60 Years Of Television
All the TV stations look alike these days, with their syndicated shows and local newscasts. That wasn't the case when TV started, which made researching the 60th anniversary of Cincinnati television for my Sunday story so much fun.
For starters, there was only one TV station on the air in 1948 – Crosley Broadcasting's WLWT-TV – thanks to Crosley's engineering resources and huge entertainment staff at WLW-AM, "The Nation's Station." WLWT (originally Channel 4) was on the air for more than a year before WKRC-TV arrived on April 4, 1949, and WCPO-TV began on July 26, 1949.
By the time the other guys got on the air, WLWT already had broadcast the first Reds game, UC football game, variety show, weather forecast, religious service, boxing, wrestling, and pro basketball game (the Harlem Globetrotters from Music Hall). In fact, all of those first were done as experimental W8XCT, before WLWT began commercial broadcasting on Feb. 9, 1948.
So why celebrate the anniversary now? Because Channel 5 managers are choosing to celebrate the week of April 14, the 60th anniversary of becoming NBC's second affiliate (after WNBC-TV in New York). by the way, it's also the 60th anniversary week for the premiere of the old "Midwestern Hayride" country show (1948-72), which aired as a NBC summer replacement show the 50s, and the 60th anniversary of the first Reds Opening Day telecast.
For today's Channel 5 folks, becoming a NBC affiliate was a big deal. But here's what I found interesting: It took 18 more months to get live network TV feeds here! WLWT ran kinescopes – films made of TV broadcasts -- until the network coaxial cable reached here in September 1949. To celebrate the arrival of live network programming here, NBC broadcast a special with NBC stars from NY called "NBC Salutes WLW-Television" on Sept. 5, 1949.
With my stories you'll see two photo galleries, one for old WLWT shows and another for famous WLWT personalities (from Bonnie Lou to Bill Hemmer). Click on the photo links on the story. (Can anyone identify the names of the three Lucky Pennies musicians in the "Midwestern Hayride" photo with Dean and Penny Richards? Or anyone in the Betty Clooney photo with studio orchestra from Mount Olympus?)
My list of famous faces from 5 ran much longer. Here are some others, and maybe you can add some more:
Bob Trumpy, did his first TV for Ch 5 sports.
Clyde Gray, did two stints at Ch 5 (1979-83; 1985-90) before going to Ch 9.
Rob Braun, interned there in 1984, but not hired because his father was working at station hosting noon "Bob Braun Show." (Where would Ch 5 be if they had him today?)
Chris Cimino, was a 1995 weatherman. Now at WNBC, and a frequent "Today" show weather fill-in. (I saw him Saturday morning).
J.D. Hayworth, former Arizona congressman was a Ch 5 weekend sports anchor in late 1980s.
Pat Barry, was a Q102 DJ hired as main weather anchor in early 1980s.
Gene Randall, former CNN anchor, was anchor here in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He anchored Ch 5's special for the Riverfront Stadium opening in 1970.
Steve Physioc, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim TV play-by-play announcer did Reds TV on 1986 with Marty and Joe.
Tom Hume, former Reds pitcher, was Reds color analyst in 1990 before becoming a Reds coach.
Andy Furman was a Channel 5 sports reporter/producer before going to WLW-AM full-time.
Toria Tolley Hammill anchored here before going to CNN.
Steve Hortsmeyer was hired by Tony Sands for the Ch 5 weather department in 1977.
Steve Raleigh did news and weather on Ch 5 1986-88, then came back to town in 2005 for Ch 9.
Didn't "Today" show reporter Jack Lescoulie do an afternoon show on Ch 5 in the '60s?
Wally Phillips was on WLW TV and radio before going to WGN.
Can you think of others?