Pictures on the Prairie:
The First Ten Years of Mid-Illinois Television
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Early this year, I was starting to make arrangments to do early TV history lectures and book signings throughout mid-Illinois. The general plan was to be in Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, Danville, Bloomington, and possibly Peoria.
Obviously, these plans will be delayed for the time being until this emergency is over and when it is deemed safe for all of us to do so at the various venues where these events were to be held.
Let me know if you're interested in obtaining a signed by the author copy of "Pictures on the Prairie." I have a few copies of my book that could be available for purchase. I'll work out the details of making that possible if there's enough interest.
Drop me a message from the blank at the bottom of this page. I hope to hear from you soon!
Classic TV, Illinois, TV History, Central Illinois, Doug Quick, WCIA, WICD, WICS, WAND, WTVP, WCCU, WRSP, WEEK, WTVH, WRAU, WIRL, WHOI, WMBD, WCIX, KSD-TV, KSD, KTVI, WTVI, KPLR, KMOX, KMOV, WBLN, WTWO, WTHI, KHQA, WGEM, WDBR, WLRW, WTIM, WDNL, WDAN, Jerry Slabe, Paul Davis, Judy Fraser, Mr. Roberts,
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You can also click on the Yahoo link for a program grid of the current "over-the-air" channels in your area.
Examine the history of each of the mid-Illinois TV stations along with stations in Peoria and St. Louis
Each station has a unique history, with ownership diversity and a different path to success. Some achieved success and are now some of the oldest businesses in their respective cities of license. Others fell by the wayside.
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.
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
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 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.
Industrial audio/video training
Industrial video narration
Public Service announcements
Telephone on-hold messages
In-store announcements for music services
TV Station news/promo image voice
Website Audio narration/training
Videos of the Week
"Twenty-One" 1955-56 NBC
The Episode That Changed Everything
If you haven't seen the 1994 Robert Redford directed movie, "Quiz Show" you should. This next video would mean so much more to you. This is the quiz show episode from December 5, 1956, that shows Herbert Stemple takes a planned "dive" and bow out of the competition between him and Charles Van Doren on "Twenty One."
The show was a setup, plain and simple. American viewers were sucked into watching this competition of brainpower between two contestants. Herbert Stemple had already won almost $70,000 dollars, a huge amount in 1956.
It seems that the TV ratings were falling as viewers were falling out of favor of Stemple, but he was smart and no one could defeat him. The arrival of Charles Van Doren promised to bring higher ratings. He was a bachelor and considered to be a potential attraction to female viewers, as opposed to Stemple.
So, they cut a deal with Stemple, talking him into "losing" to Van Doren. The producers promised him with a multiple of appearances on other game shows and with being a possible regular on "The Steve Allen Show" on NBC.
The question was "what motion picture won the Academy Award in 1955?" He was a big fan of the movie and knew the answer well, but instead took the "dive." Watching it he looked disgusted at himself at having agreed to lose and his response to losing looked fake and unrealistic....but you can decide.
Meanwhile, Van Doren was fed the answer to a nearly impossible question. The show went on to allow Stemple to obtain a tie with Van Doren, and a playoff. Find out how the playoff came out...and how Mr. Stemple bowed out.
The movie "Quiz Show" did make some changes to the story on his loss on that final show, but overall it completes the story of the 1950s Quiz Show scandals. Also as a follow-up, Herbert Stemple passed away this year on April 7th.
"Twenty One" was seen on NBC and presumably across mid-Illinois on WICS, WEEK-TV, WGEM-TV, and KSD-TV.
"American Bandstand" ABC Nov 16, 1963
This is an interesting video as it places what we were watching into history. This begins with the arrival of President Kennedy arriving in Dallas, Texas on November 23, 1963. The video is from news coverage at the time, but the audio is from local radio describing the events of the day.
It is followed by less than pristine video of a complete Saturday edition of "American Bandstand" from November 16, 1963. It's also notable that at the end of the show, the crew was introduced and shown on camera. How cool was that?
The following Saturday would be much different as we were going to be mourning an American President. It showed us then how things could change in a snap. I was in the fourth grade at Taylorville's Hewitt School when the news broke. Life changed after that event.
So, let's go back to the last few days of a "simpler" time and visit, "American Bandstand" from Philadelphia and the studios of WFIL, as broadcast on ABC and seen locally on WTVP, WTVH, and KTVI.
(Source: YouTube and various posters and contributors.
They may be removed without notice)
NBC Radio, Nov 23, 1963
Since the above Video of the Week spotlights November of 1963 and an installment of "American Bandstand" from November 16, 1963, we're going to bring you another broadcast item from one week later.
The golden age of network radio had ended a few years earlier in 1960 when both CBS and NBC Radio networks canceled the last remaining radio dramas and comedies. On November 22, 1963, the Assassination of JFK brought a new era of network radio as a portable news source to keep up to date with the latest news and information.
The day after the assassination NBC continued full wall to wall coverage of the event. This particular recording also gives us a historical view of a location we've heard a lot about over the last few weeks. Lafayette Park near the White House is featured prominently in the first few minutes of this NBC Radio coverage.
As this YouTube contributor notes the radio discussion includes some interesting questions brought up by the correspondents that to this day are unanswered. According to the contributor, there were questions concerning whether Oswald could have gotten a fair trial in Dallas (or anywhere) after the police had made the statement that "This case is cinched." Other questions were will the Cold War heat up again? and why the Chinese government treated the assassination as practically a non-story?
This would have been heard on NBC Radio affiliates WMAQ-Chicago, KSD-St. Louis and in the Springfield, IL area on WMAY Radio.
(Source: YouTube and various posters and contributors.
They may be removed without notice)
February 9, 2020-Added a list of Radio Automation Program Suppliers on the Automation Radio Format page. The list was from "Billboard Magazine" published in February of 1975.
February 14, 2020- The latest on the Repack plight of WAND. Visit Mid-Illinois Television here.
February 27, 2020-Added the WAND history video produced by Sean Streaty at WAND and broadcast on February 25, 2020. Watch the video by clicking here.
March 14, 2020-Thanks to former WCIA personality from the early to late 1950s, Scott Craig. He sent me an update on his life since his early days hosting "Cartoon Time" for Channel 3. See what Scott Craig has done over the years and check out a more recent picture of him. Go to WCIA 1953-1965 and Scott Craig here.
April 12, 2020-Thanks to Pete Barrett, WCIA Production Manager for sharing an incredible collection of historical photos from WCIA. Some of which have already been added to the History of WCIA 1953-1965. They're easy to find and are displayed in galleries labeled "WCIA Archive Photos." More will be added to the more recent pages in the coming weeks. Click here to go to the WCIA, 1953-1965 page.
May 24, 2020-"Star Trek" has been added to the Historical Television Highlights page.
June, 14, 2020-Added a video block featuring Taylorville's Frisina Drive-In Theater. To see the video and a short narration of its history go to Videos here.
Central Illinois On-Line Broadcast Museum and dougquick.com supports the work of the St. Louis Media History.
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