Channel 9's news team in 1978
Bob Jordan never looked so young. Same with Danny Treanor.
And remember Dave Walker from CNN’s early days? Before he went to cable, he was on the anchor desk at WESH-Channel 2, reporting “Newscope” each evening.
Those are just a few of the many images you can view in three new galleries being posted on RogerSimmons.com today. We’ve spent the past several months going through thousands of pages of online archives of several area newspapers to create galleries of advertisements promoting Orlando TV news. We have compiled advertisements from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. And we’re only getting started. So click around and take a look back at Orlando TV history.
Blast from the Past features an icon of TV talk shows, Mike Douglas.
This ad from November 1965 touts Douglas’ show on WESH-Channel 2 as a “merry go round of mirth and madness.” I vaguely remember the Mike Douglas Show, and not sure I would use the words “mirth” and “madness” to describe it. But hey, I was only 9 months old when this ad appeared.
Blast from the Past focuses today on WFTV-Channel 9 and ABC.
This ad is from February 1969, promoting the ratings-challenged news on ABC and Channel 9. Frank Reynolds was the anchor of the “ABC Evening News.” Ray Reuster — who would later have a long career with the Daytona Beach News-Journal — was at the helm of the “Channel 9 News.” (Yep, there really was a time when there wasn’t Eyewitness News on WFTV.)
Blast from the Past continues with a bit of history in this classic advertisment.
The date was June 14, 1973. You would think having an embattled President Richard Nixon in town give the commencement address at UCF (then known as Florida Technological University) would be the top story on Orlando TV, but it wasn’t.
Tragedy struck in Central Florida. Two workers were killed when a 1,500-foot transmission tower — the tallest structure in Florida at the time — came crashing down in Bithlo. The tower included transmitters for Channels 6, 9 and 24 plus radio stations WDBO-92.3 FM and WDIZ-100.3 FM. The accident would have a profound impact on Central Florida media.
WFTV was off the air for several weeks after the accident. WDBO-TV was able to use an old backup tower, but with a greatly reduced transmission. Neither station would return to full power until more than two years. In the meanwhile, WESH-2 — with its transmitter in Orange City — became the dominant (and only full-power) station.
Here’s the advertisement from Channel 6 in November 1975 announcing that it was back to full power on a new TV tower.
Blast from the Past continues with this ad for the 1968 NBC fall lineup on WESH-2.
The online archives this came from are only in black and white. Too bad, since I believe the NBC peacock here was in its full color glory when this advertisement appeared in the Daytona Beach Morning Journal.
Blast from the Past goes back to 1986 today. That’s not that too far back, but a lot has changed since then. Take these advertisements for WMOD-Channel 43 for example.
In 1982, the Melbourne-based station became the area’s second independent station — following in the footsteps of Channel 35. WMOD had the staples of an indy station — classic sitcoms, movies, sports and even local newscasts. But it also had a very weak signal, which hindered its efforts to make a name for itself in Orlando TV.
Despite the slogan, “Don’t Stay Home Without Us” — many area homes went without WMOD.
Ownership eventually changed and the station became a Home Shopping Channel affiliate for awhile before becoming a Telefutura affiliate — which it remains this day.