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November 4, 2022 11:16 am  #1


Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

WDIV, Channel 4 in Detroit, is celebrating 75 years on air with a special Friday night, that covers highlights from the station's years serving Motown. The two-hour documentary is narrated by a number of high-profile Detroit personalities, including radio legend Dick Purtan. 

But according to one station veteran, putting the special together was not an easy task.

"Video tape didn’t come into use until about 1980, so the first 30-plus years of the station’s history existed solely in hundreds of film reels that had been stored at Wayne State’s Walter Reuther Library. Film deteriorates, breaks, loses color and clarity, and we spent months screening thousands of feet of footage and laboriously and frustratingly splicing it together when it would inevitably break.

"It was like were on an archeological dig, pouring through piles of rubble hoping to run across a few gems."


It starts at 9 PM if you get the station via cable. You can apparently also watch it streamed on their site or get more details here.

 

November 4, 2022 1:48 pm  #2


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

Thanks, I will watch this. WDIV is a good station and does a great job of covering local news.

 

November 4, 2022 2:12 pm  #3


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

Definitely PVRing this, having watched "Channel 4" off and on, growing up in a small community where cable brought us WDIV for NBC programming and not their Buffalo or Rochester affiliates. Cogeco here in the Ottawa Valley still brings us all of Detroit's "4+1" stations today, all in HD.

 

November 4, 2022 7:25 pm  #4


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

I’ll definitely be watching this, growing up in London I saw a lot of WDIV. If I’m not mistaken they were also the first television station available in Southwestern Ontario, over six years before CFPL went on the air and the year before Buffalo’s WBEN went on the air, so this can also be considered the 75th anniversary of television’s availability in Ontario.

Interesting in the previews they talk about how badly they were doing up against WXYZ and Bill Bonds at one point. Apparently WXYZ’s news ratings share at one point was almost 50%.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (November 4, 2022 7:32 pm)

 

November 4, 2022 8:14 pm  #5


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

WDIV would have been the first television station available in Southern Ontario, signing on March 4, 1947. Second belongs to WEWS Cleveland December 17, 1947.

 

November 5, 2022 8:13 am  #6


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

While the majority of television viewers across Southern Ontario got their first introduction to television from Detroit, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester and Watertown, things were a bit different in Montreal. CBFT signed on Sept 6, 1952 with about 40% of their programming in English. When CBMT fired up their transmitter on Jan 10, 1954 viewers in Vermont got their first taste of television from north of the border. The Burlington market wouldn't get their first two stations until Sept 26, 1954 [WCAX] and  Dec 8, 1954 [WPTZ]

 

November 5, 2022 10:20 am  #7


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

Very well done documentary for the 75th anniversary of WDIV.  The station signed on as WWDT March 4, 1947, and two months later on May 15th changed call letters to WWJ-TV to match the radio station.  The station became WDIV in July 1978.  

Last night's show was two hours and took us up to the mid 80's.  It looks like there is a part two called the Reunion coming up at 10pm on Wednesday November 23rd.

Last nights show is on the WDIV website and well worth the time to watch.

WDIV is owned by Graham Media Group which owns seven television stations with WDIV  the anchor in the chain.   The company also owns three radio stations.  Head Office is in Detroit.  Graham Media is a division of the much larger and diversified Graham Holdings, the former owners of the Washington Post. 

 

November 5, 2022 11:08 am  #8


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

Thanks for the information about this documentary being on the WDIV website P1. Here in Toronto, the only Detroit station available on Rogers is WTVS and in HD only on Ignite.

 

November 5, 2022 1:02 pm  #9


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

mace wrote:

While the majority of television viewers across Southern Ontario got their first introduction to television from Detroit, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester and Watertown, things were a bit different in Montreal. CBFT signed on Sept 6, 1952 with about 40% of their programming in English. When CBMT fired up their transmitter on Jan 10, 1954 viewers in Vermont got their first taste of television from north of the border. The Burlington market wouldn't get their first two stations until Sept 26, 1954 [WCAX] and  Dec 8, 1954 [WPTZ]

November 25, 1948 for us on the west coast - that’s when KING-TV in Seattle started. It was five years before Vancouver got its own station.

I’ve read that parts of Northern Michigan got their first television from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. CJIC signed on in 1955 but it was 1959 before US-based stations were added up there.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (November 5, 2022 1:04 pm)

 

November 5, 2022 6:28 pm  #10


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

paterson1 wrote:

Very well done documentary for the 75th anniversary of WDIV.  The station signed on as WWDT March 4, 1947, and two months later on May 15th changed call letters to WWJ-TV to match the radio station.  The station became WDIV in July 1978.  

Last night's show was two hours and took us up to the mid 80's.  It looks like there is a part two called the Reunion coming up at 10pm on Wednesday November 23rd.

Last nights show is on the WDIV website and well worth the time to watch.

WDIV is owned by Graham Media Group which owns seven television stations with WDIV  the anchor in the chain.   The company also owns three radio stations.  Head Office is in Detroit.  Graham Media is a division of the much larger and diversified Graham Holdings, the former owners of the Washington Post. 

I found it interesting but I was rather disappointed. To me it was disjointed and seemed slapped together, not what I expected from a station I admire. 

I think they needed a host to take us through the various eras they were presenting. There was some great vintage video and interesting stories, like their "Count Scary" being inspired by channel 9's SCTV...That would be Windsors' channel 9, not sure if it was CKLW-TV or had become CBET by then. Also, Bozo the clown transitioning to Oopsy the clown when copyright issues came up. Bob McNae was the clown and he later took his character to CKCO-TV Kitchener for a decade or so in the 80's-90's.

Lots of good content but  not presented in a way I would have expected from WDIV. 

 

November 5, 2022 9:01 pm  #11


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

I agree it did bounce around a bit between the years and eras and at times was sort of confusing.  I figured since I never grew up with the station, and all of the old local shows and personalities featured were new to me, I sort of gave them a pass on this.

What did interest me was how they brought up a few uncomfortable truths from the stations history, such as them glossing over the riots in Detroit in 1967.  Hard to believe that they never used the word riot in newscasts but rather "disturbance downtown." Forty three people killed and over 1,000 buildings destroyed is a little more than a disturbance.
 This was the beginning of decline for WWJ/WDIV TV news and the station.  Also the fact that they didn't carry Saturday Night Live initially since the management basically hated the show and it's form of satire.  WWJ instead ran movies at 11:30. They never said when SNL was eventually picked up. 

Anyway it will be interesting to see the third hour on November 23rd.  I think WDIV is a good station today but like all local TV they are pretty much limited to news with about 7 local hours per day.  In fact weekdays between NBC and local they are news from 4am to 2pm and again from 4pm until 7. 

Last edited by paterson1 (November 5, 2022 9:03 pm)

 

November 7, 2022 1:31 am  #12


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

If you didn't get to see this program live, it is (or was) available on WDIV's website.

 

November 7, 2022 10:06 am  #13


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

I watched it online and, although I had no idea about WDIV's history, was actually impressed by all the stuff from the past they were able to find. For years, I've been lamenting how many stations (and TV networks) didn't save their own history. 

Look, I get it - old kinescopes and videotapes took up a lot of room, were very expensive to store and who ever thought anyone would want to see it again? I believe WBEN-TV was just OK when it came to preserving its history and it has very short filmed clips of its annual Santa Claus Show, Meet The Millers and others. 

But WKBW shamefully has only a tiny snippet of its well-remembered "Rocketship 7," and it consists solely of the last 30 seconds or so, video of Promo The Robot walking on the set as the theme plays, caught on video while someone was taping "Dialing For Dollars" that followed it. That's a shame, since it's become so iconic to so many that grew up watching that show. Not to mention that "Dave Thomas" wound up as real-life dad to "Bones" star David Boreanaz.

I don't think CHCH has any "Schnitzel House" or "Albert J. Steed" or any of the dozens of shows that originated out of Hamilton. Thankfully, "House of Frightenstein" was saved on tape and there are still examples of it around. I think there's some "Tiny Talent Time," too. But not much. As for Captain Andy? I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed.

And it's not just local stations. No one at NBC thought to save Johny Carson's very first Tonight Show, although I understand there's audio of it somewhere. Years and years of the daytime Hollywood Squares were erased or dumped, because no one thought there might be a Game Show Network someday and they'd be worth something. (The nighttime syndicated version survived, and a few years ago, showed up on The Game Show Network in the U.S. But it's not the same.)

Sad that so much of TV's past is gone. So good on WDIV for finding at least some of theirs. I wish I could go back in time with a VCR - and thousands of blank tapes!
 

     Thread Starter
 

November 7, 2022 2:56 pm  #14


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

I found the 1963 premiere episode of Let's Make A Deal complete with the Laramie Peacock colour program announcement online. No zany costumes. All Jacket/Tie and dresses.

 

November 7, 2022 6:09 pm  #15


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

A ton of Buffalo radio and TV history is being preserved by Buffalo Broadcasters. They share some content on their site: https://buffalobroadcasters.com/

 

November 7, 2022 6:09 pm  #16


Re: Those Who Get Detroit TV On Cable May Want To See This

Dale Patterson and I were members back when they were known as The Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers.