television Novel"..The show originated live from Chicago and was known for the stars sharing witty sayings at the beginning of the program (In Hawkins Falls, People say...)

Near the end of the series, there was no official sponsor so NBC sustained the show until the end, July 1, 1955.. Here is a 3-episode arc about a man who thinks he is psychic and the problems it causes..March 31, April 1, and April 4, 1955..
Hawkins Falls-March 31, April 1, April 4, 1955 by TLones1480

     The theme was a rousing rendition of "Skip To My Lou"..Shows how much tamer (and clean) soap operas were in the 1950's compared to today..

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mid summer Update..

July 1962:Ad for The Warren Guthrie News on Channel 8
January 1955:WXEL-CBS ad for "The Millionaire" Wednesdays at 9PM..
July 1954:General advertisement for WXEL's programs-ABC, DuMont and Syndication
October 1975:Action 3 News ad, featuring Doug Adair..

Hello all:
Thought I would just sort of Randomly update a few things..First, I know it's been 2 months since the last post..I think it's beyond promising I'll post on a certain date or time..Future posting will just depend on certain factors, such as whether we can come up with more vintage listings/stories, new or unusual local vintage TV/radio clips/film come about, or some large news story in the Cleveland area Broadcast scene.. Some interesting developments in the Facebook world..There has been a large spike of interest in the KYW Facebook page in the last week..Veterans Eric Braun, Gary Stromberg and Joe Mosbrook have been sharing excellent clips and stories..We've decided to change the KYW FB page title to include WKYC-Radio/TV from 1965-72 (Just before the radio became WWWE/WWWM)..It has been great how Broadcast people have come out to share stories of the KYW/WKYC years and I'm looking forward for more to come.. On a sad note, we've lost a number of folks recently that had a great part to play in the classic tv field including George Lindsey, Doris Singleton,Frank Cady, Andy Griffith and yesterday, Ernest Borgnine. Seems that way too many of the greats are leaving us as of late..Kind of sad..

TV Guide Listings:

Friday, August 27, 1954


3 Today
5 Morning Show-Jack Paar
(Paige Palmer 8:25, 8:55)

8 Preview Corner

3 Early Bird Theater-Calaboose
5 Early Show-Danger Ahead
8 Breakfast Club-Don McNeill (ABC)

3 Ding Dong School-Horwich
5 Garry Moore
8 Alice Weston

3 A Time To Live
8 Maggie Wulff Show (Movie) Behind Stone Walls

3 Three Steps To Heaven

3 Home-Arlene Francis
5 Dione Lucas-Cooking

5 Strike It Rich-Hull

3 Bob Smith Show (Buffalo Bob with a regular variety show)
5 Valiant Lady
8 Drama At Noon

5 Love Of Life

3 One O Clock Preview
5 Search For Tomorrow
8 Rena and Bob

5 Guiding Light

3 One o Clock Playhouse:The Wall Of Death
5 Woman's Window-Fraser
8 Portia Faces Life-CBS

8 Seeking Heart-CBS

8 Midday Movie-Little Pal

5 Robert Q. Lewis

3 Maggi Byrne

5 Linkletter's House Party

3 Maggi's Kitchen

3 One Man's Family
5 Big Payoff
8 Paul Dixon-DuMont

3 Golden Windows

3 First Love (Moves to 4:15 following Monday)
5 Bob Crosby

3 Hawkins Falls
5 Mixing Bowl
8 Brighter Day-CBS

3 Bride and Groom-Last Show of Series
8 Secret Storm-CBS

3 Betty White Show
5 On Your Account
8 King Jack

3 Pinky Lee
5 Uncle Jake-Gene Carroll
8 Desert Deputy-Western Movie

5 News

3 Howdy Doody
5 Twenty Fingers-Randy Culver/Crandall Hendershott

5 Professor Pet

5 Dinner Platter-Bob Dale

3 Suppertime Comics

8 Sports-Bob Neal

3 Sports-Tom Manning
5 News-Dorothy Fuldheim
8 Weather-Dr. Annear

3 Weather Vein
8 Cleveland Today

3 News Summary
5 Sports Page-Jack Graney
8 Joe Potaro-Beauty

5 Weather

3 Badge 714 (Dragnet)
5 Big Playback
8 Captain Video-DuMont

5 Green Thumbs
8 News-Bob Lang/Jimmy Dudley

3 Eddie Fisher
5 CBS News-Douglas Edwards
8 Stu Erwin-ABC

3 NBC News-John Cameron Swayze
5 Perry Como

3 The Duke
5 Pantomine Quiz
8 Baseball-Indians/Senators-Tribe lost 3-2 in 10 innings at Washington

3 Life Of Riley
5 Topper

3 Best In Mystery
5 Schlitz Playhouse Of Stars

3 Soundstage
5 Our Miss Brooks

3 Sports Highlights
5 Star Theater

3 Moments In  Sports
5 I Led Three Lives

3 To Be Announced

3 News-Tom Field
5 Feature Film:40,000 Horsemen
8 News-Warren Guthrie

3 Weather-Joe Finan

3 Sports
8 Ted Malone

3 Custom Inn-Local
8 John Fitzgerald Sports

8 Night Owl Theater:The Man Who Walked Alone

3 Hollywood Theater:Topper

5 News

3 News

Episode of Soap Opera Hawkins Falls..Aired April 1, 1955 at 4:00 PM on WNBK-3..

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Channel 5 Video Vault:Movie Intros..

James Flanagan, Plain Dealer TV Writer, preview's "Here's Pat O' Brien", an hour special produced by WEWS-TV 5 and aired May 25, 1964 from 7:30-8:30 PM..The promo for this special is part of the WEWS "Video Vault" below.. We've mentioned Tom Livingston's fine work in digging out rare film and video tape from the WEWS-TV 5 Archives over the last year or more..He has outdone himself here in finding two rare movie openings and a promo for a Pat O'Brien special.. 1. Jungle Theater. Though the slate says January 1962, The Plain Dealer archived TV Listings has "Jungle Theater" on between April and August 1963 Saturday afternoons at 5:30. They may have used that title beforehand but it isnt apparent by the listings.. 2. The Friday Night Movie-The Slate says September 13, 1964, but The Movie series began Friday September 18, 1964 from 9-11PM with Doris Day in "Love Me Or Leave Me" (1955).. 3. Here's Pat O' Brien-A promo for a locally produced special with actor Pat O' Brien, Broadcast Monday, May 25, 1964.. WEWS is airing a TV version of "Video Vault" once every 3 months with Livingston and Leon Bibb hosting..Here's the Video Vault webpage..

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cleveland TV Memories-Sunday Plain Dealer October 1991

While looking up other things I found this great article from The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine October 6, 1991..Part of a 150-Year Celebration of Arts In The Cleveland area..A legthy article on The History of Cleveland Television..Tom Feran Interviewed TV pioneers Linn Sheldon, Don Webster, Betty Cope and Virgil Dominic. More In Depth on how TV actually was in the old days.. Article content from Newsbank's Plain Dealer Article Collection..Betty Cope Image from added the other images from my own collection..
The '40s And '50s: Linn Sheldon

Television hit Cleveland on December 17, 1947, when Scripps-Howard's WEWS Channel 5 signed on the air as a CBS affiliate and the first station in Ohio. Itwas followed on October 31, 1948, by WNBK Channel 4, an NBC-owned station that moved to Channel 3 in 1954 and became KYW in 1956, under Westinghouse ownership.The city's third station, WXEL Channel 9, arrived on December 17, 1949; originally owned by the Empire Coil Co. of New York and affiliated with ABC and the old Dumont Network, it moved to Channel 8 and CBS and was renamed WJW after its purchase by Storer Broadcasting in the early 1950s.

Early broadcast hours were few and irregular; network programs couldn't be carried live until 1949. Staples were old movies, grainy kinescope films of network shows and live local programs. Local news was delivered radio-style by such announcers as Tom Field, Warren Guthrie and Jack Perkins.

Linn Sheldon, a stage and film actor and cabaret entertainer, was an original employee of WEWS. Nationally known and local legend as the children's host "Barnaby," a role he filled until 1990, he has been the host of 33 shows on four different stations here.

"The joy of working was unbelievable. We'd come early. We had no one to copy, and the ideas just flowed. We didn't worry about the news because the news was rip and read. We'd lip-synch records, we did game shows, we did plays - live, right in the studio.

"In 1948, I was doing the opening and telling people what's coming up, and I did a lip-synch of Jimmy Durante. A guy walked in a couple of days later and said, 'Can you do that three times a week for 15 minutes?' His name was Fred Shaw, from Rogers jewelry stores, and that was the first sponsored show in Cleveland - I lip-synched records three times a week.

"The facilities were a lot different. You talk about lights, we had scoops that were so hot you could bring them down and heat your soup. WEWS had three cameras on wood tripods. One had three lenses, to also do wide-angle and close-up. If you wanted to go to a close-up, the director would have to go to another camera while the guy turned the whole turret by hand and then focused it. We had boom mikes. Sports brought in the zoom lens. You could only use it on a good clear day.

"Everybody had kind of the same set - one door, it'd turn around and there'd be a kitchen, the other side a living room or whatever you wanted. Like radio, we had a staff orchestra, and the other stations had them, too. Everybody had a piano player.

"Everything was first. It was a discovery. The only audio was 78 rpm records. We had a desk that was called Public Service - a desk with a globe on it, a picture of Wyoming and an American flag."

Once, Sheldon remembers, a fire chief sat at the set to demonstrate a new extinguisher; speechless before the camera, he burned and extinguished every bit of paper he had, but didn't say a word in 10 minutes. Later, Sheldon recalls, on the first day of color programming at Channel 3, a guest threw up on the air.

"We never thought of being personalities, celebrities. I was standing out front of WEWS, after we'd been on a few months, and a man and his wife and little child came by. He said, 'How about a picture?' I was so thrilled. Then he handed me the camera - they wanted me to take a picture of them with their camera.

"Mistakes kept coming, but we learned from them. We didn't know about ratings, though we got them. Then the time got tighter. The money got tighter. I don't think it's fun for them anymore."

The '60s: Don Webster

The 1960s brought lasting change to Cleveland television. Color was introduced and became the norm. Newscasts expanded to a half-hour. Non-commercial, educational television arrived in 1965 with WVIZ Channel 25. It was the city's first UHF station, followed in 1968 by Kaiser's WKBF Channel 61 and United Artists' WUAB Channel 43. Viewers saw "Eyewitness News," "City Camera," "Montage" specials, the locally produced "Mike Douglas Show," "The One O'Clock Club," "Polka Varieties," "The Gene Carroll Show," "Jim Doney's Adventure Road,""Ghoulardi," "Jerry G & Co.," "Big Chuck & Hoolihan."

Two of the most remembered shows are "It's Academic," still broadcast as "Academic Challenge," and "Upbeat," an "American Bandstand"-type series. Both were on WEWS with Don Webster, who has served the station in a variety of roles and today is back as the popular weather forecaster on "Newschannel 5."

"I came to town from Hamilton, Ont., in September 1964 to do the 'Upbeat' show and a quiz show called 'Quick As A Wink.' WEWS [which had canceled "The One O'Clock Club"] was trying to do something against 'Mike Douglas' on Channel 3. It was a good quiz show, well-produced, and it lasted 13 weeks because Mike was really starting a roll. That whole talk-variety concept was new and innovative then.

"When I first came on 'Upbeat,' it was called 'The Big 5 Show' because it was on TV-5 at 5 in the afternoon. We used co-hosts from WHK radio. The business was so different because there was no FM radio in the way there is today. WHK was the big rock station, and record companies would do just about anything to get exposure for their artists. There were no Coliseums, no big concerts as we know them. We were in the era of these people going around town to town, playing movie theaters and high school gyms, so it was relatively easy to get big acts - with the understanding that if you got a good act, an A act, you'd have to take two B's, or maybe a B and a C. We ended up with people like Kenny Rogers, when he was first starting, or Simon & Garfunkel. I can remember sitting in the dressing room with Bobby Goldsboro, we were pretty good friends, saying, 'Gee, is this a weird act, we'll probably never hear from them again.'

"We didn't just have the rock acts. We had Duke Ellington once ... Paul Anka ... Frankie Avalon ... Connie Francis. Otis Redding made his last appearance with us. He left the show, got on that old DC-3 and crashed.

"The show became so successful in Cleveland that Scripps-Howard decided to put it on their other stations. It wasn't too far from the era of Downbeat magazine, so the name came to be 'Upbeat.' It was a badge of honor for a high school kid to become an 'Upbeat' dancer. I think they got $40, $50 a week, and back in 1968 that was a lot of money. I think every high school girl in town had a pair of white go-go boots in her closet.

"We were on 90 stations at one time , including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Dick Clark called me and suggested I go to California and work for him. We talked and talked, and Dick's a wonderful guy, but Dick still has the first nickel he ever made, so the money wasn't all that great. And we both had dark hair and our style was really similar, so I decided there wasn't much point. I said, 'If you continue producing new shows and doing things on the air yourself, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who's going to get the good ones.' So I stayed here in Cleveland, which I really never regretted.

"I did some announcing. We all pulled a booth shift then, and each station had a group of announcers you never saw on the air because we didn't have the automation we have now. Then I started to do a little bit of weather, sports, a little entertainment. About '71 I took over 'Academic.' By and large, the show is still the same. The kids never change . One of the things that impressed me was the good, solid, dedicated teachers who'd be there year after year. That's really nice to see.'

Webster also was host of the Ohio Lottery shows for nine years, a weekly half-hour and a nightly drawing. It was all live, with ever-changing contestants drawn by chance, "and that was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life." He was later asked to do "The Gene Carroll Show," a weekly amateur variety hour, after the death of its original host and the untimely cancer deaths of two replacements, Ron Penfound and Jim Runyon.

"So they said, 'Webster, it's yours.' I said, 'Wait a minute, I'm feeling pretty good, I'm not sure I want to do this.' So then I took it over and they had a pool at the station to see how long I was going to last. Fortunately, the show died before I did.'

The '70s: Betty Cope

The 1970s brought minicams and helicopters as a sideshow to Cleveland TV news, while the city's dire financial strait and political controversies lent anincreased air of urgency and importance. Cable arrived, with little initial impact, as suburbs awarded local franchises. Financially strapped WKBF Channel 61 went dark; it returned under new ownership as WCLQ. WUAB was sold to Gaylord Broadcasting of Texas. WJW, in new quarters on South Marginal, became WJKW afterStorer Broadcasting sold off its radio station, which had rights to the call letters it had used longer. WEWS started "The MorningExchange ," the pioneering morning show that is widely considered the model for "Good Morning America," andWJW launched "PM Magazine."

The 1970s were growth years that turned "educational television" into "public televison." WVIZ enlarged its quarters, added staff and built a new transmitter. Its president and general manager from the beginning has been Betty Cope, who broke into television as a producer at WEWS in the '40s.

"'Masterpiece Theater' was just getting started in 1970. Big Bird didn't come into his own until about '70. 'Mister Rogers' was about a year old. Kukla, Fran and Ollie were about to come back to TV. We had 'The Great American Dream Machine,' sort of a cross between '60 Minutes' and 'Saturday Night Live'; the National Conference of Christians and Jews, live; Julia Child; the first 'Live From the Met,' the first-ever 'Live From the Grand Ole Opry.' We had a slew of local things. We did City Council, the George Forbes carnival kickback trial.

"We had more programs for national distribution for instructional broadcasting in the '70s than any time before or since.

"We had started operating Monday-Friday for the schools and probably had only enough programs to go 6 to 10 on Sunday night. Our first March membership drive was in 1971, under the banner of 'S.O.S.' - 'Sesame On Saturday' - because we weren't on the air on Saturday then. We raised $23,000, and went on the air on Saturdays. By comparison, in March 1979, we raised $273,000. Then, because so many people were saying they wanted 'Sesame Street' on Sunday mornings and we started at 6 Sunday night, within two years we were on the air all day Saturday and all Sunday.

"What a dichotomy. Just as all the good program things looked like they were about to happen, along came something which threatened to sink us. 'Firing Line' - William F. Buckley broke with Nixon on China. 'Washington Week in Review' - the Nixon administration hated it. Then came the talk of gavel-to-gavel Watergate [coverage].

"The Nixon administration said public broadcasting could spend money only on drama, dance and music. There would be no public affairs paid for by the federal funding, which had just begun in 1967. There were 15 people on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, appointed with the advice and consent of Congress and nominated by the president. A bunch of us in about eight or 10 major cities, who decided we had as much clout on our boards, got on a plane and flew to Dallas and hammered out what we thought would be a compromise. We said, 'OK, you guys in the federal government, you can put all the strings you want on your monies, all we want is free and clear access if we can figure out a way to fund this ourselves.' They allowed as how we couldn't figure out how to fund it anyhow and said OK. And that really is what gave impetus to membership drives.

"That was in 1972. It was exciting. We didn't know if it was going to work or not. Our first membership drive was in '70. But they really started going big when we had this story to say. I think we got a lot of awareness by doing Watergate gavel-to-gavel, without commercial interruption. I think it gave us credibility."

The '80s: Virgil Dominic

Television exploded in the 1980s. It changed, and so did the way viewers watched it. Cleveland was wired for cable and more than half the area subscribed. Independent WUAB Channel 43 won rights to Indians and Cavs games andstarted its own newscast. WOIO Channel 19 took to the air in 1985 and soon affiliated with a new fourth network, Fox. WCLQ, unable to compete, was sold to Home Shopping Network and became WQHS. WJW, its old call letters back, led expansion in local news at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., TV-5's "Afternoon Exchange " became"Live on Five," but fragmentation of the audience and commercial dollars led WKYC to cancel "AM Cleveland." Stations expanded to 24-hour service, and competition intensified as the Arbitron Co. began providing local ratings on a next-day basis. Almost emblematically, a symbol of local television was lost with the debilitating stroke and death of pioneering WEWS commentator Dorothy Fuldheim.

As much as anyone, Virgil Dominic came to personify local television. A popular news anchor for WKYC and NBC in the '60s, he became news director of WJW in the '70s, served a time as station manager and now is its president and general manager.

"The year 1980 itself started off with a very dramatic event for local television. It was technological, the year local stations got into the satellite business. We were the first station to do it here. Storer Broadcasting had decided it wanted to be on the cutting edge of this new technology. Our first satellite receiving dish is still out there on the front lawn. We don't use it anymore, it's just a billboard, but it's the first one. We have a garden around it."

Storer wanted to "knock the socks off" local viewers with satellite technology. It was soon after the Three Mile Island nuclear power mishap; Dominic, then news director, spent eight weeks reporting on nuclear power around the world, sending back 28 reports for a month-long series.

"Now satellites are so commonplace. We probably have six dishes and most stations even have the uplinks to transmit. It's allowed us to get out of our own back yard, not just TV-8 but all the stations here. The benefit to the community was that it expanded a whole area of knowledge, enabled us to report more broadly and in-depth and really propelled us into partnerships with stations all across the country.

"Television became more of a business in the '80s. The main thing that caused that was the Reagan deregulation applied to broadcasting. Until then, people who owned stations had some degree of protection because you had a license to maintain, as opposed to running a grocery store or automotive factory. It afforded some insulation from the competitive forces that besiege other businesses. Until then, it was competitive within itself, you were competing against a like force.

"The '80s were the years we got a whole new competitor, cable. When I started in Cleveland in 1965, there were only two other stations that meant anything. Now the revenue pie is split among 54 different channels.

"The independents really came into their own. They got good programming together and were able to do things network affiliates were not able to do. When you're an affiliate, you cannot put on 65 Indians games a year; we were out of that ballgame, after almost 20 years, and that also began to affect revenue.

"Then the VCR came along. People were still using television, but not in the way anyone once envisioned. And the zappers, the remote controls - the opportunity to change channels without getting up from their easy chairs. Now we've got to prove to advertisers that their commercials are being watched. Talk about giving power to the people.

"I think all of us began searching for ways that cable would not be able to duplicate us. By far the best example was local news. It was always important from an image, community service and profit standpoint, but the importance to the profit side was increased. It was the quickest, surest way to differentiate ourselves from cable - you weren't going to get a Cleveland City Council meeting on CNN. That's why other local programs became more important, things like ' MorningExchange ' on Channel 5. I still think that's what's going to save us in local television.' cp060   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Live, Out Of town TV comes to Cleveland..

Notice to WEWS Viewers on an attempt to bring a live telecast of a Red Sox/Tigers game from Detroit Septmber 20, 1948.
Notice in the Plain Dealer September 21, 1948 on the success of the "Live" experiment..An ABC Dedication broadcast was shown later that night (The first live network broadcast to Cleveland)..WNBK was about a month away and would already be connected to NBC's Midwest Network..

      September 1948 was the beginning of big things in Northeast Ohio Television.Plans were put in motion for live, network broadcasts to Cleveland..The first of these was a Detroit/Boston American League Baseball Game September 20, 1948..As we see in the above articles, it was a mammoth undertaking just to air one Baseball Game from Detroit to Cleveland..About this time also WEWS aired an ABC-TV Inaugral Show live from Chicago..These were the first "On Location" telecasts ever seen live in Cleveland..When we compare with how easily and relatively cheaply remote telecasting is done today..Very Intriguing.

September 29, 1948 TV Schedule: Cleveland Plain Dealer


10AM Test Pattern
1:30 News
1:40 Dugout Interviews
1:55 Baseball Chicago White Sox at Indians
4:15 Fans In The Stands
5PM Just For Kids
6:30 News
6:45 Face The Music-Johnny Desmond (CBS)
7PM Feminine Features
7:20 Film Short
7:30 Winner Take All (CBS)
8PM Places Please (CBS)
8:15 Know Your Neighbors
8:30 As Others See Us
8:50 Film Short
9PM Videovaudeville
9:20 Film Short
9:30 Tune Time
9:45 Film Shorts
10PM Hot Rod Auto Races (ABC)
Midnight News

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Link:CBS Radio Mystery Theater

Logo for CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which aired from 1974-1982 with E. G. Marshall and Tammy Grimes as hosts..

Want to Introduce a New Link to everyone. A gentleman has gone through the trouble and expense of acquiring the entire CBS Radio Mystery Theater series..The program began in 1974 with EG Marshall as host, airing till 1982. all 1399 ahows are available for free download..There is also a searchable database of actors. appearing on each episode. Not sure how long, but WHBC-1480 AM in Canton carried the show for awhile..Cleveland's WERE-1300 and WJW850 also carried the show..In addition to the broadcasts, which many times had top of the hour CBS News included in the tapes..There is a lot of of history on this site as well..

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just when did Jack Benny first appear on the radio?

One of the things I like about writing the blog is finding out things not generally known, or better yet, refuting things that are suppoosed "known" facts..

     One of these assumptions is that Jack Benny began his radio career as a guest of Ed Sullivan on a show in New York on March 29, 1932..His first words were documented as "Hello, this is Jack Benny. Now there will be a slight pause while you say, who cares?"

In recent days, friend Don M. Yowp, whom we have mentioned here before because of his vintage Hanna-Barbera Blog, has started "Tralfaz" a second blog for more of his general entertainment Interests:
Jack Benny On The Air, 1931

Yowp writes about an earlier Benny appearance on RKO Theater of The Air September 4, 1931 on WIBA Madison, Wisconsin.

I thought I'd look around the Plain Dealer Archive to find anything sooner, not really thinking I would..Surprisingly, I came up with a Monday January 20, 1930 Broadcast on WHK-1390 Cleveland at 7:30 PM called "Voices From Filmland"
This appears to be a early Columbia/CBS Radio series on until at least March 1930..According to JJ's Radio log website, this was also on KHJ-930 Los Angeles and WABC-860 New York..
Mr. Benny was on either Radio or TV regularly from 1932-65, with periodic NBC specials until his death in December 1974.

Ms. Laura Leff, a fan of Jack Benny since 10 years of age, runs some facets of the Jack Benny Estate and is head of the International Jack Benny Fan Club.. International Jack Benny Fan Club
International Jack Benny Fan Club

Monday, January 2, 2012

Year In Review-2011

Mary Holt, pioneer among women in Cleveland Broadcasting, passed away March 9th..

Broadcaster Joe Tait retired in April after 39 years of NBA Play-By-Play with the Cleveland Cavaliers..Tait, with Terry Pluto recently brought out his Biography, "It's Been A Real Ball."

Dick Goddard, Cleveland TV Weather Forecaster who on May 1, 2011 celebrated his 50th year in Television, starting out at KYW-TV 3..After a short stint in Philadelphia at KYW, Goddard has been with WJW-8 Cleveland since March 1966..(Photo courtesy Cleveland Leader)

Jane Scott, Rock Music Critic for the Plain Dealer, died July 4 (Photo courtesy

Chuck Collier, WGAR Radio Host for over 40 years, passed away September 22..(Photo courtesy and WEWS

I'd like to present our second annual Year In Review of Classic Cleveland and Northeast Ohio Media happenings..


Mary Holt, a Pioneer in Cleveland Women's Broadcasting..worked at WJMO and WJW Radio as well as KYW-TV 3 in Cleveland..March 9

Dick Dugan, Cartoonist for the Plain Dealer for 38 years..April 16

Jane Scott, Rock Music Writer/Critic for The Plain Dealer..July 4

Chuck Collier..WGAR DJ for over 40 years. September 22..

(If anyone can think of any local folks I might have missed, Email me..)


Dick Goddard celebrated 50 years in TV in May..At That time he brought out his Biography "Six Inches of Partly Cloudy" with Tom Feran..

Joe Tait retires as Cavaliers Basketball Announcer in April after 39 years as an NBA Play By Play man..He also recently wrote, with Terry Pluto "It's Been A Real Ball."
He is replaced by former Lake Erie Monsters Announcer John Michael..

Mike Hegan retires as Indians Radio announcer in October, replaced by Jim Rosenhaus, who was already on the Broadcast Team, rotating with Tom Hamilton And Hegan..

Other News:

In Classic TV Locally, WIVM-52 Canton moves to digital 39 in January, eventually having 4 streams..1. Local With RTV, 2. Tuff TV 3. PBJ Family/Kids Programming 4. Denny and Marge Hazen FM stations..

Antenna TV began on channel 8.2 January 1, 2011
MeTV Began August 1, 2011 on WOIO 19.2 replacing Weather Now
TCT (WRLM-former WOAC) adds a Family/Classic TV channel on 47.3 with TCT regular (.1) TCT HD (.2) and Spanish (.4)

Bounce African American TV Channel is scheduled to begin shortly on WUAB-43.2 or 3 in addition to ThisTV..

In Radio, The biggest news is probably WKRK 92.3 switching from Alt Rock to Sports Talk in late August 2011..

WNWV (107.3) recently was sold by Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting to Rubber City Radio..Format was changed to a form of Smooth Jazz..

Four New FM stations debuted this year in parts of Northeast Ohio..

WKJA (91.9)..Calvary Chapel from California operates this station licensed to Brunswick, Ohio covering much of NE Ohio with 25kw..

WHVY-89.5 Coshocton-Operated by Harvest Baptist Temple Of Clyde, Ohio (WHVT 90.5 and a Findlay Translator on 94.1)

WJDD-90.9 Carrollton (June 2011) and WJEE-90.1 Bolivar (East Sparta)-Operated by Denny and Marge Hazen of TV Ministry Plus Or Minus 60..

More Radio:
WINW Radio 1520 left the air last Spring partly due to Copper Theivery and flooding in the station's transmitter area. They recently returned to the air at low power..

Curtis Perry III, who had been operating WINW under an LMA with an Urban Gospel Format (and appears to be again)..In the meantime, WCER-900 was LMA'ed to Mr. Perry, with the result that the station is currently off the air..Hoping that someone will put 900 back on the air at some point..I's a pretty good facility..

It will be interesting to see what 2012 brings..As always, we're on the lookout for rare Radio/TV airchecks, either audio or video to share on our sites..God Bless you all, thanks for reading and contibuting and Happy New Year to all..