The late 1970's will go down in Television history as the Gold Rush in local news coverage. It glitters all the more when viewed from today's tarnished perspective on the television business, where, sadly, staff lay-offs are almost as frequent as live shots.
That was also when, seemingly, uncapped growth in ratings and revenue supported newscast expansion, powerful promotion, the purchase of new technologies and the cultivation of unique, diverse talent on both sides of the cameras.
News became less about institutional,clincial reporting and focused more on relevant, personal storytelling.
While nostalgia colors our recollections, this time wasn't Video Valhala, either.
Of course, there was also Happy Talk, LIVE shots done just to prove you had LIVE cameras and the birth of special reports about dieting and plastic surgery.
I started my career,in that time-fame, after graduating Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University, in 1976, at KYW-TV, which was owned by Group W, Westinghouse Broadcasting.
Yep, That Westinghouse.You know. Light bulbs, refrigerators, nuclear reactors, and steam brakes. That Westinghouse.
I was fortunate to have learned my craft and my profession at Group W's, storied television station in Baltimore, Maryland, WJZ-TV.
Truly,I would not have had a career in television, were it not for this odd, idiosyncratic, little company, owned by an industrial giant.
As a television group ,we weren't a Mom and Pop store, but more like a very successful chain of convenience stores,like 7-11 or WAWA.
There will be plenty of opportunity to share more "Tales of The Blood Red W" in future postings.:)
Below are four excerpts from some of the industry's most respected and successful, local news operations of the era that brought us Disco music, President Carter, pet rocks, and Charlie's Angels. Enjoy!!!!!
Chicago's WMAQ-TV (NBC O & O ) November,1978
New York's WNBC-TV (NBC O & O ) June,1978
New York's WABC-TV (ABC O & O) April,1978
New York's WCBS-TV (CBS O & O) June,1978