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WLS Channel 7 - "Anthem, Sign-On, Reflections & Editorial" (1984)

Here's the National Anthem, Station Sign-On, Reflections and Editorial on WLS Channel 7. Includes:

Color Bars

WLS "Circular Polarization" Test Pattern

National Anthem

Station Sign-On (voiceover by Janice Kos)

Reflections with Fr. Bert Akers, S.J. - "Pray for Generosity"

WLS Public Service notice (voiceover by Janice Kos)

Commercial: Volkswagen GTI (featuring parody of the Ronny & the Daytonas song "GTO")

WLS Eyewitness News at 4:30 and 6 promo (voiceover by ??)

WLS-TV Editorial by Bill Campbell - "Business Assistance on the South Side" (voiceover by Al Parker)

Commercial: WBMX 102.7 FM - "More in '84"

This aired on local Chicago TV on Wednesday, February 22nd 1984 at around 5:50am.

Click here to search for related videos.

This clip aired on Wednesday, February 22nd 1984, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

What's the name of the musical piece used in the new Reflections opening? Also if you know the other musical piece from the old Reflections opening, please tell me. Thanks. :-)
Comment posted by ChitownTVFan on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 2:44am.

I thought Ronny and the Daytonas sang G.T.O. Did the Beach Boys record it first?
Comment posted by smctopia on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 8:43am.

smctopia - Yep, you're right. I updated the info. :-)
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 10:57am.

By this point, the optical color test pattern seen from 0:07 to 1:57 (which I have gathered to be from a company called Tele-Measurements, Inc. in Clifton, NJ) had undergone considerable fading from age, use and wear (possibly the tubes in the film chain pointed at the TP likewise were aging). The TP design itself as on this layout dated to the late 1960's, and was used by T-M for stations such as WLS well into 1974 in this form (after all, that's when the Sears Tower transmitter went online); after that, the outer grey was lightened up a bit. (The design was changed altogether by the early '80's.)

The audio tone heard up to 1:07 was set at an average of 393.8 Hz.

As for the sign-on and PSA voiceover, it was Janice Kos.

Meanwhile, as to the "SSB" video that was used by WLS for both sign-on and sign-off . . . sister-station WABC in New York used it for sign-ons (while using a circa 1960 Marines Band "SSB" with 49 stars on the flag, for sign-offs) as of 1984, per this sign-on from later in the year (with voiceover by either Allan Jefferys or Bob Lloyd, though I'm betting on the former; the TP design was from the same company, but changed as noted above):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxSRpiUHQb0

Comment posted by W.B. on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 11:55am.

Thanks for this, Fuzz. Nice to hear a tone to go with the TP - the YouTube WLS sign-on had no tone in them.

@W.B.(or anyone) : As we see the EIA (right?) color bars in the first few seconds of the clip before switching to the circular TP, would you happen to know if WLS ever retired the circular TP and used the EIA or even SMPTE designed bars until they stopped signing off/on for good in the early to mid-90s? Or did they just keep using the faded circular one until 24/7 programming? Did other O&O's use these bars or circular designs as well? When did they go 24 hours a day?

Also doesn't the circle 7 design in the WLS editorial look like the one used way back when 7 became WLS in 1968? It looks similar...

Comment posted by Tim on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 6:22pm.

Again you're scaring me. Bars and tone fans?!
Comment posted by telefrank on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 8:12pm.

First up, that circle 7 was exactly as used since the last 5-6 years as WBKB(-TV) and carried over to after the 1968 call sign change. As for the EIA bars (and yes, they're EIA all right - just curious as to which generator WLS used), the shape looks almost the same as on a YouTube clip of a 1986 sign-off of WNBC Channel 4 in New York.

As for other network O&O's:
- New York's WABC used a circular TP design as on the YouTube clip link above.
- In Chicago, WBBM had the "CBS test pattern" well into the mid-1970's per this link. (So did WCAU in Philadelphia, KMOX in St. Louis, KNXT in Los Angeles - and of course, WCBS in New York.)
- In the late 1960's and early '70's, WMAQ Channel 5 had a test pattern design unique to NBC O&O's, almost exactly as on this vidcap, except the top center left had "WMAQ-TV 5" and the bottom center right had "CHICAGO" printed.
- In Cleveland, then NBC-owned WKYC Channel 3, from the late 1960's until about the early mid-'70's, had the exact test pattern design as on WLS's "Circular Polarization" pattern; as laid out on this screengrab, you get an example of what the colors of the WLS pattern would've looked like at the outset before fading set in.
- In the 1970's, WNBC Channel 4 had a custom color test pattern using the circular design. While the logo itself is not on this recreation (three variants of which were used, right up to its last use around the late 1980's), here is how the colors were basically laid out. If one weren't careful how the slide was positioned, viewers could actually see the "COPYRIGHT 1947 - NATIONAL BROADCASTING CO. INC." notice directly below the pattern.
- Someone noted that KABC in Los Angeles had a B&W circular pattern.

As for the timing on here: I reckon that it was as follows:
- Cut from color bars to circular pattern 2 minutes before sign-on.
- Cut out tone 1 minute before sign-on.
- Cut to black 10 seconds before sign-on.
Notice on here, "sign-on" was the moment the "SSB" came up.

Contrast this with WMAQ's SOP on this clip:
- Cut from color bars and tone to WMAQ-TV slide 2 minutes before sign-on.
- Cut to black 45 seconds before sign-on.

Oh, and as I've said, the voiceover on this sign-on and PSA was Janice Kos.

Comment posted by W.B. on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 8:24pm.

Was this on a tape that had some footage on the short-lived Tele1st channel?
Comment posted by betamax75 on Sunday, April 4th 2010 at 8:24pm.

Meanwhile, here's another sign-on clip with Ms. Kos signing-on the station, from the morning of Dec. 8, 1983:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu1yhcgytiQ

Comment posted by W.B. on Monday, April 5th 2010 at 7:40pm.

Was this following an overnight block of the ill fated Tele1st. pay service?
Comment posted by dth1971 on Monday, April 5th 2010 at 9:29pm.

This would've probably been from within the time frame that this "Tele1st" was tried out on overnights.
Comment posted by W.B. on Monday, April 5th 2010 at 11:38pm.

At this time, Fr. Bert Akers was probably director of the Office of Radio and Communications in the diocese of Houston, Texas. From what I can tell, he's now the associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Towson, MD. Just thought I'd follow up on him...
Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Tuesday, April 6th 2010 at 10:33am.

@telefrank: Oh yeah, bars and tone! @WB: What's your background? Your technical knowledge is great!
Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Tuesday, April 6th 2010 at 10:38am.

First, I have equipment to measure tone frequencies. Secondly, I am one of many who from time to time used to stay up all night and into the morning, seeing TV stations sign off and then sign on . . . and paying as close attention as I could.
Comment posted by W.B. on Tuesday, April 6th 2010 at 11:53am.

Commenting on Bill Campbell's editorial concerning the dying steel industry on the Southeast side,my Dad worked at Wisconsin Steel Works #6 mill at 106th
Comment posted by 69TH&STONY on Saturday, October 30th 2010 at 4:30pm.

For everyone who was wondering, the piece that leads "Reflections" in and out is the beautiful suite from Peer Gynt called "Morgenstimmung" or "Morning Mood," by Edvard Grieg. Knowing that, I think this piece was an excellent and appropriate choice!
Comment posted by AnnArborMI90 on Saturday, May 26th 2012 at 1:41pm.

@ER3017 - I believe AnnArborMI90 answered that in a previous comment.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Friday, February 22nd 2013 at 7:30am.

This was preceded by a block of cooking shows on Tele1st; here's some excerpts (including the end of Tele1st and transition to "regular" WLS-TV). That and this sign-on were accidentally recorded by Szake when he mixed up the AM/PM indicator on his VCR.
Comment posted by IAmNomad on Monday, February 25th 2013 at 1:30am.

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This clip has been viewed 7264 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Saturday, April 3rd 2010.

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OOOPS! It seems that somebody got Jane Jetson's & Judy Jetson's hair colors mixed up LOL.


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This aired the day I was born!


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by HUdson 3-2700 on Saturday, October 18th, 2014 at 8:52pm CT

GalagaFleetCommander - Johnny Unitas used to wear his hair in a crewcut until about 1970, when he decided to let it grow out to where he could part it. A real square...


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by GalagaFleetCommander on Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 9:23pm CT

Johnny Unitas did WHAT? I can't believe that! He's got that perfect haircut you can set a watch to like Abe Simpsons said! I wonder if he made anyone any significant amount of money.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by ER3017 on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 7:37am CT

About 2 years ago, my brother and I was on our way to the park and I saw boxes and boxes of videos, and my brother and I agreed to get almost all of them. Unfortunately, due to my strength, I didn't carry a lot, so I grabbed like 2 boxes and some videos are quite interesting I tell you. I'am still waiting to deliver these to you because if I wait, not only they'll rot but worried that these will be in the dumpster like my mom did but retrieved by me thank god.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by FuzzyMemories on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 12:48pm CT

davismv - Thanks Mark! Well, we do have some late-breaking developments - once again provided by our researcher extraordinaire, Mr. Chris Tufts (Phantom). He found this interesting article on the development of Teletext in the U.S. as well as it's use on Nite-Owl. It's from New Scientist magazine and dates to July 22nd 1982. After reading this one has to wonder - what happened? Everything seemed so rosy. They had lots of viewers, and were making some advertising money apparently. So why did Nite-Owl quit just about a month later at the end of August 1982? Were they just tired of "giving it away for free"?

In any case, Chris found another interesting article, this time from Broadcasting Magazine dated September 7th 1981. In it, we finally learn that the true start date of Nite-Owl was early Friday, September 4th at 12 Midnight! Therefore, we can say with certainty that the clip you see here is the opening of Nite-Owl's Second Episode! We'll have to adjust the airdates of a few other clips to reflect this new information.

(T.K. - the answer to your question regarding Nite-Owl's music is also in this article - although who knows, perhaps they changed music providers at some point during the run of the show)

One other thing - the article mentions that WFLD was actually including teletext pages over its regular broadcasts since April of 1981. I had never heard this before. This information just leaves me wanting more. Did they transmit the teletext pages over every program that aired on WFLD since April 1981? Secondly, if you have a recording of a WFLD broadcast from that time period and you are able to fashion some kind of decoder, can you see the original teletext pages that aired during the broadcast? According to this article, there were at least 100 decoders floating around the Chicagoland area. Did anyone save one?

davismv - Regarding your questions: this was recorded by someone who was a "serial taper" but who also apparently had a short attention span. His tapes are filled up with 4-6 hours of material per tape, and rarely are there complete programs, but instead have little "snippets" (no pun intended) of news, sports, commercials, and whatever else struck his fancy I guess. There are a lot of good "bits" but unfortunately almost each one makes you wish he stuck with the recording at least a little longer. (but then again, if he recorded longer segments we wouldn't have the variety that he captured, so it's a six-of-one situation)

Regarding finding tapes: more and more I believe that the best way to find tapes is by asking neighbors, friends, or acquaintances. Why? Because unfortunately these home recorded tapes are seen by most people as virtually worthless most of the time, and if something is viewed as worthless it has way less of a chance of even making it to a thrift store or garage sale. People would just throw them out (which is sad, I know).

Also, some thrift stores now have policies of not letting "home-recorded" tapes make it to the shelf at all - they will just toss or recycle them if donated. The reason I've heard for this is that either someone complained before about something they found on one of the tapes ("adult" content perhaps), or the thrift store people are just being proactive and trying to avoid any issues like this from happening in the first place. In any case, it does stink. One idea I had that you might want to do is call all of your local thrift stores in your area and ask them if they ever get any home-recorded tapes and what they do with them. (first hurdle is making sure they understand what you're talking about - I usually use the term home-recorded tapes and then make sure it's clear by saying I'm not talking about "store-bought" movie type tapes - but tapes that people recorded themselves at home off of TV) If they say that their policy is to just throw them away or recycle them, tell them to save them for you. Give them your name and number and tell them you will pay for them too if they are what you're looking for. Make sure you're talking to a manager or someone at the store that actually has the power to make this change. Also remind the manager to inform his workers so that they are aware of what to do with the tapes too. And lastly, it couldn't hurt to call the stores again every couple months or so, and talk to the same manager if possible, to double check they are still saving tapes for you and that they haven't lost your contact info. :-)

One last tip - when buying tapes I don't buy them based on what is on the labels. The stuff written on the labels can be a red herring. I go by the age of the tapes. If you've been doing this long enough you can identify a pre-1985 videotape just by the box style as well as certain markings on the videotape itself. The stuff written on the labels can be a nice clue, but again I don't hold much stock in it. There could be a Sony K-60 Betamax tape that could potentially date to 1975 and the person could have recorded over most of it and wrote "Jurassic Park 2" on the label - doesn't matter - because you may still find an untouched 10-20 minutes at the end of the tape of a 1978 airing of Baretta with original commercial breaks for all you know. Anyway, happy hunting and of course please let me know if you find anything good. :-)


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by Phantom on Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 6:41pm CT

An article in Broadcasting Magazine in February 1982 says Nite-Owl had as many as 110,000 viewers on some nights.


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Keyfax Nite-Owl Service - "Episode Two!" (Opening, 1981) by T.K. on Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 10:04pm CT

It struck me how much Keyfax resembles the graphics of the Prodigy online service several years later. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because they both used the NAPLPS graphics language, which was originally developed for videotex and teletext use.

Now I'm curious how Nite-Owl's music feed originated. Usually the all-night news tickers run by stations in other cities simply carried audio from a sister radio station or the local National Weather Service broadcast. It sounds like Nite-Owl had a dedicated playlist. Did WFLD have a full-blown radio automation system with multiple carts and reels run off a clock, like something by Harris or IGM? Or did someone just dub everything together onto a new reel for each night's playback? Or did the overnight master-control operator sit there and play each song back from its own cart?


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Kinda neat to see an early computer-based newsfax system up and running for a UHF Station in a big market about this time. I'm thinking WFLD was trying this out to see if it became successful, it would have been used within years at the other Field stations across the country. Another possibility was to compete locally against WGN, WBBM and possibly WSNS (with of course, ON-TV) in the wee hours of the morning.

But what's neater-than-neat? Watching the Empire State Building take off like a Saturn V rocket in Commodore 65 form!


Comment posted in WFLD Channel 32 - Son of Svengoolie - "Monster on the Campus" (Partial Mail Segment with Chicago Lions Showgirls, 1981) by HUdson 3-2700 on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 2:57pm CT

http://chicagolions.com


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