Today’s “Blast from the Past” newspaper advertisement comes from the February 15, 1981, edition of the (Orlando) Sentinel Star.
It highlights the weeknight information programming on then-independent WOFL-TV 35. Like many independent stations, WOFL picked up the syndicated Independent Network News, produced out of WPIX-11 in New York City. For many small stations, including TV 35, this was the only newscast they carried. WOFL did air “News Capsule” updates in prime time, but I’m pretty sure they had not yet started when this newspaper advertisement appeared.
If you have trouble making out the type, here’s what it says: “Catch national and international news as it happens! Anchors Pat Harper, Bill Jorgensen and Steve Bosh keep you up-to-date on top news, sports and weather.
INN was followed at 10:30 p.m. on TV 35 with the short-lived syndicatesd show, World of People. “Tonight, Sara Edwards takes us out on the town with 80-year-old Disco Sally, to find out why she married a man 52 years her junior.” (Gee, I think I would like to know the answer to that myself.)
INN ran from 1980 to 1990. The start of Cable News Network and the birth of the Fox network make the need for a national 10 p.m. newscast on independent stations less important for viewers. That’s too bad.
We continue our Blast from the Past series with this newspaper advertisement from 1978.
It’s for weatherman Danny Treanor on WFTV. Back then, Danny did the weather on the noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. That was quite a long day!
Here’s what the text says: “Rain or shine, you’re certain to get the latest weather word from Danny Treanor, Channel 9 weatherman. Danny studies weather data gathered from satellite information and the most modern in weather wire equipment from the National Weather Service. He plots the facts and reports the prognosis weekdays at Noon, 6 & 11 PM.”
While RogerSimmons.com was offline with technical difficulties last week, WKMG-Local 6 announced its new 7 p.m. newscast. And I have a couple of observations about that.
First, the news: Channel 6 will ditch it’s hourlong news from 6-7 p.m. starting Jan. 3. Instead, it will offer a half hour at 6 p.m., followed by the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 6:30, then another half hour of news at 7 p.m. “A newscast can be successful at 7 p.m.,” Local 6 GM Skip Valet told Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in the 6 p.m. newscast in the last two months.”
Well, not so fast. Local 6 has been dwelling in the ratings cellar for awhile. Its idea of doing local news at 6:30 p.m. while the others did national news (or aired TMZ), was a novel idea — until WFTV started up its own 6:30 p.m. local newscast on sister station WRDQ-Channel 27 and started beating WKMG. So, to me, Local 6 is looking to move to another time period where it can try to have the local news audience to itself.
But if Orlando TV history is any guide, this move is doomed. Back in 1981, WESH was the only station in town doing 60 minutes of news in the evening — airing NewsCenter 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. It had been doing so for years. But in a move that still seems baffling, it decided to change and do a half hour at 6 p.m. and another half at 7 p.m., sandwiching NBC Nightly News. (Sound familiar?) “The Right News at the Right Time,” was how Channel 2 marketed the move. Wrong! WFTV was all too eager to expand into the 5:30 timeslot left vacant by WESH. WFTV’s 5:30 news has continued ever since, while Channel 2’s little-watched “NewsCenter at 7” was quickly forgotten.
The second 7 p.m. newscast in Orlando was even more short-lived than WESH’s. It was a WFTV-produced newscast on WRDQ-Channel 27 during the early days of the Iraq War in 2003. The war went on for years but the newscast lasted for just days.
Have times changed enough that Orlando viewers want local news at 7 p.m.? Personally, I doubt it.
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.
In addition to cataloging Orlando TV history, I also collect old newspapers. Lots and lots of old newspapers. And I have many copies of the Orlando Sentinel (or, as it was known for a time, the Sentinel Star).
Over the next couple of days, I’ll post different newspaper advertisements from Orlando TV stations.
Today’s ad comes from February 1981. Back then, before Oprah, lots of stations — including WESH-Channel 2 — aired movies in the afternoon leading into their evening newscasts. Here’s WESH’s “Cinema 2” movie stunt for the February sweeps: Sci-Fi movie week. In case you can’t read the type in the ad, here’s what it says: “Sci-Fi. Two words that mean the best science fiction around. This week! Prehistoric monsters. Atomic ants. Giant frogs. Panther-sized rats. Afternoon movies are here!”