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Pictures on the Prairie:
The First Ten Years of Mid-Illinois Television

$19.99 plus tax

Mid-Illinois Television Station History

Examine the history of each of the mid-Illinois TV stations along with stations in Peoria and St. Louis

Follow their paths from the very beginning in "Pictures on the Prairie: The First Ten Years of Mid-Illinois Television" then catch up with the histories of each station from the early 1960s to the present on Central Illinois On-Line Broadcast Museum.

Pull down your selection from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.

Area Radio Station History

I spotlight stations that became very special in my radio career. WTIM/WTIM-FM in my hometown and WDAN/WDNL at which I spent most of 25 years.

The select area radio stations all have something in common, in that they were all automated and I worked at two of the stations highlighted.

Legendary radio stations include in my opinion the greatest radio stations heard in mid-Illinois during the era.

Pull down your selection from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.

Automated Radio History

Automated Radio formats include those program syndicators as well as the equipment used by stations to establish many FM stations during the AM radio era.  

There's the audio from the companies represented of demos of many of the formats. You'll also see which local stations subscribed to each format.

See photos of many automation systems used by many radio stations from around the country as well as local stations.

Pull down your selection from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.

  • Industrial audio/video training

  • Industrial video narration

  • Infomercials

  • TV commercials

  • Public Service announcements

  • Radio commercials

  • Powerpoint presentations

  • Telephone on-hold messages

  • In-store announcements for music services

  • TV Station news/promo image voice

  • Website Audio narration/training

  • Click HERE to go the web page

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Videos of the Week

The Morey Amsterdam Show
(DuMont) 1950

Life before television, at least in central Illinois, DuMont was bringing a comedy legend to viewers in the larger markets of the east coast. This goes back to September 28, 1950, and an edition of "The Morey Amsterdam Show."  This series aired initially two years on CBS, but it was canceled as CBS had a full schedule and couldn't air the series, so it moved to DuMont.

This is a good example of a live broadcast recorded by kinescope with Morey's guest Jody Miller. It may not be as entertaining as he was on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" playing Buddy Sorrell eleven to sixteen years later.

Morey was a native of Chicago, where he began working the vaudeville circuit and two years later was working a speakeasy operated by Al Capone. He had in common with Rose Marie of the "Dick Van Dyke Show" as she performed as a youngster and a teen for Al Capone as well!

After a career in radio he briefly hosted "Broadway Open House" for NBC Television, that was later developed as "The Tonight Show" under NBC president Sylvester Weaver. He returned to DuMont for several series before the network folded in in the mid-1950s.


After some guest appearances on various series, he would end up on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" after being recommended by Rose Marie. He also co-starred with several from the DVD Show in a movie called "Don't Worry We'll Think of a Title" in 1966. He also would appear as a guest in several sitcoms, game shows, and even a daytime drama. 

As I mentioned, this was broadcast on DuMont when there were only a handful of TV stations mostly in St. Louis, Chicago, Bloomington, Indiana and Indianapolis. There were no TV stations in central Illinois.

Musical Chairs (1955) NBC w/Rose Marie

Even though the quality is far less than desired, this was the earliest appearance I could find of Rose Marie after a short search. This appears to be a "home-made" kinescope, and not a very good one, with very little contrast between light and dark. 

It also includes Bobby Troup (later in "Emergency," music composer), Mel Blanc (from Warner Brothers Cartoons, "Jack Benny Show"), and Johnny Mercer (composer of "Moon River," "Hooray for Hollywood" and many, many more).  It was hosted by long-time game show host Bill Layden.

"Musical Chairs" aired on NBC from July 9, 1955, to September 17, 1955, as a summer replacement program. It's quite possible this would have been seen across mid-Illinois on WICS, WEEK, WGEM-TV, and KSD-TV.

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1964) CBS

Since I included a couple of very early television appearances of two stars of a television classic, I should also show you how both ended up together on a classic series of the early 1960s.  Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam would be two supporting stars of yet another up-and-coming television comedian, Dick Van Dyke.

This episode includes appearances of virtually all of the supporting adult players in the series, with the exception of Jerry Paris who directed the episode. 

This is "Three Letters from One Wife" airing on November 18, 1964, on CBS. That included central Illinois affiliates WCIA, WMBD, KHQA, KMOX-TV, and WTHI-TV.

(Source: YouTube and various posters and contributors.

They may be removed without notice)

Classic Radio

Animal Stories (1984) WLS Radio

One of the funniest bits in radio history!  "Animal Stories" was hosted by Larry Lujack and Tommy Edwards and broadcast on WLS Radio. These bits were even recorded and sold on a series of LPs in the 80s and 90s. 

This particular edition is regarded as one of the funniest of them all!  It's the story of the "drooling horse."

(Source: YouTube and various posters and contributors.

They may be removed without notice)

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Historical Television

Click on each Graphic/Title Below to go directly to an in depth story of each with pictures/videos of Television's Past

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View a number of Television History links to trace the history of the industry and more!

A number of television print ads from the late 1940s through the 80s showing various brands of television, styles, and both color/monochrome sets are featured.

All of the TV Today Television Markets have been updated with additional channels, including those LD and CD low power channels. The only exclusions are exclusive or mainly religious and shopping channels. Check out the updates at TV Today above along the menu choices.


To order an autographed copy of "Pictures on the Prairie: The First Ten Years of Mid-Illinois Television" use the "Contact Us" form at the bottom of this page. Send me your email address and I will send you complete instructions. The cost of the book is $30 cash and covers the postage (Priority Mail) of sending you the book directly from me.

I have a limited number of copies of the book, so order soon!

If you want an unsigned copy of the book from one of the retailers, click on one of the links above. Some are offering free postage!


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