Monthly Archives: November 2010

SuperChannel 55 tower may be ready in ’12

Construction on WACX’s Majesty Building, the unfinished high-rise office tower along Interstate 4 in Seminole County, started in February 2001. Does it have a prayer of ever being finished?

SuperChannel 55 President Claud Bowers told the Orlando Sentinel that he expects the tower to be ready for tenants by October 2012. But local building officials call that projection unrealistic unless construction starts speeding up.

The building is being paid for by the donations of viewers of WACX’s religious programming. Those viewers and others initially pledged $38 million and put $13 million in the station’s bank account — fueling construction during the first two years of the project. Since then, donations have dropped and construction has slowed to a snail’s pace.

Courtesy wacxtv.com

According to the Sentinel: “Standing recently in the shadow of the construction site, with a lone front loader moving dirt, Bowers said that, while progress on Majesty Building has been slow, the finished tower will have a much stronger financial base than some of the office buildings that went up in Orlando and elsewhere just prior to the real-estate market’s collapse in 2007.

“Bowers said the partially built office tower stands as a miracle and will be a ‘pulpit to the world’ when it’s complete, with satellite-TV studios, banquet facilities, offices and retail space. He said little more remains to be done — other than the parking garage, site work and interior buildouts. He added that he plans to lease or sell office space in the structure and use those proceeds to fund an endowment for expanding the SuperChannel’s religious ministries.”

Read the full Sentinel story here.

Blast from the Past: Channel 9’s daytime in ’61

We continue our Blast from the Past series with this Orlando Sentinel advertisement for WLOF-Channel 9 from Nov. 1, 1961.

WLOF? Yep, you read that right. When it signed on in February 1958, Channel 9 was known as WLOF (which stood for We Love Orlando Florida). It would not become WFTV until 1963.

Here’s what this WLOF ad says about the Monday-Friday lineup on Channel 9 in the fall of 1961 …

8 a.m. — The Mickie Evans Show. A relaxed half-hour of music, weather and special guests. Mickie has performed with two Country and Western music stars.

10:45 a.m. — Rich Plan Cooking School. Chef George Nichols uses his continental flair to show you the easy way to creative cooking every day. He’ll also show the perparations of cuisine for a gourmet.

1:30 p.m. — Orbit. Accent on the unuusal and the interesting. This week, host Lowell Fenner introduces his viewers to the lilting song-styles of Martha Tiller (Thursday) and other top entertainment.

4 p.m. — American Bandstand. Dick Clark presents the music most popular with young America, and the artists who made it popular. See the new dance, “The Twist” … in action.

To see other ads from our Blast from the Past series, click here.

Spotlight on top Orlando TV advertisers

Sam Behr in 1988 commercial

They’re what you watch — or maybe don’t watch — between the news, weather and sports on Orlando TV. Either way, you can’t avoid them.

They’re the iconic commercials that dot the television landscape in Central Florida. Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker takes a look at several of the local TV ad stars —  Tom Park, Sam Pak and John Morgan.

Boedeker reports: “Some advertisers can’t be missed. Toyota of Orlando does 60 to 80 commercials per month for Central Florida. Attorney Morgan has 40 spots running at any time in this TV market.”

But, for my money, the Orlando ad pitchmen Hall of Fame has to include Sam Behr, who was the spokesman for Allied Discounts Tires in the 1980s, as well as Art Grindle and, later, son Artie Grindle. Behr’s catch phrase was “Tires ain’t pretty.” The Grindles’ lines were “I want to sell you a car!” for dad, which later became “I want to sell you a van!” for Artie. Click on the videos below to see some old-school Orlando TV commercials. (And just turn on your TV for the current crop!).

>> Scroll to the 1 minute mark to see the Sam Behr commercial …

>> Scroll to the 30 second mark to see the Artie Grindle ad …

Fran Drescher Tawk Show

Orlando is test market for new Fran Drescher show

Fran Drescher Tawk ShowFran Descher — aka “The Nanny” — is taking baby steps into the talk show world right through Orlando.

“The Fran Drescher Tawk Show” premieres Friday at 11 a.m. on WOFL-Fox 35 and five other Fox owned-and-operated stations. It’s a three-week experiment to see if the show generates enough audience to warrant a national rollout, and it’s the same way Fox started the Wendy Williams Show.

MediaWeek.com reported: Drescher said her show would “cover all my passions, everything from pedicures to politics.” As a rape and cancer survivor and author of Cancer Schmancer in 2002, she’s also looking forward to “sharing my life lessons.”

The show is based in Los Angeles. Besides WOFL, the other Fox stations carrying the show are WNYW-Fox 5 in New York, KTTV-Fox 11 in L.A., WTXF-Fox 29 in Philadelphia, KMSP-Fox 9 in Minneapolis and KSAZ-Fox 10 in Phoenix.

To see the show’s website, click here.

Blast from the Past: Channel 6’s Sunday night

Continuing our Blast from the Past series of newspaper ads for Orlando TV stations, today we roll back the clock to 1968.

Here’s an advertisement that appeared for CBS’ Sunday night lineup on WDBO-Channel 6. “Channel 6 has the look of a winner,” was the Orlando station’s slogan — and it was likely true that the station was the top-rated one in the Orlando market that year.

What was happening that Sunday night?

According to the advertisement’s text, Lassie tries to elude a timber wolf in Alaska, while Mark trains a dog on Gentle Ben.

Here’s the description from Ed Sullivan: “Ed’s guests: Tom Jones, singer, Wayne & Shuster, comedy team, and Jimi Hendrix, recording star, with Ray Bloch’s Orchestra.”

The Smothers Brothers were welcoming Kate Smith and Jefferson Airplane, and on Mission: Impossible, Phelps and Cinnamon try to stop a dangerous adversary’s plans.

And the ad also previews Monday morning’s Merv Griffin show. The scheduled  guests were Alejandro Rey, Bill Dana, Xavier Cugart & Charo, Richard Pryor, with Arthur Treacher.

WFTV’s sister station adds more news

When Oprah takes her final bow, we know that in Orlando we’ll see Dr. Oz appearing in her place on WFTV. That won’t be the case at Channel 9’s Atlanta sister station, Cox flagship WSB-ABC 2.

The Atlanta station announced Tuesday that  it will add an hour of news starting at 4 p.m. the day after it airs Oprah’s final show, TVNewscheck.com reports. And the station plans on hiring 20 more employees as part of the news expansion, AJC.com reports.

“This is a big move for the station,” said Bill Hoffman, WSB VP-GM and formerly in the same positions with WFTV. “It will add more assets to our capabilities to cover the market’s important local news and give Channel 2 Action News another hour of opportunity to serve viewers with local news when they want it.”

If Dr. Oz can’t hold or improve on Oprah’s numbers locally next fall, I would expect to see Channel 9 follow the example of its big sister.